Citizens, I just came across a fascinating recipe today – one from the proud and ancient country of Lithuania – that uses amber as a primary ingredient in a tea!
It is well-known in Lithuania as a cure-all and since Lithuania is the source of much of the world’s amber, this isn’t overly surprising. There is scientific evidence about amber’s curative abilities, which I will quote from a detailed and fascinating article! 🙂
Some background about Lithuania and the Baltics, the place where amber comes from…
People who live in the territory of the Baltic lands and Lithuania have been there for more than 12,000 years. As traditions were and are important, a great deal of knowledge comes from unknown times.
The Lithuanian language is the oldest currently spoken Indo European language. There are about 4 million Lithuanian speakers in the world, but it is taught at the biggest universities of the world.
The Lithuanian language has many similarities with Sanskrit (an ancient Indian language), many words of which are pronounced in similar ways with the same meanings.
So the Lithuanian language is at least 5,000 years old. Not many languages live so long 🙂
For a discussion about amber: “amber” in the Lithuanian language is called “gintaras”.
Many people think (myself including) that it comes from the verb “ginti” (we are changing the endings in our language and in that way we are creating new verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc.). “Ginti” means to protect, defend, guard. To protect from illness, to guard soul and body.
Why choose Baltic amber for healing?
Baltic amber is not valued for cool marketing 🙂 It is valued because Baltic amber contains the most amber acid in it in the world (compared with other ambers from other regions). Baltic amber is most valued among them all. Yes, for the same acid. And…for the beauty. Such beautiful and deep colours.
When you wear Baltic amber, some of its succinic acid (it is the other name of amber acid) in very small amounts absorbs through your skin into your body.
Today’s modern medicine also uses amber acid, which is taken from the Baltic amber. And yes, today’s modern medicine uses that acid to heal people. It is expensive, so many people use natural Baltic amber as an alternative for amber acid sold by pharmacists.
The scientific evidence
This is what I managed to discover:
Baltic amber (the type usually recommended for teething) does contain succinic acid. Other types may not.
Succinic acid melts at 187 °C but it’s moderately soluble in water.
Succinic acid is found naturally in our bodies and in many foods, including beer and wine. In some countries, it’s allowed as a food additive (number 363). Generally, it’s considered safe, although, just as there are no studies on its analgesic effects (see next point), there are none investigating its safety in humans.
There is some history of succinic acid being used externally to treat pain.
Its chemical formula is C4H6O4. Melting point of 184-187 degrees C. Succinic acid is a white crystalline powder, whose taste is similar to ascorbic acid (also called Vitamin C).
What else is special about amber acid?
It works where the body needs help the most and does not touch healthy parts of the body. It does not stay in the body for a long time.
Amber acid helps both body and mind. There are many recipes in ancient Chinese medicine, where Baltic amber is used (Baltic amber is said to have been brought by Arabian traders to China, who also brought the name “anbar”)
Amber acid is antiseptic (kills microbes), strengthens the immune system, reduces the negative affect of stress, helps to heal when there are inflammatory processes in the body, strengthens the work of the intestine and kidneys, helps to remove toxins from the body, and stimulates the neural system.
Amber (or succinic) acid is also used to heal various anemias, sudden/strong radiculitis, chronic heart illnesses (after myocardial infarction, coronary sclerosis).
When people have problems with their thyroid, it is suggested to use amber acid (or amber powder) in an oral preparation.
Amber acid does not have any known side effects.
People who use amber acid in small amounts in a prophylactic way regularly have a good mood, healthy heart, and are active optimists.
The norm of amber acid in the blood is 0,2-0,8 mmol/l. So people who are always sad, always irritated, always in bad mood and feel stress from almost anywhere, could make a blood test (in clinics) and make some changes in their lives.
The brighter amber is, the more amber acid it has. That is why white, bone, ivory, light yellow colours are valued so much. Even when you are using a piece of amber, you may notice that the smells of brown and light ambers differ a lot. The lighter the colour is, the more the smell is sour.
If you are willing to heal yourself from something with amber and/or amber acid, you should be watched by a doctor, to see how it works for you. Do not forget to give all information you have about amber to your doctor, they know much more about many things than other people, but they do not know all.
How to prepare?
If you would like to taste natural Baltic amber tea, you of course first need to get some pieces of amber.
I usually use about 5g (0.18 oz) tiny pieces of amber for a cup (300-400ml) of water. Why tiny pieces? Because they have more surface contact with the water, so more amber acid is taken from them. Amber acid’s melt point is 184-187C (~370 F), so when you use it with just hot water, you only get small amounts of amber acid, which is as it should be.
Amber tea is prepared in a specific way.
If you are using your amber for the first time, you should wash it before using for tea (unless the seller says you should not do that, and did that for you already).
Do this with soft, clean water, which should be about 20C (~70F) degrees temperature. Rub the pieces a little with your fingers in the water to remove the dust which might be there. Remove water. If you think it is necessary, you may repeat it.
You should then put the amber pieces in a bowl which you are going to heat – pour hot, not boiling water (about 80C (~180F) degrees), and keep it on a little fire (the best would be candle fire) for 15-20 minutes.
You could technically use the same amber pieces many times, but after 7-15 times of using you should replace them. (TFD CHANGE HERE)
If you have purchased new amber for tea, you could use them together with the old ones.
What is the taste of Baltic amber tea?
Baltic amber’s origin is similar to pine (extincted now) tree resin. If you would taste strong amber tea (not recommended), you would even be able to sense a taste similar to pine resin. Not sweet, a little bit bitter, amazing smell.
If you drink amber tea in normal concentration, you should not obtain much of a taste at all, or it should be very, very weak. That is why amber tea is often used with other herbs and honey.
If you would like to use herbs together with the amber, it would be better if you would not put them in the same bowl as the amber, because it might be hard to remove the herbs after putting them among the stones.
What amber tea heals?
Amber tea is antiseptic (kills microbes), strengthens immune system. Cleanses the body and reduces the negative effects of stress.
Also works as a prophylactic in a similar way as amber acid does.
Citizens, if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I urge you to try this unique tea at the only Lithuanian restaurant on the West Coast or to buy some Baltic amber for yourself from here to try it out!
This recipe is my own – I have chosen to add a blend of classic Lithuanian herbs as the basis for my tea – chamomile, mint, and rosehip. You can buy this blend already made from here.
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