Naturopath Jade Bertolasi loved tea so much she decided to make her own. Her hand-blended teas soothe and heal – and best of all they come plastic-free in glass jars
What sparked your interest in naturopathy?
I started by studying a certificate in nutrition, just for fun (yep, that’s my version of fun!). I was so enthralled that I enrolled in further study in Nutritional Medicine, which in turn opened my eyes to naturopathy. One day I realised that this wasn’t “just for fun” anymore and that I could turn this passion into my day job. I’m now a qualified naturopath and nutritionist and spend my days between seeing patients in clinic and blending lovely herbal teas.
How did the idea for your business Heyday Tea come about?
I’ve always adored herbal teas. My family has been using them since I was a kid. They’re gentle yet effective and are a beautiful way to incorporate health support into a daily routine. I often recommend herbal teas as part of a patient’s treatment plan, but I was finding that my patients were then going out and grabbing a box of industrially prepared tea bags from the supermarket shelf. These teas are often poor quality and their therapeutic effect is limited – not to mention they can be full of pesticides (not exactly the path to great health). So I decided to make my own.
What do you love about tea?
So many things. That it can support good health. That it’s so easy to prepare. That it tastes darn good. But I think I especially love the ritual of tea: the making, the pouring, the sitting in your favourite spot and sipping on a steaming cuppa. Sunday mornings in bed with a good book and a cup of tea (the dream, right?). We all lead such big, busy lives. It’s incredibly important for both our physical and mental health that we make room for these moments, give ourselves time to stop and take a breath.
How are naturopathic teas different to the run of the mill herbal tea bag variety?
Well, mine contain REAL HERBS. Not dustings or leftover bits. I source therapeutic-grade dried herbs from around the world that can really support good health.
I only make loose leaf teas – this gives the herbs a chance to infuse properly in the teapot or infuser, allowing for better extraction of the therapeutic constituents. In teabags, the leaves are all squashed up and this process doesn’t work as effectively. Plus, many teabags are made of nylon or PET, which are just fancy names for types of plastic. That creates the potential for chemicals to leach directly into your cup of hot tea.
My teas are also a hundred per cent organic. Pesticide contamination is a major issue in many conventional teas.
What kind of ailments can naturopathic teas treat?
So many things! Immune support, insomnia, gut health, period pain, hot flushes, your skin. I also use teas a lot with pregnant and lactating women – plus kids! Herbal teas are a great gentle support for kiddos.
Can anyone try naturopathic teas or do they need to check with their doctor first?
One of the things I love about herbal teas is that they are so simple and accessible. In most cases you would be fine to dive straight in. Occasionally, herbal teas will come with a warning – for example, The Glow is a blend for pregnant women focused on preparing the body for childbirth. As it works to strengthen and tone your uterus it’s recommended to wait until 2nd and 3rd trimester (excessive consumption in the first trimester carries a small theoretical risk of an increased likelihood of miscarriage). But this is written really clearly on the label.
And like anything – don’t go crazy. Heyday herbal blends are gentle, but they do have a therapeutic effect. So a few cups a day is wonderful – 10 cups a day may be overdoing it.
Can you talk a bit about the Sleepy Little Bunnies tea for kids? How does it work?
I make a range of teas just for children: Happy Little Tums (gut health), Healthy Little Possums (immune support) and Sleepy Little Bunnies (to promote restful sleep). My husband and little girl are in Italy at the moment visiting family and Francesco has been commenting on how many of his friends give their kids chamomile tea, which is wonderful! This isn’t something that’s done very much in Australia. I wish it were more common, herbal teas are so lovely for little ones.
Sleepy Little Bunnies is a blend of chamomile, lemon balm and elderflower aimed at helping to “calm the farm”. Chamomile and lemon balm are herbal relaxants, soothing the nervous system and helping kiddos wind down at the end of a busy day. Elderflower has some great herbal properties of it’s own, including immune support – but I chiefly use it in this blend because it tastes delicious. I find kids are much more likely to drink a blend that includes elderflower.
You can give this blend to kids throughout the day (I recommend cooling it and adding it to their drink bottle), and especially after dinner to help them relax into bedtime.
You package your teas in glass instead of plastic. Why is that?
All Heyday teas are stored in amber glass bottles. Glass is inert, so there’s no chance of nasty chemicals leaching into the tea. Tea should also be stored in dark, airtight containers (this allows for maximum freshness and therapeutic effectiveness). And as a new business owner I simply wasn’t interested in adding to the environmental burden of more plastic.
Can you name some of your favourite teas and which conditions they treat?
Love ya Guts – a calming gut blend created to ease general digestive discomforts
Immunity Armour – to promote resistance to infections, or whenever you need immune support
The ZZZs – a heavy-hitter, created to calm your active mind at the end of the day and promote restful sleep
Milky Mamas – a breastfeeding blend to encourage letdown and build milk supply.
Lady Business – a soothing combination of traditional medicinal herbs known for relieving menstrual cramps and pain
Is the War On Waste something you feel passionate about?
It sure is. I’ve always been a bit of a greenie, but even more so after having a child of my own. I worry about the state of the planet now, let alone what it will be like when she’s an adult. It’s really important to me that we raise her to be aware of her environment and the impact each and every person has on ensuring a sustainable future.
What are your top 3 tips for reducing waste?
1. Ditch the plastic: try glass Tupperware instead. There’s less possibility for chemicals to seep into your foods, and less single-use containers that end up in the trash.
2. Eat in: We’ve become such a takeaway society, eating on the run is now the norm for many people. Next time you order lunch from your local cafe, take 10 minutes, sit down (a novel concept, I know!) and eat it. It doesn’t have to take an hour. This gives your body the right message of “it’s time to eat”, getting all those lovely digestive juices flowing so you can break down your food and absorb nutrients more effectively. Plus, less waste, real cutlery and crockery – think of all those awful plastic takeaway containers, knives and forks that get used once and then thrown away.
3. Drive less: This is something I’m making a big effort to do right now. It’s so easy to jump in the car and pop down the road, but lately I’ve been trying to walk places in my neighbourhood as much as possible. This gets me (and often my baby) out in the fresh air, gives me some gentle aerobic exercise – plus it cuts down on unnecessary carbon emissions. And I’m always amazed at how quickly I get places, it may add 5-10 minutes to my journey but it’s so much nicer! Also… no parking. I’d walk to the ends of the Earth to avoid a Westfield underground carpark.
Any good tips for what to do with your leftover tea leaves?
Cook with them. Once brewed and drunk, put the used herbs/leaves in the middle of a square of cheesecloth and tie it up with a knot. Pop it in the saucepan next time you poach fish or chicken and wait for the herbal goodness to infuse. Teas with ginger in them like Fully Belly Blend or Reset Button get my vote for this one, but you could do it with any tea really.
Photography by Sarah Ward for WOWW, no images are to be used without permission.