Hello friends! I’ve been super busy lately and the days are flying by, but I told myself I was not going to let this blog die so I came in for a quick post. It is all part of my master plan to gain discipline which is definately a skill that can be learned even by the most undisciplined (like myself).
I’ve been taking a fairly intensive herbal medicine course for the last three months and have learned so much about the natural world and myself, but I’d say the key element in this process is turning yourself into a human guinea pig. How can you recommend an herb you’ve never tried? This is a list of five herbs that I am absolutely loving right now. Many of them I have not been taking for very long so I am still uncertain of whether I’ve gotten the full effect, but just having them in my life has made me happier which is good enough for me.
This cute little plant is often considered a pesky weed, but it is full of vitamins and minerals and is said to aid in weight loss. I found a bunch growing at a local farm and in my own back yard so I tinctured it in apple cider vinegar (also known to promote good health) and have been taking a tablespoon in a big glass of water most mornings. I’ve noticed that I retain less water and get full faster on those days. I’m not sure if I have actually lost any weight, but I am definately less bloated and my pants are a little looser. The getting full faster may be placebo effect, but I’m not complaining!
This is a weed that has always delighted me. I have never understood why people want to get rid of it, the yellow flowers are beautiful, they improve soil quality, every child delights in blowing on the cloud like seed head and it is also completely edible. Unfortunately, they are not so prolific in my little corner of the earth so I’ve mostly had to buy it from other sources. In early March I made a tincture, but that is long gone. Lately, I’ve been blending the leaves in green smoothies and drinking dandelion root tea. It is said to have an affinity for the liver and kidneys and I have been taking it with the hope that it will help clear up my skin rash which I suspect has something to do with my liver and digestion. There has been a very mild improvement, but I have not been disciplined enough in my use of it.
3. Blue Vervain
Speaking of the liver…I like wine…quite a bit. I find that in times of stress I tend to want to drink it a lot more. Lately, I’ve been having a glass or two (or four?) most nights of the week and I know it isn’t great for my blood sugar or liver, but after a long day of work it is hard to talk myself out of it. My trusted herbalist (I’m convinced everyone should have one) suggested I take a tincture of blue vervain three times a day for the cravings.It grows in central Texas so I am hoping to make my own tincture come summer. My understanding is that this is an herb for happy drunks who imbibe too much, but are not full-blown alcoholics. Harvard University was conducting studies on it to see if it controlled cravings and it seemed promising so I’m giving it a whirl. I’ll update later and let you know if it has worked for me.
Nettles are the ultimate adaptogen! They nourish the body and soul and reduce your stress response. While they are edible I’m not crazy about the taste so I drink them in tea sweetened with honey. They are a good source of magnesium which is seriously lacking in the typical American diet and could explain why they have such a calming effect (at least on me).
I am so obsessed with roses! They have become such an important part of my life and healing process. Internally I’ll splash some rose water in a smoothie or drink it as a tea, but mostly I use it externally. In the mornings I use it as a toner and spray a little in my hair for the wonderful scent. In the evening I mix rose petal power with honey to make a scrub, rinse it off, and then dab a little rose hip oil around my eyes and mouth to prevent wrinkles and skin damage. The beautiful flower lifts my spirits because as someone who works for a non-profit I often end up with lots of negative energy that isn’t mine. Yesterday an herbalist made me a wonderful little concotion that contained roses and advised me to take it when I feel overwhelmed…it is sweet and reminds me of the beauty in the world. This plant has been a life saver.
Those are my top five for now. Do you have any herbs that you take regularly? Is there something I should be trying? I’m so happy that the world of herbalism has been opened up to me in this beautiful and sacred way. I look forward to it being a part of the rest of my life.