Tuesday, February 14, 2012
10 Nourishing and Herbal Self Indulgences for Valentine's Day
Nettles is always a good choice for nourishment, but consider any of the following herbal infusions.
Oats- to rebuild and replenish the nervous system
Linden- to soothe the heart, calm and relax, and sweeten the spirit
Red Clover- to nourish and replenish the female endocrine system
Tulsi Basil- to brighten your mood, bring back a sparkle to your eyes, and a smile to your lips
Roasted Dandelion Root with Cinnamon- tone up, stimulate and improve digestion, liver function, circulation and more
**2)Drink cacao**- It might seem obvious, to include chocolate on V-Day- but rather than sugar laden bon bons, brew yourself a deeply intoxicating cacao drink- to open and nourish your heart, induce a state of bliss and pleasure, and give yourself a love infusion of minerals and vitamins (magnesium & B vitamins) I like to use 1 oz raw cacao paste from Heartblood Cacao,mixed with 8 oz hot water, sweetened with a touch of honey and laced with cinnamon, nutmeg, rose water, orange peel, or hawthorn berry extract.
**3) Take an Herbal Infused Bath**- Taking a warm bath is a natural way to indulge yourself, but you can double the pleasure and magnify the benefits with the addition of herbal infusions in your bath water! And don't forget the pleasure of scenting your bath with sensual essential oils like rose, patchouli, ylang ylang, jasmine, vanilla, or vetiver. For a deeply healing herbal bath, brew up 1 gallon of strong tea (3-4 handufls of herb) of any of the following herbs, strain and add to your hot bath water.
Roses- to open and soothe the heart
Chamomile- to calm and soothe stress, anxiety, and tension
Lavender- to calm tension, relax emotional fragility, or soothe a bruised ego
Marigolds (Tagetes)- to induce euphoria, relaxation and happiness
Rosemary- to clear the mind, stimulate the body, soothe soreness/achiness, and increase creativity
**4) Give yourself a scented herbal massage**- Either schedule with your regular massage therapist, or give yourself a healing, nurturing massage with a lusciously scented and herbal infused oil. Oils that have been infused with the healing properties of herbs are deeply restorative, powerfully healing, and super pleasurable. My favorite oils to use are sesame, coconut or olive- and I like to infuse them with flowers and herbs that are both sweet smelling, skin healing and deep tissue replenishing. Sesame oil is highly absorbable and good for all types of skin, Coconut is best for folks with hot constitutions, warm skin with redness, or oily skin, and olive is good for those with dry skin or cooler constitutions. Good choices to infuse in your oils are: Roses, Lavender, Calendula, St Johns Wort, Comfrey, Ashwaganda, Gotu Kola, Chamomile, Rosemary, Marshmallow, Violet Leaf, Ginger, Birch, Patchouli, Plantain
**5) Take restorative and rejuvenating adaptogens daily** - There are a lot of reasons to take adaptogens- to help manage stress, to replenish and restore adrenal health, to balance hormones/endocrine system, to improve libido, to improve sleep, to support good immune function, for more mental clarity and daily emotional balance. Your choice of adaptogens may vary based on your needs but my favorites are below!
Ashwaganda- Try 1 tsp of powdered Ashwaganda in warm milk (almond or coconut works well), sweetened with honey, laced with cinnamon, and topped with ghee or coconut oil.
Schisandra- mix the ground up berries with honey for a delicious sweet-sour treat- spreadable on toast like jam, or mix into tea
Medicinal Mushrooms (Reishi, shitake, cordyceps, maitake etc)- Cook healing mushrooms into soups and broths, or make a syrup sweetened with honey or molasses.
**6) Make and Drink Herbal Infused Bone Broth** - Make yourself a big pot, and freeze the extra to have around and nourish yourself every day! Bone broth (or seaweed broth for vegetarians) is a really easy, and deeply nourishing tonic for everyone- it is full of minerals to build and restore bone health and nervous system health, gelatin and collagen for strong skin, hair and nails- and digestive system tissues. You can add your favorite immune herbs, adaptogens, fruits with bioflavanoids or medicinal roots to the stock as it is cooking to increase the nourishment factor. Organic, free range bones (chicken, beef, lamb, eggshells etc) Enough water to cover completely 1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar Simmer bones in water with lemon on low for 24 -36 hours in a crock pot, or on the stove on low. Add any of the following herbs to boost its health supporting properties: Burdock root, shitake mushrooms, lovage root, garlic, onion, calendula, hawthorn berries, kelp, sage, nettles, dandelion greens, schisandra, ginger, turmeric etc
**7) Sit with a plant or a tree**- No matter what season or weather is happening around you, find a plant- inside or out, or a tree nearby, and spend 10-30 min sitting with the plant. Close your eyes, ground yourself by sending your roots down into the earth, focus on your heart- so full of life, so full of love, and open your heart to the plant you are with. Ask to share with the plant you are with, offer the plant a gift ( a song, a stone, a shiny object, a piece of fruit or chocolate, water, tobacco), and ask if the plant might have a gift- a lesson- a teaching for you. Sitting with plants always has been a remarkably powerful way for me to connect with nature, and the deep connection we all share as living beings on this earth. We can learn, feel ourselves, and feel the deep LOVE within the Earth for all her creations.
**8) Buy yourself an herbal pampering gift** - This could be decadent perfumes made with love and only pure essential oils, an indulgent face cream with luscious skin healing herbs, an intoxicating tea blend with flowers and spices, a rich, lathering cold processed soap infused with herbs, or a sweet smelling essential oil blend for diffusing in your living space. And USE it- daily, give yourself 60 seconds to 5 mins just for you and pamper yourself with your gift to yourself.
**9)Make herbal incense to sweeten your space**- Not as complicated as you might imagine- all you need is some charcoals for burning your incense on, a heat proof dish and some sweet smelling herbs. You can chop your herbs coarsely and use as a loose incense sprinkled on your hot coal, or you can finely powder your herbs in a grinder and mix with honey, dried fruits, and/or wine or mead into a thick dough which can be rolled into rounds or cones. I find a mixture of mugwort or salvia (to hold the burn), fragrant herbs and spices (roses, cinnamon, lavender, chamomile, mint, cloves, tulsi, rosemary etc), and resins (frankincense, pine sap, copal, myrrh) work best as a whole, but let your imagination guide you! You can add an element of magic and intention to your insence as well, by focusing your energy on your intention as you select and mix your herbs. Make a blend that speaks to you of self love, self honoring, your unique personality, or elements you want to welcome in. Burn your mixture daily during self care rituals, bath time, or bed time.
**10) Build an altar to your plant allies and yourself** - Clear a space for yourself to build/create an altar to yourself- the qualities you love about yourself, and the elements you would like to call into your life and your self expression- and/or to celebrate your plant allies and all the ways they serve you, gift to you, teach you, heal you and your deepening relationship with them. You can pick one plant or several. Put up pictures of yourself, pictures representing yourself, words you wish to reflect on, affirmations of self love and honor, pictures of your plant allies, potted plants, dried plant parts or flower arrangments, flower essences, tinctures, essential oils, candles, or little cups of tea! Spend some time daily or weekly at your altar in meditation, gratitude, or prayer. Honor yourself- beautiful, abundant, loving, wise, luscious, nourished- and honor your plants- friends, teachers, wisdom keepers, allies and healers.