I've already mentioned that incorporating herbal teas into your daily winter routine is beneficial, but I want to highlight one of my favorite herbs, licorice. Not the candy - the delicious, sweet root. If you don't normally like the taste of licorice, I have a feeling you will like the teas listed below. I've been experimenting with some new blends and sampling them out to friends and family who have found they are perfect for cold winter nights, even in California!
Licorice itself is very soothing and holds many medicinal properties. It's great for sore throats, coughs, and difficulty breathing. It also has a wide range of benefits for digestion, the reproductive system, the skin, as well strengthening the kidneys and calming the nerves.
In combination with other medicinal spices, licorice tastes even more delicous. 'Licorice Marshmallow' tea is my most recent recipe, followed by two recipes crafted by my all time favorite Ayurvedic Chef, Mira Murphy. Please note that if you are experiencing excess kapha, the Ayurvedic dosha made up of earth and water then you'll need to be cautious of using licorice in excess. Also, be aware if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
10 cups water
2 Tbsp dried licorice root, whole (not powdered)
1 Tbsp dried marshmallow root, whole
2 tsp dried ginger root, whole
5 cinnamon sticks
*Boil water and add herbs
*Keep at a low to medium heat for 10-20 minutes, then strain
*This blend is very sweet on its own
~Licorice, Orange Peel and Vanilla~
8 cups water
1 Tbsp licorice root (cut and sifted preferred, or powdered)
1 orange, sliced into rounds, peel included
1 fresh vanilla bean, cut into small pieces
*Boil water and add licorice, orange, and vanilla
*Steep for 10-60 minutes
*Strain and enjoy!
~Licorice Spice Tea~
8 cups water
2 inches fresh ginger
3 sticks cinnamon
2 star anise
1 tsp whole clove
1 Tbsp whole cardamom
1-2 Tbsp licorice root (cut and sifted preferred, or powdered)
*Simmer ginger for 10 minutes with lid on
*Add other spices and steep for 10 minutes
Strain and enjoy!
If you are not into making your own tea from scratch, a blend you can buy is Yogi Tea's Egyptian Licorice. It's much milder so you'll need to use several tea bags to make a medicinal dose for a sore throat...etc.
Source: Sebastian Pole, "Ayurvedic Medicine"
Source: Mira Murphy (former Ayurvedic chef at 7 Centers, Sedona). Her site, MiraMurphyMedicine.com is coming soon.
In continuation with the theme of love this month, here is another beautiful poem by Hafiz. As my friend Matt wrote, "When I read a poem like this, I think of how much saccharine and cheap Hallmark sentimentality about love gets peddled in our society, and how badly we are at telling stories of love." I completely agree and am grateful we have access to the wisdom shared by masterful poets throughout history. I hope Hafiz's words continue to inspire an unleashing of creativity that warms you up from the inside out in this last month of winter. Om Shanti.
'We Have Not Come to Take Prisoners'
We have not come here to take prisoners,
But to surrender ever more deeply
To freedom and joy.
We have not come into this exquisite world
To hold ourselves hostage from love.
Run my dear,
That may not strengthen
Your precious budding wings.
Run like hell my dear,
From anyone likely
To put a sharp knife
Into the sacred, tender vision
Of your beautiful heart.
We have a duty to befriend
Those aspects of obedience
That stand outside of our house
And shout to our reason
"O please, O please,
Come out and play."
For we have not come here to take prisioners
Or to confine our wondrous spirits,
But to experience ever and ever more deeply
Our divine courage, freedom and light!
Valentine's day is here! It's always been my favorite holiday (I know, gross!). Not because all of the cheesy hallmark madness of course, but because of the sweetness that comes from simple gift giving. It may also have something to do with my adoration of chocolate, homemade cards, and my birthday beingexactly nine months later (I know, gross!). Whether or not you are pro or anti-Valentine's day, you can't go wrong with expressing love and implementing self-care practices that keep your heart open and healthy.
Here are some of my favorite Ayurvedic practices for heart health:
1.) Self-Abhyana - otherwise known as a warm oil lymphatic massage. Use an oil that is appropriate for your constitution (more on this in later posts) and make long strokes up your arms and legs towards your heart to help move the lymph. Create friction around your joints using a circular motion to build heat and support circulation. 'Snehana' in Sanskrit means oil, but it also means love. Oiling the skin has traditionally been a practice of offering love to the body, making it a great time to say affirmations, chant mantras, and think positive thoughts.
2.) Rose Tea - Rose is cooling, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, and a aphrodisiac. It has an infinity for opening the heart and bringing mental clarity. It's considered a 'sattvic' herb, meaning it brings forth devotion and invokes higher states of consciousness. You can make your own tea blend by mixing rose and chamomile for example, if you are going for an extra calming effect. Or try Tulsi Rose tea bags from Organic India. Tulsi is an adaptogenic herb which his great for relieving stress and also pairs well with rose.
3.) Hrid (Heart) Basti - an Ayurvedic treatment involving a warm medicated oil and milk decoction placed on the heart, contained in a dough dam. This healing treatment is deeply nurturing, opens the heart on an energetic level, as well as strengthens and regulates cardiac function. Some of the herbs used include rose, hawthorn berry, lavender, ashwaganda, skullcap, and St. John's Wort. The dough that's used has an astringent quality which helps to draw out impurities from the skin. It also rests somewhat heavily on the chest, increasing awareness to this region of the body.
4.) Bow Pose - opens the chest and 'anahata' (heart) chakra. To do this posture, lay on your stomach and reach your arms back, grabbing onto the outside of your ankles. With a deep inhalation draw the torso and legs up off the floor simultaneously by kicking into your hands. Hold the pose for a few breaths and lower slowly on an exhalation. Lay back on your stomach, resting your forehead on the backs of your hands, or go into 'child's pose' to recover.
5.) Cuddling - we all know human touch is important for health and now more and more 'research' is showing how cuddling increases oxytocin and is a remedy for depression. In Ayurveda, human touch and sex are emphasized in the cold, winter months. Just as the trees are bare and exposed, we too need more comfort and nurturing. Get your cuddle on!
6.) Salt foot soak - although this does not directly link to the heart, soaking the feet is overall relaxing and can lower the heart rate. Regular foot soaks followed by oiling the bottoms of the feet, can help relieve deep-seated stress and promote restful sleep; especially when using quality salts like a high-trace mineral epsom or pink himalayan. Adding essential oils and rose petals are a definate bonus to any food soak. Since rose essential oil is quite expensive, a friend just shared with me a nice floral and sweet alternative blend that also works with the heart: 'Champa' & 'Cardamom.'
7.) Heart Breath - place your hands on your heart center, either in prayer position or hands placed one on top of the other. Close your eyes and take several deep breaths. Feel your heart beat and listen within. Making this connection can help slow down our racing mind and tune us in to what matters most. Even if you only have few minutes time, breathing in this way can be highly beneficial and reset your whole approach to the day.
I hope you enjoy these 7 practices, and have and have a wonderful Full Moon Valentine's day. Love it up!
A friend of mine is traveling to Laos and asked what people would recommend her to bring on a long flight. Thieves oil! Thieves oil all the way for me. It's my #1 travel savior. I always keep it by my side and can attest to numerous occasions it has helped me fight off sickness or kept me healthy in unusual circumstances. Before getting on an airplane I usually douse myself with it and if I'm feeling under the weather while traveling, I'll put a few drops on my chest or swollen glands before taking a hot shower. If you have sensitive skin, putting a few drops on the shower floor also works to create an aromatic steam. The smell is strong so if you are not familiar, be warned! The name 'Thieves Oil' comes from thieves and grave robbers during the 15th century that used this oil blend to ward off the plague. You can imagine this stuff is powerful. It boosts the immune system, is antiseptic, antibacterial, and antiviral.
Not only is it great for travel, but also for winter season cold/flu prevention. You can put a drop on your hands as a natural hand sanitizer (make sure not to rub your eyes!) or just take a deep inhalation before or after being in a crowded or contaminated space.
Make your own:
4 parts Clove Essential Oil
4 parts Cinnamon Essential Oil
2 parts Eucalyptus Essential Oil
1 part Lemon Essential Oil
1 part Rosemary Essential Oil
**Other optional immune boosting oils: Tea Tree, Sage, Lavender, Thyme
**Use a base oil like sesame, almond, or jojoba to make the blend last longer.
Or buy it: Young Living has trademarked this oil and has created a variety of products, like household cleaners, hand-wipes, sprays...etc. Floracopia is my favorite essential oil company and although they don't have a 'Thieves Oil' per say, they do have a Wellness Collection of six essential oils that have the same effect.
Check out the wonderful work my friend Jessi is doing in Laos on her 'blog'.
Welcome to this blog!
"harmonize with nature, walk a path
of balance" ❤