Categories
Herbs and Herbalism

Herbs to Bounce Back

This mama was SICK for Christmas. I caught a nasty stomach virus and was down for the count for a couple days. Ever since, I’ve felt weak and depleted! My muscles feel sore and weak, I am feeling extra worn down, and my stomach is still not back to normal. So, I thought I would turn to my apothecary and make some restorative tea today to help me bounce back.

Some of my favorite herbs for building back strength after an illness include (but are not limited to!) nettle, oatstraw, dandelion root, and tulsi. You could combine all four into a soothing tea, or turn to your favorite tinctures and tea blends that contain these allies.


Here is a little bit of information on how these herbs help after an illness!

Nettle is a powerful nourishing and nutritive adaptogen that excels at building strength. Among so many benefits, it helps with fatigue, rebuilding deficient nutrients, building blood, and flushing things out.

Oatstraw aids in some of the same ways as nettle, with a bit of a different approach and the benefit of being a relaxing nervine. It is incredibly replenishing, tasty, and helps with burnout and exhaustion.

Dandelion root does important work by aiding liver function. It is nutritive, helps rebuild gut flora, aids in digestion and flushing things out, and is incredibly grounding to boot.

Tulsi is my go to herb for many things! It is an incredibly helpful adaptogen and a relaxing nervine, aiding in balancing things out and bringing you back to center.


What are your favorite herbs or remedies for rebuilding strength after illness?


Sources:

• Rosalee de la Foret, Alchemy of Herbs

HerbMentor monographs

Categories
Herbs and Herbalism Recipes

Building a Foundation With Adaptogens

Not long ago, I shared a post that was a brief overview of nervine herbs and how they work to relax, tone, soothe, calm, and even gently stimulate the nervous system, digestive function, and circulation. Nervines are such gentle, steady friends!

I thought today I would touch on another, often overlapping category of herbs and botanicals: adaptogens.

Where nervines primarily help calm, adaptogens are known for helping to stabilize and protect. They are extremely grounding; help to protect from fatigue, overwhelm, and burnout; aid against anxiety, depression, and chronic stress; support and protect brain function; build resilience and uplift; and aid the immune system. Basically, adaptogens are powerhouse holistic mental and physical health supporters! Though every person’s constitution and health situation is different and they must use caution before trying any new substances, many adaptogens are generally as safe as most nervines are in normal doses.

If you prefer a less clinical perspective, think of it this way. While nervines can offer you a steady, calming pulse of reassurance and mental and physical support, adaptogens can hold you up, offer you inner strength, sharpen your mind, and keep you going. Adaptogens have your back.

So, who are these adaptogenic allies? Here is a list of a few of my favorites!

Tulsi

Nettles

Rhodiola

Schisandra

Eleuthero

Ashwagandha

Reishi

Astragalus

Licorice

Maca

Green tea

Ginseng

Most of these adaptogens can be found where you purchase herbs online if you can’t find them in person—Mountain Rose Herbs is often where I go to look for herbs on this list.


And now it’s recipe time! I thought I’d share two adaptogen recipes: a tea and a tincture. The tea is a great one to sip in the morning—you might even want to replace coffee with it sometimes for a more stable energy boost. In both the tea and the tincture, I’ve added some nervines too for taste and added benefits.

Simple Strength Adaptogen Tea:

1 part green tea

1 part tulsi

½ part mint 

½ part cardamom

¼ part fennel


Adaptogen Tincture:

1 part ashwagandha 

1 part astragalus 

1 part nettle

½ part mint

Vodka

. . . . . . .

Place herbs in a clean glass jar. Fill about ½ inch above the herbs with vodka, using a wooden spoon to make sure the herbs are fully covered. Place waxed paper and canning lid or bpa-free plastic lid on jar and store in a cool, dry place. Shake the jar each day, and if the herbs rise above the vodka or appear to have absorbed too much, add a bit more to cover them. (You can also move your mixture to a larger jar mid-process if needed.) Allow to macerate for 4-6 weeks. Strain into dropper bottles; take one dropperful either in a glass of water, in another beverage, or under the tongue.


If your health situation supports it, then daily doses of a couple of adaptogens that are suited to your needs can be an amazing holistic health approach. Many people sip on an adaptogen-based beverage every day instead of coffee to build up a strong foundation and mental and physical reserves. (I actually enjoy drinking coffee that has adaptogens right in it!)

Are you new to adaptogenic herbs? If not, which are your favorites? If so, which do you think you’d like to try?

Categories
Herbs and Herbalism

Herb Profile: Nettle

Hey there, Herbology Faeries! Since spring is almost here, I thought I’d share a new herb profile today about the herb I most associate with early spring: nettle.

Nettle, or stinging nettle, is a sign of early spring because in many places it flourishes during this time. Nettle is also a beneficial spring ally in aiding with seasonal allergies, nourishing and toning body systems after the winter, fighting inflammation, and much more. Folk traditions see nettle as a protective ally, helping with not only healing but also courage and banishing, and it’s not hard to see why when you encounter its prickles!

I know there are many who forage fresh nettles in the spring. There are many benefits to consuming local, fresh nettles. That said, not everyone has local nettles available or are not able to get out there and brave the stings to collect them fresh. That’s okay—high quality dried nettle can be purchased from small online apothecaries or Mountain Rose Herbs.

Nettle is a salty, slightly bitter, cooling and drying herb. It is nutrient dense, full of fiber, iron, calcium, and magnesium. Not only is nettle used to support allergies and to nourish the body, but it’s said to aid menstrual issues, eczema, fatigue, arthritis, and more. It’s a wonderful herb to consume daily as a holistic health aid for maintaining energy and health. The main safety considerations with nettles are the stings if you are working with fresh nettles (use gloves and blanch the leaves before consumption), and the diuretic effect the herb has—you might need to adjust your intake based on how strongly this affects you. 

I do drink nettle in tea—it goes well combined with herbs like mint and rose. I am also intrigued with the idea of using nettle as food! You see many instances of this online: nettle pesto, nettle soup, even dried nettle used in baking. I am experimenting with using nettle in homemade ramen recipes for a salty, mineral-y kick and added nutrition!

Here is a simple springtime tea recipe featuring nettle, to get you started with this wonderful ally!

Daily Nettle Boost:

• 1 part nettle

• 1 part tulsi

• 1 part peppermint

• 1/2 part rosemary

This can be hot-brewed by the cup if you prefer it in small doses. You can also hot or cold brew it in a larger batch in a glass jar. If cold brewing, the longer you let it brew, the more helpful constituents will be infused into your tea. I’ve run across some sources that say you should hot brew nettle and let it infuse for 4+ hours to reap the full benefits, but I prefer my nettle a bit weaker and more palatable than that—to keep me coming back to it! 

Have you tried nettles? How do you like to prepare them, or how do you think you would like to if you’re new to them?

———————

Sources:

• Rosalee de la Foret, Alchemy of Herbs

• Herb Mentor’s Stinging Nettle monographs 

• Sarah Farr, Healing Herbal Teas