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?
Inspiration struck this morning and I decided to start a tincture that will be ready just in time for Yule! It has all the happy, cozy, hygge vibes with digestion support, stress relief, balancing, and immune boosting to boot.
Mint is the star of the show here, paired with “really good Ceylon cinnamon” (please tell me you read that in Ina Garten’s voice 😂). I adore the sweet combo of cooling mint and warming cinnamon! With these I combined fennel seed, rosemary, and ashwagandha root.
Then I topped it off with not the usual vodka, but GIN for more cozy, botanical, wintry vibes.
Here is the full recipe! For once, I actually loosely measured instead of doing it in parts!
Add herbs to a 16 oz glass jar. Cap and shake the jar thoroughly to mix herbs. Top with gin, filling to near the brim. Cap with a plastic canning jar lid or parchment paper and canning lid. Store in a cool, dark place, shaking daily, and strain after 6-8 weeks. Store in dark glass jars or dropper bottles if you can.
You can take this tincture in tea, coffee, still or sparkling water, ginger ale, juice, or even cocktails! Ginger ale is my favorite vehicle for tinctures—if you prefer, use your favorite homemade or natural ginger ale.
You have a physical aspect to your heart, and an energetic and emotional aspect to your heart as well. It may seem like more of a metaphorical connection until you think deeply about it. That piercing aches in your chest that come periodically for some and often for others certainly points toward this inextricable connection. The emotional and energetic health of your heart can have a big impact on the physical health of your heart, and vice-versa.
Herbs can be an invaluable ally when it comes to both of these aspects of heart health, and what’s really amazing is that the same herbs can help with both. Nature certainly knows what she is doing!
My favorite herb for heart ease is tulsi. Tulsi is the Queen of Herbs, and she is a wonderful heart soother. She can aid in reducing inflammation and regulating blood pressure, but she can also help ease emotional tension and stress weighing your heart down. As both an adaptogen and a nervine, tulsi holds your hand and has your back.
I’ve brewed up a heart ease “potion,” a tincture that pairs tulsi with two other herbs that work on much the same dualistic levels for the heart: linden and hawthorn. Both of these lovely herbs are nervines often used to address blood pressure and cardiovascular health, as well as anxiety, stress, and depression. There are also folkloric and spiritual connections between all three of these herbs and protection.
Here is the recipe if you’d like to make this heart supporting tincture, too! I used the folk method, measuring in parts.
I will probably take a dropper full of this at a time in tea, ginger ale, or fruity seltzer water. It will be brimming with the intention of bringing ease and strength to my physical and emotional heart.
Have you worked with tulsi to ease and strengthen your heart?
Note: check with your physician before taking significant amounts of these herbs if you have high blood pressure, any heart conditions, or if you take any heart or blood pressure medications.
Follow along for more Tulsi wonder on Instagram with the Plant Wonder Collective! Participants share posts on the featured herb throughout the month. You can find us via
Not long ago, I shared a post that was a brief overview of nervine herbsand 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!
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
1 part ashwagandha
1 part astragalus
1 part nettle
½ part mint
. . . . . . .
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?
It’s been awhile, Herbology Faeries! Life has been chaos for me lately, with my wildlings’ school year beginning and all the changes involved with that. But, I am taking a moment to slow down and share with you about a recent favorite herbal ally: rosemary.
Many people think of rosemary as a primarily culinary herb, but it’s so much more than that! There are good reasons the Owens women in the Practical Magic books and movie say to “plant rosemary by your garden gate.”
Rosemary is a pungent, warming, drying, and aromatic herb. According to the plant monograph in Learning Herbs’s Herb Mentor database, rosemary boasts “carminative, circulatory stimulant, hepatic, antimicrobial, stimulating/relaxing nervine, [and] antioxidant” properties. Its uses include “mental stimulation, digestion, colds/flu, fungal infections, hair wash, food preservation, [and] skin protection.” It can be used in many applications, like teas, tinctures, skin and hair products, and food. Traditional wisdom attributes remembrance and protection to rosemary, as well.
Basically, use rosemary as much as you can. It is an herb you can’t go wrong with, because it adds so many benefits to your life and tastes amazing! Lately I have been taking a brain-boosting tincture that includes herbs good for memory and mental acuity like rosemary (of course), gotu kola, ginkgo, and sage. While the intended use of the tincture is for brain health, I notice a very marked calming effect when I take this tincture! Rosemary has always been a culinary favorite of mind, but I’ve also realized that I need to explore more therapeutic and broader uses for the herb because it’s just one that really jives well with me.
And now it’s recipe time! Rosemary pairs amazingly well with grapefruit, so this is a fun fizzy drink (alcoholic or not, it’s equally amazing either way)!
If you’re more of a hobby herbalist like me, or if you’re new to herbalism, tinctures may feel a little daunting. Herbal teas seem less intense, due to their simpler water-based preparation and short wait time. It feels like you can’t mess a tea up! But tinctures are a bit more intimidating to beginners, or at least they have been to me. So today, I’m sharing what I’ve learned about tinctures including different types, methods, and uses.
Let’s start with demystifying the various types of tinctures with a little list—
Tincture: An herbal preparation made by macerating (soaking) herbs in menstruum (alcohol, usually vodka) for a period of weeks. The alcohol extracts helpful components from the herbs and creates a highly concentrated liquid that is typically ingested by the dropper full, alone or mixed with other liquids.
Bitters: You may hear this term specifically in regard to cocktails, culinary uses, or digestive aids. Well, guess what…bitters are the same thing as a tincture! It’s just a bit of a more specific term regarding use—the bitter component is the star and can be used to impart flavor and/or stimulate the liver and digestion.
Elixir: A tincture made with a sweetening agent, usually honey. Elixirs have a shorter shelf-life than tinctures without sugar.
Glycerite: A tincture made with vegetable glycerine instead of alcohol. Often used by kids and those who obstain from alcohol completely (though the alcohol in a tincture dose is minimal). Glycerine typically works better with fresh plant material than dried.
I started out by making elixirs, because honey seemed like a no-brainer to make tinctures more palatable. I also began with multi-herb combos and even different types of alcohol. I don’t recommend any of the above for beginners! My elixirs didn’t always keep fresh for long, sometimes tasting “off” far too soon after straining and bottling. Definitely consider an online class, YouTube video, herbalist’s Patreon, or recipe book’s guidance when making your first tinctures, and keep it simple: one herb and vodka.
I am not going to go into super depth about the process of making tinctures because I am not an expert herbalist by any means. As I mentioned, I recommend seeking expert guidance for tincture-making, which is what I always do. But here is a brief outline of the process:
Generally, you want to fill a small, sterilized glass jar 3/4 full with dried herb, fill with enough vodka to cover the herb completely, and cap tightly with waxed paper under the lid. Label it with the date made and the date it should be ready, as well as the contents. Keep in a cool dark place, and shake daily. After around 6 weeks, strain and bottle in small, dark glass bottles or jars.
Some great starter herbs for tinctures that are useful in both medicinal and culinary respects include lavender, lemon balm, dandelion root, tulsi, rose hip, hawthorn berry, or juniper berry. These all have various health-supportive uses, like vitamin and mineral supplementation, immune system boosting, and even anxiety, inflammation, and heart support. Plus they taste great!
Tinctures are super convenient once bottled! You can take doses straight if you prefer—a few drops to one dropper full, either straight on or held under the tongue for several seconds. You can also add the same amount to plain water, fizzy water, tea, or even cocktails. A refreshing combo I really love in the summer is lemon lime soda, frozen fruit, and a dropper of fresh lemon balm tincture (which I didn’t make; I bought it from Raven Energy Herbal Apothecary on Instagram).
So, do tinctures seem any less daunting to you now? Or are you already a tincture expert? I’d love to chat about this useful herbal potion in the comments!