During the first week of January, I decided to continue with an herbal project that I hadn't done in several years. One of my first projects in grad school was to choose an herb I knew absolutely nothing about and get close and personal with it for a whole month. I came to call this: herbal dating. It was a perfect way to learn about the effects and energetics of herbs without the bias of learned facts about it. It was a completely sensory experience that involved only how the herb made me feel while using it, without clouded judgement about what I thought it should be doing. This of course was a fleeting time, as the months and years passed I learned more and more about so many herbal medicines, it was hard to continue this herbal escapade without preconceived expectations. But starting this month, I'm taking a new perspective on the herbal dating scene. I'm choosing to formulate an herbal tea every month, using herbs that I feel especially drawn to, herbs that I crave, or herbs I feel I could use their allied support. I'll be sipping on this blend for the entire month, several times a day, to really let it settle into my body and feel the effects of such a synergistic blend. Because, how else can we really truly let something in if we don't give it enough time to do the work? So we begin with the January Steep...
Five herbs really called to me at the beginning of this month for their nutritive, immune and calming qualities. I was really craving minerals and nourishment after the glorious bounty of the holidays, and this blend feels perfect to sip on hour after hour, and even to share with everyone who pays me a visit this month. Nettle and oat straw are packed with minerals and nutrients like potassium, magnesium, zinc, calcium and chromium. Nettle has an earthy salty taste while oat carries a bit of sweetness. Dandelion, also rich in nutrients, favors the liver and immune system to gently support and cleanse any stagnation or sluggish movement in the liver. Astragalus, a deep immune tonic, carries a nutritive sweetness with a mild anti-inflammatory quality. Finally, my dearest skullcap, is something I always crave (it was my first herbal long term relationship), and just smelling it today makes me feel comforted. Skullcap is ideal for it's nervine and anxiolytic qualities, calming and soothing the musculoskeletal system. Once this month started, I was feeling overwhelmed with a packed schedule and catching up from taking 10 days off during the holidays. Skullcap takes the edge right off.
This day in January feels especially perfect to be sipping on this richly nutritive blend. It's pouring down snow outside, and we're all staying indoors, bundled under blankets being absolutely lazy, reading new holiday gifted books, snoozing by the fire and Greg, as always, is cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Snowy and slow weekends in are such a rare gift.
30 grams Nettle leaf
30 grams Oat Straw
30 grams Astragalus
30 grams Dandelion root
30 grams Skullcap
Combine all herbs in equal parts in a large bowl and blend well. Store in a sealed glass container for the month. To brew, steep 1 tablespoon in 2 cups hot water for 10 minutes. Strain, and sip consciously several times per day.
For overnight infusions, take a 1 quart glass mason jar, add 3 tablespoons of the herbal mixture and cover with room temperature water. Cover, and let sit overnight. In the morning, shake well and strain. Sip throughout the day.