The sparkle and excitement of the Winter Holidays are over, gone with the strings of twinkling tree lights and aromatic greens that decked the halls. Although we all proclaim to love the holidays, when they are officially done most of breathe a huge sigh of relief. We have pushed ourselves about as far as we can go in terms of doing our part to make the season merry and bright. We are exhausted. We have had weeks of poor nutrition in the form of sugary treats and alcohol. Our budgets and our patience have been stretched to the limit. Our guard is down and opportunistic viruses or chronic diseases are able to take advantage.
There are so many things that herbs, essential oils, and flower essences can provide to help us through this post holiday let down and boost our immune systems to combat whatever viral marauder comes our way. Here are some of my favorite ways to keep myself healthy during January and February.
Eat local, eat seasonal, and eat organic. This will go a long way to keeping anyone healthy. Traditional foods of autumn and winter make so much sense when you think about them. Traditional methods of preservation such as pickling, fermentation, and jam and jelly making are brilliant means of saving the harvest in such a way that the healthful elements are retained. During winter if we are active we can stand a little extra sweetness, a slice of pie brimming with blueberries (frozen berries actually are better here since freezing breaks down cell walls and allows you to access nutrients more efficiently) high in antioxidants or pumpkin with its beta carotene. We’ll use the calories chopping wood or shoveling snow.
Roasted organic root vegetables are a delicious way of adding nutrition as are soups and stews. Don’t forget to add some Astragalus root to your soups as you prepare them. You can remove the woody pieces before serving and they will have lent their immune boosting properties to the broth. Likewise, Garlic, Thyme, Oregano and many common kitchen herbs have great healing to offer.
Root tonics made by chopping up the roots of fall dug Burdock, Dandelion, Yellow Dock, and Wild Sarsparilla are an old time remedy for delivering minerals to the body. Cover your chopped fresh roots with organic Apple cider vinegar and let the whole concoction steep for several weeks. Then take a big ole spoonful every morning. Definitely good for what ails you!
Take Elderberry syrups, elixirs, or tinctures at the first hint of a cold or flu. Elderberry has been a traditional flu remedy and modern studies support the idea that Elderberry stops the influenza virus in its early stages. This remedy is simple, inexpensive, delicious, and suitable for all ages.
Treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) with flower essences (St. Johnswort, Water Hyacinth, and Witch Hazel are good possibilities) and nervine herbs (including St. Johnswort), along with exposure to sunlight as much as possible.
Realize that abrupt changes in body temperature cause big energy loss and compromise immunity. Don’t get a chill. Stay bundled up and keep your feet dry. Your mother was right about many things!
If you do get sick, REST! Our society does not support rest as an acceptable method of healing colds and flu, but it is an important part of healing with the added benefit that if you are at home resting, you are not out and about spreading the germs around. Sick days are not to be saved for added vacation. If you are fortunate enough to have sick days at work, use them to heal.
As I write this, the second ice storm of the season is transforming the landscape. I’m warm by the fire with a nice mug of Rosehip and Lemon Balm tea. The ideas I’ve shared today are just a hint of what I share in my educational programs. If you think you’d like to know more about the Herbal Mentorship or the Flower Essence Practitioner Training, so that you can be more empowered to care for yourself and your family, please visit my website: www.lichenwood.comto explore these opportunities.