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Monday, February 9, 2009

Beat the Winter Blues

Now that the holidays are over, with nothing to occupy our minds and spirits but the regular daily humdrum the “winter blues” tend to set in. For some of us winter brings low spirits as well shorter days. We may experience changes in moods and behavior, feelings of exhaustion, and most of all depression from the lack of sunlight. The “winter blues” come with a bummed-out feeling resulting from unrealistic expectations, unpleasant holiday memories, being without family or friends, or the confinement of cold weather. Herbal tinctures and teas can be very helpful in alleviating “the blues”. The calming ritual of making and enjoying a hot cup of tea in itself is very therapeutic. Herbal tea’s can be made with the following herbs, alone or in conjunction. St. John’s wort, valerian root, damiana, ginseng, blacK cohosh, ginkgo, kava and lavender.

Other herbs to try: lemon balm, ginger, licorice root, oat straw, peppermint and Siberian ginseng. You may also wish to try some aromatherapy. Essential oils can be used in candles, diffusers, or in your bath & body products to help combat “the blues”. Benzoin, bergamot, jasmine, litsea cubeba, neroli, rose otto and ylang ylang are considered by some to be the most effective. However these may also work for you: carnation, chamomile roman, clary sage, frankincense, geranium, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, linden blossom, Melissa, patchouli, petitgrain, rose maroc, sandalwood or any citrus oils.

Herbs for Love, Passion & Healthy Heart

February is the month of the heart, for love, lovers and passion. Throughout history herbs and oils have been used in ritual, magic & everyday potions to invoke passion and attract, strengthen and keep love, and to strengthen the hearts ability to sustain life. Love and passion do not necessarily mean physical love or sexual attraction, but rather bringing into your life the things that you are passionate about …a cause, a job, a new goal. Try the following ideas to attract, renew or strengthen your passions, your love & your heart.

If you love spiced wine as much as I do, you will enjoy this unusual variation. And don’t worry; if you are not a drinker, you can substitute grape juice or cider. LOVE WINE: combine 3t cinnamon, 3t ginger, 1 one-inch piece of vanilla bean, scored along it’s length, 2 cups of red wine and 2t rhubarb juice (if available). Try substituting lemon juice for the rhubarb. Store for 3 days before drinking. The recipe can also be gently heated, served warm and enjoyed immediately. Don’t forget to share with a friend!

Anoint yourself, or use in ritual, a combination of 3 drops ginger oil, 2 drops rosemary oil, 1 drop of clove oil and 1 drop of petitgrain to invoke the powers of fire…energy, courage, strength, love, passion & will power. Add the same to salts or an oil base of your choice and add to your bath water, soak in it 15-20 minutes while visualizing the desired effects. The herbs can also be burned as incense or simmered in a pot to achieve the same effects. Some other useful herbs/oils: Basil, Bay, Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Coriander, Frankincense, Galangal, Juniper, Lime, nutmeg, Orange, Peppermint, Rose Geranium & Tangerine.

Healthy Heart
Protecting, maintaining and optimizing your hearts health will insure you will be able to enjoy your loves and passions. The most researched herbal remedies for reducing blood fats and for obtaining other cardiovascular benefits include, garlic, hawthorne, ginger, horse chestnut, bilberry, reishi mushroom and guggul. Other herbs, like mineral rich, alfalfa, horsetail, nettle & pau d’arco, calming black cohosh, oat straw, passionflower, valerian root, skullcap, and strengthening hawthorne berries, motherwort, ginger root, and ginkgo biloba, can all help strengthen, regulate & protect your hearts function.
And don’t forget the antioxidant properties of green tea!

The opinions and ideas of the author and this publication are in no way intended to be taken as sound medical advice. When using herbs, oils or any new product; “natural” or not…educate yourself, about the use of herbs and possible drug interactions, and when necessary consult a medical professional, before deciding whether or not to use them.

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