written by Bridget Afsonna S., community herbalist
These are challenging times for many of us.
As we struggle against factions that repeatedly attempt to remove our sense of safety and belonging, it can be easy to feel worn out and emotionally exhausted. Here are a few ways that I protect my energy using the magic and medicine of plants:
Engage with plants that are traditionally used for creating strong and healthy boundaries, such as rosemary and yarrow.
Both grow abundantly in the Bay Area, and can be taken a number of ways. You can steep these plants in tea, make a tincture, use in your food, or even just carry them around with you in your pocket or hang them up on your front door.
Make heart-lifting tea. My favorite way to relax at home with plants is to make a pot of tea and share with friends and family. Right now my go-to blend is two parts lemon balm, one part nettle, and ½ part rose. Lemon balm is a gentle heart-opener and spirit-lifter, while nettle is full of vitamins and nutrients to help replenish frazzled bodies. Rose is a classic heart herb that can soothe all kinds of heartbreak and sadness.
Find an essential oil that works for you. Essential oils have a quick and heavy-hitting effect on your nervous system, and are useful to carry around with you for those moments when you hear some freshly disturbing news. Everyone’s scent preferences are very personal, so I recommend going to a health food store and smelling individual essential oil samples to find the one that is most appealing. Try smelling your own armpit in between samples to “reset” your sense of smell. Some popular ones for mood lifting are lavender, clary sage, chamomile, and rose geranium.
Get in nature. It can be easy to feel permanently attached to technology, but our bodies and minds are meant to feel the ground beneath our feet and smell fresh air. Even if its just a half hour a week, leaving your phone at home and sitting under a tree can really help the body shed energy that is bogging you down.
Heart Lifting Tea Recipe
Instructions: Bring a kettle or small pot of water to a boil. Turn the flame off and once the bubbling stops, add a couple small handfuls of lemon balm, one handful nettle leaf, and a sprinkling of rose petals. Cover and allow to steep for at least 15 minutes. Strain and enjoy plain or with honey and lemon.
Enjoy by yourself or with friends!