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Uplifting Tea for Winter Blues

This combination of herbs will bring ease and joy into your daily routine this winter. Learn how to effectively formulate a tea blend for daily support of the mind.

Four Herbs: Damiana, Rose, Tulsi Basil, and Lavender

During winter it is very common for one to experience cold, dry energetic states brought upon by lack of sunlight and warmth. Now that we are welcoming a new year with the holiday crazies behind us, a harsh winter and lack of sunlight still await. I find myself reaching for a few staple herbs for brightening the mood, initiating a positive mindset, and relaxing the nervous system when making a tea blend.

Aromatic Herbs for a Better Mood

During the depths of winter, I like to balance grounding tinctures with brightening teas. Having too many "grounding" nervines can block creativity, hinder motivation, and make us feel stagnant. We all want to be grounded but not stuck. Our inner light, intentions for the future, and habits that keep us moving forward require uplifting practices. That is why a tea with a lot of aromatic components can be very balancing this time of year, uplifting yet soothing the nervous system, stimulating yet not putting oneself into overdrive.

Aromatic herbs are composed of phytochemical constituents called terpenes. These terpenes range in size from small to large. The smaller the terpene (monoterpene) the easier it travels through the blood stream and across the blood-brain barrier. The herbs Lavender, Tulsi, Rose, and Damiana have monoterpenes that makes us feel happier and more relaxed. A few examples of these include geraniol and citronellol (Rose) , linalool (Lavender), cineole and pinene (Damiana), and eugenol (Tulsi Basil).

Lavender (Lavendula Spp.)

Lavender is an herb that is adored by many. Its potent aroma is best known to reduce anxiousness, calm, ground, and uplift all at once. Lavender is commonly found in health food stores but can easily be grown in a pot at home. Purchase a lavender plant from your local plant nursery and raise organically. Harvest flowering stalks and leave out to dry for 1 week or use fresh.

When formulating with this herb, especially in tea, I like to use about 1/2 teaspoon per cup. Lavender is very strong, and can be bitter and overpowering to some if consumed in abundance. It is also considered an astringent, which means it can be drying. Most aromatic herbs tend to be on the dry side. Bitter pungency can be balanced with herbs more neutral in taste.

Tulsi Basil (Occimum Tenuiflorum)

Holy basil is one of my top herbal allies for combating stress and restoring body systems that are effected by it. It is considered an adaptogenic herb with a rich history of indigenous use in India. Tulsi is warming and drying. It is an herb that both uplifts and grounds the nervous system. Its pungent and sweet aroma immediately ensues a sense of pleasure. I find Tulsi particularly helpful for despondency, especially that which leaves us feeling cloudy in the mind and lethargic.

I typically formulate with 1 teaspoon of holy basil per cup. I like having this herb perform a primary action due to it's adaptogenic capability. Grow tulsi as easily as any other basil at home. It can be started in pots! Place 4-5 seeds in moist soil next to a window sill. Expect germination in a few days if soil is kept warm and in sunlight. Cut back once tops they begin to flower and set aside to dry for tea or use fresh.

Rose (Rosa Spp.)

Rose is an aromatic aphrodisiac that perpetuates a zest for life. I love using this plant for heartache, grief, and sadness. I also like to use it for anger, as it is energetically cooling in nature. It is a great herb for cooling and moving trapped heat and moisture in the body. Adding a 1/2 teaspoon of Rose (pictured here is Damascus Rose but any aromatic species will do) per cup will provide just enough of this cooling and uplifting quality.

You can resource Rose from local apothecaries or natural food stores. When formulating your tea, crush the buds to release constituents and increase surface area of the plant in water. Rose has an intense aroma and can also be overpowering in large doses.

Damiana (Turnera Diffusa)

Damiana is considered a bitter aphrodisiac herb. It's bitter properties help balance the gut-brain connection. When we ingest bitter substances it sends signals to the brain to begin digestive processes. Through the use of bitters, we are aiding our microbiome which plays a large role in how we feel emotionally and cognitively. Damiana helps one tap into the moment, relax, and feel joy.

Add a teaspoon of Damiana to your tea blend to give it that bitter, gut-brain boost your body craves. I like to resource this herb from local apothecaries as it is hard to sustain in the garden if you live in the lower zones. Damiana, as well as Rose and even Lavender can be made into an uplifting and centering smoking blend.

Let The Herbs Take Care of You

A combination of these herbs will surely invigorate the senses and brighten the darkest of winter days. I steep these herbs for 10-15 minutes while typically covering the mug/infusion vessel to prevent the volatile oils from evaporating. Feel free to formulate the herbs in a way that you enjoy. Add in other herbs as well if you so desire. I hope you find this blog post as means to support your mind, body, and spirit through bouts of the winter blues and to invigorate inner joy during the darkest of months.

* DISCLAIMER: This blog post does not contain medical/health advice. This information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only.

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