Updated: May 14
There is something undoubtedly magical about Winter and the holiday season. I cherish the spark of magic held within Winter Solstice and Christmas as we collectively celebrate the possibility of miracles, the joy of giving, and the cycles of the natural world. I find nothing more joyous than the invitation of a cold dark day to nestle into my home with a tea mug steeping the dried flowers of Summer's garden as a reminder that soon the Sun will return and the days will be long and warm again.
It feels sacred to move with the rhythms of life in a slower way but I will be the first to admit that slowing down and letting go are not my strong suits. My nature is fiery and quick, I am the one that dives in to the vast waters of the unknown without question or planning and hopes that I am able to swim. While this type of living can be exciting at times, it often leaves me burnt out and overwhelmed and so my intention this Winter has been to focus more on honoring the cycles of the natural world and my own inner needs by focusing on living slowly and nurturing my mind, body & spirit.
Whenever my body is tired, my mind is frazzled, and I feel like I don't have the energy or motivation to move forward I turn to my herbal adaptogens. The term adaptogen describes herbal remedies that make our bodies more resilient. Adaptogens reinforce our body's natural defenses against environmental stressors and restore our vitality. Thus, they expand our capacity to adapt to stress physically and mentally.
In other words, they are plant allies that meet us where ever our bodies are in their natural rhythms and provide support for us to respond to physical, chemical, and biological stressors of the modern world. What more could we honestly ask for?!
Adaptogens are the ideal ally to introduce in to the Winter wellness routine as we naturally tend to reflect on the year past as we recharge ourselves for the coming year. There are a few adaptogens that I personally enjoy working with.
Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) This herbal ally enhances our physical and mental performance while supporting our natural resistance to environmental stressors. Eleuthero is an excellent herb for providing support during long term stress, mild depression, nervous exhaustion, insomnia, and when recovering from disease, trauma, or surgery.*
Tulsi or Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) a tonic and health supporting herb that has so many uses! It been used in India for centuries for its immune boosting properties. In Western herbalism it is used for an incredibly wide range of functions. It can be used to relieve nervous tension, support digestion, relieve muscle spasms and promote overall well being.*
Ashwaghanda (Withania somnifera) supports the body through times of stress and gives it the strength to move through even the most challenging times. It not only calms our nerves but also revitalizes our nervous system while toning tissue, supporting the thyroid, and boosting immunity.*
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is sometimes called the 'mushroom of immortality' for its remarkable immune boosting abilities. It is traditionally used to combat fatigue, hypertension, and chronic illness.*
I prefer to take these herbals in a tincture form because its easy to use and quickly absorbed by the body. It's easy to drop a dropper full into your favorite beverage and drink down the goodness of the plants at any time of day and any where.
While tinctures are my favorite way to receive the benefits of plant remedies I am always looking for new and fun ways to incorporate my favorite herbs into my diet. Utilizing food as medicine is a wonderfully fun way to introduce herbal allies and making it taste good doesn't hurt! Enter Adaptogen fudge! The dessert that boosts immunity and resilience and who doesn't love cacao?!
This recipe is incredibly simple, delicious and nourishing!
It only takes about 15 minutes to blend together and another 20 minutes to freeze and a few glorious moments to enjoy its rich, creamy goodness! To make it even better it is raw, vegan, and gluten free. I can't imagine a more perfect winter time companion to a fresh cup of tea.
Here's the (super simple) recipe.
1 cup coconut milk solid (the solid part of canned coconut milk)
2 Tbsp coconut oil
3/4 c coconut butter
1/4 c cocoa butter (melted)
1/2 c nut butter (I used peanut butter)
1/2 c maple syrup
1/2 c unsweetened cacao
1 Tbsp Eleuthero powder
1 Tbsp Ashwaghanda powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of vanilla
Combine all ingredients into a food processor and blend well. Pour over parchment paper into a baking dish and pop into the freezer for about 20 minutes or until solid. Remove, slice & enjoy!