This morning I mixed together a generous cache of nine-herb healing and restorative tea. Something I've been meaning to get to for about two weeks suddenly became mandatory. I needed a tangible empowering way to attend to my family and myself because we - like so many households in so many places - have been the recipients of a workplace-related Abundance of Caution email. We knew in our minds and guts it was a when rather than if once facts emerged about Boston area contagion.
My husband has three degrees of separation from the situation - at least on paper and in theory. What he described to me of physical reality/exposure proximity was close enough for us to conclude we'd shifted from self-quarantining as a luxury feature of his remote work schedule to diligent citizenry.
Abundance of Care feels like the necessary fulcrum point on which to balance caution and pragmatism. Everything in the recipe I'm sharing was grown or wild-crafted on our property - save the glorious and ever-healing oats. Those are from Avena Botanicals. The blend addresses matters of wellness, systemic purification & protection, and metabolic re-boot at the gentlest possible level.
Over time I've learned to prepare my family's customized recipe in triads of soothing and restorative herbs - to mix based on the most physically stable/inherently strong herb grouping so that the sturdiest herbs are handled the most and fragile flower petals are lightly tossed into the final round of inclusions.
You'll notice a coded parenthetical after the herb's name in the triad listings . That's my measuring system of the classic homefolk "parts" methodology. In this recipe a part is a loosely held handful. Not too precise for those accustomed to exactitude but definitely viable once you get a feel for how it comes together at the end. The proportions of this recipe work very well for the 3 of us. You'll instinctively adjust according to your family's size and needs. You'll also add and subtract specific herbs based on instinct and gathered experience.
oats (3P) lavender buds (2P) sweet fennel seed (2P)
Oats soothe and nourish over-stimulated adrenal glands. They also buffer against expressive anger that gets in the way of collaborative productivity - or knowing when to move on from news ingestion. Oats' healing signature is emollient in nature. That's a wonderful property to slowly drink into you body. Muscle tension will begin to re-tone itself within an hour or two. Oats also provide a modest amount of easily absorbed calcium that helps keep rudimentary bone flexibility.
Lavender has an ancient collaborative and co-creative relationship with our species. The flower's healing properties are profoundly antiseptic - also equally compatible & effective with our digestive system and central/sympathetic nervous system. Lavender's also a reliable source of effective moderate pain relief for anything 4 or lower on the universal pain scale. And a solid ally to cherish for anyone prone to insomnia.
Sweet fennel seed - The robust fifties era flower vase shape of fennel seeds is packed with digestive support and reliable aid/relief as needed for the things about shifting reality that we literally cannot stomach. Fennel is another plant strongly valued for centuries worth of gardening inter-relationship. There's something very grounding about this inclusion that speaks of timeless comfort and renewed life force.
Mix these together thoroughly with loose and loving hands.
Lemon Thyme* (1 generous FULL hand P) Anise Hyssop leaves (1.5P) Tulsi leaves & flowers (2)
*inclusion of ANY thyme should be abandoned for those who are pregnant. In such cases consider substituting with Lemon Balm or research safe substitutions online.
I choose to work primarily with Lemon Thyme almost exclusively because a healthy plant thriving in full sun can provide plenty for both culinary and medicinal uses in a single growing season. In this recipe the herb is absolutely essential to support nourishing a dry throat - especially when accompanied with dry unproductive cough.
Anise Hyssop's healing signature holds strong sedative and digestive properties. The flowers are additionally uplifting to the spirits. The leaves offer support for systemic reboot of the lungs; easing cramping or strained bronchioles with soothing consistency. They're a gentle and effective tummy soother as well.
Tulsi leaves and flowers combine to offer mental and psychic elevation. This medicine spirit nourishes the soul as well as our physical brain. I've found this inclusion seems to promote peaceful (and oftentimes creative problem-solving) dreams at a time when my waking self really needs that kind of respite and recharge.
Slow your roll to mix the new inclusions into the base mix. This is especially important with dried thyme. The tiny leaves are best removed from the stems with minimal crushing. Work slowly and lovingly. Remove the empty thyme stems unless you shred them into small pieces. Put your own intentional/energetic healing mojo into the mixture as it grows and re-blends itself. This is practical curendera magic at its simplest and most effective level.
Kentucky Mint (.5P) Calendula (2-3P) Red Clover* (2/2.5P)
*Red Clover holds substantive blood thinning properties. Do not include for anyone who takes blood thinning drugs, is prone to nosebleeds, or has trouble clotting following a lab draw, scrape, or cut.
Kentucky Mint is my preferred minty tea inclusion because its aftertaste is sweet rather than bitterly astringent. Its proportionally small but memorably powerful inclusion here brightens the general palate of the blend while it also clears and sharpens the mind.
Calendula flower petals should be dried on-the-head and removed just prior to mixing with light deft motions. It seems like their proportion rate is over-scaled until you're actually doing the mixing. This inclusion speaks to substantive arcs of antiseptic and restorative properties that are quite well documented. This is why I've yet to grow "enough" to yield unto the lure of dyeing with it. Thought this might be the year that changed but now I'm just grateful I have a place to grow more for health and wellness purposes!
to turn this classic nine into a magical eleven:
lemon balm (2-3P) soothes and sanitizes with a soft lilt of anti-depressant capability. Anyone with a hyperactive thyroid should embrace Melissa officinalis as a constitutional and very effective ally. This well-tested ally may become crucial for anyone such as myself with recurring Graves or many forms of Hashimoto's.
Pineapple Sage - This tender perennial's leaves and flowers hold strong anti-depressant properties. The herb also helps to lower and regular blood pressure. It's an inclusion in the mixture pictured in the photo lede - I used leaves only because all the flowers that manage to bloom before the first frost are used in tinctures or glycerites.
monarda fistulosa flowers may provide a type of specific relief that could make the difference between gratitude and misery for over-extended lungs that need to un-sieze and stay relaxed enough to re-establish a sustainable breathing rhythm. If I'd harvested more aggressively I would have shredded 2 or even 2.5 P into the blend. But it was my first year of feeling welcomed to take. Was therefore very humble in what I took for this beginning opportunity to work with its medicinal properties. This year there will be bigger colonies and some surprise self-seeded volunteers. I will cut more accordingly - providence willing.
Hope this recipes offers you ideas of what you might mix or grow with a customized version of this blend in mind.
May we travel safely and in healing grace.
freshly picked Monarda fistulosa flowers during last year's High Summer. Feel super grateful to have to hand a quart jar mostly filled with dried stems & leaves if things get bad but we can manage to bypass hospitals and doctors offices.