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Let’s face it. The holidays can be less than festive for many of us. If you are like me and don’t particularly enjoy the holidays, it’s nice to know that herbs can really shine on dark winter days. Here are three of my favorite ways to have a cozy herbal winter. Each one is an easy recipe to add to your herbal wellness routines.
Warm up with a mugwort oil massage
Dry skin is a common side effect of winter. Pair that with cold hands and feet, and it’s a recipe for misery. Luckily, mugwort comes to the rescue. This is a really lovely, simple recipe. Add a few drops of essential oil if you want a little more fragrance. I like using myrrh and frankincense for a holiday theme or fir and patchouli for a walk-in-the-forest kind of smell.
- dried mugwort (#affiliate)
- sunflower oil to cover dried mugwort
- 3-4 drops essential oil
How to make it:
- Pack a small canning jar half full with dried mugwort. Add sunflower oil to cover the dried herbs. Screw on the lid.
- Place a small cloth or towel in a slow cooker. Stand the jar on the towel to prevent the jar from chattering on the crockery insert. Add enough water to the crock pot to come halfway up the jar and place the lid on the slow cooker. Use the high heat setting and let the jar simmer for 6-8 hrs. Check every hour and top of the water as needed.
- Once the oil is finished simmering, strain the herbs out and transfer the oil to a clean jar. Add 3-4 drops of essential oil if using. Lid and label.
How to use it:
Apply a small amount of oil to the hands, feet, calves, or neck and shoulders, and treat yourself to a mini massage.
If you’ve never used this herb before, here’s a great article about mugwort at the Herbal Academy (#affiliate) that explains the strengths of this herbal ally.
Feel aglow with Hearthside Syrup for a cozy herbal winter
I like making quick and easy “cheater” syrups this time of year. Instead of going through an elaborate process to make herbal syrup, start with honey or brown rice syrup as a base. Then, add your herbal extracts directly to the base. It’s quick, simple, and easy to customize. This recipe is great when you are short on time during the holidays but also want a little warming self-care.
Traditionally hawthorn is used to nourish the heart and is said to calm and center the spirit. Ginger and cinnamon are both traditional warming ingredients perfect for combating the chill of winter weather. I like to use this in the morning or afternoon as needed.
- 1 oz hawthorn berry extract (#affiliate)
- 1/2 oz ginger root extract
- 2 tsp cinnamon bark extract (herbal, not flavoring)
- 1 cup honey or brown rice syrup
How to make it
Pour the honey into a clean glass jar and add the extracts. Place the jar in a small saucepan with water and use low heat just until the honey is runny. Remove from the heat and stir to ensure the extracts combine with the honey. Allow the jar to cool to room temperature before lidding and labeling.
Lean into winter nights with a dream tea
Winter naturally has a slower rhythm to it. It’s my favorite time of year to sleep in on my days off and embrace the long nights. It’s also my favorite month to keep a dream journal. It can be interesting to remember what my subconscious serves up.
There are a few herbal allies that support exploring our dream time. Personally, I love a dream-focused herbal tea an hour or so before bed. My favorite winter dreaming blend to date is fairly simple: Damiana with a little mugwort and rose.
Winter Dreams Blend
- 3 parts dried damiana leaf (#affiliate)
- 2 part dried rose petals
- 1 part dried mugwort aerial parts
How to make it
Combine all herbal ingredients in a non-reactive, airtight container. To make a cup of tea, place one tablespoon of Winter Dreams Blend into a tea strainer in your favorite mug. Pour over 8-10 oz hot water just off the boil. Allow the tea to steep for 5-10 minutes. Enjoy mindfully as part of a relaxing bed time routine.
Cozy herbal winter rituals
Having an extra cozy herbal winter doesn’t have to be full of elaborate recipes and rituals. A few simple herbal allies and small adjustments to your daily routine are all you need.