For the love of tea
Hello February. Nice to see you again... red roses and all :)
If you've read my post from last Valentine's day, you know that although I love love, I am a huge advocate for self-love.
Self-love is a beautiful thing. It's powerful, it's comforting, and it exists within you. It does not need to be validated by others. It does not need to be given. It's already yours. I'm always encouraging self-love, but instead of rambling on about it as I usually do, today I decided to give you a taste (literally) of my world.
Herbal medicine is near and dear to my heart. I can honestly say that my knowledge pre-naturopathic med school was limited to the teas I would discover on the shelves of the grocery store. However, post naturopathic-school... I have started to look at herbs as a form of art.
I'm not an expert by any means. I'm relatively new to this world. But I have picked up a thing or two about connecting with herbs and understanding the nature of the herb you want to use. Especially when it comes to teas. The beauty of this is that when you make your own herbal blend you get to invigorate your creative senses, use a little intuition and infuse all of that with a little bit of science. And it's just oh-so-lovely to sit down with a hot cup of tea isn't it?
So, I put together a list for you of a few herbs that are great for the heart. You can choose how you decide to use this list. Whether it's looking for these herbs in the ingredients of tea you buy or purchasing some dry herbs and making your own concoction. All I want is to share some things that these herbs have to offer. Things that we don't always hear about. What better way to show yourself some love this Valentine’s Day than to give a little internal hug to your heart right? Ok! Here we go!
Well... how could I not start with this one!? Of course rose would be good for the heart! Roses aren't just an expression of love, you can also drink a rose tea to give your heart some love. I absolutely adore this flower in all its forms. Rose opens the heart chakra and allows for healing and soothing of the heart. Adding dried rose petals to a tea blend when I feel stressed always feels like I'm being wrapped in a big hug.
This is probably the most common heart herb out there, and is one that has been used for centuries. Still, not many people really know about it. It's specific to the heart and circulatory system. It can be used for a multitude of cardiovascular conditions such as high blood pressure, palpitations, heart failure, abnormal hearth rhythms, etc. It nourishes and strengthens the heart muscle itself. In fact, emotionally it is also considered to uplift and strengthen the heart and relieve any pressure on the heart. The dried berries are bitter, so if adding this to a tea, don't go too overboard!
Motherwort sounds like a magical herb doesn't it? (I think it kinda is!) I love this one because not only is it calming for the physical heart, it is also calming for the emotional heart. Pretty motherly if you ask me! It is often used to "heal heartache" or calm the heart when there is anxiety associated with palpitations or a racing heart. It’s especially useful when anxiety is affecting sleep because motherwort is a mild sedative.
Linden has been called the "tea of happiness". It has similar effects as motherwort and hawthorn, however it is more for "tense" personalities. It can relieve any tension that results from stress or anxiety, resulting in a more calm and relaxed state.
This herb isn't always considered as much a heart herb as the ones above, but it has “passion” in the name, so it's definitely going to be on the list! Passionflower is commonly used for insomnia, especially when stress is affecting sleep. It’s a soothing herb - soothing for the heart, for the mind and for the spirit. It’s also used for high blood pressure, palpitations and is also great if stress causes restlessness.
This one you've probably heard of. I love this one because it's wonderful to add to teas for added flavor and because it can be used for a variety of ailments. It's a cooling and soothing herb and promotes connection and intimacy. This herb is great as a warm tea or as an iced tea.
Isn't it interesting how most of these heart herbs are beneficial for anxiety and stress as well? Your heart can take on a lot of emotions and stress from daily life pressures. It's important that when we show ourselves some self-love, we don't forget about taking care of our heart - the organ that keeps pumping out all that love in the first place.
So, this Valentine's day, I encourage you to do at least one thing that is a celebration of yourself. A heartful tea might be that one thing. Add it to your day, infuse it with some love and sip away. And remember, regardless of what we are told, this day is not just about couples or relationships, it's about love and that can be any form of love. Love is sweet and I promise, you lots of it within you.
Tip: make your concoction or steep your tea and sit quietly while drinking it. Focus on your heart and perhaps do a little meditation or send a little gratitude to your heart and all it does for you. Connecting with the body and emotions while drinking tea can multiply it’s benefits.
Please Note: This is not a prescription and the information in this post is for educational purposes only. If you are interested in using these herbs to treat a medical condition or have a pre-existing medical condition, or are pregnant or breastfeeding, please consult a naturopathic doctor before using these herbs as treatment. If you are on any medications, consult an ND who can appropriately advise you on whether or not these herbs are appropriate for you.