The 1st of March! What?! Yep, time is cruising by and spring will be here before you know it. It’s a little overwhelming as I plan my year and already seem like my free time is fleeting! When I feel the apprehension rise, I remember to breathe and stay present in the moment. I refuse to fall into the trap of ‘there’s not enough time’ when in reality time is relevant, and when I slow down in my thoughts and actions, I don’t feel the rush of time passing.
Along with my Milky Oats (Avena sativa)and Nettle (Urtica dioica) tea, I have been wearing my aromatic blends that include essential oils of Vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanoides)and Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) which both relax the nervous system and Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and Pine (Pinus sylvestris), that helps deepen the breath and strengthen your resilience to change. My plant allies are crucial to navigate life in this fast-paced world! I think you will find them helpful for you as well.
I urge you to find what plants call to you. To deepen your connection to nature, find a class or conference near you. Herb Rally is a great resource that lists hundreds of classes across the U.S. Check them out and start your journey with plants!
This recipe is inspired by the Tree Walk I took with Deb Soule and Kate Gilday at the International Herb Symposium and for my love of our life giving conifers. Thank you Deb and Kate for your gentle wisdom.
Take a walk through your favorite grove of conifers and breathe deeply, giving thanks for the life they have provided for millions of years. Look down and see if there are any offerings of small branches with fresh green needles on them. If so, gently pick them up and bring a small bundle back to your house.
Put the branches in a large pot and cover with water. Put lid on pot and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, turn down heat and take out one cup of tea for yourself and slowly sip. Cover again and simmer for 20 minutes. Take out another cup of tea for yourself.
Once the water is warm enough to use as a footbath, pour water (with or without branches) into a small tub. Soak your feet for 5-10 minutes while drinking the tea. Allow the strength of the trees to come up through your roots, helping you to stand tall and true in your convictions. Breathe and give thanks.
Terpenes are found in plants and animals and are responsible for the aromas that we are all so used to smelling. As terpenes have contributed to the evolution of all life on Earth, their therapeutic value can not be stressed enough.
Close your eyes and think about peeling a fresh juicy orange. Can you smell that familiar citrus aroma? You’re smelling compounds within the large family of terpenes. Do you love the smell of lavender? Terpenes are responsible. How about the smell of conifers after a refreshing autumn rain? Terpenes again.
These fragrant compounds not only hold many of our childhood memories, but they have contributed to the formation of our limbic, immune, endocannabinoid, and endocrine systems. Our ability to regulate temperature, mood and appetite are all functions of the limbic system. The limbic system is also responsible for olfaction, or smell!
The connection between plants and humans is so ancient we have forgotten who are ancestors are. I encourage you to go out and smell some plants- allow yourself to let your memory take you places you may have forgotten long ago.
More on the limbic system in Thursday’s blog, when we will explore what compounds you smell when you crush up a bunch of lavender, walk past a pine tree, and peel that juicy orange. Together we’re going to have an olfactory buffet!