Herbal remedies and more to keep the holiday blues away
The yule tide season is the most magical time of the entire year. If you let the hectic holiday pace get to you, however won’t be nearly as much fun. Luckily these are herbs, relaxation techniques, and other helpful hints will make Winter your favorite time of year!
Green Tea – Soothing, Healing Warmth
Green tea (Camellia sinensis) has been shown to have anti-stress, antioxidant, and other beneficial health benefits against serious maladies. A new study released this August suggests green tea reduces symptoms of depression – though it is unknown yet how green tea may do this.*
The clinical term for feeling unable to experience pleasure, anhedonia, goes along with feeling unmotivated, and both are associated with depression. In other research, the biochemistry of simply brewing a pot of tea and sipping from the created brew can alter both our mood and the efficacy of our immune function.*
Another tip for relaxing tea brews: add non-tea herbals such as Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) or Chamomile to your teapot. Chamomile has a gentle, sedative effect that promotes stomach health and relaxation. The steam from Chamomile itself is enough to free up tired lungs and help you breathe easier during the winter months.*
Lemon Balm is a rarity among traditional healing herbs and medicinal botanicals in that it has soothing and relaxing effects on mind and stomach, and tastes delicious!* In fact, Melissa officinalis is often used as a food additive for flavoring. Add it to your tea to make Winter easier to bear, or just use delicious Refreshing Green Tea Blend from Blessed Herbs. It contains rejuvenating Green Tea and Jasmine Green Tea as well as Lemon Balm and other medicinal herbs!
Finding Your Own Spirit in the Sky
In addition to enjoying all the benefits of green tea every day, my favorite wintertime tip to reduce the effects of stress is to look up to the sky for as long as I can: five minutes works. I pretend I can identify constellations, and in daytime or in the city I say I am watching clouds move.
(Note: if you’re looking at the sky during the daytime, take to not stare at the sun. And if you’re fortunate enough to be in a locale where the sun is shining bright and there is snow on the ground, wear sunglasses to help protect your eyes from reflected light.)
Really, all I need is to let the sky see me. Moonlight, sunlight, star light, urban night lights – these remind me I am made of matter and light. Some days that’s all the meditation I can fit in, but I feel my neck relax, my shoulders drop, my breathing slow down. And I know, without knowing how, that there is a cascade of healing effects on my heart, my immune cells, every neuron, and every cell.
Courtesy of Amanda McQuade Crawford
Amanda McQuade Crawford, M.A. is an herbalist and clinical psychologist practicing integrative health care in Ojai, serving Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties.
*Effect of green tea on reward learning in healthy individuals: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study.
Zhang Q, Yang H, Wang J, et al.
Nutr J. 2013;12(1):84. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-12-84)