Welcoming a new year often means bringing on change: new year, new you! This can be inspiring at first, but drastic shifts can be fleeting and often dissipate into stress and feelings of inadequacy. This new year, why not start off by shifting that mindset into one of contentment and gratitude, slowing down and being in the moment. One way to support this process is through slow, natural medicine.
Herbal medicine can be a wonderful way to become more in tune with ourselves, and the world around us. Let us look at some herbs that will help us ground, adapt, and have wonderful sleep.
Oats (Avena sativa) are not only a delicious breakfast, but a calming and healing herb. Even the slow process of preparing oats can be healing. I always recommend soaking oats before cooking them, so if you can plan, soaking your oats overnight will make for a delicious breakfast.
Oats are an incredible nervous system tonic, and even act as a mild antidepressant. They nourish the body and nervous system, helping boost the mood, aiding to treat physical and emotional exhaustion. I like cooking this next powdered herb into my oat breakfast.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is another herb advantageous for grounding and centering, while also providing energy and stamina. It is adaptogenic, meaning it helps the body adapt to stress and find balance.
Ashwagandha is a rejuvenative herb, amazing for people suffering from overwork or nervous exhaustion. It is regulating and grounding, providing nourishment and energy for the body to do what it needs to do. This may mean getting tasks done in the day with a clear mind, or hunkering down for a long and dreamless sleep.
Vervain (Verbena officinalis) is a wonderful herb for strengthening the nervous system. It is great for letting go of tension and stress, and letting go of whatever doesn’t serve us from the year before.
This herb is excellent for people with low mood or that anxiety that comes from running on fumes, which is common after the holiday season. Vervain is helpful to clear and calm the mind and reinforce connection to our higher purpose, whatever that may be. Some Vervain tea or tincture throughout the day helps us be our best, most authentic selves.
Finally, true Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is a beautifully helpful herb – look for the nice yellow flower centres that smell like sweet apples. Though it is often thought of as a night-time drink, a hot Chamomile tea in the morning or at any time of day will help centre you into a relaxed mindset.
Chamomile helps with irritability and nervousness, and it reduces bloating and gas. At the end of the day, a strong cup can be beneficial to help you clear your mind for a peaceful sleep.
Whether you are planning big things for 2021 or not, a clear and content mind and relaxed body are important and crucial. Slow down, sip your tea, chew your food, and enjoy moments of peace and gratitude.
*avoid in pregnancy and always consult a medical herbalist if using among any other health issues.
Lauren Truscott Waddell, RHT, CHHC