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Well the festive season is fast approaching us and before we know it we will have eaten and drunk our way through all the Christmas parties, worked through the night to finish those pre-Christmas work, renovation, and school concert deadlines, shopped until we have dropped, and over-exercised our already tired bodies to be “swimsuit-ready”.
Some of us are going to be left feeling a little worse for wear. So I wanted to share with you my three favourite herbs that will support the body when you have overindulged or are feeling a little overwhelmed by life.
Dandelion – Taraxacum
Dandelion is a pretty little weed commonly found in your backyard. It has been used in herbal medicine for hundreds of years as a “bitter” which stimulates the digestive system and the liver. The leaves of the dandelion plant are used as a diuretic, removing excess fluid from the body, which is great for when you are feeling bloated. The root of the dandelion plant is used to support the liver processes and stimulate digestion, helping with a sluggish bowel and constipation.
This magic little plant has the added bonus of being rich in vitamins A, C & D and it also contains the minerals magnesium, iron and zinc.
I like to drink my dandelion root tea before breakfast to stimulate digestion, similar to lemon and water. Then, if at the end of the day, I am feeling bloated I will have a dandelion leaf tea to flush out the excesses of the day.
In liquid form its great added to a digestive or detox herbal blend. It is also available in capsule form and as a tea.
Lemon Balm – Melissa Officinalis
Lovely Lemon Balm is a traditional European herb that has been used for hundreds of years to improve mood, ease insomnia, support digestion, and treat viruses such as cold sores.
When a client comes to me with digestive complaints, more often than not we determine that they have been brought on by stress. The stress response slows down the digestive processes causing uncomfortable symptoms like indigestion and bloating.
Lemon Balm can help address both the stress response and the digestive issues. With its gentle nourishing effect on the nervous system it alleviates anxiety, stress and insomnia. Combined with Passionflower its makes a beautiful sleep blend ensuring deep, restful sleep. The anti-spasmodic properties of Lemon Balm will help relax the organs and muscles involved in digestion, relieving indigestion and bloating.
I have many regular customers buy this herb as a tea or a tincture and all have noticed a marked difference in their mood quite quickly. It has a lovely light lemon taste and can be drunk hot or cold as an iced tea with added lemon or lime. It is also available as a capsule.
Ashwagandha – Withania Somnifera
In Ayurvedic medicine this powerful herb, also known as Indian Ginseng, is an adaptogen, supporting the body against emotional and physical stress. It has classically been used in India for thousands of years for a range of conditions along with improving concentration, strengthening the immune system and nurturing the nervous system. It is also known as a “rasayana” which is a herb that helps maintain youth both mentally and physically.
I have used this herb quite successfully on numerous clients presenting with adrenal exhaustion and fatigue. It nourishes the adrenal glands which get overworked when we are stressed and it helps ease a busy mind that is hard to unwind for sleep. It is one of my favourites, having used it myself after some very busy days in the shop, and I noticed an obvious shift in my energy levels as well as my stress response.
I can make you a tea blend with Ashwagandha or it is also available as a capsule or liquid herbal extract.
So there you have it! The perfect herbal toolkit to get you across the festive line, in one piece, both mentally and physically.