|Wild rose, chiming bells, red clover, fireweed|
I made midwinter herb mixes for friend and fellow yoga instructors at my studio last week. At one point I'd intended to gift them as Solstice presents, but then life – in the form of a snowstorm, a truck, and a bone-broken sister – got in the way. It is a good gift, too, though for the starting of the new year.
I made a few mixes: a headache tea with red clover (useful for thinning the blood and relieving stress), chamomile (to calm and sooth), and mint (to clear space and stimulate the stomach meridian. Mint is good for digestion, yes? And the stomach meridian is responsible for digesting, not only food, but anything that comes in through the sense doors – including thoughts).
LadyTime tea was made with red raspberry leaves (a uterine tonic), wild arctic chamomile (soothing again), and wild violets (which contain some female hormones and are lovely to balance one's mood.)
And then I made a few variations of flower facial steams using combinations of chamomile, wild arctic rose (similar to the beach roses of the east coast, but growing inland), fireweed, chiming bell, bachelor's buttons, calendula, white clover, yarrow and red clover.
I also made a Clear Complexion facial steam with horsetail (apparently amazing for the skin in a steam, this is the first year I've harvested it), coltsfoot (a staple in a Renaissance lady's beauty regimen – you know, along with belladonna and lead. The only difference being that coltsfoot is good for you, and worked to make skin more healthy instead of less), plaintain (for its anti microbial and healing and drawing-out properties), calendula (for healing), yarrow (good for oily skin and blemishes, also healing), and arctic chamomile (for the soothing).
Facial steams are a practice that every year I intend to cultivate regularly, and every year (so far) I only cultivate occasionally. Here in the oh-so-dry and oh-so-cold northern Interior, facial steams can be tonic for the whole system, breathing in and basking in warm wet air is like a mini sauna for the soul.
All the herbs I used were ones that I either grew or collected (with the exception of augmenting my sparse chamomile stash with a bit from the health food store – note to self, remember to harvest chamomile BEFORE it gets too cold to do so). It is such a joy and gift to be able to share a little dried summer sunshine with those around me as we wait for the sun to ever so slowly return to us. Today marked 4 hours and 19 minutes between sunrise and sunset.