We all need friends. Life’s ups and downs keep us on our toes. It is great to have herbal solutions for the whole family to help keep everyone healthy and strong – year after year, day after day. Around the globe, herbs have played a primary role in traditional cultural use for promoting wellness, for adding nutrition to daily diet, for sacred rituals, and as medicine. Long before there was conventional agriculture or even certified organic labelling, herbs were sought out to promote long life, to soothe a grieving heart, and to support the body with vast benefits. Some herbs can help to wake you up, some can help you sleep, and some even relieve an occasional upset stomach. Herbs have been trusted and used for thousands of years for a good reason: they help humans to thrive and to survive.
What is an Herbal Ally?
An ally is a friend—someone or something that has your back. A plant that you enjoy and that helps you feel like your best self is truly a trusted friend – an herbal ally. Drinking a cup of tea or coffee in the morning is a way to experience herbal allies as part of a pleasurable daily ritual. Ideally, we do choose friends and allies that are positive influences on us. Coffee, green tea, chamomile flowers, rose petals, hibiscus flowers, chocolate, wine, beer, liquor, tobacco, and sugar are all examples of plant-based products that humans have sought after and consumed for thousands of years to bring about a state of pleasure. Herbs like the chamomile flower have been used for thousands of years to bring calm to the mind, body and spirit. When we inhale the aroma from a warm cup of tea, it invites and inspires our minds to take a journey with the herb and allow the healing nature of plants to soothe or enliven our senses. Sip and be well!
What is a Botanical name?
Most people are familiar with the common names of plants, like “chamomile.” However, all plants have a Latin name, which is also known as a “scientific” or “botanical” name. For chamomile, this name is “matricaria recutita.” These latin names were created so that we can know that we are talking about the same plant around the globe even if we speak different languages. The botanical name also helps professional herbalists and botanists to identify plants correctly, as plants can vary within a species and contain different constituents in relation to habitat and environmental stressors.
How do you find the best herb or herbal combination for you?
Listen to your body. Smell a tea after it has steeped and observe its aroma. Is this aroma appealing to you? When you taste your cup of tea, does the herb in it feel good to you? Not every herb is right for everybody. Notice if you like spicy tastes or more sweet and bitter ones. Our taste palate is really satisfied when it is met with a balanced combination of all of the tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, salty and astringent. Not too spicy or too sweet—but just right. The wrong herbal choice can make someone feel not-super-great, too. Have you ever eaten too much garlic or hot chili?!? Like a plant, each person is unique. Each season is unique. Our body is meant to crave and experience different foods and herbs for different seasons (and seasons of life). Be sure to switch up your herbal teas from day to day, and month to month. Just like mother nature, our body and mind thrive on diversity.