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Winter Resilience Guide

Updated: Jan 29

As we navigate this particularly challenging cold season, with fevers and coughs at every turn, the plants remind us they have SO much to offer. When our personal and community health is hit hard, it can be a call to connect with the healing power of herbs, understanding and gathering their gifts for health.

At MamaSeed Naturals, we emphasize herbal medicine as a proactive, preventative approach to health.

By learning how herbs heal and their potential to address common ailments like colds and flu, you can equip yourself and your family with invaluable, life-long knowledge.

Our blog posts are lovingly and consciously designed to provide in-depth insights into herbal medicines, allowing you to connect you in creating a trust to the use of effective healing remedies.

This knowledge is an investment in your long-term health and wellness, attuning to the power of plants to nourish vitality throughout our 4 seasons and beyond.


In this guide we will offer you a sneak peek into an optimal Winter Apothecary, an overview of 7 vital herbs for winter and 2 recipes for your cosy home cooking days.

 

2024's First Season Greetings!

Winter is a transcendant and nuanced time in the wheel of the year- its days are both cold and cosy, bitter and sweet, heartwarming and sometimes heart-aching. A time to cherish all that sustains us, body and soul. This Winter Resilience Guide is an ode to tending ourselves and our loved ones through the dark moons, an invitation to burnish ourselves to brightness with the plants at our side.


 

Our Winter Apothecary

WARMING HERBS

During the winter months, staying toasty is an important priority! Many herbs help kindle the body's inner fire- one that literally warms your hands and feet. Herbs that have a warming effect work by dilating your blood vessels, stimulating blood flow and dispersing the warmth generated by healthy circulation.


It's likely you already have a supply of warming herbs in your kitchen - Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Verum), Ginger (Zingiber officinalis) and Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) are just a few! Note that these herbs and spices are more than merely cosy; they enhance heart health, ease sore joints and arthritis, improve poor circulation and stoke your digestive embers.


Warming remedies can taken in teas, tinctures, and food. Recipes in our Winter Vital Resiliency guide that feature warming herbs include:

  • Winter Spiced bitters

  • Adaptogenice Herbal Chai

  • Heart Elixir: Hawthorn & Rose

  • Winter Bliss massage oil with Blue Lotus

WARMING HERBS COMMON NAME

WARMING HERBS COMMON NAME

Angelica

Roots and seeds

Black Pepper

Berries

Cardamom

Seeds

Cayenne Pepper

Fruit

Clove

dried flower buds

Cinnamon

bark

Garlic

cloves

Ginger

rhizome

Nutmeg

seeds

Rosemary

leaves

Thyme

leaves

Tulsi

leaves and flowers

Turmeric

rhizome

Mugwort

leaves and flowers


HERBS FOR WINTER JOY

When the dark half of the year arrives, it's not unusual for our spirits to dim in turn. And for many of us the holidays can bring up grief, the new year anxiety, or loneliness. Along with our herbal companions, I make sure I'm moving my body, sweating (exercise or sauna) and soaking up the winter sunshine. Of course the plants can support us and nurture us with Joy. There are 2 general kinds of botanical remedies herbalists call on for bringing ease: adaptogens and uplifting nervines (natural anti-depressants).






ADAPTOGENS They are tonic herbs that help us adapt to acute and chronic stress. They bring the body into balance by influencing its 2 primary regulating agents: the endocrine (hormone) and nervous systems. They excel at increasing our resilience in the face of physical, emotional and environmental stressors. Most adaptogens also help to balance and support immune function and are traditional tonics for vitality and longevity. Try making a mug of our Adaptogenic Herbal Chai for a warming soul treat. Drink it with a friend! Find the recipe below.


NERVINES These herbs help reduce melancholy and sadness. Herbalists often pair herbal antidepressants with adaptogens that have an affinity for alleviating bleak moods, such as ~Tulsi, Gotu Kolam and Reishi. When anxiety is coming into your life passages, truy Vervain, Motherwort or Mimosa in your formulas and teas. Herbs that open the Heart in the presence of grief or loss include Roses, Hawthorn blossoms, Lavender buds and Mimosa flowers. For anyone wanting to nourish their heart from loneliness, make a bottle of Hawthorn & Rose Heart Elixir. Find the recipe below.

  • Other plants are amazing nervines: Calendula, Milky Oats, Reishi, St John's Wort, Ashwagandha.









Immune Tonic Herbs

When I visit family during the holidays and find myself eating richer, sweeter foods than usual, I make sure to include plenty of probiotic ferments (kimchi, beetchi, sauerkraut, ginger beer!) in my diet and take immune tonic herbs everyday. I especially like to travel with a bottle of our prebiotic powerhouse Folk Fire Cider - i can feel its immune-strengthening properties from my sinuses to my stomach, plus it totally does the winter job of warming my body up the second it goes down my throat! Another immune booster formula part of my daily "morning elixir bar" is our Immortal Elixir - a double extraction of medicinal mushrooms I highly recommend to strengthen your immune system in the backstage.

Herbal Immune tonics function by balancing your immune system and many fall into the category of Immuno-modulators - remedies that can be taken daily already from the fall season in preparation for the winter colds and flus. They bolster immunity and lessen your chance of succumbing to common viral infections. They can likewise be taken at any time of the year to address low immune resilience or more specifically after a surgery or intense illness. Notice that immune tonics differ from immune stimulants, whcih kick your immune sytem into high gear at the first signs of illness and should only be taken for short periods of time (I recommend one month maximum). One formula that works efficiently for me and my child on the off-set of a cold is our Immune Boost tincture with various immune stimulants that will increase your vitality like my all-time favourite Calendula queen of the Sun.


Immune tonics include many fantastic fungis and tasty herbs - such as Rose Hips, Elderberries and Ginger which are easily integrated into foods. i.e see the key ingredient benefits of our winter star remedy (loved by children's palate!) Elderberry Oxymel Trust me, this will calm your heavy coughs and your immune system will ask for a daily intake!





 

7 vital winter herbs


Now that you understand some essential ways to work with winter herbs, we can give you a palmful of plants that truly elevate the season. We'll explore hawthorn for uplifting the heart, mugwort for winter dreaming, rose for tonifying, strengthening and revitalizing the immune systemm and a drawerful of seasonal spices that comfort and warm us. Note that these are not complete herbal profiles, we have just chosen to highlight some practical seasonal aspects of each herb. All of these herbs have many more uses and benefits.

RoseHips:

anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, cardiotonic, circulatory stimulant, high vitamins content.

Medicinal preparations: decoctions (Berries), infusion (leaves and flowers), tincture, infused honey, vinegar, syrup, cordial, elixir.

Elderberry :

support heart health, improve antioxidant status, and have a variety of anti-cancer, anti-diabetes, and anti-inflammatory effects. Amazing source of vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. Medicinal preparations: decoctions (Berries), infusion (leaves and flowers), tincture, infused honey, vinegar, syrup, cordial, elixir, oxymels (druid recipe: maceration of apple cider vinegar + honey).



Cinnamon:

anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, antimicrobial, anti-oxidant, aphrodisiac, circulatory stimulant and more! Medicinal Preparations: decoctions, tinctures, powders.


Rose:

anxiolitic, nervine, anti-inflammatory, anti-micorbila, blood tonic, aphrodisiac, cardiotonic, and more. Medicinal Preparations: Infusions, decoction (hips), tincture, honey, syrup, elixir, vinegar, flower essence, hydrosol, food!

Ginger:

Antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antiviral, aphrodisiac, expectorant, synergist, circulatory stimulant, cardiotonic, and more. Medicinal preparations: decoction of the rhyzome, fire cider, tincture, vinegar, syrup.




Cardamome:

very similar to ginger in its actions and warming and drying effects. Medicinal preparations: tincture, syrups, decoction, infused honey

Calendula:

antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties, neuroprotective, antidiabetic, anticancer. It's a sun herb and I would put it in any formula for its high vital energetic to our bodies. Medicinal preparations: tinctures, salves, oil, infusions.


 

2 of our favourite winter nourishing recipes!


ADAPTOGENIC HERBAL CHAI

This recipe is perfect for a warm start to chilly mornings, or settling next to the the fire on long winter nights. Enjoy the warming effects of traditional chai spices with the added twist of adaptogenics : ashwagandha and astragalus roots. Add a splash of milk and swirl of honey for a tasty well-rounded drink!

Recipe for 4 cups

  • 5 cups of water

  • 4 cinnamon sticks

  • 1.5 Tsp of cut and sifted dried ginger

  • 1 Tsp of cut and sifted dried ashwagandha

  • 6 slices of astragalus root

  • 2 tsp cardamom seeds

  • 1 tsp black peppercorns

  • 2 star anise pods

  • 2 cloves

optional honey & milk

Here's how: Using a mortar and pestle, crush all of the spices into smaller pieces. If you don't have a mortar and pestly you can use a heavy object to break them up or into the food processor.

Combine all in a sauce pot. simmer on low heat for an hour, covered, ensuring the mixture isn't boiling (or else it breaks the medicinal compounds).

Stain, and add honey and milk if wished.


Hawthorn & Rose Heart Elixir

This rich elixir combines hawthorn and rose, two of my favorite heart opening herbs. Vanilla and cinnamon add softeness and spice lighting up the entire palate. Take a dropperful or 2 whenever the heart calls. Or stir a teaspoon of the elixir into your favorite wintertime tea to add a dash of Love!

  • 2 cups of fresh hawthorn berries or 1 cup of dried berries

  • 1 cup fresh rose petals or half cup of dried

  • 1-2 vanilla beans, sliced in half

  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks

  • half cup of honey

  • 2 or more cups brandy (enough to fill the jar)



 

If you have enjoyed this blog, Don't hesitate to click on the heart for Like! Are you ready to warm your heart with herbal cheer? You’re also cordially invited to connect with us on Instagram, where we’re always serving up plant profiles, botanical reels, and herbal inspiration! You’ll be learning about herbs every day with these digestible, daily tidbits. I have so much to share with you! Stay curious and be well, Jaya


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