Getting back into the groove of the year can be a mixed blessing. For some, it is a welcome return to the rhythms and structures that keep us feeling calm. For others, however, it can feel like putting the shackles back on after a taste of freedom. Luckily I can put myself in the first camp this year - I welcome getting back to work and Playcentre and knowing what the week ahead might look like. I know that this is partly because I enjoy those things but also because the initial freestyling novelty I was loving at the start of holidays has worn off and started to feel more like chaos! In my clinic, however, I have been talking to many people who feel like their holiday didn’t give them the break they needed and wasn’t anywhere near enough to top back up their depleted reserves. For many of them, they are starting the year off with a sense of dread.
When we are tired, stressed, anxious or depleted, it's hard to summon any energy for making changes to how we live our lives. Luckily, we have some very powerful herbal allies just waiting patiently in the wings to be able to assist us. The right herbal medicines can help us back to a place of clarity and vitality so that making decisions about the year ahead can be done with bright clear eyes looking out to a beautiful horizon.
So, how can herbal medicine help you this year? This all depends on what your stress points are. Here is a brief introduction to some very special plants, ones you may wish to get to know a little more intimately!
Kava root: Liquid Kava Root is the King of the Kingdom of Instant Calm. Feel your stresses and anxieties dissolve with a little hit of this under your belt. This is one to melt away tension in those ‘breaking point’ moments. I actually also love it if my body is a bit hyper and can’t settle to sleep!
Passionflower: Enhances the power of Kava beautifully. Passionflower calms tension and anxiety, especially apprehension about things coming up in the future. A wonderful soother of the mind and nervous system.
Withania: My number one favourite herb, the root of this plant balances stress hormone levels and helps us adapt better to stress in all ways. It improves our stamina and energy, even under pressure, and is calming and nurturing, building up depleted minds and bodies. Take this daily to nourish and support yourself through times of stress or exhaustion.
Lemon Balm: Ah, this is growing abundantly in my garden right now. Fresh and green, Lemon Balm sits alongside Withania perfectly as a herb to help quieten a busy mind and help us be our best selves in a busy crazy world.
Valerian root: The Queen of Sleep, this potent sedative helps us get to sleep and stay asleep like no other herb. Some people take this in the daytime, but I would never recommend it, as it puts me straight to sleep, no matter what time of day! Choose an organic liquid extract for best results. Remember with all sleeping problems it is best to use a targeted input for a set period of time to shift sleeping habit, eg. use two doses a night for two weeks to help restore good sleeping patterns, then just use it on the nights you need it.
Chamomile: Calming for minds and for tummies! Often the two go together, we get butterflies and funny tummies if we are anxious, and this is especially true for children. Use this as an organic liquid for any babies, infants or children needing help with getting to sleep on long summer nights, or those who had too many apricots and cherries! Also for kids nervous about going back to school or daycare. A multi-talented herb for easing all kinds of tension.
Echinacea & Olive Leaf: If stress hits your immune system hard, this pair is your new Dynamic Duo. Antimicrobial immune enhancers, these two can also help reduce inflammation and target viral attacks. Taking a daily tonic can have far-reaching health benefits and help stop you going down with unwanted lurgies.
Blackcurrant: New Zealand Blackcurrants have an astonishingly high antioxidant rating. Forget exotic berries from Nepal or the Amazon, we have the goodies right here and they are way more sustainable too! Antioxidant tonics are your best option is stress is enhancing your ageing processes or making your immune system vulnerable. Choose a blackcurrant and berry tonic for helping prevent the oxidative stress of air travel, pollution, smoking, asthma, or emotional stress.
So, who will be the new friend to help you get into a better groove for 2017? Choose one or choose a group, there is nothing like a new posse to open up a world of new possibilities!