Podcast 055: Herbs & the Holidays: Emotional Support
Today we’re kicking off a series of podcasts on herbs and the holidays! We begin with emotional support, because no matter how you feel about the holidays, those feelings are probably pretty big. In this episode we take an energetics-based approach to sorting out emotional categories and matching supportive herbs to them. Whether you’d like to be more grounded, centered, resolved, or emotionally flexible, herbs can help you get there!
Mentioned in this podcast:
- Check out our YouTube Herbs for Holidays series from 2017 – wow, we’ve learned a lot about video production since then! 😉 We’ll be adding a lot more video content to YouTube soon – subscribe to our channel now so you don’t miss it!
- The Holistic Herbalism Podcast, episode 2 – Avoiding Adaptogen Debt & Emotionalymphatics
- The Holistic Herbalism Podcast, episode 14 – Alternatives to Adaptogens for Burnout
- The Holistic Herbalism Podcast, episode 16 – Emotional Support for Mothers & Teens
- The Holistic Herbalism Podcast, episode 39 – Herbs for Introverts & Extraverts
Family Herbalist is our entry-level program in practical herbalism: $450 gets you 58 hours of direct video instruction – that’s just $7.75 per hour! Pay all at once or in installments – and don’t worry: your access never expires. Still not sure? Try it for 14 days with our zero-risk return policy. Learn your herbs & make your medicines with this in-depth set of herb profiles & medicine-making instructions.
Katja: 00:14 Hi, I’m Katja
Ryn: 00:16 And I’m Ryn
Katja: 00:16 And we’re here at the Commonwealth Center for Holistic Herbalism in Boston, Massachusetts,
Ryn: 00:19 And on the internet everywhere thanks to the power of the Podcast!
Katja: 00:26 Woo hoo!
Ryn: 00:28 Even on holidays.
Katja: 00:28 That’s right.
Ryn: 00:29 Holidays you guys. It is time.
Katja: 00:29 In fact that’s what we’re going to talk about.
Ryn: 00:30 Yeah. We’re going to kick off a whole holiday series right here,
Katja: 00:33 But before we do that…
Ryn: 00:34 We’re just going to remind you all that we are not doctors, we are herbalists and holistic health educators.
Katja: 00:40 The ideas discussed in this podcast do not constitute medical advice, no state or federal authority licenses herbalists in the United States, so these discussions are for educational purposes only. Everybody’s body is different, so the things we’re talking about may or may not apply directly to you, but hopefully they’ll give you some great information to think about and to research more.
Ryn: 01:00 We want to remind you that good health is your own personal responsibility. It is the final decision in considering any course of therapy, whether it’s discussed on the internet or prescribed by your physician is always yours. Right? Alright, then, so let’s roll into the shout outs.
Katja: 01:15 Yeah, I’m so excited! We have shout outs this week. One to the Hillbilly African on instagram who found us through the podcast and won a deck of our herbal oracle cards in our social media giveaway this week. Yay! And also to Che corrine oak ferry and eclectic outpost who mentioned the podcast in their instagram stories, which was super fun. And also to Christy who is making good friends with Tulsi and also likes our book, our book, which is herbal medicine for beginners.
Ryn: 01:52 Yes. Find it, find it. Well, a bunch of places but probably mostly Amazon.
Katja: 01:57 Because that is the way the world. And also to Allie who was recommending us to other herby types on instagram in including the thieving bastards. They make shrubs and vinegars and herbal things and they have a whole story behind their name that I was very amused by.
Ryn: 02:15 Cool. We’re thankful to all of you and we’re thankful to all of you were, you know, this is like our little weekly gratitude practice at this point. Which is actually really nice. And it’s seasonal right now to have gratitude as an explicit thing, but it’s a great idea to build gratitude into a consistent practice. So for us, these little shout outs, so I’ve kind of become weekly gratitude to you all out there in internet land who have decided to spend some time with us. We really appreciate it. So thank you now. Thank you. Every time.
Katja: 02:50 Yeah, it’s so fun when we see somebody mention it or somebody writes to us and it’s like “yes, community is real” It’s awesome! So we love you guys and we thank you so much. All right. Hey, one other thing before we get started. Somebody recently said, “how come you never talk about your classes on the podcast?” And we said, “Oh yeah, right. Good idea” Maybe we should do that about the other stuff. So you guys, we have all these classes. And we’re just gonna talk about them for two seconds. You can fast forward if you want to. The first one we want to talk about today, we’ll talk about other ones other days, but we going to mention the Herbalism 101 online program [ now called Family Herbalist ]. All of our online courses are video programs and that we think that is really cool because a lot of herbal courses online are self paced reading and, you know, you could just do that yourself. There’s no direct teacher interaction. And for us, what we’ve decided to do inst,ead is to videotape every single lesson. So we do have printable worksheets that you can print out and follow along if you’re the kind of person who likes to learn with paper. But all of our courses are literally like watching TV and they flow in an order. So basically if you can binge Netflix, you totally have the skills required to succeed in our courses.
Ryn: 04:22 In Herbalism 101, you’ll first learn 87 plus herbs. You’ll learn how to work with them. You learn what they look like, how to prepare them, and a bunch more. And there’s also 45 close up step by step videos showing you exactly how to make a whole bunch of different kinds of herbal remedies from decoctions to elixirs, from lotions to cocktail bitters and everything in between. There’s printable instructions to follow along with, but seriously, you could just take your laptop or your phone right into your kitchen and do it with us step by step.
Katja: 04:57 And in all of our courses there’s an online discussion forum where you can type any questions you have right into the forum while you’re watching the video. And we respond to those personally, we don’t have admins or interns to do it. We do it ourselves within 24 hours and every week there is a live weekly Q and A webinars so we can chat in person about literally any herby thing that is on your mind.
Ryn: 05:20 Yeah. Those weekly Q and A’s have been really great.
Katja: 05:22 They’re so fun.
New Speaker: 05:23 We like it a lot and we love to see you there. So check it out. This is the perfect way to relax during the quieter times of the holiday season. Plus, you can learn what you need to know to make some handmade, awesome herbal products and things as gifts for everyone in your in your life.
Katja: 05:41 You should. And nobody needs more stuff, but everyone needs more herbs. So, give yourself a gift and learn something cool. Besides you’ve probably watched everything that is on Netflix by now anyway. You’re probably rewatching something for the third time. Like, get some new material. Herbalism 101. Commonwealth herbs Dot Com.
Ryn: 06:07 Yeah, check it out!
Katja: 06:10 Alright. Okay. So we were gonna talk about the holidays.
Ryn: 06:13 Yeah. And we’re going to keep this kind of as a running theme from now until New Year’s. So tune in every week. We’re pretty excited. We’ve got a lineup here of some really great topics ranging from the practical to the philosophical.
Katja: 06:28 And sometimes the practi-sophical…
Ryn: 06:31 Phylo-practical.
Katja: 06:33 Hahaha. Yes. It’s going to be great. So our first topic is emotional support herbs because we know that the holidays aren’t always easy. Thanksgiving is just passed an actually, it’s not even just past because as soon as we’re done recording this, we are off to my parents’ house for Turkey. For me and I think basically for everyone I know, I feel a lot of emotions right now. Me Personally, I’m thinking about the disconnect between what I originally learned about the history of this particular holiday and the truth of it and the reality of how our country treats indigenous Americans who were here before us and also thinking about immigrants and what it means to be an immigrant in recognizing that the vast majority of us are immigrants and, and really, you know, so many of us are really proud of our heritage and I know in my family and maybe in yours, we’re sitting around the holiday table telling stories of our grandparents and great grandparents
Ryn: 07:33 And came here with two nickels in his pocket and made a life for himself and all that kind of thing. Right?
Katja: 07:38 And came here to work in the coal mines, came here to whatever and we’re proud of these stories. They are what make us who we are. And I find so much strength in the stories of my family and then to take that and contrast that with how we as a country right now are treating immigrants and I don’t know. There’s just a lot at this time of year that feels contentious or feels difficult. My father always says that Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday because it’s just family time without any of the trappings. But the more that I think about that, it’s really not true. I mean sure, there’s no presents to buy, but there are totally trappings, they’re emotional, they’re psychological and the things that exist between all the different complicated emotions we feel about our families and every family is different and maybe you or your family has different political views or maybe certain members of their family don’t accept other members of your family for a whole variety of reasons. Or maybe there’s a feud or maybe there’s a estrangement or maybe there’s a death that is still being mourned It’s just this is a time that we’re supposed to be so happy and smiling and you know, Yay the holidays. But also that it is complicated and not, it’s just complicated. So I think that it’s really appropriate to kick off our holiday series with some herbs that can be supportive in this time.
Ryn: 09:19 When we were thinking about this, we realized that we wanted to orient this a little bit and y’all know that we really like to work with a compass or with energetics or constitutional types. So we thought we’d do is try to break this down along some broad categories of ways that people can feel overwhelmed or can feel trapped by those emotional trappings that you were describing. And so that was the way we thought we’d sort out a few types, a few categories of herbs that you may consider.
Katja: 09:55 When we talk about energetics, if this word is new for you, it’s kind of a weird word. It’s an old word and it is a system of understanding and recognizing how to apply which herb to which person at exactly which situation. And this is something that we spend a lot of time teaching because if you understand this underlying logic, the system, then you’re not just multiple choice matching herbs to people and just sorta hoping that maybe they’ll work or like it’s some sort of black box magic. You really can understand exactly what’s going on here. And your formulas and your protocols are going to be way more successful. So, when we talk about energetics, there are six qualities that come into play and they are three pairs of opposites. One is hot and cold, one is damp and dry and one is tense and lax. And today we’re gonna focus on hot and cold and damp and dry. And then we have a few other situations that are appropriate for anyone. So if we think about how a person who runs a little on the damp side…
Ryn: 11:21 A water type.
Katja: 11:22 And this can be physically a person who just carries a little extra water with them all the time or, and also emotionally a watery kind of person might be the kind of person who cries very easily. Like I am definitely that person. Like every time they play the music on the movie or the show, like I’m right there, the first one with a handkerchief. They get me every time. I sometimes feel that being a person like this, a lot of the time, the reason that I cry is because I have really big emotions and they’re hard to hold in and maybe I managed to not say anything but I can’t hold all of it in instead of the way that it’s kind of releases is through crying,
Ryn: 12:15 Somebody of this type is going to need a little help to contain or direct the water. And that’s both physical water in the actual body, but also it’s the watery side of your emotions. And if this way of thinking is new to you, then try to picture actual water in a river or a stream flowing along. It needs solid banks in order to hold it and direct it. Otherwise it’s gonna turn into a marsh. Nobody wants to become a marsh. Emotionally
Katja: 12:43 Emotional marsh. Yeah, I definitely fit that description sometimes.
Ryn: 12:50 So then, you know, the herbs that we’re going to be looking for here, these are actually herbs that physically are going to help to astringe tissue or dry moisture or keep fluids compartmentalized where they belong, prevent them from leaking out in places where you didn’t really want them.
Katja: 13:07 Kind of like providing that strong container. So one is a plant called lady’s mantle and this plant is…first off, it’s really lovely. It has these leaves that look like a cloak that has been all spread out and that’s actually where the name comes from. In the morning you will most frequently see a little drop of dew right in the center of the cloak. There’s a lot of folklore around that little drop of dew. But in this particular case, one thing that I’m particularly interested in is that here’s lady’s mantle, able to hold water. It’s a lovely like pelvic floor stringent physiologically. It’s lovely even to sort of help with incontinence and kidney stuff. It’s not so astringent that it’s going to just completely dry you out, but it’s very helpfully astringent, like really functionally astringent and it has not a bad flavor.
Ryn: 14:17 No, lady’s mantle is pretty tasty.
Katja: 14:18 I mean, you can definitely have it as all of these. You could definitely have as tincture. Oops. Not quite all of them. Almost all of them. You could definitely have as tincture. And that makes it very fast acting so that you can just carry it with you in your pocket. And if you have to excuse yourself to the ladies room and mens room or the room or anyone can pee really, and just have a little bit of tincture real quick then that’s available. Another one that we wanted to talk about here was yarrow.
Ryn: 14:46 Yarrow. Yarrow is a really good friend of mine. I’ve had my Yarrow Tattoo for a bunch of years now. So yarrow is particularly helpful when you need a feeling of a little extra protection or a little extra armor or a thicker skin. Especially if you’re going into a situation where there are more aggressive personalities in play or more, at least extroverted personalities in play and you feel like you’re going to get a little overwhelmed by being in the presence of that kind of presence, then yarrow can be a really helpful ally for you there.
Katja: 15:25 Or like if you have a family member who just, the way that they interact with the world is by pushing people’s buttons and they’re good at it and you know they’re going to say something and it’s gonna hurt your feelings. It’s going to offend you because that’s just how they relate to the world. That’s when you’re looking for yarrow.
Ryn: 15:45 Yarrow can help you to just let those arrows bounce right off of you.
Katja: 15:49 That’s actually the mythology behind this plant.
Ryn: 15:52 Yarrow’s Latin name is Achillea millefolium and the achillea part there refers to Achilles, who was more or less invincible, he had that weak spot, like we all do. It’s an important part of the myth, right? Because it recognizes that even the seemingly invulnerable always have a weak spot and that’s something to be be thinking on and be aware of. But yeah, yarrow can be really handy there. And tinctures are an easy way to work with it for these purposes. A few drops is often sufficient for that, but you can also take tea. There’s different ways to work with yarrow.
Katja: 16:27 Yarrow is just a smidge on the bitter side, which actually isn’t a bad thing, especially if you’re getting together for a meal. You can have your bitters and your emotional support all in one go.
Ryn: 16:40 Yeah. Off the armor. A little. There you go. Okay. So those were again, for people who feel like their emotions are a little watery, a little little apt to slip away from you or to to rise up like a wave, overwhelm, to try to take that water energy and contain that a little bit. Give that a channel to move through and keep it in the places where it wants to be. So now you may have a different kind of problem that we would categorize under the general term of dryness. And the way dryness can manifest in the emotions, one way that it can manifest in the emotions, could be a difficulty relating to others. You know, where the water type of people tend to be overwhelmed by the emotions of others
Katja: 17:26 They overly relate
Ryn: 17:28 The dry type or in the elemental, the air type people tend to be a very distant from, well from other people generally, and particularly from emotional aspects. They may connect well on a theoretical like “meeting of the minds” sort of situation, but maybe not so good at channeling compassion. So that can be a barrier that can lead to difficulties relating to others. Here, what we’re looking for, are herbs that bring in that water element or help to ground the air a little bit, bring it down to earth, bring it into contact with some moisture, with some watery aspects of other people. So here we’re going to find a couple of moistening plants. We think this is actually a good place for marshmallow and you know when I’m thinking about emotional aspects of marshmallow medicine, I tend to think more of the leaf and it may just be because you can make a nice hot tea with marshmallow leaf that still is definitively moistening, but it’s not quite as slimy as when you make marshmallow root cold infusion. And also it’s a cold time of the year right now. So someone may enjoy a warm cup of tea.
Katja: 18:49 And it’s not an unpleasant flavor.
Ryn: 18:52 Marshmallow tea is pretty mild in flavor. And you compare it with lots of other things that have good flavor to you, whatever that may be. But it’s just a very gentle herb and it does help to connect you to your softening aspects to your, to your…I don’t know. I’m thinking of the feel of the leaves and they’re a little bit velvety and get a little silver sheen to them and you know, you can really just spend a lot of time petting a marshmallow leaf and like sitting in the dirt.
Katja: 19:25 That word softening is a real sort of key for me there. I think when we think about people as hardhearted that also is a dry condition, everything is dried up and hardened like clay
Ryn: 19:43 That way lies calcifications.
Katja: 19:46 And that marshmallow, it’s really about softening. Sometimes we feel like it’s hard to have compassion for others also as a protection mechanism for ourselves. And allowing that softening is not easy. Having having a plant that can help us to do that and make it a little bit easier is really wonderful.
Ryn: 20:12 You can also work with marshmallow, and really any of the herbs we’re going to talk about, you can work them with them in the form of a flower essence for these kinds of effects and marshmallow flower essence is one that we tend to think about when we want that kind of emotional softening to take place when people either consciously or not realize or it becomes apparent that their emotional patterns are rigid, are maybe they’ve got kind of like metaphorical blinders on, you know, they’re only seeing what’s directly in front are only seeing their window on the world and marshmallow can help you to soften out of that and start to realize that maybe things aren’t so black and white, maybe they aren’t so cut and dry and there may be another way to approach them and understand them. Yeah. So that’s some thoughts on marshmallow medicine. And emotions.
Katja: 21:07 There’s another one here, violet, that is also a plant that is moistening and very heart focused. Interestingly, a very nutritive plant as well. And so working with violet, if you’re going to work with the leaves, frankly, I would do this as an overnight infusion because why not also get the mineral benefit out of it, like if you’re going to do it, you know, just do it. But you can also work with a tincture here of the leaf and flower or a syrup made just from the flowers. There are a lot of really lovely ways to work with violet. You could actually tincture the leaves and then mix them together with a honey infusion of the violet flowers and then you would have an amazing elixir. Holy Cow! But violet also is… when I think about violet also for that dryness, but I often think about it for the kind of dryness where there’s so much exhaustion of emotion that has led to feeling wrung out in the heart. Like you maybe had moisture in your emotions. You maybe had some moisture in your heart. But it’s all been used up and there’s exhaustion there and there’s depletion and because of that you’re just hard, you’re feeling dried up and it’s hard to feel compassion. It’s hard to feel connected.
Ryn: 22:45 Yeah. Violet is really indicated there. That’s a good one. Cool. Okay. So those were for our kind of like air type or dry dominated people… need to get the fluidity that softening nature coming in. Okay.
Katja: 23:01 So then if you’re a person who tends to be a very hot person, maybe you are worried that you might have some anger and that it might be hard to hold onto that. Maybe you feel like you’re always just about ready to explode and that’s that heat in the emotions and there are some really wonderful herbs for helping with that. One of them is lemon balm and lemon balm, to be honest, when my favorite ways to work with it is to make an infusion in white wine. And then, typically white wine is served chilled. So now it’s like doubly cooling and lemon balm is really…it is a plant that I liked to teach people to remember it as heat stroke and things that look like heat stroke. There’s many other ways to work with lemon balm too but just sort of thinking like anytime that you feel like you were just completely overheated and you really need to chill out and cool down, lemon balm can just be so beautiful there. And also if your whole family has sort of this tendency, you know, it is very polite to bring a bottle of wine to a dinner and you could just bring a lemon balm wine and chill it and just, you know, you don’t even have to say this is so that we’re all chill at dinner. You’re not going to have to say that part. We can just be like, “hey, check out my cool new herb infused wine” and everyone will just think you’re really trendy and, but in the good way and it can be beneficial for everyone.
Ryn: 24:48 Another herb that’s a little bit similar, at least for these specific purposes, is elderflower, and specifically the flowers here, you don’t really get this effect when you work with the elderberries, but elder flower is what we think of as a relaxing diaphoretic. And on the physical level, that means that elderflower helps to relieve tension affecting the surface of the body. And this is really useful in say, a fever where somebody has a lot of tension in the body and it’s preventing them from releasing the heat that’s pent up in the core. And so elderflowers going to release that tension and allow that heat to basically be shunted out through your vents, get that out through the pores. I think I’ve made once or twice a formula for somebody in the formulas name was Vent Gently that included elderflower and lemon balm and, and some other similar relaxing diaphoretic herbs. So this one, it doesn’t necessarily, it’s not like what we’d call a refrigerant, which is herbs that are directly cooling to the body or sedate activity on the metabolic level. Elderflower is more about allowing that heat out, letting it to have a way out. So if you have this kind of emotional heat and you also feel an emotional tension, so that would be like, there’s anger, there’s anxiety, but it’s not like anger that bursts out of you. It’s anger and there’s frustration because it never quite comes to the surface. Then elderflower is a really, really good choice for venting gently for trying to get that out.
Katja: 26:41 I like to think of it as like, when your anger feels like a fever and you need to sweat out your fever and preferably to do that without shouting at everyone,
Ryn: 26:54 Right? I’m trying to emphasize this because there are some herbs that will release anger, but they’ll do it with a volcanic explosion.
Katja: 27:02 Yeah. Yeah.
Ryn: 27:03 They’re like, it’s necessary. You got to get it out. But some herbs are going to do it all at once and elderflower is like, let’s just, let’s just open this now a little bit and we’re going to let it like seep out in a measured way. And you know, you’re gonna feel a little more controlled. Yeah. So that’s a good. That’s a really good friend there.
Katja: 27:21 Elderflower is pretty tasty. You can have it as tea. If you know that this is your personality and you plan ahead a little bit in the summer, you can infuse the Elder flowers in honey and then also tincture the elderflowers and then blend those together and have an amazing elixir.
Ryn: 27:43 That’s really good stuff you guys.
Katja: 27:46 And if you are in a rush, St Germain makes an elderflower liqueur that you can have just, you know, like a couple of spoons full eve, will totally do the job and it’s sweet, so that also kind of is like pleasantly distracting from whatever it is that’s upsetting you. And then it just lets everything release.
Ryn: 28:12 If this feels useful to you, you could also just take the St Germain and you could combine that with some other herbal tinctures, and at that point you’ve kind of made an elixir instead of using honey, you use the Saint Germain Liquer. Yeah, exactly. That’s totally legit. That counts. You are allowed.
Katja: 28:30 It doesn’t always have to be the hard way.
Ryn: 28:34 Cool. Alright. So that was in the realm of hot on the energetic pattern level. Now when we look at the opposite, when we look at an energetic cold effecting the emotions, again, there’s different ways that could express, but one of them is kinda like…
Katja: 28:51 Kind of like being in that state of dread and stuck on the couch and like, you know you’re going to be late because you’re dreading it so much that you just can’t get yourself up and going.
Ryn: 29:02 You find yourself kind of puttering around and like, “oh maybe I’ll just do this before I go.”
Katja: 29:08 Yeah. Or like, you know, like you can’t get dressed. You can’t. There’s nothing to wear… like every step of the process of getting yourself to where it is that you’re supposed to have this family gathering just takes way too long and like you’re kind of dragging your feet. So, and also I don’t mean to say that in a way that like sounds critical because this is a pattern that I fall into a lot. Like sometimes even if I thought I was looking forward to something, when the day comes, then I’m like suddenly, oh my goodness, I’m not actually looking forward to it and I’m actually kind of nervous about it and actually I’m kind of dreading it and I don’t want to go. I just… don’t make me do it. I just… let me stay on the couch. I just… I want to call in sick.
Ryn: 29:58 So if you find yourself considering, well I could maybe call and sniffle a little bit and get out of this. If you’ve got that and you know that that’s happening, but you also know, no, I’ve got to be there, got to get up and got to get moving. Then you know, we’re looking for something that has a little bit of warmth to it. Has a little bit of stimulus, a little fire. Now for some people, a couple of drops of Cayenne tincture might be what they need. Yeah. You know, that one is a real kick in the pants that is a like, let’s do it. Let’s, let’s like, let’s go.
Katja: 30:31 Yes. However, if you are at all concerned that a dose of Hot Chili peppers might push you into anger, then that might be one to avoid.
Ryn: 30:43 Yeah. And there are gentler ways to accomplish this. So an herb I think you should really consider there is cardamom, in no small part because you can get lots of holiday appropriate, wonderful, tasty things that have cardamom involved in them for your emotional balance and also for your delight. And that’s a really powerful intersection. If you can bring those things together, good things are gonna happen for you. Yeah. So cardamom…it’s a fantastic herb on its own. It’s really tasty in tincture. It mixes well into teas, basically any place that you might put ginger, you can put cardamom in, they are botanically related and really similar in their natures. But again, cardamom, if you mix it with other kinds of like holiday spices, things like cinnamon, all spice and nutmeg and that kind of thing. You can make little spiced elixirs and spiced tea blends or even like a nice medicinal mulled cider situation
Katja: 31:51 Or like a Chai latte if it’s hard for you to go, then tell yourself that you can stop off at your favorite place to get a Chai latte on the way and now you’re full up on cardamom. You know, you had yourself a nice treat. You used a tool to do the thing you had to do and now you’ve got an herb supporting you too.
Ryn: 32:13 Yeah. So cardamom is really nice and it’s got the warm you at the core, relax some of that tension at the same time.
Katja: 32:20 Yeah. Yeah. It definitely has some antispasmodic action and, and that whole like, well maybe I could call in sick, there’s also some tension there. There’s some fear. Kind of releasing that, you might be right to have that fear and that dreading. But if you have to do it and you have to get through it, then you might as well have a little bit more comfort, a little more relaxation of those feelings in the process. .
Ryn: 32:52 If I were looking for this kind of purpose, working with cardamom, and I only had one other herb to pair with it, for some bizarre reason, then I would go with vanilla. Vanilla is not a hot herb, but it’s on the warming side. Vanilla is so interesting to me among the herbs because it’s musky and you just don’t get that very much with herbs. It’s edging into animal territory and maybe that doesn’t sound super appealing, but, I find that to be really delightful. When we think about warmth in the human body, I think about how to sustain and maintain warmth. It’s like, well, get yourself some lamb stew, you know, like, it’s that just got that…that deep fire.
Katja: 33:37 And see, I thought you meant more like the smell, like as in perfumes when they start to use different…
Ryn: 33:43 It’s there too, right? So, you know, anyway, Vanilla as the scent of it is just a…it’s an exhilarant for one thing. It’s in that category of herbs that lifts the spirits and it helps to just pull you up out of the dark places and show you some light in the world. And so when you take vanilla, and especially when you combine it with those warming spices like cardamom, it just has that really, like “I’m feeling warm,” “feeling good” and “feeling a little cheerful”
Katja: 34:15 Heart lifted.
Ryn: 34:15 So it’s just completely fantastic. And vanilla is a really great addition to chai blends. If you make those yourself or even just to take one premade and drop a couple of vanilla beans in it and heat it up on the stove and then it’ll be a whole new thing.
Katja: 34:35 It is fine. Get your favorite tea bag, it is OK. It’s always great to get everything wrong, grind it up yourself and do all the things and whatever. But if what you’re doing is kind of like dreading the thing you have to do, then make this part as easy as possible for yourself.
Ryn: 34:54 Yeah. You could also make a kind of a spiced wine by infusing syrups into there. You could crush some cardamom pods and slice up a vanilla bean and maybe get some water…
Katja: 35:10 Or a clove…
Ryn: 35:10 Just a touch of clove, just a little tiny touch. Right. But you could take that and you could put that in a mason jar, just a few tablespoons of spices mixed in there and then pour in a bottle of wine and give that a day or two to steep and shake it up a bit and that’ll be infused.
Katja: 35:26 Yeah. And then you can warm it up and it’s delicious. You could bring that to the party too. And no one would be sad. And I mean people would say “hey, thanks!”
Ryn: 35:36 If you’re not into wine you could just do the same thing with hot apple cider, you know, just bring the spice mix and the cider and set it up when you get there and people will be delighted.
Katja: 35:46 Everyone will say thank you. And another nice thing about stuff like that is that if you are having emotions and feeling dread or anger or any of this other stuff, having something to talk about that safe is really handy. And if you bring a bunch of herbs and some apple cider, if you want to bring a bunch of weird herbs and some weird whatever, then maybe some members of the family will be like, well, this is weird, but everybody likes mulled cider. Maybe some people don’t, but a lot of people do. And then you could talk about it and, and sort of like, oh, this is my favorite recipe and you can stretch out that conversation for a good long while and now we can talk about how delicious it is. And now we can talk about our favorite memory of cider and having props like this to help you guide the conversation in a safe place or in a place that is going to not damage you emotionally is really, really a good trick.
Ryn: 36:52 Yeah, for sure. So couple of things we just wanted to make a note about here. All these emotions, whatever type you are, or if you’re a blend in and you probably are.
Katja: 37:04 Yeah, it’s true.
Ryn: 37:06 Nobody is the archetype of dry or hot or cold or anything else. Physically, emotionally or anywhere in between people are blends. And so think about which of these qualities might apply to you or the way you might react…
Katja: 37:17 Or just which one you’re feeling most right now.
Ryn: 37:21 Yeah, current state. Emotions arise as a sort of natural response to your environment, your world, and, and they serve a function, right? Those emotions, they are what they are. They’re fine as things that exist, you don’t have to feel bad about feeling them or like you’re doing it wrong or anything. Emotions are oftentimes protecting us. They are the body or the being trying to react to its environments in a way that protects you and keeps you safe.
Katja: 37:57 It might not necessarily be the most effective way in that moment, but it’s still your body’s trying to do something that is gonna make life comfortable for you. I mean, life doesn’t always need to be comfortable, but…
Ryn: 38:18 But like you said, if you have this kind of habitual response, then it means that at some point you responded in that way and survived the toughest situation and your body, your unconscious, it remembers. And so now that becomes a habit of response.
Katja: 38:36 I also want to say that, especially in the case of anger, but really in any of these… symptoms are fine. It’s great to have anger. It’s important to have anger. Sometimes it’s a very motivating tool. And sometimes anger is the absolute most appropriate way to respond. Sometimes all of these feelings are the most appropriate way to respond, but you still have to get through the day. And if what you need to do right now is just go and have the dinner and get through it and come home all in one piece. Then we make our choices about what we hold onto and whether or not it is time for our anger and if it doesn’t feel like the right time, then hey, lemon balm and elderflower are there for you. Whatever other parts, these emotional types that you’re feeling, having an herb to just help you through it in this moment is really, really handy.
Ryn: 39:42 Now there are a few herbs that do have their qualities and their energetic natures and so on, but they’re also really broadly applicable. And in this case, it’s mainly because of their affinity rather than their energetics. So these are three herbs that have really strong affinity for the heart in all of its aspects. So your physical heart, your emotional heart, your mental heart, because you actually perform some cognition with your heart, believe it or not, it’s happening. It’s happening all in your body. So the three herbs here, motherwort, hawthorn, and linden are really fantastic whenever your heart needs a little bit of extra support, a little bit of extra relaxation or a little bit of extra courage.
Katja: 40:25 Hawthorne has a strengthening aspect but also a grief aspect. And so whether you are mourning a family member who isn’t with you this year or whether you are feeling sadness or grief from being disappointed or let down by someone who did something that hurt you or did not live up to your expectations of them or whatever else, I really like that aspect of hawthorne there.
Ryn: 41:01 Yeah. Motherwort…we think of motherowort a lot when there are issues between children and mothers, but it can also be very handy when you need a little bit of courage. I think we’ve spoken about motherwort a bit in the past, but it’s an herb that can be really good when you need to build a little heart courage and especially when you need that in situations where you also have to have a brave face. And I can think of situations where might be really needful to have a little motherwort and a little yarrow to kind of get me through the day.
Katja: 41:42 And then linden I think is just so soothing for whatever is happening, if you’re sad, if you’re angry, if your nerves are feeling frayed and frazzled and depleted and dried or even if you’re just like stuck frozen in place, just being soothed is always so helpful.
Ryn: 42:07 Linden, you guys. It’s a hug in a mug. So good! So just a few thoughts on herbs to help support you in your individuality and your particular way of needing support around this time of year or really anytime, if you’re having to be listening to this in the summer time next year. Speaking of that, we do have some discussions of similar topics in other episodes of our podcast. So since you’re listening to this one, you might want to check out these others. Way back in episode two, we talked about avoiding adaptogen debt, which is to say using adaptogens to the point where, well using is appropriate, instead of what we like to usually say, which is working with herbs. You might’ve heard this a go on our little spiel about that before, but it’s possible to work with adaptogens in a way where it’s much more of a credit card that’s at its threshold. So that was about that. But the other part of that podcast was about lymphatic herbs and their impacts on the emotional state and emotional patterns in the body. So that was episode two. In episode 14 we had another one about adaptogens. This was alternatives to adaptogens, especially for burnout. So really even if just burnout as a thing you’re dealing with or you think you may be by the time January first rolls around sometime in the holiday season, you tend to get a little exhausted and worn out and maybe worn thin on the emotional level as well, check out episode 14. Those are my ideas around that. In episode 16, we talked about emotional support for mothers and teens.
Katja: 43:57 That can be really helpful this time of year.
Ryn: 44:00 Yeah. So if there’s any side of that relationship or even if you’re adjacent to such a relationship in your life, that’s a really good one to listen to for some help there. And then in episode 39 we talked about herbs for introverts and extroverts, which can be particularly helpful in the holiday regard if you maybe differ from the rest of your family on that introverted to extroverted scale. If you’re a black sheep in one way or another, then that could be a good one to listen to for some other emotional support ideas. So, yeah, I just wanted to kinda cross refer to some of those. She’s creating a little bit more.
Katja: 44:41 Also our youtube channel… It has a whole series of short little videos on herbs for the holidays where we went through… not all the different holidays, but a lot of different holidays.
Ryn: 44:56 We met some new ones to us in our experience and a hit a bunch of the top 40,
Katja: 45:04 Hahaha! The pop charts. We talked about herbs that are traditionally associated with those and so you might think that’s one too and on youtube we are a commonwealth herbs, just like on all social media.
Ryn: 45:18 Yeah. So go ahead and give that a look. We were looking at a couple of these today and realizing that we’ve recorded most of these in 2017 and boy have we learned a lot about video production since then!
Katja: 45:29 Yeah, sorry guys.
Ryn: 45:31 But we will be enhancing our youtube channel soon with some new material and we’ve got a bunch of fun ideas to get onto that, certainly in the new year, if not before.
Katja: 45:41 it is a project I really hope to dive into for December.
Ryn: 45:46 But if you’re on youtube then go ahead and subscribe to our channel there. And that way you won’t miss any updates.
Katja: 45:52 Because they’re going to be good.
Ryn: 45:54 And hey, if you haven’t already, you should subscribe to this podcast. We also really appreciate it if you rate and review, if you leave us a review, then we’ll give you a shout out and you can be Internet famous for 10 seconds.
Katja: 46:07 Yeah! For a whole episode!
Ryn: 46:08 Yeah, totally. And so we’ll be back next week to continue our Herby Holidays series and we hope that yours go well. We’ll be thinking of you.
Katja: 46:23 And now we’re gonna go eat some Turkey.
Ryn: 46:25 All right. See you next time.
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