Post by Contributing Writer, Stacy
Winter days are made for snuggling by the fire and reading a good book. I love to hear the crackle of wood inside the stove and sip warm tea as I soak in its warmth.
Peaceful and relaxing moments can be fleeting for a mother with young ones, but we take what we can get, don’t we?
In some parts of the country the winter seems to drag on and on. The cold gets old and we long for some sunshine. On those dreary days, it’s nice to do something special to comfort the soul.
Here are a few herbal comforts you might enjoy when a pick-me-up is in order:
Brew a Simple Cup of Tea
One teaspoon of dried herbs to one cup of boiling water is all that is needed to make a lovely brew of herbal goodness. Allow to steep for 5 to 10 minutes before straining. Then wrap your hands around the warm mug and sip away.
Some lovely herbs for tea drinking are: Chamomile, Mint, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Fennel, Dandelion Root, and Lemon Verbena.
A recent favorite, that makes a comforting cup is: 1 teaspoon chamomile and 1 teaspoon of dried orange rind to 2 cups of boiling water. Steep following the instructions above and sweeten with a little honey if desired.
Simmer Herbs on the Stove Top
A simple way to add some comforting fragrance to your home is to simmer a stick of cinnamon and a few cloves in a small pot of water. Do this on the stove-top (over low heat) or place on top of a wood burning stove (be very careful with little ones around).
Of course, there is no need to limit this to cinnamon and cloves, choose any herbs with fragrance you enjoy.
If you are feeling energetic, then you might like to try Michele’s Russian Tea; the house will smell good and you’ll have something lovely to drink too!
Take an Herbal Bath
Adding 5 to 10 drops of essential oil to a bathtub full of warm water can do wonders for your mood. Make sure the water is not too hot, or the oils may evaporate quickly. After adding the oil, agitate the water and soak for a minimum of 10 minutes.
Some great herbs for bathing include: Chamomile, Lavender, Geranium, Rosemary, Lemon, Clary Sage, and Bergamot.
Making a bath tea bag is also a lovely way to soak in some herbal benefits on a cold day.
Get (or Give) an Herbal Massage
A quick massage oil can be made by adding approximately 30 drops of essential oil to 1/4 cup of carrier oil (such as sweet almond oil, olive oil, or jojoba oil). Your mind and body will thank you even if the hands and feet are all that can be massaged. Michele’s ebook, A Natural Noel, has a recipe for a moisturizing homemade lotion, perfect for massage during dry winters, using a cheery orange essential oil (or another of your choice).
Massage is one of the most effective ways to use essential oils and it is also wonderful for stimulating the lymphatic system and boosting immunity.
Alternatively, a smaller amount could be made and massaged into the temples. Just add 2 to 4 drops of essential oil to 1 teaspoon of carrier oil. A lavender/chamomile blend is lovely for relaxation, or else a combination of lemon and peppermint is beneficial for reviving the senses.
Make an Herbal Foot Soak
Place 1/2 cup of dried herbs into a basin filled with 2 quarts of boiling water. Let sit for about 10 minutes to steep. Add enough cool water to make a comfortable temperature and soak your feet.
If you don’t wish to have herbs on your toes, steep the herbs in a bowl or pan then strain into the basin. You could also use 10 drops of essential oil in place of the herbs.
A wonderful combination for lifting the spirits is spearmint and lemon verbena. For colds and flu you may wish to try sage, echinacea, and ginger (found in Growing 101 Herbs that Heal by Tammi Hartung, page 133). For relaxing after a long day on your feet, try a pampering blend of lavender, tea tree, and peppermint.
To provide extra comfort for tired, achy feet, add 1/4 cup of sea salt to the hot water.
Adding something special to your day doesn’t have to be complicated. I hope this has given you a few ideas for warming your heart and soul and bringing a little comfort to those dreary days.
What do you do to lift spirits when it’s cold outside?
Stacy is wife to a preacher and mom to three busy children. She strives to live a healthy, happy life with God at the helm. Stacy writes about finding peace and joy at home, on her blog: Delighting in the Days.