“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” — Audre Lorde
Self-love and self-care are revolutionary. Our mental, emotional, and physical well-being; how we show up in the world; how we interact with those around us—so much is dependent on how we care for ourselves. No one feels great after several nights of scant sleep, days of junk food, weeks of stress, or mental cycles of self-loathing. It’s nearly impossible to be present for our lives if we don’t care for ourselves, and (in the words of RuPaul), if we don’t love ourselves, how in the hell are we gonna love somebody else? But how do we allow ourselves to be loved? How do we practice self-care? Let’s begin by looking to our herbal allies for the answers. Here are 5 ways herbs for self love can be incorporated into your practice:
1. Grow them!
2. Consume them!
Nourish your body the way nature intended. Herbs are powerhouses of the nutrition that we desperately need! For example, nettles are alkalizing, anti-inflammatory, and have a high iron and mineral content.
Try making an overnight infusion (tea steeped and covered over 8+ hours) and drinking the next day. Chamomile or tulsi tea will help to soothe frayed nerves.
Make pesto for dinner with basil, wild greens, and garlic for a carminative, oxygenating meal. Add ginger and chai spices to baked goods or a creamy dessert to help build digestive fire. Elderberry syrup on pancakes is a delicious immune booster. Black pepper helps us absorb more vitamin and minerals from our food. The combinations and possibilities are endless!
3. Connect with your culture!
4. Expand emotional resilience!
5. Soothe your skin!
Plants and herbs love us unconditionally, despite all we’ve put them through. They nourish us with minerals, vitamins, flavonoids, carbohydrates, and oxygen, making it possible for us to exist on this planet. They heal cuts, bruises, and imbalances in our bodies and on a spiritual and emotional level. They grow, against all odds, through cracks in the sidewalk, under extreme conditions, despite pollution, and offer themselves to us with unyielding love.