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Here at The Alchemist’s Kitchen, our herbalists all have different preferences when it comes to self care practices. The one thing they all agree on is that herbal self care is of the utmost importance! Daily incorporation of herbs can truly deepen and support your self care routine. These herbs are your friends and allies; when used with care and respect, they will nourish, heal, center, and support you! As always, make sure you are sourcing your herbs from individuals or businesses using sustainable harvesting practices.

Here are ten herbal self care tips and routines that our herbalists love.

1. Herbal Infusions for Mineral Rich Nourishment

One of the simplest and more nourishing ways to bring herbal medicine into your self care practices is by making herbal infusions, also known as tisanes, or tea! However, while an average cup of tea generally gets steeped only a few minutes, an infusion is often steeped for 3-4 hours or overnight.

Simply pour 1 qt of boiling water over 1 oz of dried herbs, cover, let steep, strain in the morning, and enjoy. We recommend mineral rich herbs for herbal infusions, like Nettles, Milky Oat Tops, and Red Clover.

2. Luxe Herbal Baths In Your Own Home

This next herbal self care practice is just as time tested and simple: take an herbal bath! It’s just like taking a regular bath but so, so much better. Fill up your bathtub with hot water, and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil (we love Lavender!), a handful or so of fragrant herbs like Rose petals, Chamomile, Lemon Balm, or Peppermint, and a few tbsps of epsom salt for a seriously relaxing soak. Make sure to use a mesh drain cover, or alternately, put the herbs in a canvas tea bag and steep rather than scatter them in the water.

3. Cleanse And Center With Smoke Medicine  

If baths aren’t your thing, but you’d still like to feel refreshed and find a few moments of calm, burning Sage, Cedar, or Palo Santo will help to clear the air energetically, and of microbes and bacteria. Sage is considered the most cleansing, Cedar has protective properties, and Palo Santo invites in positivity and light to lift your spirits! Use an incense dish or shell to light the herbs, then fan the smoke so it wafts throughout your space. Burning these herbs can also be a helpful compliment to meditation practices.

4. Connect With Your Plants On The Astral Plane

Speaking of meditation practices, herbs are wonderful additions to any and all meditation or mindfulness exercises! Our herbalists love to meditate with living herbs they’re growing. One favorite meditation companion is a Tulsi, or Holy Basil, plant which is well known for its stress-relieving properties.

To meditate with any plant, interact with it first: touch and smell it, express gratitude that it is growing with you, and place it in front of you – or even hold it on your lap – while you clear your mind. If you don’t have a live plant to meditate with, burning herbs as mentioned above or working with dried herbs can still be a rewarding practice.

5. Diffuse Stress and Freshen Up Your Space

Another great way to fill your space with herbal goodness is to use a diffuser and essential oils! It’s a perfect solution if burning herbs is not an option. There are many different types of diffusers, so choose the one that makes the most sense for you, but always make sure you’re getting high quality essential oils. Diffuse Eucalyptus, Lemon, and Peppermint essential oils to freshen up stuffy spaces and help relieve congestion. Try calming herbs like Lavender, Cedarwood, and Ylang Ylang for mood-elevating and mind-calming effects.

6. Save Your Skin with Herbal Salve

All year long, herbal salves are a skin saver! Look for salves and balms containing herbal allies like Calendula, Comfrey, Plantain, St. John’s Wort, and Arnica; and natural ingredients, like beeswax, shea butter, and botanical oils. Apply a thin layer to dry or troubled skin on hands, feet, body, and even lips too. Re-apply as needed. Herbal salves can be used to both protect and heal skin exposed to bug bites, burns, irritants, cold weather, hot weather, and drying indoor AC/heating systems.

7. Herbs and Spice and Everything Nice

Our herbalists are always looking for ways to maintain vibrant health, and a large part of the herbal lifestyle is eating well. Cook with organic whole foods, and don’t shy away from the herbs and spices! Many herbs are available fresh throughout the year. Some favorites are: Sage, Rosemary, Oregano, Parsley, Cilantro, Turmeric, Pepper, Chillies, Ginger, Garlic, Cumin, and Fennel. Add to your meals for an easy upgrade in flavor and health benefits.

8. Microdose With Herbal Honey

Gut health is so important to absorbing and properly digesting all of our foods! Our herbalists are always thinking of creative ways to nurture the microbiome for optimal gut function. They recommend microdosing a teaspoon of raw, herbal honey every day– a wonderful remedy for environmental allergies as well. Honey contains beneficial bacteria and is a great vehicle for herbs, not to mention a tasty way to ingest them. Other microbiome-enhancing consumables such as herb-infused kombucha, and fermented foods like kraut, miso, kefir, and raw yogurt are valuable dietary additions too.

9. Support Your Immune System

No one likes to get sick, least of all our herbalists! When cold and flu season rolls around, they turn to herbal favorites for immune system support. Elderberry, Astragalus, and medicinal mushrooms like Reishi, Lion’s Mane, and Shiitake top the list. Warming herbs like Cloves, Ginger, and Cinnamon can offer much needed relief for colds and gastrointestinal ailments. For sore throat support, our herbalists love Sage, Thyme, Propolis, and of course, Honey.

10. Sleep Soundly, Dream Vibrantly

Last but not least, a good night’s sleep is the foundation of well-being! If you are having trouble sleeping, herbs can help. Many herbs like Passionflower, Skullcap, Hops, California Poppy, and Kava Kava can ease you into a good night’s sleep when taken internally. Our herbalists also recommend using Dream Sachets, or little herbal pillows, filled with dried Mugwort or Lavender to aid in a relaxing and restful sleep.

Start simply. See which of these herbal self care tips resonates most with you, and try the practice for one week. Next week, try another. If you are already using some of these practices, try something new. Make sure you are sourcing you herbs from a reputable, sustainable company. Most importantly: take care of yourself. Ease into the New Year with herbal allies and outstanding health.

Micaela Foley

Micaela Foley is a certified herbalist with an educational background in energetic and clinical herbalism, alchemy, & medical astrology. She completed the clinical practitioner course at Blue Otter School of Herbal Medicine in Northern California and the foundational year program at ArborVitae School of Traditional Herbalism in New York City. Her herbal writings can be found through wellness resources like mindbodygreen, Shape magazine, & The Alchemist’s Kitchen, where she previously managed the herbal program. Currently, she lives and farms in Rhode Island. Micaela's herbal practice is committed to social activism, accessibility, & empowerment through education and mutual aid. She is available for private sessions, clinical work, & as a teacher, writer, and consultant.

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