Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy Heart for Heart Health Month

photo courtesy Crystal
February, Heart Health Month, Valentines Day, and for many of us, COLD.  Winter is coming to an end, so said the groundhog, but this month often feels the coldest.  Sure our days are getting longer and the sun is higher in the sky, but everything lags a little.  We stayed busy through the really short days planning and celebrating the holidays, but now it all catches up to us in the form of cold, depression, and cabin fever.   With cold and winter, we tend to go inside more.  Inside our houses, inside our blankets, inside ourselves.  This is a good thing to do.  It’s a great time to rest, dream, and plan for what may come ahead.  We need to get back in touch with ourselves and be a little introverted at times.  I see it as a switch of focus and a time to work on personal things.  But with this going inside, we may start to close off the outside.

I’m probably not alone in my tendency to drop my head into my chest and fold my arms and hug myself in at this time of year.  But by February, I start to really feel the effects of this.  My shoulders and neck become tight, my back may hurt, and my chest and heart are closed in, tense, protected, retaining warmth.  I have to remind myself to stretch, open my chest, let my love light shine and try to absorb any warmth and love that I can!  It may be hard to convince yourself to get out in the cold to attend a yoga class, but do it!  This is where I was awakened to the importance of the heart.  In fact, whenever I think about the heart, I immediately think of a lovely lady I know, Crystal, who lovingly shared the photos you see throughout this heart page.  So many of her yoga classes are centered around the heart and little hearts seem to follow her everywhere!
We also may notice that people can be really grouchy around this time of year.  Perhaps they’ve closed off their hearts a little too much.  February
being Heart Health month, and Valentines Day right in the middle of the month are all great reminders to nourish our hearts and spread more love to ourselves as well as everyone around us.
This months tea selection is Happy Heart.  This is a blend consisting of Hawthorn, Motherwort, Rosehips and Rose Petals, Scullcap, Jasmine, Lavender and Basil. It was made to help heal the physical, emotional and spiritual heart.  Hawthorn, Rose, Lavender and Jasmine all help to balance the Heart Chakra.  Many of these herbs are also nervines.  Nervines soothe the nerves, which can help us relax, combat stress and melt our problems away.  A customer going through a tough time once told me that this tea was like a warm blanket wrapped around her heart.  Hearing that warmed my heart as well!

photo courtesy Crystal
Hawthorn has been used for hundreds of years for the physical heart.  It contains anti-oxidants for the heart and blood vessels.  It can be good for general heart support and protection, lowering blood pressure, heart murmurs and diabetic heart problems.
Motherwort is another herb for the physical heart.  It acts as a nervine, calming the nerves throughout the body, including the heart.  It protects and calms the heart, sounds quite motherly to me!
Rose hips and petals work a little more on the emotional side of the heart.  It can help relieve that constricting feeling we may feel in the chest and abdomen when we are emotionally stressed or grieving.  Spiritually, rose represents honesty, the ability to love and nurture, and creates joy and a positive outlook.
Scullcap, is another nervine and sedative that can help promote meditation and is a great herb for stress relief.  Stress is well, stressful on the heart.  We can feel it any time we are nervous, anxious, angry, scared.  Our heart pounds and our “blood boils”.  We feel so so much in the heart.  What better way to care for the heart than to help it and the rest of the body relax?
Jasmine is yet another sedative, although gentle.  It may also help to lower blood pressure.  And it will help attract spiritual love.  Just the smell of the jasmine and other flowers in this blend help me relax and feel loved.
Lavender, the third flower in this bouquet of a tea is also a mild nervine and sedative.  You’ve probably used lavender in the evenings to help you relax.  Maybe you have a diffuser in the bedroom or spray a couple spritz of lavender on your pillow habitually.  It is calming and soothing, yet uplifting.  Spiritually it brings love, serenity and trust.
And then there’s that little hint of basil.  It is yet another mild nervine.  Spiritually it brings love, protection and wealth.  The scent is said to bring sympathy between two lovers and soothes tempers between them.

photo courtesy Crystal

So as we fight through this last bit of winter with dreams of warmer weather and happy flowers, let’s warm our hearts and souls with relaxation and love.  Treat yourself with care, take a yoga class, make some time to meditate, breathe in the scents of some healing flowers, and drink some herbal tea.  Let’s warm our hearts to give them the best care and show this love organ a little love!

Tea of the Month Club

A common practice for herbal healing is to focus on and spend some time healing and toning that area with an herb or formula of herbs.  The amount of time spent can vary depending on how severe the problem is, if there is one at all.  If you just want to tone the area, a month may be enough.  For a more severe problem such as cancer, lyme disease or arthritis, many months or years may need to be spent.  For a problem like the common cold, I start with echinacea, elder berry and extra vitamin c when I notice that people around me are getting sick.  I stick with it until I notice fewer people sniffling and coughing.  This could be a month, or unfortunately it could go on for many months.  If this doesn’t work and I get the cold too, I add more herbs and more cups of tea until I feel better!  For other problems, such as hormonal balance, I may stick with the herbs for 2 months and then take some time off to see how things have gone.  When my heart is feeling heavy, I seek out soothing herbs and may only need them for a few days.
Given the nature of herbs and the slow action they may take, a month is often needed to feel effects.  But depending on your individual body, some people may notice changes in as little as a few days.  How much you take in also has an effect.  With teas, I like to drink 1-3 glasses a day.  You may choose to drink the 3 glasses a day to feel optimum results. Using the cold example again, if I have a cold, I’ll drink 3 or even more glasses a day.  If I’m just trying to boost my immune system in attempts to prevent a cold, I’ll just have on cup a day.  Even one cup every few days can still be doing your body good!  That’s one more cup of goodness, and hopefully one less cup of some sugary drink!
Back to the tea of the month… All of my tea blends were created with a specific purpose in mind, usually reflected in the title.  These blends are not a cure for any problem, but can help as an aid.  I’ve chosen one of these blends specifically for each month of the year.  Each month I will talk more about why I chose each blend.
Teas will be sent out the week before the beginning of the month to make sure you have that tea to start drinking on or around the first of the month.  There’s no strict schedule here, some blends are good for an entire season.  You don’t have to stay on schedule, but if you choose to we can hopefully have discussions about the focus for the month.
Below is a list of teas we may be drinking:
January-Drift Off To Dreamland
February-Happy Heart
March-Tranquil Tummy
April-De-Toxic Avenger
May-Berry Brainy
June-Aphrodite’s Blend
July-Kooling On The Shore
August-Gingerly Lemon-Aid
September-Sing Like A Bird
October-Fall Into Smiles