A herbalists notebook during lockdown
At the start of lock down, I offered a few posts on Welcome World Herbal Teas face book page covering supporting and nourishing the body in the context of the coronavirus arising in our communities and the World.
Today I offer herbal musings from a notebook I have kept during this period we call lockdown. Some of which have come from listening and responding to clients direct experience. Some have come from my own direct experience and insights gathered from the small amount of information now available about the virus.
Always acknowledging the very little any of us know about this virus. As you may have seen in scientific videos/images of how this virus enters the body and invades the different systems of the physiology. The virus has a profound intelligence in terms of invading the body and an extreme contagious ability.
A virus not to be underestimated at any point and asking of us our full attention whether we contract varying degrees of symptoms or not. Throughout this period all of us have been touched deeply by the lives lost as a result of the virus and the amazing work of all the key and health workers. So many key and health workers have responded with open hearts to be of assistance to others.
What do I mean by full attention?
This will be different for each of us. Each body/mind responds uniquely to illness, to situations arising and to stress/anxiety. So many threads can be part of each response be that our inherited physiology, our experienced conditioning, our experienced life story, remnants sometimes held in the body/mind.
In very general terms we could say there is an invitation for each of us to listen, both inwardly and externally to what is arising.
Always life is offering us signposts to dive deeper, to discover more about about our self. If we choose to listen to such signposts, they may on the surface level point to the body, the mind, external circumstances, remnants of old beliefs and residues of conditioning. This is always an invitation to discover who we truly are.
Softening the gaze as we gently allow whatever has been signposted to, be held in the loving arms of the Great Mother can be of such assistance in diving deeper within to what is true. Often when the gaze is tight/constricted life feels precarious and uneasy.
If we take a relatively common shared example say of tension in the solar plexus area. If the gaze is tight we can find the mind becoming busy with the past and the future. Busy with the "what ifs", or "yes buts", busy with the details of what may not even exist within this moment. Often missing what is actually here and now. The tension can intensify almost as if gathering evidence for all our anxieties.
When we soften the gaze, we allow the whole picture as it were to be seen. In our example, we see the interconnectedness of the whole physiology. We discover the body is not a closed system. We can use the breath, breathing in Love breathing out Love to relax the body, to relax the nervous system. We can experience the spaciousness that exists all around and within the body welcoming the tension. From here a deep relaxation and openness arises .
Taking care of the body/mind during lock down
There has been a universal call for us to meet humility within our daily lives. An arising of not knowing what is going to occur in so many aspects of our lives. I have witnessed that a known wisdom arises in each of us when we truly meet humility.
Wisdom is always fluid. If it is held tightly to beliefs and opinions it is always limited, contained, lacking in openness and the limitless potential of life, which is always moving or we could say vibrating.
We can respond to the body/mind with the same humility. We can deeply listen to the body, we can respond with care and nourishment. We can allow an unfolding process to be liberated, moment by moment. Allowing sensations to arise, move through and dissolve back into the source they arose from. We can start from not knowing, responding to the invitation to deeply listen and discover our actions are infused with care and nourishment.
To discover more about deeply listening to the body the course The Great Mother and the Amazing Power Of Softness is available as distance learning with personal monthly skypes with Amanda
Reflections on our herbal allies during this time of lockdown.
Ah I have always enjoyed such gratitude for the blessings of cinnamon.
Whether it is enjoying the delights of taste and smell of my much missed at this time cinnamon bun from our local artisan bakery.
Enjoying sprinkling this wonderful powder of cinnamon into daily cooking.
Or knowing it is sitting in my apothecary ready to be added to infusions and decoctions.
Cinnamon is packed with antioxidants and promotes wellbeing and health in so many ways.
It is a gentle astringent and at the same time a demulcent (the joys of herbalism!)
Supporting and nourishing the digestive system, the nervous system.
It is considered a blood thinner.
In terms of upper body feeling overheated in a fever and the extremities of the body feeling cold, cinnamon infusion is a great blessing.
A wonderful ally for inflammation of membranes and tissue.
Amandas' evening chai
Place the following in a pan.
- Angelica archangelica (wonderful support for the lungs, digestion and pelvic area)
- Hibiscus flowers
(you can add lemon peel, dandelion root also if you wish)
Add water and gently simmer on the stove. Strain and add milk if you wish (I love almond milk with this) then sprinkle with turmeric powder. Enjoy.
A great night time cuppa packed with goodness.
I feel I do not need to say much about garlic as its amazing properties are so widely known by most people.
I will offer this great fiery dressing that includes a lot of garlic for hot and cold food.
In a kilner jar or a good screw top jar place chopped onions, garlic ginger turmeric horseradish. Add a chopped lemon including the juice.
Pour over (all the ingredients ) apple cider vinegar to the top of the jar. You do not want any air to get in. Place somewhere you will see it regularly and turn/shake each time you go by. Do this for 5 days then strain and keep in the fridge.
You can either take a spoonful a couple of times a day or use as a dressing.
This fire vinegar gets the blood moving and also in a way thins the blood so it flows easily.
I can not sing the praises enough of head steams for moving along phlegm and mucus off the lungs which is so important during these times.
I shared how to use these in the Welcome World Herbal Teas face book page. Do take a look.
I have been suggesting to clients and using myself eucalyptus for the head steams. You could also use thyme or sage.
The bath can also be a great place to ease and remove any phelgm and mucus from the lungs. Add a strained strong infusion of any of the above herbs (my preference would be eucalyptus) to a hot bath. You could use a sage stick in the bathroom before getting into the bath water. Or a night light infuser in the room with thyme or eucalyptus oil burning.
Herbal cuppas of any of the following or a formula including a few herbs.
- Olive leaf
- Oat straw
Will all support wellbeing and nourish the immune system, the nervous system.
Lets not forget the shining star of marshmallow root that soothes inflammation and nourishes tissue ( see the face book posts for how this powdered nectar is such assistance.)
No matter how small the expression of kindness towards the body is offered, it will begin an enlivening process.
Valuing some form of quiet time each day supports and nourishes an inner stability.
Quiet time does not have to mean being physically still, although it may also mean this. I am speaking of quietening the movement of activity in the arena of thoughts and emotions. Let them be, for some time during the day. Allowing everything to be as it is here now in the moment. This offers us the opportunity to value and investigate something other than the physicological dialogue. To deeply listen.
I will end with these beautiful lines borrowed from the poet Ilie Cioara.
In humble encounter, we find the source of the sacred
thinking is spontaneously silent, revealing the Truth
By itself and through itself it detaches us from the dimension of time
In silence, in true peace lies the whole mystery !