Bah Humbug Blues? Belly Upset? Support Your Body with Herbal Solutions!

The holidays are a time of great joy, but also a time of stress for many. Stress can take its toll on the body in a number of ways, affecting mood, draining energy, or causing stomach upset.

Using herbal teas is the easiest way to obtain the benefits, but adding them to recipes, using them in their pure essential oil form on the body, and simply just spritzing them into the air can be effective too. Some easy herbal solutions:

* Raring to go with Rosemary – Add a bit to homemade desserts and meat rubs, or use pure rosemary essential oil to your bath (I added 2 large sprigs of it to my turkey leg stew last night – could rosemary’s brain-stimulating properties be why I’m raring to go today? Maybe, it could also be because I know I’m a bit behind on my holiday tasks and need to get a move on! But I like to believe the rosemary helped just a bit. )

* Lay Low with Lavender – Need to take some time to just chill out or tame some tension? Think lavender! Lavender, a known relaxant, is most commonly used as an air spritzer, or used in baths, but it also makes a wonderful tea and as an added touch to bread recipes, desserts, or jellies and jams. (NOTE: When using lavender in cooking, a very small amount goes a long way.)

* Boost Your Brain – Gingko Biloba and sage are front runners for brain boosting. Gingko biloba is known for its blood thinning and circulation properties, and while the leaves can be used in cooking, a favorite way to ingest is by drinking it in tea form (don’t use if on blood-thinning medications). Sage is much easier to use in holiday cooking and sometimes the aroma itself helps shift brain fog. A small amount of sage can be added to honey as well.

* Tummy Troubles – Ginger, peppermint and chamomile will all soothe an upset tummy. Two of the best ways to calm what ails you in the belly department are by rubbing their pure essential oils (blended with a carrier oil) clockwise on the belly while laying down, or by drinking their teas. I have no favorites here – I love them all equally!

* Carb Control – Cinnamon and fennel are two favorites when it comes to carb control. Cinnamon has been shown to slow carb absorption and can be added to foods, holiday drinks, or by simply heating on the stove for its aroma. Fennel contains the trace mineral molybdenum and may be helpful in burning up some carbs to be used as energy, as well as reducing feelings of hunger. Both versatile and aromatic, fennel is used in salads, as a side dish, and as a tea.

* Moods that need Motivating – Sometimes the bah humbugs get to the best of us. If you find you need to shift your mood and could use some motivation fast, think citrus! From lemon to lime to orange and grapefruit, two of the best ways to feel the effects fast are through smelling the essential oil versions (producing almost immediate results), or by adding the juices of the fruits themselves to your water or tea. Used in recipes, the possibilities are endless when it comes to citrus.

* Cool your Crankiness – If you feel like you’re going to lose your cool and would love nothing better than to rip into someone, don’t! First try some vanilla and keep it on hand in your purse or car at all times. Vanilla helps release serotonin, inducing calm rather quickly. Equally effective whether inhaled or massaged in the skin, so keep spritzers and lotions close by is a good idea.

The beauty of herbs is that they are available year round, and they can be used in ways that accommodate hectic schedules during the holiday season. Making teas and applying or smelling pure essential oils are the quickest fixes, but using them in recipes is quite effective as well.

Sometimes using simple herbal solutions give us the gentle support we need, so give them a try.