• 26 March 2021

  • Tips from the herbalist

Tips from the Exmoor Herbalist: March

As the days get lighter, we share some warming words and supportive herbal blends from the Exmoor Herbalist Jane.

"In the Coligny calendar of the Gaulish druids, we are in the time of Ogronios, Mid-February to Mid-March. This is the cool month, part of the dark half of the year, heading towards Ostara and returning to the green days of spring. The last year has held a similar feeling of being “in the dark” with the usual winter restrictions of limited daylight, cold weather and less time outside. In addition to lengthy lockdowns and minimal contact with others due to Covid, it has been a difficult year and it has had an impact on our mental wellbeing.

Covid is creating less equality, less so even than in Victorian times. Mental wellbeing is influenced by several biological, psychological, social and environmental factors which interact in complex ways.

These include structural factors such as safe living environments, employment, education, freedom from discrimination and violence, and access to economic resources. Community factors such as a positive sense of belonging, community connectedness, activities to highlight and embrace diversity, social support, and participation in society, and Individual factors such as the ability to manage thoughts and cope with stressors and having communication and social skills to support connection with others.

It can be so very easy for us to take our mental health for granted; to prioritise other things; to put it off until next week. It can also seem too big and too hard. But it’s not. There are some things everyone can do.

Get enough sleep and rest. Sleep affects our physical and mental health, but can be the first thing we trade in when we get busy or stressed. Take time out for things you enjoy. Balance in life is important, so taking time out for things you enjoy can make a difference to how you think and feel. Be active and eat well. Our physical and mental health is closely linked, so adding exercise and nutritious food every day can make us feel better.

Nurture relationships and connect with others. Our connection to others is what builds us up and keeps us strong. There are some wonderful herbs that can support us through times of compromised social and emotional wellbeing, through anxiety & depression, grief and insomnia.

Here are some teas to help:
Chamomile is a firm favourite for anxiety and is suitable to give to children who are struggling with the effects of Covid too.

A fragrant and relaxing blend of blend Rose, Limeflower and Oatstraw can smooth down the stresses and tensions we may experience from time to time. To prepare 100g: (use 1 teaspoon of the blend per cup)
Rose Petals 30g
Limeflower 30g
Oats Flowering Tops 40g

Rosemary, Lemon balm, Lemon myrtle, Lemon peel and Lemon verbena will help to raise lowered spirits with a zesty green herbal taste, it feels like spring in a cup. To prepare 100g: (use 1 teaspoon of the blend per cup)
Lemon balm 20g
Lemon Verbena 30g
Lemon Myrtle 30g
Lemon Peel 10g
Rosemary 10g

Plantain, with its long, ribbed finger like leaves helps us to unwind when we are feeling stressed out to our limits and combines beautifully with Passionflower, Vervain and Skullcap. To prepare 100g: (use 1 teaspoon of the blend per cup)
Plantain 40g
Passionflower 20g
Vervain 20g
Skullcap 20g

Bilberry, Tulsi and Gotu kola bring our emotions back into balance and return to us the capacity to see things clearly and as they are. The bright beauty of Marigold petals bring vibrancy to the blend and our souls. Add a little local honey to sweeten and to boost our immune systems. To prepare 100g: (use 1 teaspoon of the blend per cup)
Bilberry 20g
Tulsi 30g
Gotu Kola 20g
Marigold petals 30g

There are things we can do to help ourselves and others around us: Learn to manage stress. If you have trouble winding down or managing thoughts you may find relaxation, yoga or writing your feelings down helpful Get involved and join in. Being part of a group with common interests provides a sense of belonging so find out about sporting, music, volunteer or community groups locally Build your confidence. Learning improves your mental fitness and taking on a new challenge can build confidence and give you a sense of achievement

Be comfortable in your own skin.
Everyone is unique and should be celebrated.
Know who you are and what makes you happy.
Set realistic goals and deal with tasks one at a time - it is good to be specific when you set a goal to help keep you on track.
Reach out for help when you need it. Everyone needs support from time to time. Talking to a family member, a friend, your herbalist, your doctor or one of the many services available can make all the difference. Stay well, be kind to oneself and others. Spring is soon coming."