Feeling a little blue is pretty common for all of us. Sadness can strike on any scale, ranging from a simple Blue Monday to lingering, debilitating heartache. We all struggle with difficult emotions that, at times, can seem to overshadow everything else. Luckily, our herbal allies may be able to help ease the hurt.
Out here in the Pacific Northwest, our winters are often characterized by months of a steady, rainy drizzle and low-hanging, charcoal-grey skies. As a transplant myself, I can attest that it’s not easy to get used to. As the weeks drag on, the rain bites harder and the clouds squeeze in a little closer, making every day feel more “blue.” You know that feeling? When you wake up in a cozy bed on a cold Monday morning, with the excitement of the weekend behind you and the work week ahead? It can put a strain on your heart and mind. This experience is common to so many people, there’s even a specific day associated with this glum feeling—“Blue Monday.”
Commonly observed on the third Monday of January, Blue Monday is thought to mark a time of general discouragement in the Northern Hemisphere. It's a time when the winter holidays have passed, leaving many of us physically, emotionally, and financially drained; when days are short, cold, and damp; when New Year's resolutions may start to fall by the wayside; and when many folks find themselves dealing with the fallout from the relationship breakups that seem to cluster around the holiday season.
There are many ways to break a heart and, fortunately, there are as many ways to help mend it. No matter what helps you ride out your rough seas, true healing can take time, honesty, and a willingness to face your feelings head-on. Maybe your Monday woes have lingered all week and you need a way to put that pep back in your step, or maybe you’ve had to fully surrender to grief and you’re working hard to get on the path to wellness. Luckily, there are plant allies growing all around us that support our overall well-being throughout life's ups and downs. While herbs won’t make the sadness disappear, they may help make the grieving process more endurable, allowing you to transition to a stronger place faster and healthier.
“Happy Heart” Support Syrup Recipe
Makes about 2 cups
This is the perfect rejuvenating formula to support your health through difficult emotional times. You can drizzle it over pancakes, ice cream, or just take it straight by the spoonful. It’s easy to make and tastes wonderful.
- 3 cups cold water
- 1/2 cup organic elder berries
- 1/2 cup organic hawthorn berries
- 1/4 cup organic rosehips
- 1 organic cinnamon stick
- 3/4 to 1 cup raw, local honey
- 1 1/2 oz. brandy or organic skullcap tincture (optional preservative)
- Combine cold water with herbs in a pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and allow herbs to simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Remove from heat and mash the berries in the liquid mixture.
- Strain the herbs through cheesecloth and squeeze out the juice.
- Measure the liquid and add an equal amount of honey.
- Gently heat the honey and juice for a few minutes until well combined, but do not boil!
- Stir in optional brandy or tincture and pour the finished syrup into sterilized glass bottles.
- Label and keep refrigerated for up to 6 months.
More Herbs for the Heart
Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis)—This wonderful herb promotes healthy relaxation and sleep*. I prefer about a half pipette of the extract (or 15 drops) on occasional sleepless nights, or I’ll sip on a cup of Fidnemed Nighttime Tea. Within minutes, I feel calm and well rested. This herb can be taken along with skullcap for helping to quiet obsessive thoughts before bed. For some people, however, valerian can have the opposite effect, causing more worry and stimulation. If this happens to you, try hops in place of valerian for a more calming effect.
Hawthorn berries (Crataegus monogyna)—These berries are recommended by the magnificent herbalist Rosemary Gladstar. Hawthorn also supports healthy cardiovascular functioning*, as well as having antioxidants, and it tastes nice too. Take as a tincture, tea, syrup, or jam.
Elder berries (Sambucus ebulus)—Elder berries are beloved for recipe making and other herbal creations, as they support healthy immune system functioning*. They also happen to taste delicious and can be used as tea, tincture, or syrup.
Rosehips (Rosa spp.)—Rosehips are the fruits produced by roses. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, 1 cup (127g) of wild rosehips contains over 500 mg. of the antioxidant, Vitamin C (total ascorbic acid)**. They taste similar to tart cranberries and they can be used in teas, syrups, and jam.
*This information is based on Ayurvedic Medicine, which often uses natural herbs and nutrients to support health. The information about these ingredients has not been evaluated or approved by the FDA, nor is it based on scientific evidence from U.S. sources. This product is intended to support general well-being and not intended to treat disease or illness. If conditions persist, please seek advice from your medical doctor.
**For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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