Winter Herbs, Anna Bazarnaya

With the Winter Solstice of December 21st of 2019, we entered the season of Winter. In classical Chinese Medicine, it is considered the time for inward reflection, rest, recharge, and restoration. The strategy of slowing down, getting more rest, and eating substantial warming food replenish the reserves of energy depleted over the year. We need this rest and recharge time to build enough reserve to draw from when a new cycle starts again in Spring. It is also a time for reflection, withdraw from the swirl of worldly life around us, and explore more of our depths. 

Winter is the strongest Yin time of the year. The element associated with this time of the year is Water and the two organs are the Kidneys/Adrenals and urinary bladder, both of which process the most of yin/water in our body. Water is an essential element to life and continues growth. It is nourishing, refreshing, and invigorating. We can see the analogy between the human body and the planet Earth; they both consist of 70-80 percent water.  

The cold days of Winter may present the challenges to the urinary system and the fluid balance in the body. If you experience headaches, muscle cramps, reduced sweating, constipation, and overheating – you may be dehydrated. Women generally need nine, and men need up to thirteen cups of water a day. Other potential physical challenges that may occur if the water element is weak:

  • lower back pain
  • knee pain and weakness
  • bone, teeth and hearing issues
  • vertigo and dizziness
  • weakness of vitality

Each element and its corresponding season are associated with specific health challenges. So are specific herbs and essential oils that are said to belong to that element and believed to help maintain and restore the balance of that element. 

The Winter herbs that you can take in capsules, teas or tinctures are Ashwagandha root, Astragalus root, Ginger root, and Olive Leaf. Essential oils that have been said by the Classical Chinese Medicine practitioners are associated with the water element include the following: 

  • Black Pepper
  • Carrot Seed
  • Cedarwood
  • Geranium
  • Ginger
  • Juniper 
  • Nutmeg

Essential oils of other elements that may have a very positive effect during Winter include:

  • Angelica
  • Lavender
  • Basil
  • Myrrh
  • Patchouli
  • Cardamom
  • Pine
  • Coriander
  • Rose
  • Cypress
  • Sandalwood
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Jasmine

You can use individual essential oils and inhale directly from the bottle, add 2-3 drops in your room diffuser, add to your bodycare products (not more than 1-2%) or create your own blends.

The core emotion associated with Winter and Water element is fear. The aspect of Spirit that especially comes to play in this season is Zhi, which generates our will to survive and our ability to surrender. This aspect of the Spirit is responsible for bringing out courage and creating wisdom. Psychospiritual issues of this season center around excessive fear and insecurity, low willpower, and low self-confidence. Or on the contrary, arrogant or belligerent behavior that can potentially arise for some as a defense against fear and low self-esteem. 

The Maitri Verde’s Confidence Aromatherapy blend contains Cardamom, Patchouli, two types of Frankincense, and Black Pepper. The aromatic ingredients can help you overcome the Winter seasonal physical and emotional challenges while boosting your immune system and fighting bacterias and viruses with their broad antimicrobial properties. 

Frankincense helps us let go of our ‘stuff’ (that overpacked suitcase that the ego insists on hauling everywhere), releasing our grip on insecurity, self-judgment, and material concerns. Plus, Frankincense is a remarkable antioxidant that eases stress, on top of being a broad-spectrum antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal agent. 

The essential oil of Bergamot (I use the furanocoumarin-free one, which is non-phototoxic) helps us in the areas of self-love, self-worth, self-acceptance, self-judgment, and self-loathing. This oil helps do the work necessary to step out of one’s fears of not being good enough to hold back for fear of rejection. It instills validation within, allowing us to accept our authenticity while not worrying about the opinions of others.

Patchouli connects us to our own body, helping to release patterns of shame or ‘not being enough’ about our bodies, and enables us to feel more love and acceptance towards our physical self. It does this by acting as grounding support, helping you to reconnect with, and settle into your body. It aligns the heart chakra with the root and sacral chakras. It does this by releasing obsessions, insecurities, and jealousies while enhancing our desire to live a fuller life.

Cardamom warms up a cold heart, helping at times when we are emotionally drained. It builds up confidence and self-esteem and restores Chi/Prana/Vital Force. Cardamom helps fight the feelings of self-pity, mental overthinking, over-worrying, dizziness, mental fatigue, and indecisiveness.

Black Pepper is a well-known aphrodisiac that increases self-confidence and is grounding and stabilizing at the same time. Some authorities recommend it for concentration and memory loss. It is known to heighten alertness, assertiveness, and improves the user’s self-image.

This Winter, nourish your heart, your body, mind, and soul not only with food but also with the company you keep and the other influences that you allow in your life. Now is an excellent time to step back and take care of your own emotional and spiritual needs by coming into a deeper awareness of what matters to YOU. If you take care of yourself now, you will build a foundation for maintaining health through the coming year and a new cycle that will begin in Spring!

Live healthy and happy with the seasons!

Anna Bazarnaya is at Stones Throw for herbal and crystal consultations every Wednesday from 11am-3pm. For more information, contact MAITRIVERDE.COM
consultations | aromatherapy | flower essences | aromatic distillations
(415) 450 0947