General Guidelines for Using Herbal Powders
- Make sure that your herbal powders are medicinally potent by using them within six to nine months of when they were ground up. Some herbal powders degrade much quicker and all will last better when stored in an air-tight container in a cold and dark place (like a refrigerator).
- Start with single powders before moving onto blends. I recommend this all the time, not just for herbal powders. If you really want to track and understand how an herb is affecting you, using them one at a time is one of the clearest ways of achieving this.
- Dosage varies widely depending on a person constitution as well as condition. 1/4 teaspoon - 1 teaspoon (or roughly 1 to 4 grams) 1 to 3 times a day is a relatively standard dose. It’s always best to consult your materia medica and/or herbal practitioner for dosage guidelines as well as listening to your body.
Nearly any herb can be powdered, so the possibilities for using herbal powders in your practice are practically endless. Below I’ve listed three of my favorite herbal powders of the moment with brief descriptions of their healing benefits.
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp.)
Let’s start with a spice that is easy to find! Cinnamon has been in use since at least ancient Egypt (where it’s use was first recorded) and probably much longer than that. It’s a warming herb which stimulates digestion, helps regulate blood sugar, and increases vitality. Cinnamon improves memory while uplifting the spirits (which makes it a great herb for students). It protects against and clears up colds and ‘flus as well as being stimulating to the circulatory system. If you’re struggling with low energy, mental fatigue, and anxiousness, especially when mixed with sugar cravings, Cinnamon might be a great ally for you. The herb can be added to a variety of dishes to enhance flavor which makes itsuch an easy herb to incorporate into your herbal practice.
Ashwagandha (Withania somniferum)
Ashwagandha is known as a rasayana or a rejuvenative herb in Ayurveda and it’s classified as an adaptogen in western herbalism. It is the adaptogen that I reach for most regularly and my absolute favorite way to prepare it is as a milky evening drink (recipe below). Ashwagandha nourishes the brain and neural pathways of the body while restoring strength after a period of stress or illness. Use for cases of auto-immune disease, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, brain fog, as well as insomnia, anxiety, nervous exhaustion, and stress. It’s a wonderful addition to your diet if you’re an athlete or work out regularly - you can use it as part of your pre-work-out snack. Topically, it also assists with alleviating muscle pain. Ashwaghanda has a mild, slightly bittersweet taste which is one reason that it’s so easy to add to beverages and food.
Moringa (Moringa oleifera)
I met Moringa a few years back when I received some tea as part of an herbal swap. The leaves of the Moringa tree are nutrient dense and a great source of protein. It’s a brain and liver tonic, anti-arsenic, antioxidant-rich, and a source of stress-reducing magnesium. Moringa helps to lower cholesterol, manage blood sugar levels, and there have been hopeful studies done regarding it’s anti-cancer capabilities. The herb also helps to increase milk-supply for breastfeeding folks and because it is so nutrient dense and stress-alleviating I like to recommend it as a postpartum herb. Moringa is mild in flavor and I usually add it to my morning smoothie.
Other herbs that I often use in powdered form include: Nettles (Urtica dioica), Sacred Basil (Ocimum sanctum), Spirulina, Chlorella, Astragalus, Chicory (Cichorium intybus), and Eleuthero.
Herbal Powder Milk Tea
I like to prepare this in the evening about an hour before bed as a sweet treat to end my day and begin to prepare myself for the next.
Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of powdered herb to 1 cup of your milk of choice. Bring the milk to almost boiling, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add sweetener of choice (honey is traditional, but coconut sugar is another good option). If you use brown rice milk, which is naturally sweet, you don’t need to add any extra sweetener. If I’m making this with Ashwagandha, I’ll add a dash of Cinnamon at the end. Drink and enjoy!