Winter Warmer : A Gentle Adaptogenic Bitters Brew
I was trading for a tarot deck (something which I love to do) and needed to come up with an herbal remedy as part of the deal. Looking at my tincture cabinet a glowing yellow extract sang out - use me! It was my batch of fresh Ginger (Zingiber officinalis) alcohol extract and from there I created a warming winter potion that has become one of my favorite seasonal remedies.
The winter time can be full of all sorts of enchantment. There's merriment to be had, good food to eat, dark skies to cuddle under, hot drinks to be drunk. And there's also family (for better or for worse), way too much emphasis on consumerism (rather than true giving), and it can be really, really cold (which can be hard on our sweet humxn bodies).
What I like about my Winter Warmer blend is that it brings heat to the body while also helping out our nervous system and supporting our digestive health. One remedy, many uses - just how I like them. With only a few ingredients, it's easy to make, but the key is to use fresh Ginger to get that delicious spicy bite (don't worry though - I've adjusted the recipe if you only have dried Ginger on hand).
Ginger (Zingiber officinalis) is a warming stimulant most often used in traditional western herbalism to energize a sluggish circulatory system. It assists with indigestion by waking up our internal digestive fires and clearing out stagnation. I like adding Ginger into blends where I want to break up some tension (hello family during the winter holidays) and find that the herb works well with other classic nervines like Milky Oat.
Milky Oat (Avena sativa) is my most favorite nervine. I love Milky Oat. I love standing in fields of it during the spring. I love it's milky green color when prepared fresh as a tea or as a tincture. I love the way that it feels like an infusion of cozy vibes straight to the nervous system. Milky Oat is one of those food-type herbs that is best taken over an extended period of time to really gain benefits from use. And beyond just working on the physical nervous system, it works on our energetic nerves, too, helping to retrain the ways we choose to take on or let go of stress. A beautiful ally all year round!
Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is an adaptogen that I reach for often because it works well for old folks, young folks, and all of us in-between. It's great for adrenal stress (especially when there are signs of disturbed sleep and brain fog) and it has the added benefit of environmental protectiveness, especially against radiation pollution. What I like about Eleuthero is that it is a gentler adaptogen - it's not too stimulating and can be used for the long-term as an everyday tonic. It's one of the herbs that teaches us a lot when it comes to understanding what being healthy and centered really feels like, helping us to shift away from the idea that adaptogens are "super herbs" (all herbs are super) that will hype us up and fix all our problems. If your life feels too fast, then you might want to try slow remedies like Eleuthero to get yourself re-centered for long-term, sustainable wellbeing.
A Gentle Adaptogenic Bitters Brew
Combine the following herbs if you are making a tincture from scratch or blend individual tinctures if you have them already made up:
- 4 parts Fresh Milky Oat (Avena sativa)
- 2 parts dried Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus)
- 1 part Fresh Ginger (Zingiber officinalis) or 2 parts Dried Ginger
- 1 part Maple Syrup (optional but super yummy)
Brew as a tincture (you can use the folk method or a 1:5 ratio would be just fine). You can make this into a tea - but note that I've not created this recipe with the taste in tea form in mind (though it would probably be quite nice).
Winter Warmer is a great remedy to take before and after meals, but I find myself taking 3 - 5 drops throughout my day when I feel I need a little extra support during the cold of the yuletide season.
Be sure to share your Winter Warmer creations and the other ways you keep it simple at during the season of Yule with the hashtag #ASimpleYule. I'd love to see the ways you're keeping cozy and content this winter.
What are herbs that you can't do without in the winter? Let me know in the comments. If you're looking for more winter inspiration holy heck do I have you covered. Check out my other winter-inspired resources:
- Snowfall: A Simple Yule Tea
- Creating a Winter Apothecary
- Winter Wellness: Healing Herbs for the Dark of the Year
- The Longest Night: Herbs for the Winter Solstice Season
- Winter Solstice: Recipes of Mirth + Brightness
If you're looking for herbal gifts for giving, look no further.