Nervines ((Summer Solsice 2014))

The summer solstice is upon us (specifically, at 6:51am tomorrow morning, here in Florida). This means that tomorrow is the longest day of the year for those of us in the Northern hemisphere, and the shortest night of the year! It also means tomorrow is the first official day of summer!

For me, summer is welcomed with open arms: sunbathing, heavy, cleansing rain, good music, and catching up with old friends. While summer no longer means sitting around doing nothing all day (farewell, childhood), it does imply a certain level of recuperation and relaxation. Spring was such a rush - a rush through finals, a rush to study for the GRE, and a rush to graduation. Then there was the existential crisis of "oh my god I graduated what do I do now who am I?!" If my body and mind need anything right now - it's nourishment for a seriously frazzled nervous system! And I'd bet yours could use the same. Thankfully, herbalism comes to the rescue.

In Traditional Western Herbalism, we call herbs for the nervous system nervines.

Simply, Nervines are herbs that soothe and/or strengthen our central nervous system. They can be relaxing (Chamomile, Skullcap), or simply nourishing (Fresh Milky Oats). Over time, these herbs help us reduce stress and anxiety, and rebuild our frayed and burnt out nerves. I consider them essential parts of any mental health herbal protocol - and I use them in every formula for my patients!

Last night, I realized I was out of my favorite nervine tea blend, so I decided to whip up an extra big batch. I'm currently in the process of moving, and taking a little bit of each herb from a pound bag each morning just isn't time efficient. Think of making big batches of dried nervine tea as meal prep for your nervous system.

In honor of the Summer Solstice, I decided to post a summer-inspired variation of one of my favorite nervine teas. I hope it brings you relaxation, self-love, and allows you to take some time for yourself, even if it is only the 15 or so minutes it takes to brew and drink a cup of tea.

Thank God It's Summer - Nervine Tea Recipe*
makes 1/2 cup tea blend, use 1 tsp-1 tbsp per cup of boiling water, let steep 10 minutes

  • 2 tbsp Roses
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Balm
  • 1 tbsp Oatstraw
  • 1 tbsp Skullcap
  • 1 tbsp Reishi mushroom
  • 1 tbsp Lemongrass
  • 1/2-1 tbsp Lavender flowers
  • add honey to desired sweetness

If you want to be extra magical, blend this mixture tonight and leave it out all day tomorrow in a covered glass jar, starting at 6:50am, to make a potent Sun Tea! It will be infused with the solar, energizing energy of the Sun and the Summer Solstice, and it will nourish you on a whole new, energetic level.

I hope you have a beautiful Summer Solstice, a safe summer, and that you get to soak up some of tomorrow's vitamin D and vitalizing energies! Allow the Summer Solstice to be a reminder of all the hard work you have done since the Winter Solstice in December. If you graduated, I am so proud of you! If you made it through another semester - good job! If you survived the months between now and then - you did it, you are here, and I am proud of you too!

In love and ~light~,


**If you don't have these herbs, I will be at the Audubon Farmer's Market at Stardust Video & Coffee this Monday selling a similar blend, pre-mixed and ready to be brewed.**


Spanish Needle Springtime Syrup

Syrups have easily become one of my favorite ways to take herbs. I formulated a delicious, peppermint-bark tasting Elderberry syrup over the winter - but now it's Spring, and local, native Spanish Needle is making her return everywhere in my backyard, and she's been calling me. With the New Moon approaching this afternoon, I've been feeling really creative and decided it was a good time to whip up a batch of syrup again.

This time, I decided to add Spanish Needle to the brew.

This beautiful. constantly blooming plant is an herbal power-house. She is anti-bacterial and anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and even mildly analgesic... What that means is that she's great for preventing sickness, giving your immune system a boost, and dulling any painful cold or flu like symptoms you currently have. I combined fresh Biden's leaves with Elderberries (of which there is significant research on their ability to treat the flu) and Elecampane, an anti-septic herb that I find tasty, but many don't (so it's optional!) Better yet, both Spanish Needle and Elder grow wild in Orlando, and are in abundance (for now!). So get your scissors, turn on the stove, and ask Bidens for a few of her leaves.

Spanish Needle Spring-Time Syrup Recipe

  • Bring one 1 qt water to a boil, then add
    • 2 oz Elderberries (dried)
    • 2 oz Spanish Needle leaves (fresh)
    • 1 oz Peppermint lf (dried)
    • 1 oz Elecampane root (dried) (optional, if not, add 1 oz of another herb)
  • Allow this to simmer for 45-60 minutes, then let steep overnight
  • In the morning, strain your tea, and bring it to room temperature
  • Then add
    • 1/2 - 1 cup raw honey (not for babies under 2 years old!)
    • 1-2 oz tincture (I use Echinacea, but you could use Reishi, Rose Hip, Astragalus, etc)
    • 2 drops Peppermint essential oil
    • 1/4-1/2 cup fresh Lemon juice or raw Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Mix together, and store in the refrigerator for ~6 months.

Whenever I'm feeling run down or like my immune system is becoming compromised, I sip on 1/4 a cup of this as needed. It's delicious in sparkling water (with strawberry simple syrup!), or drank on its own. You can use it as an immune booster, or a sore-throat soother (along with Mullein).

Spanish Needle (Biden alba), Elecampane (Inula helenium), and Elderberries (Sambucus)

The material contained on this web site is intended solely for educational purposes and no responsibility is assumed for consequences resulting from the misuse of botanical preparations.