Winter's arrival here in the Boreal Forest around Edmonton now as I'm writing this post. The snow is falling and it looks quite magical outside building up on the branches, making white silhouettes. I'm sipping a warm herbal cocoa I made with the Winter Joy tea, then added Cocoa powder, honey, cinnamon, and a pinch of my Spruce Tip Salt. So delicious! Recipe coming soon!
The energetics of Winter in Ayurveda, (which I'm studying) are cold and dry, align with Vata (Air + Ether) in early winter, then we shift to Kapha (Earth + Water) in later winter/early spring.
The Dry, cold air of early winter brings challenges to our bodies and its helpful to understand what body systems are most affected so we can realign ourselves and make the best of winter rather than feeling like we succumb to it or resent it. The weather brings dryness to our skin, digestion, and oral cavities like ears, nose, throats. This can manifest in us as dry skin, bloating or gassy digestion, ear aches, sore throats, or more coughs, colds, flus, anxiousness, or trouble coping with the seasonal change of less light and feel sad.
As we move towards Winter Solstice on December 21st, the light from the sun continues to lessen until Solstice which is the longest night and the shortest day of the year. On solstice we will have 7 hours and 27 minutes of daylight and 16 hours and 43 minutes darkness! Wow!
Energetically, the darkness and the cold weather invite us to be cozy, calm, rest more, and light up our homes with warm light and voices from our friends and families. There is nothing quite like the light of a beeswax candle this time of year! Some winter rituals I have adopted over the years to help welcome the darkness and colder months and feel less like I want to escape it, or fear it.
- Oiling my skin once a day - with a body oil either:
- in the morning after dry brushing, or after a shower,
- or before bed.
- Balm protection - for areas that are exposed to the weather, like lips and hands, and face, I rely on my balms for protection. Will the added element of beeswax, they work hard to protect us from the elements of the wind and cold PLUS they are long-lasting.
- Salt Soaks - moistening the skin with salt, water, and a splash of oil is very hydrating and soothing to the nervous system. Try our Winter Warmth Salt Soak or our Boreal Forest Salt Soak.
- Herbal Drinks - Cacao, Herbal Teas, Golden Milk Lattes, etc.
- Elderberry Syrup - daily dose of deliciousness to keep my immune system strong!
Dr. John Douillard takes about the protect role of melatonin that is brought on by the increases darkness in his podcast episode about decoding our circadian rhythms. It was fascinating to listen to! He states that the darkness encourages our body to make melatonin in the winter, which increases our immune system functions. It turns out melatonin has more effects in the body besides making us sleepy!
- Warm + moist foods - soups. stews, dhals, roasted veggies, fermented veggies like sauerkraut,
- Herbal facials - honey mask facials are very hydrating and nice to do once a week to keep our skin hydrated and nourished.
- Beeswax candles at dinner time, for baths, or meditation (found in our Wellness subscription boxes. Winter Solstice has a Spruce Tree Candle!).
Growing up, my parents had bees a a hobby and I got to help take the honey our of the frames and enjoy the honey fresh! It was such a delicious experience to see how the taste changes depending on what flowers the bees had been visiting!
Honey is antibacterial, warming energetically, and soothing to sore throats and the skin too! Honey is a natural humectant, meaning to holds moisture and draws moisture to it. A welcome reprieve this time of year. We eat is by the spoonful here when we feel a sore throat coming on, or add to warm water with lemon, or into tea, or other foods. I also include it as a humectant ingredient in our body butter blends. It's amazing for helping restore the skin and heal wounds. Herbal honeys like the Alberta brand Drizzle Honey have some delicious blends, and we made a herbal blend this Autumn. called Green Goddess Honey that is a blend of Thyme and Lemon Balm, which is great for our sprits and our throats.
Food is medicine and medicine is food
During Winter, its a good time to focus on herbs and botanicals that are: warming, moistening, nourishing, immune boosting, and mood lifting/lightening.
Herbs that are wonderful to include in your winter meals, drinks, and even make a herbal infused honey at home are:
- Ginger Root
- Spicy Peppers and Peppercorns
- Lemon Balm
- Pine and Spruce
- Root veggies + winter squashes and pumpkins
This is just a general guide of foods & herbs. Use your judgement and avoid any food that cause you discomfort or are sensitive/allergic too. You know your body best! There are so many herbs and plants our there with similar energetics, so if one herb causes you discomfort, there is often another one similar that you can work with. For myself, I have to avoid spicy peppers, as they are a nightshade and I'm sensitive to some nightshades, but I can get similar heating effects from using peppercorns and ginger.
Have some questions about herbal medicine or would like a Herbal Consult and learn more about your energetics and how to align with the rhythms of the seasons, book a consult and work 1-on-1 with me!