I am falling in love with violets right now.
The heart shaped leaves and royal purple flowers remind me that love is more powerful than any other force. Given that you and I are a force, energy, or Qi, then why not choose to be love?
Chewing on the demulcent leaves I have a vision of this plant’s properties soothing any excessive fire inside my body. I place a royal purple flower into my mouth and feel my tongue tingle. The mild spice invigorates my digestion and moves out the old making space for the new. My liver softens as it releases constraint.
The liver loves bitter and sour tastes. I reach for dandelion leaves and flowers as I crawl beneath a flowering plum tree. Each time a bee travels over to the potent plum blossoms, I imagine miniature dustings of pollen falling on my face. So delicate and sweet, I want to capture this moment in a bottle.
This spring one of my visions is to listen to my body and honor its cycles. One of the ways I take care of myself is abhyanga, which means self-massage with lots of warm oil. While in India last March, I had an abhyanga massage at an Ayurvedic clinic. The woman covered my entire body with lots and lots of warm herbal infused oil- she probably used a cup of oil during the massage. It felt amazing! To read more about the benefits of self-massage, check out this article.
Our lymphatic system doesn’t have its own pump like the circulatory system has the heart, therefore its important to help it do its job by exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, drinking herbal teas, and massage. Because the lymphatic system is below the surface of the skin, massage is a highly effective way to get it going. Abhyanga is one of the ways I practice self-love.
The spring is bursting with flowers and leaves known to herbalists as lymphatics, which assist the body in eliminating metabolic waste.
I am creating seasonal inspired herbal infused oils to craft blends for different areas of the body: muscles, breasts, hands, and face. The first batch will be Breast Massage Oil– ready in about 3 weeks!
Herbal Infused Oil:
Materials: Wilted fresh herb and Oil (grapeseed, olive, sweet almond, sesame, coconut, jojoba…NOT soybean, vegetable, or canola)
To make: Harvest fresh herbs and let wilt them in the shade for a day to allow some of the water in the plant to leave. Fresh plants are 75% water and sometimes oils can grow mold if there is too much water in the plant, so this process allows for higher quality oils. Plants lose about 10% of their water content each day they are left out to dry. You can also stick them in the dehydrator for a few hours to wilt them. Or place them in a brown bag in the car with the windows cracked- your car can be a large dehydrator that uses zero electricity!
Chop up the plant and loosely pack a mason jar. Cover completely with oil of choice and gently press our air bubbles with a spoon to ensure all the plant material is coated with oil. Be sure the plant material is covered at least one inch with oil so it does not get exposed to the air, which lessens the chance of bacteria to enter.
Place out of direct sunlight for about two weeks. Then, strain the oil through a mesh strainer without squeezing or pressing the plant material to avoid residue. Store up to a year outside of the fridge, or longer inside a fridge.
Uses: external use only. I like to combine them with beeswax to make salves. For hot skin irritations & insect bites I make a salve with calendula oil, comfrey leaf, plantain, violet leaf, & chickweed. For sore muscles I use arnica flowers, sweet birch bark, cayenne pepper, ginger, St. Johnswort, and sweet fern leaf. For face creams I use lavender and rose.
Would you like to expand your knowledge and wisdom of everyday herbalism?