healthy living tips

Behind the Scenes: Herbal Oils

Herbs are beautiful. I love blending them for my teas and tisanes. This winter I have been using them in oils. It is the easiest thing to make herbed oils. I wrote about how to make oils and what to use in a guest post recently. You can read it here.

My herbal oils are a way for me to play. Many of the herbs we enjoy in teas make great skin healing herbs as well. Lavender, chamomile, and calendula are the three I discuss in my guest post. I am also using Rose Buds and Lemon Balm.

It is so easy to get started! Purchase canning jars, the organic dried herbs of your choice, and oil. I use cold-pressed olive oil but many other oils are great to use too. How I prepare my oils: the dried herbs go into a canning jar with the oil and are sealed to sit on my sunny southern-facing windowsill to blend together. They set for anywhere from 4-8 weeks. This makes it easy as it takes five minutes to put it all together and then you do not have to do anything until it is time to strain the herbs from the oil.

I generally try to start my oils on either a new moon or a full moon. New moons are great times for going inward and resting. Full moons are a time of activity and bringing things to fruition. I base what benefits I want and the herbs themselves to determine if I start on a new or a full moon. Lavender, Chamomile, and Rose are great relaxing and rejuvenating herbs and I generally start my oils on the new moon when I use them.

Once I have my oils ready, I will use them as they are or turn them into lotions and salves. Oils make a great touch for after a hot shower or bath. You will want to use a small amount and really work it into your skin so you do not stain your clothes or slip as you walk.

Making lotions and salves are easy too and require a little extra time. The one I have pictured is calendula and lavender infused olive oils with shea butter and beeswax. It’s a gentle lotion I use on both my face and body to combat the winter dryness.

What are your favorite herbal oils to make? What do you enjoy about using herbal oils?

Three Ways to Overcome the Mid-Afternoon Slump

It is shortly after lunch and you are ready for a nap. The mid-afternoon slump is the downfall of many people’s determination to eat well. It is a time when reaching for caffeine, something sweet, or both is almost unconscious as we strive to make it through the afternoon. It does not have to be this way. It takes some time to create a shift to not having a mid-day slump and these three suggestions can help. As you change your habits, you will be able to use the feelings of tiredness, sluggishness, and poor concentration as gauges on your quality of sleep, food, and health rather than it being a constant state.

Reach for a rejuvenating herbal tisane and nix the caffeine

For many people, caffeine in the afternoon can cause poor or interrupted sleep that night. There are many herbs that can give you a boost without the caffeine. Serenity Meadows, Leaf & Twig’s newest tisane, has herbs that can calm and center you while increasing your alertness. I will be talking more about the herbs this month.

Get up and move

This is a very common reason why so many of us feel sluggish in the afternoon. We’ve been sitting all day! Try to take a walk at lunch to curb the tiredness later. Or instead of going for food in the middle of the afternoon, spend some time stretching and walking. Ergonomics is so important and there are easily found stretching series to help you maintain a good posture while working. In fact, changing your posture can make you more alert too!

Look at what you are eating for lunch

This is something I had to do myself. I kept a food diary regularly and found that I was the most tired in the afternoon after I ate certain foods. I also saw that if I did not eat enough protein at this meal I felt tired and unmotivated in the afternoons. Take two weeks to record your meals and rate your afternoon. Review and adjust, continuing to keep track. Once you discover what works for you have fun creating variations of it to keep you focused each day.

There are several other ways to lessen the effects of the mid-afternoon slump. What is your favorite solution?