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29 Nov, 2019

How a herbalist handles overindulgence

Nathalie Mady, founder of Hackney Herbal, shares her tips for handling overindulgence during the festive period.

Health

Here, Nathalie Mady, founder of Hackney Herbal, shares her tips for handling overindulgence during the festive period.

  1. Sleep more

As the days shorten our bodies take a little bit of time adjusting to the reduced number of daylight hours. Listen to your own body clock and allow yourself a little longer in bed if you need it. If you struggle with sleep there are many supportive herbs that you can try to help you to settle down in the evening and drift off for a restful night.

  • Lemon verbena - a soothing sedative herb that helps to reduce feelings of stress and aid sleep
  • Lavender - a floral anti-depressant herb that helps you unwind at nighttime
  • Skullcap - a tonic for the nervous system that calms overthinking minds before bed

You can combine equal parts of these herbs and then have a sleepy brew by infusing a heaped teaspoon in boiling water for 10 minutes.

2. Boost your immunity

Give your immune system a helping hand. Our go to herb for the immune system is Echinacea. It has been shown to help reduce the duration of a cold or flu and can be taken preventatively to strengthen the bodies natural defences. You can use either the leaf or root of the plant to make a herbal tea or add 1 tsp of powdered root into smoothies or porridge. You can also use the powdered root to make your own herbal capsules. These are ideal if you are constantly on the go or traveling a lot.

3. Soothe your digestion

The festive period can wreak havoc on your tummy and your overall digestion. Here are some of our favourite digestive herbs that can help to beat the bloat and calm your tummy.

  • Chamomile is anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic, making it soothing and settling to the stomach. It is also a sedative making this blend good for stress and nervousness.
  • Fennel works on the digestive system by reducing bloating and helping the body to expel wind.
  • Lemon balm is a digestive stimulant and also a tonic for the nervous system, keeping you calm during any festive time dramas.

You can combine equal parts of these herbs and then have a sleepy brew by infusing a heaped teaspoon in boiling water for 10 minutes.

4. Nurture your skin

Our skin can take a hit over winter, chapped skin, dryness or irritation caused by moving from the very cold outdoors to stuffy heated indoors. Drinking lots of water and herbal tea will help to keep the skin hydrated. You can also make your own calendula multi-purpose balm to carry around with you to keep your skin and lips moisturised at all times. Calendula - also known as ‘mother of the skin’ is packed with anti-oxidants that help to soothe, nourish and restore the skin. Make your own balm by melting 10g of beeswax (sunflower wax is a vegan alternative) in 50ml of calendula infused oil. Sweet almond oil makes a nice base oil as it's similar to sebum - the natural oil in our skin. Once the wax has melted you can add in 10 drops of essential oil and mix these in well, before pouring out into a small glass pot. We like to combine lavender and rose to create the ultimate calm balm.

Natalie is the founder of Hackney Herbal - a social enterprise that promotes wellbeing using herbs. They specialise in creative workshops which teach people about the extensive uses of herbs. They also grow herbs in Hackney to create unique herbal tea blends using all the profits to fund nature-based interventions supporting people to improve their mental health and wellbeing in Hackney. You can find out more at www.hackneyherbal.com

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