Winter is a time of turning inward and reflection. Sitting on the cusp of the New Year, it is a time to set your intentions, to plant seeds, to hibernate and sleep more, to dream.
Winter in the mountains is also play time. I get to feel my inner otter and glide on snow, slide down hillsides, and frolic in the snow. I love how bright and sparkling it can be. I especially appreciate the quiet hush that a new blanket of snow brings to the landscape.
By the way, the little critter on the top of this post is an Ermine. We had an awesome encounter with those black sparkling eyes and the black tip of a tail while hiking one day. Such wild beauty.
In all honesty, winter for me is my crazy time. Being both a manufacturer and a retailer, it gets wild. I get moments of calmness, and I strive to create moments of deep nourishment. Yoga, a cross-country ski, a walk in the woods, star gazing on a crystal clear night, cooking dinner with my girl, these are the things that sustain me. Tea also sustains me on those dark winter nights. Tea is a great way to not only warm you, but it also offers deep nourishment for your organs and your skin. It’s like brewing a cup of magic.
You are what you eat. You may also know that the skin is the largest organ of the body, and what you put on your skin goes into your body. Drinking many of these ingredients that we use as herbal teas offer deep nourishment for your organs and your skin as well as basic hydration. Here are a few of my skin care favorites that are also delicious as tea:
Now the “it” ingredient in the skincare world, green tea both externally and internally offers EGCG a powerful anti-inflammatory. Also rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, green tea help to protect the skin from sun exposure and clogged pores. Try it ground topically as an infused oil, ground as a mild exfoliator, or as a tea in a toner. Green tea has caffeine. If you are sensitive, avoid this ingredient for your tea.
One of my favorite plants, ginger root is excellent freshly grated and added to hot water with lemon for a grounding, spicy tea. Ginger stimulates circulation and is warming. This aids in detoxification of the skin and the elimination organs of the body. As part of a tea blend, Ginger is not only delicious but acts as a spicy fixative for your tea blend.
High in minerals, dandelion is incredibly supportive to the liver and kidneys, so therefore supportive to clear skin. Dandelion root in your tea is both delicious and nutritious. Add it roasted for a darker, coffee flavored addition to your tea blend. Or skip the coffee altogether and drink dandelion root tea.
Specific to dark, boggy places, nettles thrive in places that other plants don’t. High in trace minerals, this earthy, verdant herb adds a touch of greenness to your blend and so much nutrition. This plant is a powerful blood purifier and will aid in detoxification of your organs and pores. Nettles infused overnight and consumed the next day will yield the most potent plant medicine.
“Feeling your oats” is an expression that comes from this plant’s ability to strengthen and nourish your being. High in calcium and silica, oats are a great choice for your tea to help strengthen thinning skin and hair.
One of my favorite plants, the hip of the rose is the poster child of feminine beauty and curvaceousness. Also high in vitamin C and flavonoids, this addition to your tea is not only delicious but strengthening.
I feel relaxed just writing about chamomile. As a tea, chamomile can be incredibly calming. For the skin, it can also calm inflammation and skin issues like rashes and eczema. Use chamomile in a tea blend or make a compress out of a wet tea bag and apply to the skin topically.
This exuberant plant can be a powerful ally for acne and clogged pores. Steep spearmint in a blend or use full strength. I also like to brew a cup too and use it as facial steam, leaning over my cup and deep breathing and letting my pores open to its magical goodness.
One of the biggest anti-viral remedies available, I toss in dried elderberries to most teas that I make at this time of year. Also high in vitamin C, elderberries impart a delicious fruitiness to your tea and add great color. Elderberries are balancing to the skin and help to strengthen and even skin tone.
I think of the energetics of orange as a great big hug. If you think about the skin of an orange, the rough outer protects a voluptuous and juicy inner. Choose orange peel not only for added flavor but the ability to protect over exposed skin and allowing the juicy you to unfold.