August is all about slowing down to be present and savor the fleeting summer. Produce is at its peak, and the garden has become a bit wilder as we tend to weed less to try and keep up with the never-ending supply of vegetables. We’ve been busy preserving food, processing herbs, and indulging in outdoor meals.
Our thoughts have turned to stock the apothecary for the coming fall, focusing on immunity support and the nervous system. We don’t have to hide the fact that many of us are worried about what the winter months will look like. With a pandemic on our hands, we live in such uncertainty, and it takes a toll on our mental health. This is where our best adaptogen and nervine herbs come in for supporting occasional stress. It’s been a big lesson for me in self-care and also mindfulness. I can’t control the things around me, the news headlines, the canceled events, or the intermittent stresses that living in a pandemic brings. But I can focus on living in the moment, soaking up every glorious moment of this summer, and taking care of my mental and physical well-being.
Here are some of the things that we are loving this month:
1. Bathing Outside
A summer tradition that never gets old. If you haven’t tried bathing in nature yet, I highly recommend it. Ritual baths have long been used to cleanse, clear, and purify the body and spirit. Bathing in nature has a similar effect on the nervous system and is healthy for the skin’s microbiome.
Get a good biodegradable soap, we love this one, or the classic Dr. Bronner's and find a spot of freshwater where you can submerge and soap up. Take your time enjoying the surroundings while you bath, then dry yourself out in the sun. Make it a ritual. You will leave feeling clean, rejuvenated, and calm.
Note* If you start up this practice--it is crucially important to use products that are safe for the environment. Let’s all do our part to protect the planet.
2. Herbal Powders:
We’ve been making a point to support local herb farms. Now is the time to stock the home apothecary with herbs and tonics for immunity, mood support, and everyday wellness and make caring for ourselves a priority.* We have a healthy supply of tinctures and tea, so this month we focused on stocking up on herbal powders. We love these local options from Wilson Herb Farm, a certified organic herb farm, featuring elixirs and tonics all handcrafted in small batches.
3. Healthy Liver Bitters
A summer favorite! There comes a time during these glorious months of summer where we may feel a little maxed out with our eating and drinking habits. We’ve been indulging in a cocktail or a daily glass of wine, and maybe have forgone any cooking during the summer heatwaves, and keep bringing out the cheeseboard. Instead of getting too hard on ourselves, we make a habit of adding in our Healthy Liver Bitters to our everyday routines.
This formula was designed with specific herbs that encourage and support the movement and production of bile and supports the liver’s natural detoxification process.* A simple habit with far-reaching benefits. Use 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) before or after meals, 2 to 4 times per day.
4. Simmer Down Tonic®
The next year feels unknown right now--this alone causes us to feel stressed and then with the additional screen time during this period of life--it’s a recipe for burnout. Enter: Adaptogens.
Adaptogenic herbs protect the body from the long-term depleting effects of stress and encourage healthy stress management. Our Simmer Down Tonic has been a daily ritual during this pandemic, and even more so as we think about heading into the colder months. A blend of uplifting and calming herbs promotes a calming, relaxing state of mind and increases resistance to occasional stress, tension, and irritability. * If you are new to taking adaptogens, this formula is for you.
For a fun DIY recipe and creative ways to get herbs into your diet--check out these Simmer Down popsicles.
5. Kosmic Kitchen Cookbook
As an herbalist, getting a new herb book is like Christmas morning. Inspiration flows as I turn the pages, in awe once again with how accessible herbalism is, appropriate for the times we live in and that the plants hold many centuries of healing use, passed down through the generations.
Our friends at the Kosmic Kitchen just published their first book, and it’s stunning. Every page of this beautiful book is filled with information about how to use herbs in our everyday lives and how to incorporate them into delicious recipes.
I can’t wait to cook my way through it this winter.
Since we’ve spent so much time outside exercising, we’ve been making sure to get good post-workout support. Traditional Ayurvedic healers have long praised turmeric root for its ability to support the musculoskeletal system, a body system that is particularly taxed during physical exertion. Tapping into that ancient wisdom, the tea blend includes meadowsweet--historically used much like turmeric--and ginger to support a healthy response to inflammation that follows exercise.*
This smoothie recipe incorporates the tea and has been a summer favorite for us runners.
7. Zucchini cake with edible flowers
We have a lot of birthdays in August, and also a lot of zucchini. So we tend to make a lot of zucchini cakes (a great recipe can be found in this blog post) and then go all out with the edible flower decorations.
Edible flowers take an ordinary dessert or drink and enhance it with beauty, subtle flavors, and the pure joy of colors and flowers. You see a lot of smiles when the birthday cake is revealed, and it hardly takes any time at all with a variety of colorful flowers growing in the backyard. If you aren’t growing any this year, check your local farmers market, many flower farms will also sell edible flowers.
To plan for next year and which ones you want to grow, check our Guide to Edible Flowers. And for inspiration on how to use edible flowers, we love The Wondersmith, and are constantly amazed by her works of art!
8. The work of Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall’s early research studying chimpanzees helped shape the self-understanding of our species and recalled modern Western science to the fact that we are a part of nature, not separate from it. From her decades studying chimpanzees to her more recent years attend-ing to human poverty and misunderstanding, she reflects on the moral and spiritual convictions that have driven her, and what she is still learning about what it means to be human in this new wild word. Give a listen to this On-Being podcast for some positive news, and inspiration for our time. She is a true gem 💚
9. Herbal Mask Cleanser
Since we’ve been wearing masks from the start of this pandemic, we found that keeping them refreshed goes a long way. We made up a simple solution of lemon balm hydrosol, alcohol, and essential oils of lavender, cedar, and eucalyptus. We’ve gotten into the habit of spraying the mask down after use in public, making it feel all that more enjoyable as we continue this new normal.
- 1 oz herbal hydrosol
- 1 oz isopropyl rubbing alcohol (or alcohol at 70%)
- 20 drops of essential oils (your preference)
Combine all ingredients in a 2 oz spray bottle, and shake well. Spray on masks after use and let dry thoroughly.
* NOTE: Urban Moonshine products cannot cure, treat, or prevent COVID-19