A time of Self-reflection & Self-care
The winter solstice will soon be upon us and marks the perfect time for celebration, reflection, and self-care. This is the shortest day and longest night of the year, as the solstice marks the start of winter, it also brings the beginning of the returning light. A time of shedding and releasing the old, as we embrace rebirth and renewal....
The Winter Solstice - Traditional Chinese Medicine Perspective
During the winter solstice, Yin energy is at its peak. This is the time of year in which Yin’s aspects of darkness, inactivity, and coldness are strongest. While Yin peaks, the spark of Yang returns, bringing its energy of light, activity and warmth. Accordingly, many cultures honour the darkness and celebrate the returning of the light within Winter Solstice Ceremony.
To ancient Taoists, the mysterious blend of Yin and Yang at the exact moment of the solstice signifies a transitional time – a chance for new ideas and creational energy, and a time for conception. Another perspective offers that as the seeds of Yang germinate in the stillness of Yin, the possibility of new creation and rebirth grows.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine’s (TCM) - Water is the element of winter and governs the kidney and bladder meridian channels.
This is a time for rest and restoration, tending to our precious kidney reserves, ensuring our energy and vitality for the coming cycle....
Here are the following tips to best caretake your energy this coming winter season......
Nourishment. The physical body absorbs nutrients best in the winter. Therefore, eat nourishing foods, such as bone broth soups with healing herbs, soups and stews, shrimp, walnuts, black beans and kidney beans, and warming spices like cinnamon and ginger.
Foods to Nourish Kidney energy
Think Black, Salty, Warm Whole-foods.....
Cook foods on a lower temperature for a little longer
Root vegetables: Carrot, sweets potato, beets, chicory and dandelion root Vegetables; dark leafy greens Whole-grains, rye, oats, quinoa, amaranth, barley Seeds: Flax, black sesame, black chia Salt; rock salt, miso, seaweeds Warm hearty soups and stews Micro-algea; chlorella, spirulina Black foods: blackberries, black rice, black beans
Give your kidneys some TLC this winter and replenish your energy levels....
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), goji berries are plants that belong to the 'Tonic herbs for Yin Deficiency' category. Tonic herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency, when one lacks one of the 'Four Treasures' (Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang). They nourish the Kidneys, replenishing our essential Kidney energy and relieving fatigue
Goji berries are powerfully antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, they increase metabolic rates and reduce waist circumference and have a naturally high concentration of Vitamin A, C, and E, and carotenoids, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Winter season is an important time for rest & restoration....
Rest. During this time of extreme yin, characterised by short days and long nights, nature reminds us to adjust our sleep accordingly. Align with the seasonal energy by going to bed earlier and waking later.
Preservation. Set boundaries in your social life, put yourself first and take care of your own well-being. Get acupuncture to help restore balance, tend to dis-ease, and foster rest and relaxation. Clear toxicity from your personal space with decluttering and cleaning.
Introspection. Look inward to find your potential, overcome fears and recognise the opportunity for hope and renewal.
Otherwise we are continually dipping into our precious Kidney Qi and borrowing from tomorrow.
According to Chinese Medicine adrenal fatigue is a combination of deficiencies of Kidney Yin, Kidney Yang, Kidney essence, Qi and blood and Spleen/Stomach Qi.
Meaning your body has worked so hard and has been so stressed out for so long that you have nothing left to give and nothing to fuel you bodily functions...
Start nourishing your kidney energy and care-taking your inner essence
We rest in winter, nourishing ourselves, slow down, taking it easy. This is a great time for tonification. In Chinese medical theory, we tonify the Qi, Blood, Yin, or Yang.
These tonifying herbs are commonly paired with digestive herbs, such as ginger.
Most of these tonifying botanicals are roots, best prepared in decoctions tinctures, or as powders or granules.
HERBAL MEDICINE TO TONIFY THE QI, BLOOD, YIN & YANG
Qi vitalises our bodies, powering the physiological functions of organs and meridians, including development, growth, and blood formation. Qi keeps the body warm, defends the body from disease, holds everything in its proper place, and facilitates elegant movement and transformation. Qi deficiency can cause fatigue, weakness, lack of appetite, shortness of breath, and more.
Ginseng root - Korean or Siberian - It’s warming and moistening, and often taken by older, cold, pale, and easily tired people. Codonopsis is a great alternative to your ginsengs
Codonopsis root - is a gentle Qi tonic and adaptogen. Neutral, moistening, and nourishing, codonopsis is a safer, cheaper, and more easily accessible alternative to ginseng.
Astragalus root - is a slightly warming and moistening Qi-tonic and adaptogen that can be tinctured, decocted, and simmered into delicious soups, stews, and broths. Codonopsis and astragalus both have an affinity with the lungs, and are quite tasty combined with other herbs and vegetables in tonic-stews.
Blood Tonics Chinese medicine’s blood comes from food and our innate constitution. Blood nourishes organs, tissues, and meridians. Blood maintains healthy bodily movement and sensation, as well as mental health.
Rehmannia root - nourishes the Yin, or the body’s underlying infrastructures. It is sweet, warm, moist, and richly tonifying.
Dong Quai root - nourishes and moves the blood. “Dong quai" literally translates to "state of return."
Cordyceps fungus - is a slightly warming adaptogen, often used to improve athletic performance and stamina.
Yin is the nourishing principle of our bodies, cultivated through rest and stillness. Yin tonics are often sweet, cold, enriching, and moistening. They can be heavy, so are usually supported by digestive herbs to prevent stasis.
Shatavari root - tonifies Yin for lung and kidney organ systems, generates fluids, and cools deficient heat. Translating to “hundred husbands” in Hindi, it has been used as a tonic for the female system in Ayurvedic practices for centuries.
Black sesame seeds - Incorporate black sesame into cooking, take sesame paste, or eat lightly sweetened sesame candy.
Here is a lovely warming recipe to bring heat into the body for winter season.....
Fire Cider Recipe
Benefits: The base for fire cider begins with apple cider vinegar—vinegar is one of our oldest foods and medicines. Fire cider is a traditional herbal remedy made from nutritional powerhouses like apple cider vinegar, horseradish, ginger, onion and garlic. It is tasty, tart, sour, hot, warming, and decongesting. This nourishing and stimulating concoction can boost energy, ward off colds and flus, ease sinus congestion, lower blood sugar, and curb cravings. Because this is a folk remedy, the ingredients can change according to what is growing around you and when you make it. There are endless recipes for fire cider and the ingredients included enhance the benefits.
Uses: Fire Cider has been used to boost the immune system, aid digestion, and to help aid the upper respiratory system. A small shot glass daily is an excellent tonic; or if you feel a cold coming on take it by the teaspoon several times throughout the day. It is also delicious drizzled on a salad with good olive oil.
Recipe for Fire Cider:
raw organic apple cider vinegar
½ cup grated fresh horseradish root
½ cup or more fresh chopped onions
¼ cup or more chopped garlic
½ cup or more grated ginger
chopped fresh or dried cayenne pepper to taste* (*should be hot, but not so you can’t tolerate it)
raw local honey
optional ingredients: turmeric, echinacea, cinnamon, sliced lemon, sliced orange, elderberry, etc.
Place the herbs in a 2 litre and cover with enough raw apple cider vinegar to cover herbs by at least 8cm. Cover with a tight fitting lid.
Place the jar in a warm place and let it sit for 3-4 weeks. Shake every day to help maceration process.
After 3-4 weeks, strain out herbs, and reserve the liquid—this is your Fire Cider.
Add honey ‘to taste’ (your Fire Cider should taste hot, spicy, sweet, and pungent). Warm the honey first so it mixes well.
Fire Cider will keep for several months unrefrigerated if stored in a cool pantry, or store in the refrigerator for longer shelf life.