Like a lot of herbalists, I think about how to help everyone incorporate herbs into their life without it feeling like “taking medicine” and without it being something we have to remember to do. Even as an herbalist, I’ll find myself forgetting to take all the different herbs I’d like to take in a day. During the night, as I’m laying in bed, I suddenly remember, “OH SHOOT! I was supposed to take my Liver Support today!” As a result, I’ve started to focus on how to incorporate herbs into my everyday life, in my diet, and in my routine, in an easy and convenient manner.
One way I incorporate herbs into my daily life is through the use of “mocktails” (a mocktail is a mixture of an herbal extract with ingredients like flavored sparkling water, fruit juices, or kombucha). I use several different recipes depending on the day, the season, and how I’m feeling. I particularly enjoy using sparkling water with different herbal extracts added to it. This is my go-to afternoon pick-me-up drink in place of a cup of coffee. The deeply nourishing endocrine herbs and nutritive herbs in the mocktail carry me through the rest of the afternoon and evening.
Another great ingredient for mocktails is kombucha. As Malia Thompson has pointed out in a previous blog post, WishGarden Herbs has really expanded mocktail offerings with Kombucha Mocktails. WishGarden has some great herbal extracts to add to your kombucha. A few of my favorites are Genius Juice, Liquid Bliss, or Emotional Ally.
Genius Juice will help support your brain and liver, lifting that afternoon fog that hampers so many of us. It’s also great for an evening out, when you don’t want coffee, but you want a little boost of energy to get you through your social or work engagement.
Liquid Bliss and Emotional Ally are more heart-centered blends. They are both good for when you need a little help having patience and tolerance for those around you, or for those days when you may be feeling extra sensitive. Liquid Bliss is also a great addition to any date night, as it helps open the heart center and encourages connectedness.
WishGarden’s Serious Relaxer is also a great addition to evening mocktails because it helps unwind those tight muscles after a long day at work! For me, which formula I use depends on where I am feeling stress. Enjoying a mocktail at the end of the day helps me to center myself, process the day, and unwind.
Bitters (herbs typically used to aid in the digestive process) can also be added to drinks — and are often used in Manhattan cocktails and other alcoholic drinks. This is one way to incorporate bitters into your diet. However, for many people who are looking for liver and detoxification support, a night of drinking may not be an option. The good news is that there are alcohol-free bitters. There are also mocktails you can use with tinctured bitters.
One of my favorite ways to take bitters is in apple cider vinegar. It has quite a bite! I’ve added it to sparkling water, plain or flavored. I’ve also added a sprig of fresh rosemary and thyme to my bitters drinks. You can also try a few leaves of fresh peppermint, spearmint, or lemon balm. These fresh plant leaves add variety and taste.
I also enjoy making glycerites (alcohol-free tinctures) from fresh plants such as lemon balm, peppermint, calendula, and rose. I then use these in drinks and culinary creations (frosting, for example). These fresh plant leaves and glycerites add, not only a wonderful flavor, but health benefits to your afternoon mocktail.
Lest we forget, one of the most tried-and-true way to take herbs is in tea! And in my adventures of making herbs a daily part of life I have experimented with making teas into other drinks. I often make a concentrated tea brew and add a variety of ingredients to make a yummy drink — the possibilities really are endless. There are so many juices and sparkling drinks that pair wonderfully with nutritive herbs like nettles, rosehips, red clover, raspberry leaf, and linden. I often use WishGarden’s Deep Stress Tea in these tea/juice blends. I put as much tea into the french press/brew basket as I would for three cups of tea and then I steep it in about three to four ounces of water. This makes a strong concentrate that I can mix with other drinks. One of my favorites is Mango Lemonade. Other drinks I’ve mixed into my tea concentrates include sparkling mineral water (plain or flavored) and various sparkling or non-sparkling juices. This is where glycerites can really spice up the drink. I’ve used blue violet/calendula glycerite recently to provide additional benefit in the mocktails.
One of the most exciting ways to increase the health benefits of your herbs is through pickling. In herb school we made pickled burdock with ginger, which I loved. I take a mason jar, peel and chop the burdock in chip-like shapes, then I repeat that process with ginger and garlic (that’s right, garlic; you really shouldn’t miss out on the benefits of this lovely aromatic herb!). Add all of it into the mason jar and fill it ¾ full with apple cider vinegar and ¼ with Braggs Liquid Aminos. Let it sit for two to three weeks and then — enjoy! These pickled burdock pieces (go ahead and eat the ginger and garlic, too) are also great on salads or just by themselves. I recently did a carrot/ginger/garlic using this same recipe and it was delicious.
You can also treat yourself by mixing herbs with pesto. Indeed, the classic basil/parsley recipes are some of my favorites. But don’t feel restricted — you can incorporate a lot of different herbs into pesto. My herb school teacher told us a story about using catnip in a pesto recipe and having great results (as well as a little too much relaxation!) And I’ve seen recipes where thyme and rosemary were used, also. I use pesto in pastas but I also use it as a spread on sandwiches and as a dip for veggies.
Last but not least, don’t forget that there are numerous possibilities when adding herbs to salads. Personally, I’m a “throw-everything-on-it” salad person. Some of the herbs I like to add to my salads are: parsley, dandelion greens, cilantro, mint leaves, bee balm, red clover, and of course my pickled roots! In particular, I like to use pickled burdock, ginger, garlic, and beets.
All of these ways — and there are many more — are how I incorporate food as medicine into my daily wellness regimen! I hope you are able to incorporate a few of them.
Jade Sullivan started her journey in natural healing as a child. She faced multiple illnesses, which gave her the unique opportunity to gain an understanding of holistic healing through first-hand experience. Jade’s love of plants runs in her blood; her mother comes from a family with a long history of farming. Throughout her life, Jade’s mother passed that knowledge on and helped her cultivate a deep connection with nature. In the spring of 2016 Jade started pursuing her certification in Herbalism. Since finishing school, she has continued to enroll in different programs to grow in holistic wellness. With her Herbalism Certification she gained employment at WishGarden Herbs in the Customer Service department. And in the fall of 2018 she began schooling for her Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition– to obtain her Registered Dietician Nutritionist licensure. With horticulture, aromatherapy, herbalism, and emotional/spiritual healing, she hopes to spread a positive impact on the world around her.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or sell any product.