ClickCease Nerve Nourishing Recipes from the Garden – Dr. Morse's Herbal Health Club

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Nerve Nourishing Recipes from the Garden

Nerve Nourishing Recipes from the Garden

The early summer garden is full of growth and is cranking out berries, greens, herbs, and flowers. The days are tipping from spring planting into summer enjoyment. You created a beautiful garden and now you may be wondering what to do with the bounty. This is an exciting time but can often bring the stress of reaching a season when you should be playing with a long list of to-dos that haven’t gotten done. Now is the perfect time to cool down and nourish a potentially frazzled nervous system. 

In Chinese Traditional Medicine (TCM) summer is thought of as a season for growth, vitality, and outward expression. The element of fire governs this season, and it is dominated by warmth, energy, and joy. Yang energy is at its highest as we reach the summer solstice, a wonderful time to enjoy the outdoors, nourish our bodies with cooling food and drink, and balance our inner heat. Join us in the garden as we share some of our favorite early summer nervines and some soothing recipes to support you and bring you back to equilibrium when summer has you hot and irritated.  

Lavender 

Lavender is just beginning to open in the garden and the scent pulls in humans and bees alike. The genus Lavandula is native to the Mediterranean region, Southern Europe, north and east Africa, Middle Eastern countries, southwest Asia, and southeast India and includes 30 species. All these species are rich in volatile oils with a similar constituent profile.

The most common type found in north American gardens is Lavandula angusifolia, a hardy perennial species with a diverse array of cultivars, habits, and blossom colors. It is also drought tolerant and easy to care for. Lavender has been shown to support both the psychological and physiological representations of the human body.

When inhaled it acts via the limbic system, particularly the amygdala and the hippocampus. The main active constituents; linalool and linalyl acetate are absorbed readily when applied topically for massage and are believed to down-regulate an overactive central nervous system. The essential oil is also sometimes used to support occasional headaches.* 

We wanted to offer a fun summer variation to our lemonade fast that can support the nervous system while bringing you bright floral flavors. The original lemonade fast recipe can be found here.   

This is a great fast to do for 24 hours or longer whenever you are feeling like your digestive system needs a break. The addition of lavender gives you some nervous system support while you detox.  

Lavender Lemonade 

Instructions:  

  • Strip three lavender inflorescences of their flowers or use 1 tsp. dried lavender flowers and work into the honey to draw the flavor out.  
  • Pour 1-ounce hot water into the honey and mix before adding the lemon juice.  
  • Chill mixture and serve with fresh lemon slices and a sprig of lavender.  
  • Drink as much of this mixture and only this mixture for a 24-hour detox. You may continue for longer if you are feeling strong and well.  

The honey lavender and water can be made ahead of time as lavender syrup to add to fresh lemonade. Too much lavender can taste very soapy so use sparingly to taste. The cayenne can be omitted for this nervous system supporting lemonade fast.  

Another way to get lavender into your body is through your skin. Lavender is rich in essential oil which absorbs quickly into your skin so you can enjoy the relaxing qualities of lavender even faster than if you ingest it. Also, who doesn’t need a massage at this time of year when we are out working and playing long hours with the summer sun.  

Lavender Massage Oil

Ingredients:  

  • Dried lavender blossoms to fill a pint jar 2/3 of the way 
  • Your favorite body oil. We love sweet almond, sunflower, and olive oils.  

Instructions:  

  • Grind the dried lavender in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle to increase surface area and release volatile oils.  
  • Pour ground flowers into your clean sterilized pint jar.  
  • Top with oil until all blossoms are covered. Leave some space at the top of the jar for shaking.  
  • Place oil in a warm location where it doesn’t get direct sunlight for up to one month shaking occasionally or gently heat jar of oil in a double boiler on the lowest setting for 1 hour. Monitor the process closely and make sure it doesn’t get too hot. 
  • Strain flowers from the oil using a cheesecloth. 
  • Pour into a new clean and sterilized jar. The oil should fill the jar with just a little headspace to reduce oxidation.  
  • Store in a cool dark place for up to one year.  
  • Give and receive relaxing massage! 

Lemon Balm 

The lemon balm is waist high in the garden and getting ready to bloom. Lemon balm is an herbaceous perennial in the mint family with a lemony scent. It can be found in many gardens as it naturalizes easily and tends to appear wherever a little extra water is being applied. They say the volatile oils are strongest just after the plant begins to bloom but it is lovely to use any time before full bloom when it becomes woodier, and the leaves begin to lose their bright green color.

The scientific name for Lemon Balm is Melissa officinalis. Melissa comes from a word meaning bee leaf in Greek because it is so loved by the bees, and officinalis indicates that it was used medicinally. This aromatic plant has a history of use dating back 2,000 years. Arabs were using this plant to bolster the heart and treat melancholy in the 10th century. Studies have shown that lemon balm can improve wellbeing, cognitive function, as well as psychomotor skills when placed in beverages 

Now is the perfect time to use it to make the most vibrant green lemon balm mocktail.  

 Lemon Balm Mocktail 

Ingredients:  

  • 1 cup Lemon Balm leaves 
  • ½ cup honey 
  • ½ cup water to make honey simple syrup 
  • The juice of 1 lemons  
  • 2 cups sparkling water 

    Instructions:  

    • Make a healthy honey simple syrup. Heat ½ cup water to boiling and stir in ½ cup honey. Congratulations, you can now use honey as a sweetener in cold drinks without it seizing into a hard mass at the bottom. Only use as much of this simple syrup as needed to sweeten your drink to taste. Save the rest for future mocktails. 
    • You may muddle the lemon balm as you would for a normal cocktail, but another fun option is to add the lemon balm to enough water to cover and blend with an immersion blender. The blending process ruptures the cell walls and releases chlorophyll into the liquid giving your mocktail a pop of color and extra green lemon balm flavor.  
    • Strain the lemon balm mixture to remove small leaf particles.  
    • Juice the lemon with whatever citrus juicer you have or squeeze it by hand. You can remove any seeds with a fork at the end.  
    • Combine lemon balm water, lemon juice, and honey simple syrup in a glass jar with ice. Give the mixture a good shake to combine and pour into your favorite glass.  
    • Top off your glass with sparkling water and garnish with lemon balm leaves.  

    We also had to share this lemon balm sorbet recipe  (Vegan/GF)  because who wouldn’t want a beautiful icy treat that also supports the nervous system. 

    You may substitute the sugar for honey in this recipe.  

     Chamomile 

    Chamomile is in full bloom and needs to be picked every week to keep it blooming. Try to take advantage of the harvest as this plant will begin to die and create seeds as the days grow hotter. Chamomile is in the daisy family and each little flower looks like a mini daisy. It prefers to grow in cool weather, so it is recommended to plant in fall or early spring, allowing the plant to get established before summer heat sets in.

    A healthy stand of chamomile can grow above waist height so make sure to provide support as it can topple in the wind or rain, making it much more difficult to harvest. Commercially, chamomile is often harvested with a handheld rake like a cranberry or blueberry rake, but at home hand picking makes chamomile harvest a slow meditative process.  

    Chamomile is a well-known gentle herb that is safe for both children and pets. Use caution when giving chamomile to anyone with a ragweed allergy because they could potentially be reactive to chamomile as well. Chamomile is the world's most popular herbal tea. It is thought to calm the mind, the skin, and the stomach 

    How perfect to drink before dinner to allow you full presence as you enjoy your meal with the added benefit of preparing your digestive system to do the best job it can. Chamomile has an apple-like scent and a mild bitter flavor that signals the body to produce digestive enzymes. Chamomile can be found in our Stomach Tea formula. Given the strong gut brain connection it is a good idea to soothe the mind and the stomach at the same time.*

    Iced Stomach Tea 

    Instructions:  

    • Add 2 teaspoons Stomach Tea to 16 ounces of water in a small sauce pan and let simmer for 7-15 minutes. 
    •  Strain the tea and place in the refrigerator until it cools.  
    • Pour the cooled tea over some ice cubes in your favorite glass and top with a garnish of fresh chamomile flowers from the garden. 
    •  If you don’t have fresh chamomile substitute for dried. Enjoy this iced stomach tea before a meal.  

    You may stir some honey into the hot tea before chilling if the flavor is too strong and bitter alone.  

    Another option is to make a simple fresh chilled chamomile tea if you desire a drink made only from the early summer garden.  

    If you want more chamomile in your life, try this Colorful Herb Salad with Chamomile Dressing. This salad is both beautiful and delicious. A good way to get a bunch of nervous system supporting herbs into your body.  

    Rose 

    The rose bushes have been putting on quite a show for the last month. Now is the time to use some of those luxuriously soft, decadent petals. Just inhaling the scent of a rose makes one feel soothed and relaxed. Roses have been used as medicine to treat a diverse array of ailments since antiquity, but science is just beginning to do in vitro and in vivo studies to determine how roses heal us.

    Rose petals and rose products have been shown to support mood, induce psychological relaxation, and relax smooth muscle, among other things. Roses are grown in temperate climates around the world. Although we know them best for their beauty, they are also an important agricultural crop for cosmetics, and perfumery. If you are looking for a rose with therapeutic properties and high essential oil content it is recommended to have a Rosa damascena, R. alba L., R centrifolia L., or R. gallica. These four species are the most used in commerce.  

    All scented garden roses are lovely for home use, however. Although roses are edible make sure you are only using organic roses for your recipes. Roses from a florist are covered in pesticides that are not safe to ingest.  

    At Doctor Morse's, we love roses in tea and think their floral flavor and scent add a calming boost to any recipe. One of our favorite combinations is Rose Chai. This is beautifully warm in the winter months but even better iced on a summer afternoon. We like to use our Liver Detox Tea blend as it has a chai spice flavor with cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, and fennel. You get all the delicious flavor with the added benefit of more liver and digestion supporting herbs.  

    Iced Rose Chai Latte 

    Ingredients:  

    Instructions:  

    • Pour nut milk into a small saucepan and add the Chai blend.  
    • Let simmer for around 15 minutes 
    • Remove from the heat, add rose petals, and cover.  
    • Let steep for five minutes 
    • Strain into a large jar  
    • Add honey or maple syrup and salt.  
    • Chill mixture 
    • Whisk mixture vigorously or use a milk frother to create a creamy texture 
    • Pour into your favorite glass over ice and garnish with rose petals.  

    Creating recipes from the garden is a wonderful way to support yourself while connecting with the seasons and your local environment. We hope you try some of these recipes and stay on the lookout for other opportunities to utilize and communicate with the plants around you. Plants have the power to provide support for a calm and resilient nervous system, nurturing both your mind and body towards greater wellbeing.  

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    1 comment

    • Kathy Baker

      I hv MS, and know primrose tea is helpful for MS. I use peppermint oil daily in my infuser. It helps keep air clean plus deodorizes my apt and smells heavenly. It does wonders for my sinus congestion.
      By adding peppermint to a pan of water on the cooktop. Making a tent and breathing it off and on for several hours helps with a cold or sinus problems.

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