In these challenging times, how can we uplift and support each other to maintain our mental/emotional/spiritual well-being? As we know, ongoing stress, worry and pressure can have insidious effects on our health and can undermine our immune resilience. One way to enhance our mental and emotional health is to cultivate joy in our lives. We can do this both by prioritising doing those things that bring us joy and also by bringing an attitude of joy to all the things we do. I wonder that focusing on joy may be easier than cultivating an attitude of gratitude since joy has no connotation of obligation to appreciate what we have been given but is instead simply an invitation to experience the pleasure of the moment.
Feeling the joy of fresh springtime wind on our face, the pleasure of the connection with our plant friends, the joy of sharing a meal and laughter with friends, a big warm hug! Many of these things have been shown to release oxytocin, known as the love hormone. No wonder lock downs have been so challenging for mental well-being since they have by necessity restricted many of these oxytocin producing activities.
This pleasure-filled project involved bringing together three of my loves - roasted Dandelion and Burdock roots (two of my favourite springtime cleansing herbs), warm herbal lattes and funky kitchen gadgets! My enjoyment of the resulting roasted root latte was enhanced by the satisfaction of problem solving and the manual work of hand grinding these roasted beauties since my usual blender was busy with my Sunday pancake mixture. Usually I would decoct the roasted roots by simmering them in water for 10 minutes or so, however the roasting and grinding helps to break down the plant matter, allowing the constituents and flavour to extract well with the quicker extraction time through the espresso machine. And of course, there is the charm and pleasure of the kitchen gadgets that I mentioned earlier - the rituals around coffee and tea making are a big part of their enjoyment. The creaminess of the frothed milk really sets off the roasted bitter flavours too, perfect for those that require nourishment as well as cleansing. The result is a delicious, therapeutic drink that bought a lot of joy to my morning.
How to prepare a roasted root latte:
About Dandelion and Burdock root
Dandelion and Burdock roots are both great detoxifying herbs. They also have a bitter/sweet taste that makes for delicious coffee when roasted. Dandelion has a special affinity for supporting liver detoxification, improving the clearance of wastes throughout the body. This in turn aids our immune system functioning, and Dandelion has been shown to have anti viral and anti bacterial actions and well as reducing inflammation - a great combination for many acute infections. By supporting liver function and being a bitter tonic, Dandelion root is a great aid for digestion and can help fat digestion particularly as well as constipation. The general cleansing effects can aid skin conditions such as acne and eczema, joint problems as well as emotions such as irritability and moodiness (a classic symptom of a congested liver.
Burdock root is another great cleansing herb, and adds a more sweet flavour to your roasted lattes. Burdock has a specific affinity for skin conditions such as acne, eczema, boils and cysts. It is known as a blood cleanser, and as well as aiding the skin this action is useful for toxicity affecting the joints, manifesting in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout. It has a cleansing effect on the lymphatic system, which processes cellular wastes and is also part of our immune system. This makes it very useful for all issues of congestion in this system, such as cysts, swellings and lowered immunity. It has been researched for it's effect on tumors and cancer. Burdock cleanses via the kidney pathway and can also be helpful for urinary tract infections. A caution for Burdock root is that it often works best when combined with other herbs that aid the elimination of wastes from the body - such as Dandelion root - to prevent any side effects from it's powerful detoxifying actions.
It's a beautiful thing to make delicious food as medicine from plants grown in your own garden. This traditional healing drink was made from our first crop of fresh Turmeric root grown in our greenhouse. Turmeric is a powerful food for supporting healthy immune response, enhancing digestion and liver function and reducing inflammation. This recipe makes a delicious, milky drink which is one of the traditional Ayurvedic ways of preparing this herb. Turmeric root can also be used in making sweet foods such as bliss balls or savoury dishes such as stews and curries. You can buy fresh Turmeric at whole food stores, vegetable stores and Indian grocery stores.
Ayurvedic Golden Milk
Place all ingredients apart from honey in a pot and simmer gently (do not boil) for 5 - 10mins. Place in a heat proof blender or use a blending stick to whizz mixture till creamy. Serve as it is, top with extra sprinkle of cinnamon and add honey if desired. Take care of surfaces as Turmeric can easily stain objects!
Nb: It is important to heat Turmeric gently when preparing as some of the active constituents are lost on high heating. This also prevents the milk splitting, especially if using milk alternatives.
Black pepper is needed for absorption of curcumin, the active ingredient in Turmeric. Fat is also required for absorption of curcumin, so if milk used is not high in fats, include some coconut oil or nut butter into preparation.
The wonderful, tasty and medicinal Nasturtium! Discover how to incorporate this wild edible into your life to support your immunity and well being.
This recipe offers a vibrant, tasty way to get nutrient rich greens into our day. Fresh herbs are high in vitamin C, chlorophyll and beta carotene which are important antioxidants that protect against pollution, stress and pathogens, making this a great recipe for enhancing our immune resilience and well being. The World Health Organisation acknowledges environmental pollution as the underlying cause of 80% of all chronic degenerative diseases, so this is a great recipe for preventative health.
The nuts and seeds in this recipe contain important antioxidants such as zinc (pumpkin seeds especially), selenium and Vit E, further enhancing our immunity. This recipe is also rich in stress supporting nutrients such as magnesium, calcium and vitamin B5 that can support our immunity through calming and replenishing our nervous system and adrenals.
Herbal Pesto Recipe
Naturally gluten and dairy free
Place garlic and salt in a blender with close fitting blades and whizz until finely cut. If your blender doesn't have close fitting blades, simply chop garlic by hand first. You can also lightly saute garlic in oil to offer a more mellow flavour.
Add herbs, oil, nuts, salt and lemon juice and blend together.
Great to serve as a dip with chopped vegetable sticks or seed crackers, toss through pasta or slather on top of roast potato or kumara. Any extra can be frozen in small jars topped with a little olive oil.
ThetaHealer, Naturopath, Ayurvedic Practitioner, Wholefood Cook and Mother.