Autumnal Equinox: Recipes of Fortitude + Balance

Autumn Equinox Recipes

Continuing the conversation begun with our Autumnal Equinox : Herbs for Balance blog, we’ve created three recipes that feature herbs that we find resonate with the energies of the Autumnal Equinox including Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), and Horsetail (Equisetum arven). Make sure to read about these three herbal allies on our original Autumnal Equinox blog post.

For our Hawthorn recipe, our Blah Buster Brew fits the bill. A remedy for those days when the drearies descend upon the heart and mind (which can often happen when we realize that not only is summer truly over, but we might not be ready yet for the cold of the year), the Blah Buster Brew features Hawthorn flower, leaf, and berry along with soothing nervines and brain-tickling beauties to uplift the spirit and shoo the Blah-Beast from your door. Come this way to learn how to make your own Blah Buster Brew.

Skullcap is an Apothecary favorite and one of our dear green allies. The wise Skullcap tells us to slow down. If you are someone who worries that they are not getting enough done, you probably need to slow down instead of trying to put more on your plate (a common imbalance that many folks experience in during the Autumn of the year). If you are someone who never stops moving, you probably need to slow down. Seriously. If you are seeking to reconnect to your body, pulling your focus from your head into your roots, try slowing down first. For our Skullcap recipe we have created a nourishing, nervine extract with a Saturnian foundation for you to enjoy. As the Autumnal Equinox is also a time of the apple harvest, we’ve included fresh apples into our brew as well as apple cider vinegar. We call the brew Switch because it helps you to switch off, slow down, and be present.

Switch

Blend together the following herbs + fruits:

  • 1 part Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
  • 1 part Horsetail (Equisetum arven)
  • 1/2 part Nettles (Urtica dioica)
  • 1/2 – 1 part fresh apple

Cover them, with 1/4 – 1/2 inch of additional menstruum floating above it, with 2 parts alcohol to 1 part of raw apple cider vinegar. To make the blend alcohol free substitute simply use only apple cider vinegar as your menstruum. As an added bonus add a few drops of Elm Flower Essence to the finished blend. Let the blend brew for at least one cycle of the Moon, shaking it daily. When ready, strain out the plant material and bottle. Enjoy 5 – 10 drops a day.

Horsetail is dinosaur medicine. Thinking of old plants and our ancient planet, I think of our how star-life emerged from the waters of our ocean planet so long ago, it makes sense that we should submerge ourselves in the healing qualities of Horsetail in via an herbal bath. Herbal baths are like giant teacups of spa-ness and are an incredibly enjoyable and easy way to incorporate herbal healing into our daily lives. Since Horsetail is so rich in silica it creates a skin restorative blend to nourish our cells and create a radiant appearance.

Stars + Dinosaurs Herbal Bath

You will need:

  • Horsetail
  • Good Quality Sea Salt
  • Epsom Salts
  • Essential Oils of Choice

Begin by decocting your Horsetail. In a soup pot I bring a generous handful of herb to boil, then allowing it to simmer for 3 – 5 hours. While the herb is simmering, prepare the salt by grinding it up in your mortal and pestle, preferably while singing songs of the sacred bounty of the sea. For every one part of sea salt add three parts of epsom salts. You will want 1 – 3 cups of salts for your bath. Add 10 drops of essential oils to your salts and mix well, letting the salt sit in a sealed container to let fragrance blossom as your Horsetail continues to simmer. I think a combination Cypress, Juniper, and Lavender are a lovely scent for this time of the year.

Draw your bath and when the Horsetail decoction is ready, strain out the plant material and add the Horsetail infusion to your bath water. Add 1 – 3 cups of your salt blend to the bath as well, stirring the waters until the salt dissolves. Relax and enjoy your bath! Splashing around like a dinosaur is optional.

Blessed Autumn Equinox! Enjoy the darkening year, clever friends!

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The Quick + Clever : Lemongrass

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A home surrounded by Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratum) is protected from snakes. Lemongrass clears the aura of harmful energy and changes bad luck to good, opening the way up to success and good opportunities. Add Lemongrass to blends to promote psychic vision and for the success of divination as the herb will also add clarity to the messages being received and given.

Lemongrass folks need to find their luck again. They may stumble over their words, feeling inadequate when it comes to articulate their feelings, ideas, and ambitions. Sometimes they resort to being dishonest, even when they are just little white lies, in an attempt to break through what can feel like a communication barrier. Lemongrass folks both struggle to communicate and to receive messages – sometimes they can be sharp going after the messenger and end up not paying attention to the actual message. Dampness and inflammation (the Damp/Stagnation tissue state) is a common complaint often materializing as sluggishness and a feeling of swelling. When Lemongrass folks are able to dry out and claim the beneficial qualities of their blocked Mercurial energies, their communication becomes unblocked, their become more flexible in mind and body, and are able to become messengers themselves.

Most folks are familiar with Lemongrass as a culinary ingredient that is found in many southeast Asian dishes like Tom Kha (yum!). While I’ll be discussing Lemongrass from a primarily Traditional Western Herbalism (TWH) perspective, I encourage you to explore the ancient and diverse cultures of southeast Asian herbal traditions that have long used Lemongrass as a standard herb in their Apothecary traditions including, but certainly not limited to, the Jamu healing traditions of Indonesia, Ramuan of Malaysian, and as well as Thai herbal healing traditions.

Lemongrass makes a wonderful tea and eases indigestion with its sweet lemony taste and delightful fragrance. The herb also has constituents that protect against blood platelet aggregation, protecting against clots. In TWH Lemongrass is typically classified as a cool and dry herb, so it would be helpful in addressing Hot and Damp tissue states. I have seen, however, Lemongrass categorized as hot and dry in Malaysian practice. For me, Lemongrass has less of a refrigerant quality as it is gently calming but has a taste that contains a fiery edge within it (like a combination of mild ginger and lemon). Depending on what herbs it is combined with you can pull out Lemongrass’ cooling or heating qualities. As a drying herb, soundly in the element of Air and under the guardianship of Mercury, there is a quality of cleverness and dry wit to Lemongrass that underlies its initial sweet taste and scent. Lemongrass is both one thing and then the other, which lends it to being a useful herb when transitions and initiations are occurring in your life and you are taking up new identities, especially when these identity shifts are accompanied by the change of physical appearance.

There are some very early studies that Lemongrass may induce apoptosis in some types of cancer which essentially means that the cancer cells destroy themselves. Some folks have begun to use the herb as a cancer preventative and I find that it is a great addition to your rotation of daily teas to keep your cells happy and healthy. The herb is used as well for common household complaints such as colds, the ‘flu, fevers, insomnia, and diarrhea (remember it is drying and an astringent). The flavor of Lemongrass helps “the medicine go down” so to speak, as its sweet flavor can alleviate some of the stronger tastes of other necessary medicinal herbs (another Mercurial quality of delivering what can feel like difficult and challenging, but very necessary, messages).

The essential oil is used as a disinfectant, containing antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Add a few drops to your countertop cleaners for a good scent and swift action against bacteria!

Topically, Lemongrass has many uses from reducing inflammation, treating boils, cuts, wounds, as well as helping swollen gums. The herb is used in prenatal massage blend oils as part of the Ramuan or Malaysian tradition of herbal healing as well as being used in postpartum baths to promote healing by reducing swelling and promoting blood circulation. I have made a gorgeous smelling herbal oil by infusing coconut oil with fresh Lemongrass and then adding drops of Lemongrass essential oil (check out my Herbal Oil Tutorial). I use it for conditions of inflamed tissue such as lower back strain, tendonitis, and assisting in repairing connective tissue tears. Lemongrass is also an insect repellant, so you can take care of your aching muscles after a long day outside without having to continuously swat away those biting bugs!

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