When I was a kid, I always had this strange sense of dread when it came to Sundays. Sundays meant piles of unfinished homework and lists of chores and early bedtimes. They meant the weekend was over and it was time to get back to reality. To responsibilities. To the daily grind. Sunday was just a nicer word for Monday.
But the older I get, the more and more I appreciate the quiet productivity of a slow Sunday spent at home. Baking and cleaning and preparing for the week. Folding laundry. Making lists. Roasting chicken. Sharing space. I notice I tend to have a markedly more positive and productive week when I carve out the time to cleanse and nest and practice self care on Sundays. Slowing down for even a moment can feel like such a luxury these days.
This Sunday I found myself trailing my fingers across endless rows of glass spice jars in my favorite little dusty corner of Missoula. If you are from around these parts, you know that Butterfly Herbs is a magical apothecary/teashop/bulk-spice oasis located in a turn-of-the-century pharmacy. Floor to ceiling bookshelves house enormous jars containing every herb, tea, and spice you can imagine. Oh, and did I mention they have a sliding library ladder used to access said herbs, teas and spices? Yeah, well...they do. It's the dreamiest and the loveliest and it's my happy place.
After much meandering and much jar-smelling, I chose dried elderberries, echinacea, rose hips, calendula flowers, star anise and turmeric to add to my fall apothecary. A personal arsenal to fight off a lingering head cold. Oh, and a few scoops of my favorite loose leaf Irish Breakfast tea. Just for good measure.
Elderberry syrup is one of the most effective herbal remedies I have ever personally experienced. I admit, I was very skeptical at first, but when I take a spoonful daily, I just do not get sick. Which is saying something, because I get sick a lot. And when I run out, like clockwork, I will come down with something within a week or two. This elixir is powerful stuff. To kick it up a notch for cold and flu season, I also threw in some dried rose hips (loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants), echinacea (immune boosting and antiviral), ginger (anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant), and cinnamon (anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.) Top it off with some local, raw honey and you have a cold and flu fighting powerhouse.
Another immune booster I have been brewing this fall is this gorgeous Golden Turmeric Milk. You guys. This is the coziest, most soothing fall drink. Think foamy hot-spiced hug in a mug. And that color! Come on. Not to mention how wonderful it is for you. An ancient Ayurvedic remedy, Turmeric has been used to treat everything from inflammation and arthritis, to depression and even cancer. Combining Turmeric with black pepper greatly increases it's bioavailability, so be sure to include an extra dash of pepper just before drinking.
So take a moment to slow down and reset. To brew up something warm and natural and soothing and seasonal. To prepare for the coming week and the coming season. To tend to the housekeeping of your space and mind and body.
Happy Sunday. Have a lovely week, dear ones.
***Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, nurse, or licensed healthcare practitioner. Some herbs and botanicals are not safe for pregnant or nursing mothers and may not be suitable to take with certain medications or conditions. This information is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult your doctor before beginning any kind of new vitamin, herbal, diet, or exercise regime. Make sure to research all of the ingredients to make sure they are safe for you and your family.
2.5 cups water
1/2 cup dried elderberries
1 TBS dried echinacea root
1 TBS dried rose hips
1/2 tsp cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp dried ginger
1/4 - 1/2 cup raw local honey (to taste)
1. Bring water and all ingredients except honey to a boil in a small or medium sized pot.
2. As soon as the water boils, reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 45 mins. Stir occasionally to keep anything from sticking.
3. After 45 - 60 mins the mixture will have reduced by half. Remove pot from heat and let cool.
4. Use a mesh strainer to strain the juice from the berries into a clean bowl. You may want to use the back of a wooden spoon to really squeeze the liquid out from the mixture. Lining the strainer with cheesecloth can make cleanup a bit easier.
5. Transfer liquid to mason jar and mix in honey until combined. Keep in fridge. Take 1 TBS of this medicinal syrup every day to boost immune system.
1 cup milk or almond milk
3/4 tsp dried turmeric
1/2 tsp dried ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
1 tsp coconut oil
2 cloves (or a dash of powdered)
Fresh ground black pepper (I usually do about 5 grinds on our pepper mill)
Star anise (optional - if you are into that kind of thing. I add mine after as a garnish.)
1. Mix all ingredients in small saucepan over low heat.
2. Gently simmer, stirring constantly, until coconut oil has melted. Use a whisk to foam up the milk to make it nice and creamy.
3. Pour and serve. Garnish with a few grinds of black pepper, a dash of cinnamon, and a star anise.