A new year rolls around again, and with it comes renewed expectations, resolutions, diets, and detoxes; often as a knee jerk reaction to the festivities, excesses and over-indulgences that comes from Christmas and saying goodbye to the old year.
For most of us - December is a whirlwind of frenetic busyness, and perhaps we have the propensity to carry this over into January and the rest of the year.
Most of us start the year off with (let's be honest) unrealistic resolutions, gym memberships, diets, all to be done every day - only to let old habits back in as the year creeps on, until we reach December, and the whole process starts again.
In Western society, we are constantly told we are busier due to modern life; and we tell ourselves we are too busy, we don't have time, and therefore don't permit ourselves to just stop...and breathe...and be.
Perhaps we carry some of the old over into the new as we are between solstices - Yule (21st December) the darkest day of the year, and from that, the slow return of the sun and light; and Imbolc (1-2 Febuary) a time of renewal, new life, and making way for new beginnings. Perhaps we too should wait until then to find some resolve for the year ahead, using January as a time to reset and recharge, to allow a measured response rather than a pressured reaction to a new year. Just as trees shed their leaves through winter, diverting energy back to their roots, and waiting for the warmer, lighter days of spring to bloom again, they won't force things any earlier; perhaps we shouldn't either!
Let's not rush into the new year if we don't need to - let's try to slow things down if we can; take stock of the year just gone, try and leave behind uneccessary baggage, and set some intentions for the whole of this new year, not just January.
Herbs to recharge & replenish...
In terms of letting go of the old, and welcoming the new - we can apply this to our bodies with particular focus on clearing the liver and flushing out the kidneys. Herbal teas can be of benefit here; firstly because they are in themselves hydrating, but also, in the Western hemisphere at least, most of these won't be available fresh, so having dried, and in the form of tea keeps them accessible.
As always, source your herbs from reputable companies and buy organic.
(As I write this, I am drinking lemon balm tea, that I harvested at the end of last summer and hung to dry - delicious!)
Make your tea more cosy - buy a good teapot and cup. I have about 6 teapots now, that I use on rotation, and a variety of good cups, most of which are chunky stoneware types. Beware, buying of both becomes addictive!
Herbs beneficial to the liver:
Rosemary - Enhances detoxification pathways, has antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties that helps protect the liver *Caution, it can affect iron absorption*
Milk thistle - Also known as St Mary's thistle is a number 1 go-to for the liver, it protects liver cells, helps to block toxins, accelerates regeneration of hepatocytes when damaged.
Turmeric - Endless benefits, but is shown to protect the liver, increase bile flow, and help reduce cholesterol.
Herbs beneficial to the kidneys:
Horsetail - Mineral rich, particularly silica (good for skin, hair and nails) this herb helps 'flush' out the kidneys - a great diuretic
Nettle - Antiinflammatory, antioxidant, helps to prevent kidney stones.
Dandelion - Also rich in minerals (including potassium, magnesium and zinc), and also a diuretic.
*Caution advised with diuretic activity - not for people on blood pressure medication, or those who already have kidney damage. Seek advice from a medical professional/naturopath.*
Herbal tea can be an acquired taste - so mix with something more palatable; mint, ginger, or even chop up some dried lemon/lime/orange peel. Experiment and see what works for you!
Take things slow(er)...
Use what is left in January to slow down, set some good intentions for the year ahead, be realistic, keep things simple. One of my own intentions is to read more this year, books are to replace screens. This should not be a chore or hard work, it is achievable; maybe next time I pick up my book, I'll throw in a pot of tea, and wrap up in a blanket, just to be extra hygge too.
Emma is passionate about promoting good health, and likes to keep things simple. She enjoys yoga, meditation & being outdoors, yet likes to indulge in coffee, wine & cake - Everything in moderation!