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Archive for the ‘Avena’ Category

Valentine’s Delights

Three of my all time favourite herbs are most definitely herbs of love and, with Valentine’s day just around the corner, I thought it an auspicious time to share a little more about them.

They are Avena, Rose and Cardamom, all famed for their aphrodisiac properties, but all quite different, though they do work in some similar ways.

Avena – Oats are one of the best remedies we have for building and restoring the nervous system and this makes them a wonderful love tonic as they strengthen our reserves helping to make us more resilient and energised. Although we tend to think of aphrodisiac herbs as stimulating rather than relaxing, these kind of nerve tonic herbs act to energise us in a more roundabout way, by releasing the stresses that caused our problems in the first place and getting us strong and vital once more. So many arguments are caused by being frazzled and over-sensitive, making regular doses of Avena a great relationship soother.

Rose – What need I say about the rose, the ultimate symbol of love? It is gently moving, gently stimulating, relaxing, aromatic and uplifting. It also opens the heart to allow greater self love and acceptance, something which enables us to partake more fully in any relationship, romantic or otherwise.

Cardamom – Cardamom is one of the most balanced of the spices and for me this makes it the true spice of love. It is both slightly stimulating, like most spices, as well as calming and centring. As I mentioned above, it is often a combination of stress and resulting fatigue that stops us from giving time and attention to our beloveds, so balancing herbs, like all those mentioned here, are exactly what the love doctor ordered.

All these herbs help us to feel loved in order to feel loving. They work at the meeting point of relaxation and stimulation, of uplifting and of soothing. Essentially they work from a place of balance from which all things can flower, not just love for a partner, but love for ourselves, for the wider context of people and other sentient beings and in the knowledge that there is no real difference anyway. After all, love is just love and when it is in our hearts, all will benefit from its radiance.

Here are just a few of the ways you can combine these herbs to make some deliciously delectable treats, for Valentine’s or any other day.

Tea – A simple tea of cardamom (gently crushed in a pestle and mortar), rose petals and oatstraw makes a lovely soothing and heart opening blend for drinking anytime. To make an extra special tea, add some Ashwagandha root which is a traditional adaptogen and aphrodisiac of Ayurvedic medicine. To make the tea gently simmer about half a tablespoon of ashwagandha root in a pan for about 15 mins. Turn off the heat and add the other 3 herbs leaving to steep for another 15 mins before straining and serving with a little honey. Ashwagandha can be a little bitter in flavour so the addition of the honey makes it more deliciously balanced.

Ashwagandha root and rose buds

Bath – A lovely romantic bath can be made by mixing rose petals and rolled oats with a drop or two of cardamom essential oil and tying up in a small square of muslin. Tie this around the taps as the bath is running, making sure you squeeze out all the creaminess of the oats as you go.

Honey – Infuse rose petals and cardamon seeds in honey for a delicious aromatic treat.

Massage Oil – Cardamom and rose are both divine as essential oils and a beautifully romantic massage oil can be made by combining them both with a base oil such as almond, olive or jojoba. To 50 ml base oil add 5 -10 drops each of rose and cardamom oils.

And last but not least…

The Flapjacks of Love - 
Combining oats, rose, cardamom and other delicious ingredients into a sticky sweet treat that is sure to delight anyone you serve them to.

Ingredients:
250 g rolled oats
125 g coconut oil
75 g muscovado sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
Small handful of broken up walnut or pecan pieces
1 tsp rose petals (dried is fine)
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground ashwagandha root (optional)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a baking tray ready. Mix all the ingredients well in a mixing bowl, I find it easier to melt the coconut oil first. Transfer to the baking tray and spread evenly. Cook for about 25 minutes until golden brown then remove from the oven and score into rectangles. Allow to cool thoroughly giving the coconut plenty of time to set. Enjoy with some cardamom, rose and avena tea and a small smile of satisfaction.

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After a long day in London studying, there’s nothing like coming home to a hot, steamy bath full of herbal wonders.

Avena, or as we commonly call her Oats, is a lovely choice for such times, when you are both exhausted from the early morning, travel and long hours in a classroom, as well as over stimulated from the bright lights, loud noises and hectic pace of the big city. A classic tonic to the nervous system, Avena can help us deal effectively with periods of stress, anxiety and nervous tension. She can help soothe and protect us when we are suffering from the sensory overload usually induced by spending time in a busy city and enable a deep and restorative nights sleep. Oats are also rich in silicon which helps build the skin, nails and hair.

The classic way to have an oat bath is to tie a handful of rolled oats in a square of muslin cloth and hang it under the taps as you run the bath to release a creamy oat milk which is soothing for sensitive, dry skin.

I like to pack my baths with as much medicinal value as possible as we have the ability to absorb many substances into our bodies through the skin. This oat and chamomile bath takes a bit of pre-planning but is quick to do and captures many of the beautiful healing properties of these two wonderful green allies.

If you know you’ll have time for a bath that evening, make a strong infusion of oatstraw herb and chamomile in the morning and leave on the side for the rest of the day to extract all the goodness from the herbs.
I usually use a large handful of oatstraw, with a large pinch of chamomile, in a jar or cafetiere with pint or so of freshly boiled water.

When your ready for your bath strain the herbal infusion into a blender and add a couple of handfuls of porridge oats.
Blend up into a cream.
Stir in 4 drops Roman Chamomile, 2 drops Lavender and 2 drops Sandalwood, or any of your favourite relaxing essential oils.
Pour into a freshly run, hot bath, get in and feel the days stresses melt away.

Magic.

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