Wintertime: the cold and the wind, the early dark, the occasional snow. It's so much easier to stay curled up on the couch than to bundle up and go outdoors. And, sitting leads to more sitting. But, when you do get up and get out, you find yourself feeling more clear-headed, more active, more alert and better about yourself.
After all, humans are designed to move, and our health depends on it. Moving our bodies moves food through our digestive system, moves lymph and blood through our vessels, and helps keep arthritis and osteoporosis at bay. But these days, we sit for longer than ever--in cars, facing computers, in front of TVs: for work, play and travel.
Whether we have a hard time getting started or problems with physical movement, there are many herbs that can help us move our bodies with more grace and ease. The three main areas where herbs can help are by stimulating circulation, by nourishing our joints and connective tissue, and by easing inflammation.
Often the best herbs for the wintertime are the ones that warm us up by getting our blood flowing better. These same herbs are often used to treat arthritis as well, which is traditionally thought of as a stagnation of energy. The area around the joints is narrow, and blood has a hard time reaching these spaces. This lack of blood flow is a major cause of problems in this area.
For most people, ginger is the first warming herb that comes to mind. Especially good for people who are chronically cold or have a hard time getting started in winter, ginger can be used in any form to improve circulation throughout the body and reduce inflammation, as well as to improve sluggish digestion. Ginger tea is especially warming.
Turmeric is a close relative of ginger that gives curry powder its yellow color. Though not as warming as ginger, it's one of my favorite anti-inflammatory herbs for joint problems as well as for any physical trauma. It works by increasing blood flow in inflamed areas to bring in fresh blood mad remove toxic waste products.
Sassafrass has a long tradition of use tot arthritis conditions. A local relative of cinnamon, it helps to move and cleanse the blood. When used as a tea, it has none of the safrole content that makes the essential oil carcinogenic. Anti best of all, it tastes like root beer!
Herbs can also help heal the joints, ligaments and tendons. The following nurturing and moistening herbs can be especially useful for dry, creaky joints or...