by Anne McIntyre FNIMH MCPP MAPA, author of The Complete Herbal Tutor
Are you fed up with being slave to that coffee fix every morning? Well, there are many herbs which can do its job just as well and energise you to face the day!
My favourite herbal recipe, I call “Wakey, Wakey!”, certainly invigorates. It contains Siberian ginseng root, ginkgo, gotu cola, rosemary and ashwagandha. Siberian ginseng is the King of tonics, not only raising energy levels but also protecting against the effects of stress. The leaves of the ginkgo tree, native to China, improve blood flow to the brain and are popular for slowing the effects of ageing. Then we have gotu kola, the great brain booster, aiding memory and concentration while keeping us young! We all know and love rosemary; the leaves and flowers have a relaxing, yet stimulating effect on the nervous system, and will enhance your energy, concentration and mental alertness. Ashwagandha is a must for anyone with a busy stressful life. It boosts our energy, strengthens our reserves, and reduces those tell-tale signs of stress, such as exhaustion!
If you want a really easy drink to get you going in the morning, try a cup of rosemary tea. Just pour boiling water onto a handful of rosemary leaves, leave to infuse for ten minutes, and enjoy!
Or try an invigorating foot bath. Take 100g of fresh or dried rosemary, vervain, holy basil, and thyme. Holy basil increases resilience to stress, stimulates the mind and, along with vervain, strengthens the nerves. Thyme and rosemary are wonderfully invigorating. Place the herbs in a teapot, pour over half a litre of boiling water and infuse for about half an hour. Pour into a bowl, check the temperature and then soak your feet for 15 to 20 minutes. Bliss!
There are many other herbs and spices which can energise you if you’re keeping off the coffee. You can try cinnamon, that sweet and aromatic spice that lifts fatigue and low spirits, and dispels SAD and winter lethargy. Offering support for a busy, stressful life, skullcap will lift your mood and ease anxiety. Nutrient rich wild oats will boost energy and help to combat the effects of stress. Stinging nettles are packed with vitamins and minerals and can alleviate exhaustion. Better known for its sweet perfume, lavender lifts the spirits and restores energy in tiredness and nervous exhaustion.
Lastly, the warming properties of fresh ginger root are great for dispelling lethargy and getting you going. So pour that coffee down the sink and try a cup of hot, fresh ginger tea! Grate a thumb-sized piece and place it into a cafetiere. Pour on boiling water, leave for ten minutes and drink. You should feel awake and refreshed from head to toe! Enjoy!
The Complete Herbal Tutor by Anne McIntyre, is out now, published by AEON Books, priced £22.50 each.