The fullness of summer reached a bursting point last week as we celebrated the Earth based Holiday of Lammas and the full moon in Aquarius. Lammas is the first harvest holiday, celebrating the plants bearing fruit and the abundance that abounds. There is a corresponding call to lean into all of the experiences that summer presents us with. It can be both exciting and exhausting as we squeeze in barbecues, swims, berry picking, baseball games, firefly walks at dusk and lying out under the stars.
On the topic of events I have three wonderful opportunities to share with you, before discussing herbs that help us to find peace and resilience. Herbs for resilience is always an important topic; it is especially relevant in August as we prepare for the seasonal transition. I find that by working with adaptogenic herbs at the end of summer we can set ourselves up for a healthier and heartier fall and winter. Below you’ll see some awesome event info and then read on for adaptogenic plant allies and simple, delicious ways to bring their medicine into your life.
Awesome Upcoming Events
August 14th from 1:00-3:00 pm Herbal Tea-Creating Delicious Infusions and Decoctions with Ashley Sapir Lathrop
RSVP here for this free event at People’s Place Wellness Empowerment Center at 775 Broadway, Kingston NY 12401
Together we will blend and taste delicious and effective herbal teas, while learning a variety of recipes for different situations. Learn about teas to build immunity, aid digestion, calm the body and mind, as well as how to make cooling summer teas. Everybody will leave with some tea to make at home.
August 26th, from 5:00 to 8:00 PM NATURE: A Community Masquerade. Presented by the Circle Creative Collective
Together, we can continue the mission of preserving and sharing the wisdom and healing power of traditional crafts and creativity, all while fostering a strong sense of community., Circle Creative Collective will transform Kingston Rotary Park into a mesmerizing realm where nature spirits come alive as we collectively celebrate the nature within and around us. Nature: A Community Masquerade
September 9th-10th, 2023 Plant Cunning Conference
The Plant Cunning Conference is a 2-day in-person event featuring speakers, workshops, plant walks, artists, and live music to build community and resiliency with people wise to the ways of Nature. It’s taking place on the second weekend in September, on the 9th-10th, 2023 at the beautiful Cohosh Creek Herb Farm and Sanctuary in Central New York. It is going to be AMAZING and I hope to see you there!
Herbs that increase our resilience and ability to move more gracefully through stressful moments and changing times are called adaptogens. Two of my favorite adaptogens come from the Ayurvedic tradition. They are ashwagandha and shatavari, both of these plants are root medicines. Ashwagandha is warming and shatavari is cooling. They have many similarities although shatavari has always been known as an ally for women, specifically. When choosing an herb to work with it is helpful to balance its energetic principles with your own. I tend to have a cooler body temperature and core so shatavari is a beautiful compliment for me. The two can be mixed together to create an adaptogenic tonic. This is something I have often done in the form of Moon Milk. These herbs can also be taken in tincture form or slices of root can be simmered to make a water decoction. We’ll talk about this more at Monday’s class at the People’s Place in Kingston. I hope to see you there!
This past week I made my annual holy basil tincture. This is one of the plants that I absolutely could not live without. I fantasize about adding it to the public water supply, chilling out millions of people at once by anchoring them into their body and reminding them to breathe deeply. I love that holy basil can simultaneously relax us while building long term resiliency. My favorite adaptogens do this double magic of helping us in the moment, to create spaciousness for more breath and cushion, while helping us to build our reservoirs to surf future waves of stress.
Holy basil is a gorgeous plant with a fruity aroma and purple flowers. Like many other mint family plants it makes a wonderful sun tea for summer hydration with additional beneficial cooling and calming properties. The flavor is delicious, and as one student recently said “tastes like drinking sunshine”. This is why I make my own tincture every year, as I find that in making a tincture from the fresh plant captures the flavor in a way that does not happen with tinctures made from dried plant material. I keep the tincture on my desk and dose myself liberally on days where tension abounds.
Some mushrooms are also adaptogenic and can be worked with for long term resilience. Cordyceps (the zombie mushroom), reishi and lion’s mane are beautiful examples of this. If you haven’t seen how cordyceps grow I highly recommend watching season 2 episode 2 of Back to Earth on Netflix, where they explore regenerative agriculture. Lion’s mane is a wonderful addition to a stir fry while also making a delicious tea, helping to stimulate and support brain acuity and health. Reishi and cordyceps make great decoctions, components of mushroom coffee and/or can be put in a muslim bag and simmered in soups.
Adding adaptogens to your life helps with increased immune health, resilience to seasonal mood changes, and an increased ability to deal with the surprises life throws your way. Creating a daily herbal ritual connects you to the Earth, in a beautiful way, and that reverence is more important now than ever.
In Peace, Ashley xox