If you’re anything like me, by mid-February, you’re feeling what I refer to as the “February blahs” — that point in the month when you’re completely over the snow and gray skies, and instead, you’re itching for sun and flowers.
Is it just me?
No, I don’t think so.
If I were a betting woman, then I’d say most of us ladies who are trying to embrace seasonal rhythms in our lives, especially those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, are feeling the February blahs right about now.
While there’s little we can do about hurrying spring along, one thing we can do is bring a little sunshine into our days even when the sky is overcast and the cold winds are howling outside of our window. One way we can do that is through what I affectionately call “herbal sunshine” — aka, calendula (Calendula officinalis) flowers.
Move and Shake Things Up With Calendula
When it comes to using calendula as a dose of herbal sunshine in the late-winter, early-spring transition period, we’re mainly focusing on calendula’s warming energetic qualities to bring that “herbal sunshine” feeling to our bodies.
You see, calendula is one of those herbs that has both warming and cooling energetics. As a bitter and vulnerary herb, calendula is a lovely cooling herb that really helps to bring balance to hot, excited conditions, specifically in the digestive tract and on the skin. However, calendula is also considered to have warming energetics due to its ability to stimulate the flow of fluids in the body, particularly the blood and lymph, and it is commonly used when stagnation or dampness is accumulating in the tissues.
From a planetary and elemental perspective, calendula is associated with the sun sign and fire element, both of which are warming and stimulating.
I like to think of calendula as a mover and shaker type of herb. It helps to gently stimulate the flow of energy in the body! And as you can see, it is a great herb to call upon when you’re feeling sluggish, cold, and a bit “blah” feeling.
Herbal Sunshine In Your Cup
One of my favorite ways to incorporate calendula’s herbal sunshine into my day is to add it to my daily herbal infusions. It can be as simple as adding a sprinkle of calendula petals to a cup of tea as it steeps, or it could be as complex as incorporating a specific amount of calendula into an herbal formula I’m currently using in my daily infusions. (You can learn more about creating herbal formulas in my course, The Sunday Steep!)
Below you’ll find two recipes that will help you incorporate calendula into your daily tea ritual!
A Cuppa Sunshine
- 1 teaspoon of black tea leaves
- 1 teaspoon of calendula (Calendula officinalis) petals
Place herbs in a teacup or mug, cover with 8 ounces boiled water. Steep herbs, covered, for 5 minutes before straining liquid into a new cup. Add a dash of cream and a sweetener of choice, if desired.
Daily Dose of Sunshine Infusion
- 1/2 cup calendula (Calendula officinalis) flowers
- 1/4 cup milky oat (Avena sativa) tops (or oat straw)
- 1/8 cup marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) root
- 1-3 thin slices of fresh ginger (Zingiber officinale) root
- 4 cups water
Upon waking, place herbs into a quart-sized glass canning jar and set aside. Next, bring water to boil in a kettle. When water comes to temperature, pour 4 cups of water over the herbs in your jar, filling the jar almost to the top. You’ll want to leave about 1-inch of air space at the top. Cap the jar, and leave this to sit for 4 hours minimum. (You can also make this at night before going to bed so it is ready when you wake in the morning.) When time is up, strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve and compost the used herbs. Sip your infusion slowly throughout the day. Drink one quart per day.
Another way I’ll sometimes use calendula is to add a wee bit of a calendula tincture into the last of my winter bitter tincture blend. This way, when I take a squirt of bitters before each meal, I’m getting both the cooling bitter action of calendula along with its warming, fluid stimulating action as well. This is a great way to gently “warm up” my bitters and allow me to use the last of my winter batch up as we move further and further into spring where I typically make a fresh batch using spring alterative herbs.
While February feels like it is most-likely dragging on at this point, after reading through this blog post and looking at these lovely photos, I hope you now feel inspired to add a little sunshine — herbal sunshine, that is — into your day by incorporating some calendula into your herbal supplement regimen for the next 3-4 weeks. You can do it!
Before you know it, spring will be here and there will be plenty of actual sunshine to go around!
Love and light,
Calendula Herb Challenge
If you’ve enjoyed this little post on one of the many benefits of calendula, perhaps you’d be interested in learning even more about this herb in my Calendula Herb Challenge. This is a free 5-part challenge I hosted here on Growing Up Herbal years ago, and it’s still available for you to enjoy.
If you enjoy this style of herbal study, let me invite you to join me inside of my Herb Folk monthly herb studies. You can learn more about this program and get your first month’s study for FREE right here.