At the end of the festive season, our bodies are in need of a little TLC. Sandra Clair, founder of plant medicine company Artemis, has some top tips for recovering from the holidays.
Set a sleep routine:
Establish a bedtime routine and aim to go to bed at the same time every day, preferably before 10 pm as this is when levels of sleep-inducing melatonin rise. Before going to sleep, give your mind a chance to unwind by putting your computer and work away, at least one hour before bed. Try a cup of medicinal tea with plants such as Valerian; it improves the quality and duration of sleep and is excellent for restlessness. Add honey to help counteract insomnia by providing your liver and brain with necessary fuel during the night.
Look after your liver:
A well-supported liver enhances your body's natural detoxification process and helps to eliminate hidden toxins stored in fat cells. If you're feeling tired or a bit sluggish, even after a holiday, you might need to show your liver some extra love. Try a medicinal tea in the morning, before a breakfast of certified organic bitter herbs to help kickstart your liver for the day.
Eat whole foods:
Incorporate as many real whole foods into your diet as you can; vegetables, fruits, whole unrefined grains such as brown rice and oats, legumes, nuts and seeds, and good quality protein such as eggs, chicken, fish and lean meat. Keep sugary foods, refined carbohydrates and processed food to a minimum, or better still, eliminate entirely if you are able to. You don't have to swap everything out at once; try adding more vegetables into your favourite dishes for a start, and over time remove the processed foods from your shopping list.
Introduce daily rituals of self-care:
Your mind becomes calmer when you introduce a daily self-care ritual it could be something as simple as sitting down with a hot drink and taking some time for yourself. Medicinal herbal teas are a great way to stop for a moment and do something for yourself: In addition to the medicinal benefits, the act of sitting down with a hot drink can have a calming effect on the mind.
Support your adrenal and nervous system:
We live in a time where everyone is facing multiple stresses, but we can help ourselves better adapt to these by focusing regularly on adrenal and nervous system health. This may sound odd, but it is actually very easy. Simple things like reducing caffeine, processed foods and alcohol can make a huge difference. Incorporate medicinal plants such as St. John's Wort, Passionflower and Licorice during the day to support your adrenals and nervous system. They help you to stay energised, focused but calm and also facilitate the clearance of excess cortisol and other stress hormones out of the body so you are not stressed to the max by the time evening arrives.
Sandra Clair is the founder of New Zealand plant medicine company Artemis, a Swiss trained medical herbalist who is in the final stages of completing a PhD in Health Science at the University of Canterbury in collaboration with the Emeritus Chair for Natural Medicine of the University of Zurich, Switzerland.
Sandra's research for her thesis is looking at how traditional knowledge of plant medicine can be integrated back into out contemporary evidence-based healthcare system.