So the joy of Christmas is almost upon us, but unfortunately all that “joy” can sometimes have a down side. Fortunately herbs can help bring the joy back when this happens!

From digestive upsets from all the food and stress, to over excited kids, to anxiety and depression, hangovers and colds from depressed immune function herbs can support your body to make it through the holiday season in a happy & healthy way.

There are some great herbs that are readily available and wise to have on hand over the holiday season.

Chamomile is an excellent choice as is lemon balm as both are great for stress, indigestion, flatulence, headaches and hyper kids. Lemon balm also helps with nausea and is a natural anti-depressant. They can be used either alone or in combination and they make a great tea for the season. We love these herbs so much at Tilia that we created a tea using them (along with rose petals) called Honey Bunny Tea and it is great for kids as well as adults because it balances energy levels and calms the nervous system

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Peppermint, fennel seed, anise seed and dandelion root all can help with digestive upsets and to support the liver if you have over indulged in rich foods or alcohol. A tea with any of these herbs taken 1/2 hour before a meal prevents flatulence, stimulates appetite and supports digestion function after the big turkey feast.

Soothing herbs like marshmallow root, slippery elm and oat straw will ease the burning of indigestion. As will meadowsweet and chamomile, both of which help to balance stomach acid. Slippery elm in particular can be a life saver at this time of year. It is an amazing herb for everything from sore throats to indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea and constipation. It is extremely demulcent and heals and soothes inflamed tissues. The powder can be made into a “gruel” and a bit of cinnamon & honey (or maple syrup) added so it eats like porridge or the whole bark can be made into a tea. You can also buy or make slippery elm lozenges and they are great for sore throat or to suck on if heartburn is an issue

Ginger is a delicious warming herb that is an excellent herb to deal with indigestion and nausea, boost immune function and generally keep you healthy. It is great with some lemon, as it will help to clean out lymphatic blockage that can happen with over indulging. Lemon is a lymphatic cleanser and ginger works to open the vessels to move the waste material out. It is awesome at the first sign of a cold. Drink 2-3 cups right away and then a cup every 3-4 hrs after that

With alcohol, fatty food, and the abundance of sugar at Christmas our liver and pancreas can take a beating and you might also want to consider having available either chicory root or milk thistle seeds as either of these herbs can be used to protect the liver and support digestive function. Both chicory and milk thistle are hepatoregeneratives – which means they actually heal any damage to liver cells that may occur, so they are great

With all those yummy sweets everywhere at this time of year our poor blood sugars don’t know what hit them! Herbs such as fenugreek, cinnamon, oats, and Siberian ginseng can all support the body’s insulin/glucose levels.

Every year people get together and invariably someone is there coughing and sneezing sharing their “gift” with others. Putting a pot of water on the wood stove (or in a crock pot without the lid on) and adding either the herb or essential oils of thyme and sweet orange, can make a huge difference. If you want you can simply put dried thyme and the orange peels in the pot and let them simmer. They both kill air borne microbes and boost immune function. You could also make a room spray out of the essential oils or a tea from the herbs and spray if you don’t have a wood stove. It smells wonderful and helps to keep everyone healthy. Try putting 3 drops thyme and 6 drops sweet orange essential oils in 2 oz. of water (60ml).

So hopefully these tips will help you to keep the joy  in Christmas. Have a happy and healthy holiday season!