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Nurturing Gratitude: Embrace Spring with Herbal Allies

This was a strange week - when we should be in late winter, the weather felt more like spring: spring jackets, warm temperatures, thunderstorms, snowdrops and crocuses popping up, my terribly confused garlic sending up first shoots. But this morning arrived the reminder that we are still in the winter season with below-zero wind chills. As I sipped my morning cup of tea, it made me feel deeply grateful for a short break from winter - it felt like a vacation in my own backyard. But also as I prepare for "Real Spring" I'm deeply grateful for the potential that is housed in each seed that I plant, each plan I draw for my garden space, and the promise of biting into that first vine-ripened tomato still warm from the sun.


In our busy lives, it's easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of stress and forget to appreciate the blessings that surround us. Gratitude is a powerful practice that can transform our outlook and enhance our well-being. A short daily gratitude practice can uplift our spirits and transform our perspective. As we approach spring, this is a beautiful time to cultivate a gratitude practice. We can also incorporate our plant allies into this practice, as some plants and fungi can support a feeling of gratitude within us. Below, I'll explore how reishi, hawthorn berry, rosemary, holy basil, rose, and lemon balm can support thankfulness in our lives.


reishi mushrooms growing on a log

1. Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum): Reishi, revered as the "mushroom of immortality," offers us a grounding embrace with its adaptogenic properties and ability to promote overall well-being. Its earthy flavor and grounding nature invite us to connect with the present moment, encouraging gratitude for the abundance that surrounds us. Incorporating reishi into your daily routine can help to center yourself and foster gratitude for the abundance of the present moment.


hawthorn berries on bare dark branches

2. Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.): With its delicate white blossoms and vibrant red berries, hawthorn is a symbol of heart-centered gratitude. This herb has long been cherished for its ability to support cardiovascular health and uplift the spirit. By nourishing our physical hearts and opening our emotional hearts, hawthorn invites us to embrace gratitude as a path to inner healing and wholeness. Sip on hawthorn tea to allow its gentle energy to remind you of the love and connections that enrich your life.



bunch of rosemary on a dark background

3. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): Rosemary, with its invigorating aroma and clarifying properties, is a steadfast ally on the journey towards gratitude. This aromatic herb awakens the senses and clears away mental clutter, allowing us to focus on the blessings that surround us. By fostering mental clarity and presence, rosemary encourages us to appreciate the beauty of each moment and express gratitude for the gifts of life



Tulsi, or holy basil, plants about to bloom

4. Tulsi or Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum): Holy basil, or Tulsi, is revered in Ayurvedic medicine for its sacred nature and ability to promote balance and harmony. This cherished herb uplifts the spirit and calms the mind, creating a fertile ground for gratitude to blossom. Holy basil encourages us to cultivate a sense of reverence for the interconnectedness of all beings and express gratitude for the abundance of blessings in our lives.



Pink roses with leaves on a dark background

5. Rose (Rosa spp.): With its romantic fragrance and delicate petals, the rose is a timeless symbol of love, beauty, and gratitude. This flower opens the heart and soothes the soul, inviting us to embrace gratitude as a heartfelt expression of appreciation for the beauty that surrounds us. The rose reminds us to pause and give thanks for the simple joys that enrich our lives.


Closeup of lemon balm

6. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis): Lemon balm, with its bright citrus scent and uplifting properties, is a gentle yet potent ally for cultivating gratitude. This cheerful herb calms the nerves and lifts the spirits, encouraging a positive outlook and a grateful heart. Lemon balm invites us to savor the sweetness of life's moments and express thanks for the blessings, both big and small, that grace our journey.


As we embrace the gathering energy of spring, let us turn to the wisdom of our herbal allies to cultivate gratitude in our hearts. From the grounding presence of reishi to the heart-opening essence of roses, these herbs inspire us to pause, reflect, and give thanks for the abundance that surrounds us. Infuse your days with the essence of gratitude, and watch as joy and appreciation blossom within you, nourishing your spirit through the seasons of life.


Below, I want to share a simple herbal infusion recipe for gratitude and some journaling exercises to incorporate into the melting of winter and the promise of spring.


Herbal Gratitude Infusion Recipe: Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon dried hawthorn berries

  • 1 tablespoon dried rose petals

  • 1/2 tablespoon dried reishi mushrooms

  • 1 teaspoon dried holy basil leaves

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried lemon balm leaves

  • 4 cups of hot water

Instructions:

  1. Combine the dried herbs in a teapot or heatproof container.

  2. Pour hot water over the herbs, covering them completely.

  3. Steep for 10-15 minutes, allowing the herbs to infuse.

  4. Strain the infusion and pour into cups, or reserve to drink within 24 hours.

  5. Take a moment to inhale the aroma and express gratitude for the nourishment it provides.

  6. Sip slowly, allowing each sip to deepen your sense of thankfulness and appreciation.


Gratitude Journal Prompts for Spring:

  1. What new beginnings am I grateful for as spring unfolds?

  2. How can I cultivate gratitude for the beauty of nature's awakening around me?

  3. What lessons can I learn from the resilience of springtime blooms?

  4. In what ways can I express gratitude for the growth and renewal happening within myself?

  5. How can I extend gratitude to the people who bring warmth and light into my life during this season of new beginnings?



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