Most herbalists will tell you that they became interested in herbs because they had some condition that they wanted to find a better way to address. For me, it was more about learning to be in charge of my emotions. It’s not that they were out of control, but I studied psychology in college, and this interest has never left me. Strong emotions can be uncomfortable and do considerable damage to various bodily systems.
There are times when we can push our limits for a long time. This isn’t always a negative. Writing a book is a good example; with tight deadlines that need to be squeezed between magazine deadlines, it’s walking a tightrope. It’s kind of fun and exciting, but the results on the body can be similar to pressure that is not so happy in origin. For instance, in my youth, I stumbled into a year as a police dispatcher, and it was difficult, educational, fascinating, and so very stressful. I wish I’d known about holy basil then! Currently, being under lock-down indefinitely has been very difficult for many of us. Learning new jobs, taking care of a relative who won’t be getting better, or living out of step with one’s true self are all taking a toll, day by day.
Over the years, I’ve created supportive herbal blends for myself, as well as for family and friends. I rely pretty heavily on adaptogens, and have debated with others the benefits of adding holy basil to the water supply of humans on occasion. Here is one elixir recipe that I like to make in a bigger batch to enjoy regularly and to share with others in need of some support. Along with holy basil, this blend includes ashwagandha, which is traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine as an adaptogen and a nervine to help cope with stress.* This formulation also calls upon another herbal ally, astragalus, which is also used as an adaptogen, but in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Astragalus was used as an herbal supplement to help increase energy and resistance to stress.* These two ingredients from differing herbal practices have been used for millennia, and it's long-standing use shows that they've helped generations of people manage the daily stressors of their times.
One of the aspects I enjoy most about this elixir blend is that it is pleasant tasting, so people who don't generally like taking tinctures or herbal preparations don't mind taking it. An elixir is a sweet herbal preparation, typically made with alcohol and a sweetener (generally honey).
This recipe was adapted from Herbal Medicine for Emotional Healing, by Tina Sams and was reprinted with permission from the author.
Daily Stress Tonifying Elixir
Makes about 24 ounces.
- ½ cup organic Krishna holy basil
- ¼ cup organic ashwagandha root
- ¼ cup organic astragalus root
- ½ cup raw, local honey
- 2 ½ cups alcohol of choice
- Combine holy basil, ashwagandha, and astragalus in quart size jar.
- Add honey and stir well to combine.
- Pour in alcohol until completely covered.
- Cover jar and shake well.
- Infuse for at least 2 weeks, storing in a cool dark place.
- Shake the blend every few days.
- Strain the elixir and transfer to clean glass bottles.
- Label and date the elixir.
- Enjoy about one teaspoon to support you during stressful times.
- Store in a cool, dark place where it can last for several years.
- As with any herbal preparation, dosage should be determined based on the status of your health and guidance from a qualified herbal practitioner. A teaspoon seems to do well for most people, but this should not be taken as a dosage recommendation.