December 21, 2022    

On the winter solstice brightening your home with herbs is a great way to mark the longest night of the year.
The winter solstice celebrates the return of light and the days becoming longer with the promise of the New Year.
Using herbs to mark the occasion brings the promise of life with the greenery and the aromas of pine,, rosemary, cinnamon, cloves and frankincense.
Burning candles or incense can be done along with enjoying the herbs.

Cinnamon is a warming spice, which keeps the vital energy flowing through dark, cold winter months. The spice is also helpful to relieve gas and bloating, which is particularly important during a season of feasting.

Cloves have a strong aroma which can enhance purification when they are used in a potpourri or simmering blend on the stovetop. Clove-studded oranges are a popular ritual to do for winter solstice and Christmas.
All you need are a few whole cloves and a couple small oranges. The pomander ball acts as a natural air freshener. Cover the orange with cloves as much as possible as the cloves are a natural preservative.  To make it last longer, cover it in a mixture of ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves and powdered orrisroot.

frankincense is one of the most revered sacred herbs in human history. It is a resin from the bark of the Boswellia tree.
The resin has many therapeutic benefits such as strengthening the immune system,  calming the nervous system and offering relief from aching joints. Add a few drops of the essential oil to a potpourri.

The piney aroma of rosemary has healing benefits and helps clear the mind. Rosemary tea can restore the organs of liver, heart, spleen and kidneys bringing back balance after a bout of fatigue or illness.

Rosemary is also associated with Rosemary for Remembrance as the herb has a reputation for strengthening the memory. The needles can be used in simmering herbs to scent the home.

White pine is used medicinally for upper and lower respiratory tract inflammation, stuffy nose, hoarseness, common cold, coughs or bronchitis.
It can also be directly applied to the skin for mild muscle pain and nerve pain.  The tea has a mild herbal lemony taste with a woodsy fragrance.

Enjoy an Herbal Tea
Mark the solstice with an herbal tea to warm and strengthen the immune system. A combination of dried apple, cinnamon, a few cloves and some rosemary can make a warming tea.
Chai tea made with cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper is also a warming tea to mark the solstice.

Simmering herbs to scent the home and purify the air is another way to celebrate the solstice.

Simmering Herbs

½- 1 cup rosemary needles
½ cup pine needles
1 tsp. cloves
1 -2 cinnamon sticks
4-5 drops rosemary essential oil
2-3 cups water

Put all ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to minimum and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Mixture can be reused several times though more water may need to be added.

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