December Newsletter 2009

Christmas Newsletter 2009              
Seasons greetings to you all for both Christmas and the upcoming winter solstice. This edition is full of exotic spices as we all need warming up and drying out.

We have a traditionally festive Mulled wine spice. It makes a deliciously spicy red wine beverage that is served warm. The mixture is a blend of ginger, cloves, bay leaves & juniper berries. Add the spices to a saucepan of red wine and infuse over a gentle heat. Add sugar to taste and orange slices too. This is a really lovely drink to share between friends and family.

Our Organic Chai Tea blend is a treat. Try this after a day out in the wind and rain and it can instantly bring you round. It is a traditional Indian spice recipe for tea. It is infused in milk, with added sugar and black tea. The blend is a mixture of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom & rose petals.

Chilli hot chocolate. This is must to try. Make your hot chocolate in a saucepan by warming your cocoa with milk. Add a couple of chillies, either fresh or dry, to the pot. Allow the fruits to infuse

Winter Evergreens

When looking at our landscape at this time of year there are now no deciduous trees bearing leaves. It is a blessing to see evergreen trees and shrubs. They give colour and importantly a connection to life in a time of hibernation. Our native European evergreens Holly (Ilex aquifolium), Mistletoe (Viscum album) and Ivy are famously connected to our Christmas festivities. Their images, as well as the live plants, are alive in our yuletide decorations of homes, churches, cakes and Christmas cards.

All these beautiful plants have deep roots in Christian and pagan festivities. They all have traditional medicinal histories too. They may not be used in modern herbal medicine but their past uses have been gathered and noted by herbalists with much experience. Just because they are not in vogue does not mean they have lost their value. Ivy, for instance, was once used for respiratory weakness and worn to dispel hangovers. It was also an ingredient in wine making and had a reputation of making bad wine good, even pub signs had ivy on them to show it was a good public house. Holly increases sweating used in fevers and pleurisy and excess catarrh. The fresh berries can cause vomiting. Mistletoe is used by many modern practising herbalists. I use mistletoe in conjunction with other herbs to lower a high blood pressure. This is thought to be done by opening up the peripheral capillaries of the circulatory system.

So, enjoy your season’s gorgeous beverages,
After going outside and looking at our beautiful festive plants ...

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year from everyone at Herbal Haven.