Would you like to feel more relaxed, more fluid, with less stress, anxiety, and mental fog? To feel more deeply connected to yourself? Did you know you can actually detox your brain?
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I recently had the opportunity to attend the MidAtlantic Women’s Herbal Conference (and take my daughter with me to the kid’s herb camp!) It was ah-mazing. I even got to meet up with my herbal mentor, Rosemary Gladstar, and introduce her to my daughter. I was so happy I could have pinched myself.
One of the workshops I went to was taught by Kerry Wilson. She uses her studies of Ayurveda (one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems from India), indigenous cultures, yoga philosophies, and herbs to suggest “lifestyle adjustments” to detox your brain, experience better mental health, and connect more deeply to yourself. Here are my five favorite suggestions from Kerry:
1. Use natural hair care products.
The superior sagittal sinus “drain” starts at your forehead and goes the whole way across and down the back of your head, connecting to the lymph system. It drains lots of toxins from our body, washing and cleansing the brain. One researcher claims it drains about 3 pounds of toxins from your body every year! While I try to eat healthy and clean my house without chemicals, I honestly haven’t really given my soap or beauty supplies much thought.
Now I’m seriously re-thinking everything my family puts on our heads. I checked my shampoo and conditioner and they’re full of ingredients and chemicals I can’t even pronounce that are being absorbed by my skin and shipped to my lymph system via this sagittal sinus tube. Yuck! I’ve decided I’m going to go for it and get the natural rosemary and lavender shampoo bar from Earthley. I’ve heard lots of good things about it, but I had been holding off because I’ve tried natural shampoos in the past and they made my hair greasy. I know it’s only a temporary thing and then it goes away, but I’ve never been able to get through that period. But, now I feel really motivated to give natural shampoo another try.
2. Take a few drops of lemon balm glycerite or tincture daily.
If you have fresh lemon balm try to smell it every day, such a simple idea. (Unfortunately, it’s a very expensive essential oil.) When you breathe in deeply the fragrance of lemon balm, you immediately relax. It’s like your body just let out a nice big sigh. No fresh lemon balm? You could try a lemon balm tincture or glycerite and take a few drops a day. Lemon balm can help ease anxiety, exhaustion, nervous tension, insomnia, and headaches.
It’s also good for calming restless kids and can help little ones who wind themselves up when they’re overly tired. (My daughter is totally one of these children. She fights sleep like you wouldn’t believe! She must get it from her father because I’m a total napper to the core.) You could also drink a cup of lemon balm tea every day or make some for your child before bedtime as a nightly ritual.
3. Try the ancient practice of tongue scraping.
This one might sound a little weird, but just hang in there with me. Basically, you take this copper or steel curved instrument and scrape it across your tongue, starting with the side, then the middle of the tongue and then the other side. You do this about 7-14 times. This removes “Ama,” which is a toxic mind and body residue in Ayurvedic medicine. Ama is caused my poor eating or other imbalances in the gut.
It’s stimulating though, so make sure you do it in the morning. They say that tongue scraping changes your relationship with food. Food begins to taste better. And when things taste better, it’s more satisfying, so you eat less and lose the desire to add extra salt and sugar to your food. It’s also said to improve your mental health.
4. Massage yourself with holy basil massage oil.
Holy basil is an amazing herb. It belongs to a category of herbs called adaptogens, which supports the adrenal glands. It’s also anti-inflammatory and decreases cortisol. To massage: On big muscles rub fast, back and forth, and in a circular motion on your hips. You could do this in the shower if it’s the only way you can squeeze it in. To make the oil, just add 50 drops holy basil essential oil to 1 ounce of carrier oil.
5. Use Naysa oil.
Another Ayruvedic practice is using naysa oil. Basically, you breathe in 1-2 drops of oil, usually scented with lavender or eucalyptus essential oil, into your nostrils to soothe your nasal passages. Pinch your nose when inhaling. Naysa oil improves skin and can help prevent gray hair and hair loss, improves mental clarity, memory, and releases toxic emotions. I love that it releases toxic emotions. It also creates a barrier against things like dust and pollen to help improve allergies. (Tip: Blocking off the right nostril is said to produce a calming effect.) You can purchase naysa oil or make your own, it’s really easy. To make your own oil just add 3-4 drops of essential oil to 1 ounce of carrier oil.
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