Winter Wisdom

"Plants and animals don’t fight the winter; they don’t pretend it’s not happening and attempt to carry on living the same lives that they lived in the summer. They prepare. They adapt. They perform extraordinary acts of metamorphosis to get them through."
Wintering by Katherine May 
For those who cherish the winter season, the colder and darker days present a perfect opportunity to slow down and engage more deeply with our thoughts. While some relish the coziness and simplicity this season brings, others find energy in the brisk winds and cool air.
Winter, characterized by its coolness, darkness, and sometimes wind, can be either rainy or dry. To maintain balance during these months, consider embracing the opposite of winter's energetics. Since the season is predominantly cold and dark, introducing warmth and light can be beneficial. Simple acts like enjoying a warm cup of tea, relaxing in a sauna, sitting by a fire, or lighting candles can help achieve this balance. Herbalists, deeply attuned to nature, recognize that certain herbs possess warming properties. Herbs, like people, have unique temperaments, ranging from 'slightly warming' like calendula to 'extremely pungent' such as ginger or cayenne. Other herbs that can alleviate the cold and stagnation of winter include chai spices like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper, as well as holy basil, ashwagandha, ginseng, rosemary, and thyme. While most herbs' bitterness can stimulate movement in the body, excessive use may lead to internal and external dryness. If experiencing dryness symptoms, including constipation, consider adding moistening herbs like licorice, plantain, and marshmallow.

Many herbs are versatile, and some, like ginseng, offer a multitude of winter-balancing qualities due to their wide range of constituents. These can help counteract the cold, dryness, and stagnation typical of the season.

Foods, too, play a role in maintaining balance. Seasonal foods in the northern hemisphere's fall and early winter often include heavier, grounding items like root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes and carrots. Other beneficial foods include oats, molasses, honey, millet, and nuts (including nut milks). For those with adequate digestion, dairy or well-cooked meat can be balancing. Don't overlook healthy oils like ghee and olive oil. Instead of salads, opt for warm soups or stews for an optimal health-balancing effect.

In winter, the circulatory and lymphatic systems tend to constrict and become stagnant. While it's important to embrace the season's slower pace, keeping the body moving periodically is crucial for maintaining healthy blood and lymph systems, which are vital for immunity and preserving our body's fluidity and function. This is especially true as we age, when we may feel the effects of constriction and stagnation more acutely.

Many herbs and spices are warming and promote the movement of lymph and blood. Calendula, for example, is a warming lymphatic mover and an excellent choice for winter. Here's a recipe for Warm and Cozy Winter Tea.


Joanne Roberts,
Product Development Scientist


About Joanne Roberts

With over 29 years of experience in supplement formulation and quality control, Jo is passionate about gardening, herbs, and nutrition and enjoys sharing her creations in her free time with loved ones. She is an avid adventurer who finds solace in the forest or bonding with her dog, goats, and chickens. Additionally, she is a mom, author, Ayurvedic Health Counselor, and is currently in the process of becoming an Ayurvedic Practitioner. Fueled by her own health journey, she is devoted to imparting the transformational wisdom of nature through the holistic art and science of Yoga and Ayurveda.