By Rebecca Potter
Do you ever feel the stress of ‘needing’ to be happy and “on” every day during the holiday season? I certainly do, and it’s no fun. I definitely take emotions seriously, and if I’m sad or stressed, I want to get to the root of the problem and attempt to fix it. In addition to providing my body with the proper nutrients from healthy eating, getting enough sunshine, sleep, and exercise, I know that herbs can be very helpful in combating depression, anxiety, and exhaustion.
Cayenne + Lobelia = Awesome!
The combination of cayenne and lobelia happens to be one of the very best herbal remedies for depression, anxiety, stress, & exhaustion. I have made my own cayenne and lobelia tincture to have on hand for “those” days, but these two herbs are also stellar performers when it comes to emergencies as well like bleeding, breathing emergencies, shock and pain. Nervine herbs like lobelia tone your nervous system and help you to relax, while stimulant herbs like cayenne help keep the blood and oxygen flowing. Combining the two herbs will help relax the tissues and encourage the flow of blood and lymph, promoting vitality, high spirits and overall wellness.
Cayenne has been called “the purest and most certain stimulant known to man.” It does wonders for the circulatory system and helps get nutrients and oxygen to where they are needed most. Being one of the most remarkable catalysts in the herbal world, it is an herb that should ideally be included in almost all herbal preparations to provide an added boost of healing power and energy. It intensifies the benefits of other herbs by distributing them throughout the body quickly. This is especially important when the body is debilitated, when body heat is low, or vitality is depressed. Sometimes the accumulated effects of anxiety, stress and poor blood circulation will cause extreme exhaustion, but cayenne can effectively counteract this on a cellular level.
Cayenne also helps depression and anxiety in a couple other ways. It is filled with vitamins, amino acids, essential fatty acids and minerals helpful for staying active which are all a part of depression recovery. Cayenne helps boost circulation to and heal the brain, (especially combined with Ginkgo biloba) and it helps relieve anxiety as it increases the production of endorphins in the brain. It’s all about feeling great, right?
Lobelia is a wonderful sedating herb, but it also possesses an herbal ‘sixth sense’, having been called “The Thinking Herb.” It has a special ability to know where in the body to go for the most healing, and directs other herbs to this area. You want lobelia on your team!
Some people are afraid to use lobelia because it’s so powerful. Fear not! Just because it’s powerful, doesn’t mean it’s dangerous, it just means it needs to be used properly. Dr. Christopher said that the accusation that lobelia is a poison is “one of the most ridiculous falsehoods ever foisted upon the public.” If you take too much lobelia, you will most likely experience nausea or vomiting, but if you use it wisely, it is one of the best herbs available to us. A renowned student of Dr. Christopher’s, Dr. Richard Schulze, said, “When in doubt, and you don’t know where to turn or what to do, USE LOBELIA!” I definitely follow this advice myself!
The Nitty Gritty of Making a Cayenne/Lobelia Tincture –
Since tinctures (extracts) are the most fast-acting herbal preparation, let’s learn how to make one with cayenne and lobelia! But first, a little information about why we use alcohol in making tinctures. Alcohol is very effective at extracting and breaking down the phytochemicals and constituents in a plant and preserving them without damaging the healing properties. This makes more effective herbal medicine. Alcohol extracts are able to get herbal healing constituents into and throughout the bloodstream within seconds. You can get organic non-GMO grain alcohol from places online.
Dr. Schulze recognized that some people have concerns about the alcohol content in tinctures and so he made the following statement: “Grain alcohol dissolves and extracts certain important phytochemicals, plant chemicals, that are necessary for different formulae to be effective. The amount of alcohol per dose is so insignificant; there is more alcohol in some mouthwashes. The amount of alcohol in the average dose of tincture is equal to the amount of alcohol in a ripe banana. This dosage has been tested on people, who are alcohol sensitive with NO adverse reactions. If you’re still concerned about the alcohol, you can place the tincture in a cup, pour boiling water into the cup, and the alcohol will evaporate within seconds.”
When making a tincture that involves lobelia, it is best to use half alcohol and half raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar, like Bragg’s brand. Or if you are making a sole lobelia tincture, you could use merely raw apple cider vinegar. Certain constituents of lobelia are only soluble in alcohol and others are only soluble in vinegar.
Are you ready to learn how to make your own cayenne and lobelia tincture to combat those holiday/winter blues and stresses? Hands on time!
Start making your tincture with the new moon, since the gravitational pull of the moon helps draw out the medicinal properties.
1. Put 2 oz of dried lobelia (herb or seed pods) and 2 oz of dried cayenne in a quart jar. It is best to use cayenne that is at least 40,000 heat units. You can experiment with the amounts, using more or less cayenne and lobelia depending on the strength you prefer.
2. Add 100 proof vodka to fill half the jar, and fill the other half with raw apple cider vinegar, leaving about 1 inch empty at the top.
3. Seal the jar tightly and label with the ingredients and date.
4. Shake it vigorously to mix everything well and put in a cool, dark place.
5. Shake it vigorously every day for the next 3-4 weeks. Letting it sit until the next new moon is optimal (28-29 days if you started at the new moon).
6. Strain the mixture through either an unbleached coffee filter or through cheesecloth.
7. Put the liquid in an amber dropper bottle and store in a cool dark place.
Take 1 or 2 droppersful 1-2 times a day or as needed. If you make a straight lobelia tincture, you might want to dilute the dropperful in a cup of water. For children, usually 1/3 of the adult dosage is fine.
If a tincture is made with just alcohol, store it in a cool, dark place for 10-20 years depending on the storage conditions. If you make a tincture with just apple cider vinegar, store in the refrigerator for 6-12 months.
Whether you have just heard the word ‘tincture’ for the first time today, or you’re an expert herbalist, I hope this information helps you feel more prepared for the stresses and demands of the holiday season and beyond!
Rebecca Potter is a lifelong student of herbalism, a lover of herbs and natural healing. She feels passionately about sharing her knowledge and experience with herbs to empower all to achieve the greatest possible health potential. She received her Master Herbalist degree from The School of Natural Healing, and teaches herbal classes in her local area. She is a co-author along with Julie Behling-Hovdal and Col. Edward Behling of The Essential Survival Guide to Medical Preparedness. In addition to her herbal classes, Rebecca enjoys doing personalized herbal consultations, is involved in an integrative health clinic, and performs a variety of key functions at Essential Survival, LLC. Follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Anyone suffering from disease or injury should consult with a physician.