Just as the phases of the moon create movement within a woman's body, so do plants when weaved into the daily flow of life. Women have been working with plant medicines throughout history to heal and maintain balance and harmony within the body. Some of these deeply-rooted herbal allies are nettles, wild oats, marshmallow root, lemon balm, and rose. Explore plants that can be worked with daily, as well as during the new and full moon and enjoy a recipe for Women’s Moon Tonic Tea.
The Moon Phases
The New Moon is a time of new beginnings, renewal, growth, new projects, and fresh starts. The Full Moon is a time when emotions are heightened, and opportunities of deep reflection are abundant. It is a time to cleanse, clear, and illuminate spaces within that need attention. As the moon moves through her cycles, plants move along with her. Plants, like women, are affected monthly by the moon's energy and have their own intertwined relationship with her throughout the changing seasons.
5 Herbal Allies for Women
These five herbs can be called upon to support our wellbeing and ever changing daily flows as women. These herbs can be used throughout all the cycles of the moon, during the new or full moon, or as a spiritual tools whenever they are needed.
New Moon: Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
With her lemony aroma, Melissa (also known as lemon balm) is uplifting, cooling, nurturing, eases the nervous system, improves cognitive function, and is a potent antiviral. Melissa's ability to bring aid to heartache and the body after heavy experiences is known throughout history. Melissa offers a well of emotional support and care especially to women when entering a new moon cycle.
Lemon balm is known to treat genital herpes, cold sores, heartburn, indigestion, ADHD, high blood pressure, insect bites, insomnia and has even been used to improve cognitive function with Alzheimer's patients.
Call upon Melissa during the new moon to welcome in freshness and ease as you enter a new lunar month.
How to Use Lemon Balm
Incorporate lemon balm into your life as a tea, tincture, in baths, oils, honeys, steams, salves, creams, or mixed into food, such as popsicles. Whichever way you choose to work with lemon balm, enjoy her uplifting touch all month leading up to the full moon. As a spiritual tool, Melissa asks the mind to settle, the body to relax, and the spirit to soften. Lemon balm brings a light in the dark and a spark into the spaces within calling to be refreshed.
New Moon: Marshmallow Root (Althaea officinalis)
Marshmallow plant or Althaea officinalis is a soothing demulcent herb, nurturing, revitalizing, and nourishing to the entire body. Althaea comes from the Greek word Althos which means “healing.” Marshmallow root contains mucilage, which is anti-inflammatory, hydrating, and restorative to the skin, muscles, joints, and organs. Marshmallow root provides support to respiratory mucous membranes, and the urinary* and digestive tracts. Althaea offers a powerful medicine tool for women who are prone to Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), ulcers, or inflammation.
Marshmallow root’s sweet and revitalizing nature makes it a perfect ally to have in your daily tool belt and when entering a new moon cycle, especially after an intense full moon experience. Althaea offers a well of assistance to restore, renew and revitalize the body and to dive into a new month feeling nourished.
Call upon Marshmallow root’s soothing blanket of support to comfort and nurture the body, mind, and spirit throughout the month’s lunar cycle. Allow Althaea’s loving hug to bring ease within the months many ebbs and flows.
How to Use Marshmallow Root
One preferred method of working with Marshmallow Root is by preparing a cold infusion tea. This can be done by filling a 1-quart mason jar 1/4 to the top with marshmallow root then adding warm, purified water. Put a lid on the jar and place in the fridge overnight to enjoy the following day. Another way to receive Althaea’s support is by making a cold brew tea and pouring it into a spray bottle to mist your face during the day for instant skin nourishment.
As a spiritual tool, Marshmallow invites us to nurture our mind, body, and spirit. Althaea calls us to mother and take care of ourselves. She reminds us to bring healing to the areas of our lives that have become worn out, dried up, or forgotten.
Full Moon: Rose ( Rosa spp. )
When the moon enters its fullness, energies and sensitivities run high. Full moons can be especially intense for women as our intuitive senses are at their peak. As the moon draws us deeply inward to reflect, manifest, and bring to the surface that which needs to be observed, it can be helpful to bring in gentle support. One way to do this is by tuning into the medicine of rose. With her sweet aroma, this light astringent herb brings ease during times of intensity and deep reflection.
Call upon rose’s loving inspiration to ignite the heart, inspire loving relationships and to uplift the spirit.
How to Use Rose
Rose can be incorporated into your life in teas, baths, honeys, skin products, body mists, incense, oils, and foods. Rose medicine can be utilized during the full moon to inspire uplifting, heart-opening, and healing support as you journey through the illuminating processes of the full moon. Allow rose’s soft touch to bring ease to the body, mind, and spirit in times of powerful movement, emotional peaks, and new life integrations.
As a spiritual tool, Rose has been used as a symbol for love throughout history as well as a tool to inspire romance, heal heartache, protect against negative energy and to tune into your inner beauty. Rose offers a shield of loving support to the heart and spirit.
Note: If gathering your own rose petals, it is important not to harvest from roses that have been sprayed by pesticides. If wild harvesting rose petals, be sure not to gather next to a road, and always leave plenty of rose petals/hips for the pollinators and other wildlife that enjoy rose’s medicine.
Full Moon: Wild Oats (Avena sativa)
Wild oats, also known as milky oats*, are the oats that most of us have eaten as oatmeal at some point in our lives. Avena sativa is soothing to the nervous system and the entire body. When in the flow of a full day, having the support of wild oats can take the edge off, especially when feeling stressed, depressed, or overwhelmed. Allow wild oats to lighten heaviness and ease intensity that may arise around the full moon or during the month. Avena sativa’s soft touch relaxes the nervous system and inspires peace within during times of intensity or uncertainty.
Wild oats is a myelin sheath* rebuilder. The myelin sheath is composed of sleeves of fatty tissue that protect your nerve cells located in the central nervous system. When faced with a high-stress situation or traumatic event, the sheathing can be compromised and can lead to a variety of conditions such as PTSD, anxiety, insomnia, and general fatigue. During menstrual cycles nurtifying wild oats can be especially supportive for mood, easing cramps, and fatigue. Wild oats also act as an aphrodisiac due to their ability to relax the nervous system and bring you back into your body.
Call upon milky oats before high-stress situations, or when feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or in need of restorative sleep.
How to Use Wild Oats
Wild oats can be used as a daily tea, tincture, in baths, or as intuitively needed. Oatstraw* tea is composed of the leaves and stems of the plant while milky seed heads are used for tinctures, which makes a stronger medicine.
As a spiritual tool, wild oats calls us to be present in our body and to relax into what is. Milky oats creates a container to address what needs to be addressed without feeling so overwhelmed in the process.Wild oats offers a comforting space for healing and restoration to occur.
New / Full Moon: Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)
Urtica dioica or Stinging Nettle has played a vital role in the tradition of herbalism and women around the world. In the book A Modern Herbal (https://www.ebooksdownloads.xyz/search/a-modern-herbal), Maude Grieves writes that in the 1800s in Scotland, it was common to be sitting at the dinner table covered with a nettle fiber tablecloth, using nettle napkins, with nettle drapes, wearing a nettle shirt and eating a plate of steamed nettles.
As a food and medicine, stinging nettle is celebrated for her rich vitamin and mineral content. Nettles are especially supportive for women due to their high amounts of calcium and iron. Today's herbalists use the versatility of nettles to treat many conditions that women may experience including heavy menstrual cycles, anemia, osteoporosis, menopausal hot flashes, and hay fever allergies. Nettle can also be used with women who suffer from chronic UTIs due to her diuretic actions. The sting of nettles can even be used to stimulate stagnant muscular areas of the body and was even used by the ancient Egyptians to treat arthritis. Needless to say, Urtica dioica is a versatile herbal ally to have in your toolkit throughout the month.
Call upon the super nutritive medicine of nettles during the months full lunar cycle to support your overall health and well being. Allow nettles nutrient rich well of green energy to assist you in maintaining a strong foundation throughout the month.
How to Use Nettles
The leaves, stalks, seeds, and roots can all be used when working with nettles. Nettles can easily be incorporated into your daily routine in many ways, including as a tea, tincture, vinegar, hair oil or rinse , or mixed into your favorite dish. You can add 1/2 cup of dried nettles leaf to a quart mason jar and fill it with hot water. Let the tea sit until it reaches room temperature then put your brew in the refrigerator and let it sit overnight. Strain out herbs and enjoy your nettle cold brew to receive green energy and overall health support throughout the day.
Another way to work with nettles is by making a vinegar infusion. Add fresh or dried nettle into a small mason jar of apple cider vinegar and let it sit, fully emerged for five days. Then add it to your favorite salad dressing or drink 1-2 tsp first thing in the morning. If preparing a dish of steamed nettles, the leaf and stem are used. If making your own fresh plant (1:2) tincture of nettles the roots and/or leaves and stems are used.
Nettles nutrient rich medicine also makes for a wonderful hair herb. Prepare a hair rinse to increase the health and vitality of your hair. To make a hair rinse, prepare hot nette tea in a quart mason jar using the same measurements as above. Let sit until room temp. Use prepared rinse when you take your next shower and massage into your scalp. Let sit for 3-5 minutes then rinse out or leave in. Do this daily or a few times per week for best results.
As a spiritual tool, nettle’s surprising sting asks us to pay attention and be present. This could relate to being present to the things that nourish us or to be aware of your surroundings and how to nurture relationships. Nettle also brings attention to parts of the body that may need to be revitalized for overall wellness.
Women’s Moon Tonic Tea
Women’s Moon Tonic Tea
To enjoy during any lunar phase.
2 T Lemon Balm
1 T Rose Petals
1 T Nettles Leaf
1 T Oatstraw
1 T Marshmallow Root
Add the herbs to a 16-oz glass jar, then top off with filtered or spring water. Set in the refrigerator overnight and sip daily.
Gratitude for Herbal Allies
As the medicine wheel turns throughout the year, the seasons change and the cycles of a woman shift. As things change, having the support of herbs can bring balance throughout these ever-changing processes. In gratitude, we thank our herbal allies for their support throughout history to women and the care they provide in our daily flow.
How to Source Your Herbs
It is essential to find a reputable source to receive your herbal medicines. I recommend Mountain Rose Herbs for organic herbals as well as Voyage Botanica for ethically-sourced, wild-harvested herbal medicines.
Before working with these herbal allies, ask each plant if its right for you. Allow your inner knowing to guide you. If you are taking any medications, it is important to consult your doctor before incorporating herbs into your daily routine. If you begin taking a plant and have a negative reaction, stop taking the herb immediately. Also, the recommendations in this article should not be taken as medical advice.
If you are wildcrafting your herbals, gather them ethically and respectfully. Gather from clean, thriving medicine gardens where there is an abundance of the plant you are collecting. It is important to introduce yourself and ask permission before gathering as well as considering leaving an offering of some kind. This could be a song, water, tobacco, or anything you feel inspired to offer as a sign of gratitude and respect to plant. It is also important to never take more than you need and to give back more than you receive. This can mean stewarding the land you are gathering from, regularly picking up trash along your collecting route, and taking care of the earth in any way you can. When leaving the medicine stand * you are gathering from, it should look as if no one has been there.
If you are growing your own herbal medicine or purchasing from local growers, it is very important to make sure the plants have not been sprayed with pesticides and that the surrounding area is healthy. It is important to know what is around the area you are sourcing from, such as cattle ranches or factories nearby that can leak harmful byproducts into the soil and affect the safety of your medicines. Lastly, do not gather plants near roadsides as pollution from exhaust can also compromise the quality of the herbs you are gathering
Born and raised in the Ozarks of Northwest Arkansas, Lindsey is a lover of plants, people, music and stewarding the Earth. Currently living in New Mexico, Lindsey is a practicing clinical herbalist and yoga teacher with over 15 years of experience. She is a passionate permaculturist, land conservation activist, co-founder of Wild Medicine School, and owner of Little Willow Botanicals. Lindsey’s mission is deeply rooted in being of service to others and to the Earth in all her many ventures.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.