Ever since its arrival, we’ve been treating ourselves to big communal bottles of Joy Tonic by Urban Moonshine around the office. You’ll find a bunch of us crowded around the bottle at break time, adding it to afternoon tea or taking droppers straight for a little boost. Lovingly formulated with aromatic herbs and flowers, the refreshing lemon balm and rose flavors really stand out to inspire smiles, even when the Oregon sun is in hibernation.

We thought you might enjoy some Joy Tonic in your life too, so we’re partnering with herbalist Guido Masé of Urban Moonshine for a “joyful” giveaway! He’s also sharing this wonderful article to help us understand the power of calming herbs throughout time and during our often stressful modern lives.

Good timing for the upcoming season, ya know?

 

Aromatic Herbs: Uplift the Spirit and Gladden the Heart

Guido Masé, RH (AHG) 2012

In today’s world of tight schedules, constant communication, and high-speed movement we often find ourselves disconnected from what matters most, from what truly brings us joy. Whether from an endless to-do list or a lack of time spent quietly outdoors, our spirit is endlessly stimulated and yet feels dissatisfied, unsettled, and sometimes even sad.  In a different time, we might have retreated to the corner of a scented garden to find a moment’s peace and solace, but without such a refuge readily available, internal tension can manifest as anxiety, irritability, and sleeplessness – or leave us feeling overwhelmed, uninspired, fatigued, and unhappy. It is a malaise that has been creeping up on us in these modern times.

There are so many options set forth to cure this malaise and researchers are always looking for the next “blockbuster” drug to help those suffering from depression and anxiety, but many of these choices have problematic side effects as well – from sexual dysfunction to weight gain. Not exactly the best way to heal an uninspired spirit!

Herbalists have an entire class of plants – the nervines – that can help support a balanced state of internal tension, nourish the mind and spirit, and thereby bring joy to frazzled days and restorative sleep to restless nights. They have been used for thousands of years: from the incenses and infused wines of Egypt and China, to the warming mulling spices served on a winter’s night. They are generally highly scented plants, a source of volatile oils, and are as safe as a cup of chamomile tea (still used today to soothe a worried, colicky child). Many are standby features of aromatic gardens: lemon balm, lavender, rose, and mugwort in the temperate zones, and lemongrass, cardamom, holy basil and jasmine in tropical climates. Just like a retreat into the garden itself, these fragrant herbs are a time-honored and effective way to gently rebalance internal tension without being habit forming, intoxicating, or sedating.

The chemistry of these plants goes to work on our heart and arteries, relaxing their state of tension and improving circulation to the hands and feet. The molecules responsible for the aromatic quality of the nervine herbs are also great at relaxing our bellies, urinary systems, and the smooth muscle that makes up the uterus. Thus they feature in remedies for stress and nervousness, unfocused and scattered personalities, worry and sleeplessness and – believe it or not – menstrual cramping! Beyond this, one cannot overestimate the havoc that chronic stress wreaks upon us: over time, the effort of maintaining such a high state of tension can make us feel sluggish, apathetic, and withdrawn – in a word, depressed. The aromatic, nervine plants are a blessing in two ways: they help keep our anxiety and worry in check on a day-to-day basis, but can also re-enliven us when we feel sad and despondent. Think of a bouquet of flowers from a friend: it’s hard to stay upset, closed within your shell, when presented with such a fragrant gift!

In the Czech Republic, the linden tree is sacred. In fact, this tree – whose incredibly sweet-smelling flowers bloom almost the entire month of July – features on traditional currencies, flags, and palace insignia. It is rumored that  in order to maintain an even temper and render swift and just judgment, all legal proceedings in the rural villages are still conducted under a linden. The flower tea is a national beverage, though it is also prized from Provence to Scandinavia. Here in the darker, colder reaches of northern Europe, country folk rely on linden (and other aromatic nervines such as lemon balm and rose) to lift their moods during the long stretches of night at the heart of winter. When the sun barely peeks above the horizon for an hour or two, the scented herbs recall the garden’s summer delights, and give us that moment’s retreat that can make all the difference when the spirit feels low, disconnected, and undernourished.

If you look around, you might see that this very traditional practice is missing from our modern lives. Yet it seems so important, and so easy! When we cannot visit a garden for renewal, perhaps we can re-learn to cultivate our own inner gardens with the sweet-scented nervine plants. In doing so we will see tension melt away, relieve the weight of worry, and inspire a depressed spirit. Rest will come more easily, and creativity will be enhanced. Our stress might then become a challenge to meet and overcome with grace and joy – and all this using safe, aromatic, nourishing herbs that have been a part of the human experience for thousands of years.  Aromatic nervines are still a delicious, refreshing cure for our modern malaise.

 

The Giveaway!

We want you to be filled with herbal joy, so here are the exciting prizes up for grabs:

 We will choose 2 lucky winners to receive a bottle of Joy Tonic and an Urban Moonshine t-shirt available in both men’s and women’s styles!

 

 

How to Enter  

There are several ways to enter the Joy Tonic Giveaway! You can submit up to 5 entries for a chance to win these prizes from Urban Moonshine…

1. Leave a comment here telling us about your favorite calming or joy inspiring herb!

2. Post a link to our Joy Tonic Giveaway on your Facebook page and leave a comment here to let us know you’ve shared.

3. Tweet about our Joy Tonic Giveaway on Twitter using the hashtag #HerbalJoy and leave a comment here to let us know that you’ve tweeted. Be sure to follow MtnRoseHerbs and UrbanMoonshine on Twitter!

4. Like Mountain Rose Herbs and Urban Moonshine on Facebook!

5. Subscribe to our Blog, YouTube channel, Pinterest, or recipe-packed newsletter and leave a comment here to let us know!

You have until Tuesday, November 20th at 11:59pm PST to enter. We will pick two winners at random on Wednesday, November 21st. Prizes can only be shipped within the US!

 

The winners have been selected and we will be in contact with them via email! Thanks so much to everyone for participating. Wishing you a JOYful holiday!

Good Luck!