A Recipe for Late Summer Nourishment
Here in the mountains, the waning afternoon light has taken on an earth-warmed hue, like bronze poured over low banked coals. Already a few trees are beginning to fade to the color of ancient paper and there is an overwhelming sense that, even though the snapdragons continue to bloom, things are incrementally beginning to slow down.
We are entering the season of earth nourishment, can you feel it?
After a full summer of late nights and long days in the garden— a time of seemingly endless output, explosive upheaval and more blooms than you know what to do with— late summer (or the Fifth Season, as it is known in Chinese philosophy) is a time to deeply shift the ways we’ve been operating. Namely, it’s a moment in which we are invited to stretch out like cats in this last patch of sunlight and simply soak in all the nourishment this earth has to offer.
It’s common this time of the year to experience fatigue and low energy— the shaky sensation that you are operating on a dangerously low tank. After the bonfire of the busy season it’s normal to feel a bit burnt out. In late summer we transition from the season of Fire in Chinese philosophy, to the season of Earth. As we shift into this new season, we are asked to take stock of our energy reserves, and start nurturing the parts of us that have been pushed past their limits. It is a pause that acknowledges the bone deep need for reprieve.
When approached as a time to truly slow down and self-nurture, late summer can help us re-ground in an incredibly steadying sense of stability and balance. It is a kind of homecoming, where you are given the opportunity to come back to the fields of yourself and rest there for the time being.
Late summer is associated with the colors orange and yellow and it is the natural season for all of our most nourishing and rebalancing herbs and stones. As the days begin to settle into the mellow chestnut of Fall, I like to shift my rituals to reflect this time of nourishment. To slow down enough to tend the frayed edges, massage tired feet, rub oil into tight temples and sooth myself to bed with warm milk.
Here are some of my favorite seasonal allies for rebuilding my reserves, including a recipe for a Late Summer Latte.
Late Summer Latte
1.5 cups oat milk
1 tsp shatavari powder
1 tsp ashwagandha powder
1/2 TBS sorghum syrup
1 stick CBD honey (approx. 1 tsp with 15 mg CBD)
Dash of vanilla
Combine all the ingredients on the stove over medium heat and whisk until well combined.
Drink in the evening to calm your nervous system and prepare your body for a deep and rejuvenative sleep.
*a note about substitutions. If oat milk doesn’t work for you please feel free to substitute with any other milk or mylk. You can also use honey or molasses in lieu of sorghum syrup, and forgo the CBD if that medicine doesn’t resonate with you.
*If you are interested in adding CBD I’ve been using Gold Standard’s honey sticks and really enjoying the results.
Shatavari: A gentle medicine, shatavari is a nourishing hormone balancer, immune tonic and adaptogen. This sweet and highly nutritious root has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 5,000 years as a rejuvenative— encouraging physical strength, youthfulness, and energy. Classified in Ayurveda as a rasayana, shatavari encourages vitality, peace of mind and a deepening of love and compassion. Revered as a yin tonic, this herb has a long history as a nourishment for the feminine and is one of my favorite herbs to refill the well when I’m frayed at the edges from overdoing.
Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha is an ancient adaptogenic health tonic with so many nourishing powers. One of my favorite herbs to help reset a disrupted circadian rhythm, ashwagandha has been shown to be deeply helpful for insomnia, nervousness, elevated cortisol levels and anxiety. Supremely nourishing and high in iron, this root is often used as a food medicine for states of depletion, exhaustion, malnutrition, anemia, and convalescence. Ashwagandha is also well known for it ability to enhance endocrine functions, especially helping to re-regulate the thyroid, testes, and adrenal gland. Often associated with the masculine, I love to combine ashwagandha and shatavari together for a yin/yang balance of support.
CBD: The first time I tried CBD I was in the midst of dealing with a Depletion Migraine, a very particular headache that only visits me when I’ve truly pushed myself past my limits. Normally these headaches are so debilitating I need at least a day of convalescing before I can function again. Unfortunately, this time I was in the mist of a move and wouldn’t be able to rest for a few days. On a whim, I took one dropperful of a CBD glycerite and my headache disappeared within twenty minutes. I felt this incredible sense of lightness spread throughout my whole body and a peaceful ease that reached into every limb. From then on, I was a convert. CBD, or Cannabidiol, is derived from cannabis and has been shown to be a very effective pain reliever, anxiolytic, sleep aid and anti-depressant. Trials are showing CBD to be a diverse medicine and, yes, it is widely available and legal in most states.
Oats: The oat plant has its own special place in herbal medicine. Known as a very soothing, moistening and calming food for our nervous system, oat milk is a particularly nutritive milk to use for medicinal drinks geared towards nourishing the body.
Sorghum syrup: Made from a heat-loving grain, this gluten-free syrup is a traditional late summer sweetener in the south. Sorghum syrup tastes like a lighter, ambered version of molasses and is chock-full of vitamins and essential minerals. Before the invention of multivitamins, some doctors even recommended a spoonful of sorghum syrup a day to get your necessary dose of iron, calcium and potassium.
Try pairing with…
Sweetgrass is one of my favorite herbs to burn in late summer. I like to leave a light green braid gently smoking in the corner of my kitchen as I cook, it’s comforting honeyed scent mixing with all the perfumes of fresh sliced peaches and lemongrass tea. Sweetgrass, true to its name, blesses your home with a soft sweetness reminiscent of warm grass and sunlight. Sweetgrass is used to bring positivity and a lightness of spirit to the heart, and is one of my favorite herbs to nourish what feels depleted.
In Chinese Medicine all calcites are thought to be deeply nourishing stones. Coming in a rainbow of hues, calcite helps to swiftly shift patterns that are affecting, and draining, our physical body (including imbalanced hormonal states). Honey calcite in particular is indicated for those who experience reoccurring fatigue or depletion. Call on honey calcite to help you change the ingrained patterns of thinking and acting that rob you of nourishment, and learn how to refill your well with more supportive inner-programs.
I like to hold a piece of honey calcite in my hands to wind down on late summer evenings while I sip my latte and listen to the night’s sounds.
Have you ever conversed with a stone? Give it a try.