The Kosmic Kitchen Interview: Herbs to Use this Spring

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Last year I had the pleasure of taking a workshop with Sarah and Summer of The Kosmic Kitchen while attending Spirit Weavers Gathering. "Be Radical, Eat Traditional" felt like a great fit for me, as I am forever on a  quest to learn about plant medicine and how to bring it more into my life. 

The class hit on a lot of the basics of Ayurvedic eating and living, and I was instantly hooked. Both Sarah and Summer had such a wealth of information, and their passion was so clear as they spoke about all the things they know about herbalism and wellness. 

I am thrilled to share an interview I've done with Sarah Kate, where she gives some great insight into working with herbs. To learn even more, grab a copy of their cookbook here!

Enjoy!

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Written by Sarah Kate of The Kosmic Kitchen

1) What herbs/plants do you recommend to use starting in Spring?

Spring is a great time to start working with herbs. For fresh herbs, this totally depends on where you live, so get to know the little green weeds popping up around you this time of year. For us in Northern California, there’s an abundance of edible greens like miner’s lettuce, nettle, chickweed, cleavers, and plantain. Most wild spring herbs have a somewhat of a bitter flavor. The energetics of bitter are cleansing and cooling, helping our bodies remove excess from the heavy slow winter. These wild or fresh greens are invigorating to the body and invite us to enjoy the seasonal transition.

On of our favorite way to eat our greens is by making a simple seed pesto, with or without cheese. Pesto’s are catching on and have so many variations beyond just sweet basil. Try making one with chickweed, dandelion greens or fava shoots.

2) Favorite tincture to use this season?

Honestly, I don’t really use tinctures all that much anymore unless I’m supporting something acute that’s going on or traveling. I found they can be pretty drying for my constitution and I prefer getting my medicine by eating wild greens and infusing herbs into my meals. Oxymels, which are a vinegar based tincture are great to use if you’re wanting to move away from alcohol preparations or if you find their flavor is too strong. They’re great to use in salad dressings, splashed onto rice + beans or for a little kick after sauteing greens. Lauren of Wooden Spoon Herbs makes a really yummy FIRE Oxymel that’s spicy, a little smoky and adaptogenic. I use it on most of my meals because it’s just so good!

3) Best place to travel to study in the spring?

Oh there are so many places to visit in spring but, we’re excited to get out of the rainy cold of winter and spend a few weeks in Oaxaca, Mexico. We’ll be doing an artist residency with Pocoapoco and couldn’t be more excited to spend time cooking, learning about the herbs there and connecting with people.

4) Three things someone can do right now to get on a path to wellness?

For me, the most important thing I did when getting into wellness was learning how to cook. It allowed me to feel empowered about what I was putting into my body and connected me to a creative process everyday. If you’re totally new to cooking, start small and make things you love. There are endless nourishing and easy recipes that can help you build confidence in the kitchen. Another practice I incorporated when starting my wellness journey was gardening and being with plants. Working with the earth opened up my world to herbalism and using herbs for healing. It also allows you to get outside and be in nature, whether that’s in your own garden or in a community space. If you don’t have a garden, get a few terracotta pots and plant your favorite culinary herbs to use on your meals. A sprinkle of fresh herbs makes all the difference and adds a pop of fresh flavor.! Working with practitioners early on helped me see results when I was working through a healing crisis. If you’re interested in learning more about how to support your body, don’t leave it to google searches and books. Seek out someone you want to work with like an acupuncturist, Ayurvedic practitioner, herbalist or naturopath. They’ll save you time and money by recommending specific remedies for your unique body and providing one-on-one support that’s a really important part of the healing process.

5) Best beauty herbs to use this Spring?

For me, the more I look at what beauty in an outward sense, I realize it's truly about the relationship I have with myself and how I can treat myself with kindness and love. What I’m drawn to about working with herbs is that they help me tune in and connect to myself while also allowing me to create nourishing rituals. When I’m with the plants, grounded and taking care of my being, I feel beautiful. Though I don’t see herbs the lens of beauty per say, some practices I use herbs for self care are herbal facial steams with whatever herbs I have on hand or herbs popping up in the garden, herbal foot soaks for grounding after a long day and herbal infused oils for daily abhyanga or self-oil massages.

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