Winter weather certainly takes a toll on our bodies, both physically and emotionally. Feeling meh and dreaming of beach vacations? Transport yourself to a warmer place with an herbal oil massage! This simple self-care technique is great for enhancing mood, stimulating your body’s detoxification process and calming the nervous system.
FACIAL LYMPHATIC MASSAGE WITH RED CLOVER OR CALENDULA OIL
First things first, let's talk about some fun Anatomy 101. What is the lymphatic system? Your lymphatic system is comprised of a group of vessels and nodes that run along the circulatory system. This is your detox process - it’s responsible for cleaning your interstitial fluid and removing the waste into the bloodstream.
Closely related to the lymphatic system is your skin. It is also involved in detoxification (ie sweating, etc.) and is the largest detox organ of the body. But it’s inefficient.
Self-massage not only feels great, it helps our bodies function more optimally. Self-massage is great for stimulating these systems and triggering muscles to relax from deep holding patterns which cause knots and tension.
In the beautiful herbal pharmacopeia, you can find herbs that specifically support the lymph nodes and detox process. Miraculous, we know. And there's scientific evidence for why these work too.
Red Clover and Calendula are 2 great lymphagogues herbs and are wonderful for many skin types.
Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)
This herb is often referred to as an alterative, meaning it helps cleanse the blood and gets it flowing. As Maria Noel Groves references in her book Body into Balance, Red Clover is highly nutritive, including Calcium. It is often used in formulas for menstruation and menopause, easing the pain of the uterus. It naturally has phytoestrogens (less than soy) that support hormone health. If buying dry, you want to make sure that it looks more purple and green, not dusty. Caution is advised to avoid if you're on blood thinners, are pregnant, or highly sensitive to legumes.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
Sunshine of the Earth, Calendula is a lovely herb that has a sticky resin underneath its flowers where much of the plant medicine comes from. This herb is cooling and great for skin repair which is why you see it in so many face and skin formulas! It has broad applications in mouth sores and ulcers as well for deeper digestive issues. Calendula is naturally high in lutein and beta-carotene which your body converts into Vitamin A. It is great for lymphatic flow and detoxification.
Here's how to make a DIY Herbal Oil
- Get a 4oz mason jar and fill it halfway with dried herbs, or 2/3 of the way with fresh herbs. In this case you will use bright n' sunny Calendula or the very lovely Red Clover.
- Use a noncomedogenic oil, such as Organic Jojoba oil, which is very nourishing and doesn't clog pores. Organic is always recommended, since you'll be applying it directly to your skin.
- Fill the oil to the upper lid area.
- Then put wax paper on top and seal with the metal lid. This helps prevent any mold or rust on the lid.
- Shake the jar daily so that the herbs move about the jar evenly
- Repeat and let sit for 30 days
- Strain out the herbs with a fine mesh filter and cheesecloth. Double strain if you still see small bits in the oil.
- Voila! You have the oil
Use a few drops evenly on your face and move about the skin with a Jade roller. This is SUCH a nice tool to have for relaxing the face. And you will feel radiant!