Disclaimer – the below article is not meant to treat or cure any illness. Lucidity is not responsible for any adverse effects from taking the herbs listed. If you so please, leave it to the experts. And if you’re an expert, apply responsibly here!
Festivals can be very transformative and healing experiences, but they can also be very demanding on the body and mind.
For instance, bright flashing lights, loud music, lots of dancing and social interaction can wear down the nervous system.
Other common examples of festival conditions that can be harsh on the body are prolonged exposure to sun, excessive heat, and breathing in dust.
For these reasons, self-care and mutual-care is absolutely vital for harm reduction and to make the most out of your experience.
Having an herbal toolkit is a healthy, holistic, and natural way to deal with festival maladies.
Furthermore, choosing the right herbal allies can help support you on your festival journey, even if you don’t experience any specific ailments.
While there is a huge array of helpful herbal remedies, below is a list of 10 that you may find especially useful to have in your knapsack next time you hit the road for a festival.
Mullein is an essential herb for respiratory health. It helps clear out mucus from the airways, and can even cure an Asthma attack.
Mullein is especially useful for festivals where there is a lot of dust, dirt, or smoke. While it is recommended to wear a respiratory mask in these conditions, ingesting mullein can aid your lungs in coughing up pollutants.
Mullein can be ingested as a hot tea or smoked for its healing effects on the lungs.
Skullcap is a nervine, which means it works on calming down the nervous system. A lot of sensory stimulation can get your nervous system revved up. If you suffer from nervous tension, anxiety, or insomnia, this is the herb for you.
Skullcap is a wonderful way to soothe the nerves, bringing tranquility and aiding in a good night’s (or day’s) sleep. Additionally it is more gentle, less dehydrating and less sedative than Kava: another popular festival herb.
Skullcap can be ingested as a hot tea or as a tincture. For a delicious and calming tea blend, try mixing skullcap, chamomile, rose petals, and lemon balm.
Rose is a heart-opening flower herb that elevates mood, relieves headaches, and soothes sore throats. It can amplify feelings of love, kindness and connection, which is perfect for an interpersonal experience.
Many festival-goers enjoy a drink of cacao for its heart-opening effects, however cacao can be extremely dehydrating and stimulating when overused.
If you are sensitive to stimulants, or seeking a calmer, more grounded heart-opening experience, try rose petals.
Long days in the sun or long nights with bright lights can be taxing on the eyes. Rosewater is very soothing when dropped into the eyes, and it can help reduce redness and strain while removing impurities.
Rose can be taken as a tea for its mental benefits, or made into a salve for an anti-inflammatory remedy to treat skin irritation. It can also be taken as a tincture or as rosewater.
Many people know about aloe’s powerful soothing effect on sunburns, but did you know that you can also ingest aloe? It has over 75 vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids that are an excellent boost for your health.
For example, Aloe contains vitamins A, C, E, folic acid, choline, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, as well as essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron and many more. For this reason, drinking aloe is great for hydration, recovery, and nutrition.
You can buy bottled aloe drinks, or you can buy it fresh and scoop out the gooey middle to make your own drinks or apply it as a salve on the skin.
Tulsi, also known as Holy Basil, is an herb from the Indian subcontinent that is hailed for its adaptogenic, detoxifying and nourishing properties. Adapt-o-what? Adaptogenic means that it helps you be more resilient in the face of stress and fatigue.
So while you may not feel much difference after ingesting it, regular sustained use can help one become mentally stronger, calmer, and more positive. Its detoxification properties will also help you get rid of unwanted toxins that you may find at a festival.
In a festival setting, this effect of well-being will help you stay positive and integrate the experience. With the powers of tulsi, it is a wonderful herb to add to your daily regimen for overall well-being. It can be ingested as a tea, tincture, or pill form.
Anti-cancer, anti-aging, anti-septic, anti-fatigue, anti-inflammatory, enough said.
Cordyceps are a weird, alien-like fungi that parasitize caterpillars. The fruiting bodies of the mushroom are harvested and have been used medicinally for centuries.
Cordyceps are an overall health tonic that may boost endurance, heart health, and have a host of other health benefits. In addition, scientific studies have shown that it boosts exercise performance by improving the way your body uses oxygen.
What does that mean? MORE DANCING! Get this alien fungus in your body – cordyceps can be taken as a powder or tincture.
Have you ever heard of post-festival depression? Lemon balm can help lift you out of that. Want to feel upbeat and cheery as you frolic with your fellow festival friends? Drinking lemon balm tea will have you galloping like a giddy elf out of a fairy tale.
Ok, we can’t prove that… but at least it’s been scientifically supported to improve mood, aid digestion, and even soothe PMS symptoms! What a wonderful addition to your herbal first-aid kit, especially for those on their moon looking for a natural remedy.
Lemon balm can be taken as a tea, decoction, or as a glycerin tincture for a sweet treat.
If you love to walk barefoot on rough terrain at festivals, or are prone to injury, this herb is the one for you. Many inhabitants of the Southwest U.S. are quite familiar with this cactus, but few know of its astounding healing properties.
The flesh of the cactus body can be used as a poultice on wounds, burns, and insect/snake bites. The cactus has been shown to filter out 98% of bacteria from water, and it does the same for your wounds as well. Its incredible properties will also help heal and close wounds faster.
To use this cactus, remove all of the prickers from the outside, cut it open, and use a fork to mash the inside flesh. Scoop out the innards and apply to wound. While fresh cactus is best, it can also be used topically in powder form. The fruits and cactus flesh are also edible.
Marshmallows were once made using the marshmallow plant because of its mucilaginous, or sticky texture. Those same mucilaginous properties are know to coat the stomach with a protective layer, helping to relieve discomfort in the stomach and gut.
This herb is also great for treating dry coughs. If you’ve got the wook flu or some dust stuck in your throat, this sweet-tasting herb will do the trick.
For its digestive and antitussive properties, marshmallow root is best taken as a tea or syrup.
Turmeric is at the cornerstone of the statement “Food is Medicine”. It is a staple spice in many Indian dishes, but did you know of its anti-inflammatory, anti-septic and detoxifying properties?
Not only does turmeric reduce inflammation in the body, it can also be a powerful herbal ally in relieving chronic pain, joint issues, and fatigue. For these reasons, turmeric is one of the best natural medicines if you feel sore or stiff after exerting yourself at a festival.
Turmeric can be ingested in your food, or be made into a delicious drink called golden milk. It can also be taken in tablet form. Fresh turmeric can be juiced or added to smoothies. Some prefer other concoctions to edge off the soreness. 😉
Keep in mind that all of the above herbs have a plethora of health benefits and medicinal uses beyond the ones listed. Thus if you are interested in learning more, click the links on the heading of each herb! And note that there are also many other herbs to add to your arsenal as well.
Medicinal herbs hold a deeper wisdom – to take care of ourselves.
Too often we forget to nurture our bodies, take breaks when we need to, take precautions, slow down, and live in the moment.
Being well-versed in herbal medicine will help you take care of yourself and others. But at the end of the day, you have to be the master of your own health and wellbeing. These are the secrets to maintaining endurance, vitality and, health throughout the festival season.
Cover photo by Eric Allen