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January Full Moon Herb Highlight

January 2023 Full Moon

Today’s Full Moon is known as the Wolf Moon or Cold Moon. For me both names bring to mind the throat and voice. We know that wolves howl to communicate with one another and express themselves. I’m reminded this time of the year to take notice of the things that perhaps I left unspoken last year. What words did I not say and what inner truths did I keep locked up in the cold? Now’s the time to howl and release!

When I think of herbs for the voice the first one that comes to mind is Marshmallow Root (Althea officinalis). There are few herbs out there better able to soothe a raw and inflamed throat. In fact Marshmallow helps soothe any and all inflamed tissue from the digestive to respiratory systems. It is included in nearly all urinary tract infection formulas and is a classic herb for supporting kidney health, particularly when gravel and stones are present. Marshmallow is filled with polysaccharides, long-chain carbohydrates that become thick and gooey when soaked in water. That gooey’ness (known as a demulcent) is what coats and soothes hot irritated tissues. That same gooey’ness is also the reason the plant was used to make the original squishy marshmallows of S’more and campfire fame. Moreover, Marshmallow stimulates phagocytosis, a key action of the immune system where specialized cells chomp up pathogens (think Pac Man, ha!)

Interestingly Marshmallow is most effective when brewed as a cold infusion. Cold water is best apt at pulling out all those helpful polysaccharides. Simply fill a jar one-third of the way with the root, cover with room temperature water, and allow it to set overnight. Once strained the tea can be kept in the fridge and reheated or added to other tea as needed. I personally love to add a bit of cinnamon to my overnight infusion.

So, if you’ve got words left to express this year…or if like most of my friends and family the holidays gifted you with a nasty sore throat…I invite you to give Marshmallow a try. Let’s all howl at the moon tonight! Green Blessings and Happy New Year!

(Pictured: Marshmallow Root, Cinnamon, Rose, and Orange)

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