“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” ― Albert Camus

Stress comes in many shapes and sizes, from the expected to the unexpected. While a lot of stressors may be outside of our ability to change we can improve our response to stress to help buffer the negative health effects. There are as many approaches to supporting the body through wellness as there are stars in the sky. For most of us, we are naturally drawn to a handful of wellness tools we use on a routine basis. Two of my favorite tools are:

  • reflexology – a pressure point modality applied to body maps found on the feet, hands, and ears that instills deep relaxation and a gentle nudging towards homeostasis.
  • aromatherapy – the therapeutic use of essential oils and hydrosols to restore balance to mind, body, and spirit.

But they’re not the only wellness tools I have in heavy rotation – daily or weekly – on my wellness plan. Others include:

  • phytotherapy – herbs, homeopathy, flower essences
  • diet – seasonal menus, fresh produce
  • therapeutic bodywork – massage, shiatsu
  • mindfulness-based activities – coloring, meditation, knitting, gardening, bread-making
  • loving movement – bicycling, hiking, paddleboarding, hula hooping, canoeing, nature walks

And of course I find that the work I do, as an aromatherapist-reflexologist, supports my personal wellness goals to be endlessly interested in my work and show up to clinic ready to help the next client achieve their wellness goals.

During a recent visit to my community garden plot I did some plant-wrangling and brought my Lemon Balm bush plant under control. Melissa officinalis is in the Lamiaceae, or mint, family, and loves to take over small garden plots if you let her. Sadly, I forgot to capture an image of her in all of her overgrown glory, but let me tell you, she was loving this Texas winter!

I harvested five (5) grocery bags of leaves and stems and spent the bank holiday debugging, washing, destemming, and making some powerful wellness tools from this generous plant. I distilled a quart of hydrosol, tinctured a pint in alcohol, and hung up bouquets of lemon-scented stalks to dry for the week (it smelled amazing!). At the end of the week a small portion of the dried lemon balm leaves made their way into this lovely herbal tea.

There’s plenty of tea bags at the clinic if you’d like to try some after your next appointment I’ll be happy to send you home with enough to make a small pot!

Invincible Summer, a Tea for Winter Nights


1/2 cup lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
1/2 cup chamomile flowers (Matricaria recutita)
1/2 cup oatstraw (Avena sativa)
1/4 cup passion flower (Passiflora incarnata)
1/4 cup lavender blossoms (Lavandula angustifolia)

(*links take you to the herb’s monograph)

Combine all of the herbs in a medium mixing bowl and stir together with a whisk or spoon. Carefully transfer to a large glass container, I use mason-type jars, with a close-fitting lid. You can expect to keep this tea blend for about six months if you store it away from heat and sunlight. I use two (2) heaping tablespoons for a small pot of tea (3-4 cups) and let it steep for 5-6 minutes before I enjoy it. For a sun-kissed cup add a bit of local, raw honey! Mmm!

Happy hibernating, erm, sleeping, my friends!