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Lover’s Truffles & Herbs for the Heart Space

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” – Oscar Wilde

Just when you thought the holidays were over, along comes Valentine’s Day. While it may seem like just another commercial holiday, Valentine’s Day is an important reminder to send love to others and to ourselves. It’s a time for us herbalists to remember how we can use herbs to support our hearts, both physically and spiritually through medicinal formulas and self-care rituals.

Herbs for the Heart Space

Rose (Rosa spp.) grows as a beautiful shrub with an array of pink and red flowers. Around Valentine’s Day, you’ll probably see an abundance of different species in local markets, some medicinal and others that are prized for their beauty. This marriage between roses and the symbol of love is nothing new. In Roman times brides and grooms were crowned symbolically with roses. These flowers are often used for aromatherapy purposes, and as an astringent to tone and tighten tissues.* After the flower has withered, rose hips appear on the shrub, growing into plump little capsules of vitamin C.* We love using this plant in our self-care rituals. As an essential oil, its luscious aroma enhances herbal creams, and the petals can be infused into a relaxing herbal bath.  It’s wonderfully decadent!

Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) trees are known for their bright red berries, which can be used as a cardiac tonic.* The classic book, The Language of Flowers, states that this plant can be used as a symbol of hope. It was often hung over doorways in medieval times to ward off evil spirits. These heart healthy berries can be found in teas, tinctures, jams, jellies, and alcoholic herbal elixirs.  We make Hawthorn with Hibiscus tea, a delicious, fruity and tart red tea that can be used to promote heart health.*

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) is a plant that can be used to promote relaxation, heart health, and the female reproductive system.* The leaves and aerial parts of the plant were used to nurture those experiencing “hysteria” in the olden days, and its name nods to its inherent maternal energy. The iconic 17th century herbalist, Culpeper, states that “There is no better herb [than motherwort] to drive melancholy vapors from the heart, to strengthen it and make the mind cheerful, blithe and merry.” The leaves can be used to make tea, and it’s easy to find in tincture form if you’re looking for something simple and easy to carry around with you.

Damiana (Turnera diffusa) was traditionally used to promote a healthy libido.* The leaves have been used medicinally in Central and South American cultures for hundreds of years. It’s said that the first margarita cocktails made in Mexico were created with damiana liqueur. You can still find the liqueur, often sold in a glass bottle shaped like a pregnant Incan goddess, which could be interpreted as symbol of fertility. This herb can be tinctured and used as a tea, but it’s more commonly found in herbal cocktails or cordials.

Whether you choose to start using these herbs for the heart space or to whip up something tasty like our Rosewater and Damiana Lover’s Truffles, we invite you to celebrate love during this month of February.

Damiana and Rosewater Lover’s Truffles

Servings: 15-20 truffles

Time: 20 mins prep a day ahead, 45 mins total

Materials

  • Mixing bowl
  • Parchment paper
  • 2 trays for chocolate truffles
  • Spoon for mixing
  • Small cooking pot with cover
  • Small cookie scoop

Ingredients

  • 8 oz of Fair Trade Certified™ bittersweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup of full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 small capful of rosewater
  • 1 pinch of cardamom
  • 3/4 cup of shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cocoa powder unsweetened
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of dried damiana

Instructions

  1. Simmer the coconut milk in your pot, then add the damiana. Turn off the burner and cover the pot. Let it stand and infuse for 10 minutes.
  2. Strain out the herb, and then measure the remaining coconut milk. (You should be left with just under a 1/2 cup.)
  3. Reheat the coconut milk, bring to a simmer, and then turn off the stove.
  4. Place the 8 oz of chocolate in a mixing bowl, and then quickly pour in the hot, damiana-infused coconut milk.
  5. Quickly mix together until all chocolate has been melted; then add in the salt, cardamom, and rosewater.
  6. Cover the bowl and put in the fridge overnight to allow the mixture to achieve a more solid, paste-like consistency.
  7. Use a small cookie scoop to measure out each truffle from the bowl. Roll the contents of each scoop into a ball with your hands, and (if you’d like) roll each ball in cocoa powder or coconut flakes to coat.
  8. Plate with dry or fresh rose petals and enjoy! Whether or not you have a lover to share these with makes no difference; these truffles are equally tasty when enjoyed alone. We hope you’ll infuse these herbs for the heart space into your Valentine’s Day celebrations, and remember that nourishing yourself will allow you to love and support others more fully.

For more DIY home projects check out our DIY section of Plant Power Journal.

Posted in DIY on February 9, 2016