recipes

Homemade & From the Heart: Warming Winter Herbal Recipes for Self-Care & Gift-Giving

Recipes and insight provided by Lily Holmberg, Gaia Herbs director of learning, dedicated home herbal enthusiast, creator of amazing herbal recipes, and all-around plant fan!

February may be the shortest month of them all, but there is plenty going on now. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, a time to shower those you care about with love and for self-love and self-care, too. Fittingly, it’s also American Heart Month, which shines the spotlight on cardiovascular health and the importance of keeping your ticker ticking as it should. Not to mention, we’re still in the midst of winter and in need of ways to stay well while feeling toasty and cozy.

The following recipes are perfect for this time of year: Our Chocolate Fudge Maca Bars are a delicious treat with some extra benefits—and they happen to make a great Valentine’s sweet or gift.* And our Hawthorn Heart Warmer is just what the doctor, and the weather, ordered.* Read on for the details.

What Is Maca Root Used For?

Maca root is a caffeine-free, edible herbaceous plant—we think it’s safe to call this root crop a superfood—that has been traditionally used to support healthy energy and stamina.* It is also considered an adaptogen, meaning it helps maintain a healthy mood and contributes to overall well-being.* And, it has been studied for supporting a healthy libido, with promising results in clinical trials.* Learn much more about this amazing adaptogenic herb.

While Maca grows wild in Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina, it has been primarily cultivated in the highlands of the Peruvian Andes. That is where Gaia Herbs’ Maca comes from, where it is ethically harvested by our trusted partners for use in our capsules and powders.

Our Maca roots are slowly sun-dried according to traditional methods, which promotes an optimal amount of final bioactive compounds. Explore our Maca-containing supplements.

Gaia Herbs Chocolate Fudge Maca Bars

Inspired by This Rawsome Vegan Life

According to Lily, Maca and cacao are a perfect match: “These flavors pair well together, and chocolate also has a knack for elevating the spirit during the darkest days of the year.”* She notes that these bars, which are vegan and gluten-free, make a fantastic homemade and heartfelt Valentine’s Day present, especially when cut into delicate morsels and specially packaged for gift-giving.

Ingredients:

Vanilla Cashew Date Base
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 cup dates
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Chocolate Date Maca Fudge

  • 1 cup dates
  • 3 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons Gaia Herbs Maca Powder
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup almond butter (or other preferred seed or nut butter)
  • Teaspoons of water, as needed
  • Optional: Cacao nibs, nuts, dried fruit, fresh berries, seeds, flaky salt, shredded or flaked coconut, edible flowers

Instructions:

  1. Prepare an 8”x8” baking dish by lining it with parchment paper or greasing it with oil (such as avocado oil or coconut oil).
  2. Make the base: Using a food processor or high-powered blender, pulse the cashews into a powder. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until everything holds together. Press into the bottom of the prepared dish and place it in the fridge.
  3. Make the fudge: Process or blend all the ingredients together until smooth and thick, adding as little water as possible. Spread on top of the Vanilla Cashew Date Base.
  4. Optional: Decorate with cacao nibs, nuts, dried fruit, berries, seeds, flaky salt, coconut, and/or edible flowers.
  5. Refrigerate until firm, at least one hour. Slice into 16 or more pieces. Indulge and enjoy!

What Is Hawthorn Used For?

Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) supports the physical and emotional heart, and has been turned to for both of these reasons since ancient times, with documented use dating back to the Romans.* Indeed, herbalists consider Hawthorn a heart tonic.* So it should come as no surprise to learn that the Hawthorn tree has long been regarded as a symbol of love.

Hawthorn has been traditionally used as a protector of emotional boundaries and is thought of as being supportive during transition, which seems especially valuable these days.*

Our Hawthorn supplements—capsules and liquid extracts—contain a synergistic blend of Hawthorn berry, leaf, and flower for a healthy and happy heart.* You’ll also find Hawthorn in our Mighty Lungs™ formula and our Turmeric Supreme® Heart formula.

Gaia Herbs Hawthorn Heart Warmer

Lily notes that during this time of year, she especially likes combining Hawthorn with other warming herbs such as Ginger and Cardamom, both members of the Zingiberaceae family.

Herbalists have long used Ginger as a favorite “diffusive” circulatory tonic and warming agent.* It is also one of the most widely consumed aromatic spices on the planet. Cardamom is a wonderfully aromatic and warming spice, too, which herbalists associate both with supporting healthy digestion and a light heart.*

In other words, this tasty beverage is sure to warm you up while you’re waiting for the dark, cold days to pass and spring’s bright warmth and flowers to arrive.

Watch the video below to see how Lily makes her favorite Hawthorn Heart Warmer tea and continue reading for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 6 green Cardamom Pods, lightly crushed
  • 2 thin slices Ginger
  • Boiling water, enough to comfortably fill your cup/mug
  • 40-60 drops Hawthorn Supreme liquid extract

Instructions:

  1. Lightly crush the Cardamom pods in a mortar and pestle or with the back of a wooden spoon. Add crushed pods and seeds to a tea strainer or tea ball.
  2. To a mug, add slices of Ginger. Add the Cardamom filled tea ball to the mug. Pour boiling water over the top.
  3. Cover and let steep for about 5 minutes. Remove tea ball. Add Hawthorn Supreme liquid extract. Gently stir. Enjoy!

Herbal Allies for the End of Winter

Spring is coming soon. In the meantime, turn to these delicious and healthy options featuring Hawthorn and Maca to warm your kitchen, your body, and your heart—and other’s hearts, too.

These days and nights may be chilly, but they don’t have to be challenging with a little herbal help. Of course, these recipes and featured supplements won’t just help you show love and give self-love this month, but can aid in maintaining long-term wellness once the season has changed.*