zen out

RH: Sometimes we just need to find our zen, and we all have different ways of making this happen. Lots of people go to yoga (awesome! – we love this), some people go running, meditate, read a book, have a glass of wine (or two). One thing is for certain, everyone at one point during their day probably needs to find their zen or take an adult timeout.

Whether we find the time daily to relax and unwind or not, we may need a little additional help to do so. So many of us get home late; our busy schedules not always following Nature’s rhythms and our own internal struggle not to replay the day’s events leave us wound up and energized from a long day, needing something more to help us transition to a calmer state, naturally.

Enter, our Kava | Passion Flower | Poppy Seed Milk Tonic

This tonic highlights three unique ingredients that synergistically work together to create a natural yet effective way to relax your body, mind, and spirit.

Kava: Kava root (Piper methysticum) or kava-kava is a plant grown throughout the Pacific Islands. The root of the plant is used to make a drink with sedative and entheogenic effects. It is prized for it’s gentle sedative qualities without distorting mental clarity.

The active components in kava roots are called kavalactones. Six specific kavalactones found in the root are responsible for nearly 96% of the plants pharmacological activity. It’s small but potent medicine!

The kavalactones in the kava plant are fat soluble, meaning that in order for our bodies to properly absorb and assimilate these compounds, it needs to be consumed with a high quality fat. Adding ghee, coconut oil, or using a fatty medium such as plant-based milks are all great ways to boost the bioavailability of the fat soluble nutrients in food or drinks.

Passion Flower: The medicinal use of passion flower provides a wide variety of uses spanning from treating insomnia, nervousness and generalized anxiety disorder to helping subdue seizures and soothing fibromyalgia symptoms. It is often used in unison with complimentary herbs such as chamomile, hops, valerian or skullcap and kava.

Poppy Seed: Poppy seeds have gotten a bad rap over the years since poppy seeds come from the same plant as the opium poppy; this does not mean, however, that eating an appropriate amount poppy seeds will get you ‘high’.

All plants have medicinal properties that need to be used appropriately and understood before delving into. Just as someone can consume too much vitamin K from leafy greens and throw their blood coagulation factors off kilter, eating massive amounts of poppy seeds could produce an adverse effect. But who honestly wants to do that?

Dried poppy seeds contain negligible amounts of alkaloids associated with the opium poppy. However, the chemical compounds in poppy seeds produce a gentle and soothing effect on the nervous system and have been used as a natural relaxant throughout the ages.

On a nutritional scale, poppy seeds are an excellent source of B-complex vitamins as well as the minerals calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and zinc!

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Kava | Passion Flower | Poppy Seed Milk Tonic

2 servings

Poppy Seed Milk:

½ cup organic poppy seeds
12 ounces filtered, boiling water
2 dates, pitted (optional)

Pour the boiling water over poppy seeds and dates in a medium bowl and allow the seeds to soak for 30 minutes. Once cooled, transfer the mixture to a high-speed blender and process on high for one minute. Strain the mixture through a nut milk bag or multiple folds of cheesecloth. Discard the solids. The milk can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Kava and Passion Flower Tea:

2 cups filtered water
1 tablespoon loose passion flower tea, or two tea bags
3 knobs of dried kava root, or two tea bags pure kava tea
honey or stevia
Himalayan salt

Combine the water and kava in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Place the lid on the pan and allow the kava to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add the passion flower to the pan, and cover again. Let the teas steep for an additional 5 minutes.

Strain the liquid into a new saucepan and discard the solids.

Add six to eight ounces of the poppy seed milk to the tea, along with any additional sweeteners such as honey or stevia, and a pinch of Himalayan salt. Gently warm the mixture to a drinkable temperature. Portion into mugs and find your zen.

A note of caution from the Flora Ex Machina Team: Be conscious of your specific needs. If you are pregnant, nursing, or taking opiate or benzodiazepine-based medications, do not consume this drink. Also, do not give this to children.

Chamomile is a gentle and non-reactive alternative for these sensitive groups.