Whenever we talk to other teen girls about their main concerns, two topics come up over and over again: Too much stress and not enough sleep. The reasons are obvious — studying and school can be overwhelming, dealing with friends (and significant others!) can be challenging at times (even though we love them), and we stay up long past midnight scrolling through IG and TikTok even though we know we’re going to be exhausted the next morning.
The problem is, school isn’t going anywhere (except online, that is), maintaining important relationships will always take work, and we just can’t help ourselves at night, let’s be honest. That means we need simple tricks that are going to help our bodies deal with the many things we subject it to, while giving it the love it needs and deserves.
A simple, time-tested way to help decrease your stress levels and increase your energy levels is by incorporating herbs into your diet. We figured the best way to learn about herbs would be to talk to the herb-expert herself, Co-founder of Sunwink, Eliza Ganesh.
First, allow us to explain not only what an herb is, but what on this Timothée Chalamet-blessed Earth an herbal tonic is. An herb is any plant with leaves, seeds or flowers, and in this case we are using them as a natural medicine for our bodies. Sometimes we recommend yoga, sometimes a good cry, this time— herbs. An herbal tonic, then, is a “drink made of supportive herbs for your mind, body and soul that can be used safely over long periods of time”, according to Ganesh.
This might be starting to sound like that time your mom tried to convince you to take Omega Oils in liquid form (…yuck) or when you tried Madelaine Petsch’ skincare routine and realized it was way too complicated— but hear us out.
Speaking of skincare… “So many of us care about using the right masks, toners, serums and oils for our face. I think of herbs — and highly nutritious foods— as the same kind of things but for inside our bodies (and minds)”, explains Eliza Ganesh. “It’s just as important to care for what’s inside us”, because in reality, whatever is going on inside is going to show up in our skin, hair, nails, and more. When we focus on cleaning up our insides, we’ll clean up our outside too, and herbs are a great way to do that.
“I make chamomile tea almost every night before I go to bed. It’s called a ‘nervine’ herb, meaning it helps when you’re feeling worked up or anxious. It’s also often used to ease an upset stomach— unfortunately, a common side effect of stress!”
When we take care of what’s going on inside our bodies, for example by fighting internal inflammation, we can help with what’s going on outside, like blemishes on our skin! Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory herb that “I use as part of my daily self-care routine. Try mixing turmeric root powder and black pepper with hot water. Then add a splash of your favorite nut milk and some honey. It makes a delicious and calming drink to sip in the afternoon. The black pepper and the fat from the nut milk help to activate the curcumin in the turmeric” (which is the main inflammatory-fighting agent!).
Plus: If you suffer from joint pains when you’re running or playing sports, turmeric could help reduce your pain and help joints like your knees move more easily!
Right now, we’re all (understandably) focused on strengthening our immune systems and making sure we don’t get sick. “During cold and flu season, I always have elderberry syrup on hand. Elderberry is an antiviral herb and has long been used for cold care.” Ganesh’ pro-tip? “It also tastes delicious on pancakes (just use a teaspoon!).” Yum.
“I’d start with Tulsi for mental clarity and energy. It’s historically been used for many reasons” — like decreased stress and increased brain function to name a few! “It’s easy to make tulsi tea every day to start incorporating this herb into your routine.”
The incredible power of herbs is the reason Eliza Ganesh and her co-founder, Jordan Schenck, created Sunwink in the first place. Each Sunwink herbal tonic contains 1,000mg of herbs, or 4 to 8 times the amount found in your local grocery store’s herbal teas. “After making herbs part of my daily routine, I’ve found that I rarely get sick, and I’m able to manage my stress much easier”, according to Ganesh. That’s something we’re all down for, IMO.
Sunwink’s herbal tonics are also made without preservatives, fake flavors or artificial sweeteners, which is something we look for in anything we’re putting in our bodies here at Zenzy. Ganesh gave us the perfect rule of thumb to keep in mind when looking at ingredients— “stick with ingredients you can pronounce and ingredients that you understand where they came from. Your body is going to understand lemon juice more than it will understand citric acid which is made in a lab” (and is a common preservative used in drinks!).
And if you happen to eat herbs (and drink herbal tonics) you might just be a little less stressed and a little more energetic!