Hot Healthy Toddy

Sometimes it feels great to have a little drink to soothe the nerves and relax the body after a long day, especially if we also need a digestive boost.

Here is a great Ayurvedic hot tonic you can share with the entire family (especially the kids like this one). It's a better option than an evening dessert, as it both aids in digestion and sleep, instead of interfering with digestion and sleep, which is often the case with alcohol and heavy, sweet desserts.

3 cups milk
2 teaspoon ground fennel seed
1 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
natural sweetener to taste

Enough for three servings

* Bring three cups organic (partial or full-fat, raw or slow pasteurized is best) milk to a slow boil, constantly stirring.
* Reduce heat to a simmer and add freshly ground fennel seed and freshly ground nutmeg. (It is best if you grind the herbs yourself, and a coffee grinder works great, if you just clean it before grinding your herbs to make sure you don't get any coffee in this relaxing tonic. If you don't have whole nutmeg or fennel seeds, placing the pre-ground herbs in the grinder for a few moments can also refresh them).
* Heat over low heat, continually stirring for five minutes.
* Remove from heat
* Add a natural sweetener like agave, sucanat, or raw honey to taste... not too much. Usually a spoonful will more than do the trick.

If milk doesn't settle well for you, try almond milk or unsweetened soy, but do not boil, as these may curdle. Instead, heat until warm and cook for seven to ten minutes instead of five to ensure the beverage absorbs the herbs.

Make this even extra special by preparing it consciously with love. Envision your love pouring into the tonic to help nourish the bodies of you and your loved ones. In Ayurvedic Medicine, the herbs, tonics, and foods we consume are largely containers for the love and healing energy that we add as we prepare them for ourselves and others.

According to Ayurveda, fennel is extremely good for digestion. It acts as a general toner for the digestive system, and is particularly good for enhancing Agni, the digestive fire, without aggravating Pitta.

Fresh-grated nutmeg has a more powerful flavor and aroma than ground nutmeg. Nutmeg pacifies Vata and Kapha and increases Pitta. It contributes the pungent, bitter and astringent tastes. It is a warming spice. In ayurveda, it is used as a natural sleep aid, normally taken in warm milk before bed. It stimulates appetite and digestion.

I have been drinking this regularly at night before bed and notice a profound difference in the depth of my sleep.