Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • February 2017
Written by 

Valentine’s Day alternatives

February is for valentines — and often that means that people are buying processed chocolate candy or mass produced bath/body products for those they love. These products are, unfortunately, generally made with ingredients that are contrary to a healthy lifestyle. That doesn’t mean, though, that you must deprive yourself (or those you love) from luscious chocolate delicacies, or avoid using bath/products altogether, no!

Consider a different alternative. Everyone appreciates it so much more when you take the time to create something from scratch that shows the person of your dreams deserves something made with love. Get to know a few herbs and start crafting your own products. You will learn something new and show those you love that they are worth your time as you develop something for them all by yourself. There are certainly lots of ways to show you love someone, but let me share some herbal suggestions that you can create and share!

Here’s a special, lip-smacking liqueur to share with your sweetheart (make it now, it requires a few “soaking days” of preparation but it is oh so worth it!). This recipe comes from the world-renowned herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar:

Damiana Chocolate Love Liqueur

1 ounce dried Damiana leaf

2 cups vodka or brandy

1 ½ cups spring water

1 cup honey

Vanilla extract

Rose water

Organic chocolate syrup

Almond extract

  1. Soak the Damiana leaves in the vodka or brandy for 5 days. Strain (do not throw out the leaves); reserve the liquid in a glass bottle.
  2. Soak the alcohol-drenched leaves in the spring water for 3 days. Strain and reserve the liquid.
  3. Over low heat, gently warm the water extract and dissolve the honey in it. Remove the pan from the heat, then add the alcohol extract and stir well. Pour into a clean glass bottle with a dash of vanilla and a dash of rose water for flavor. Let it mellow for 1 month or longer; it gets smoother with age. (For your Valentine’s Day, you can speed this process up by warming your oven to a low setting, about 250 degrees, then turn it off and put the liqueur in the oven and leave it until the oven is completely cool — presto! Ready for step 4!)
  4. To each cup of Damiana liqueur, add ½ cup of chocolate syrup, 2-3 drops of almond extract and just a touch more rose water.
  5. Serve at the time of your choosing. Refrigerate the remainder to enjoy later.

There are also some lovely herbal baths that you can prepare to give someone a special evening. Herbs used in baths should be aromatic and relaxing, and there are so many to choose from! For the special someone in your life, consider the following recipe:

Deep Relaxation Bath

2 parts chamomile

2 parts sage

1 part hops

1 part lavender

6-8 drops clary sage or lavender essential oil

Store in a glass container in a cabinet so that the sun doesn’t get to the herbs. When you are ready to use, just put the mixture in a small muslin bag and toss in a warm bath. Add a naturally scented soy candle, some beautiful music and turn the lights down. Perfect!

Making your own pampering gifts has an added benefit. It can help you to slow down, take a breath and relax for a few minutes. That’s a healthy side effect for you, while you create something with love for your sweetheart.

Have a happy, herbal Valentine’s Day. 

T. Heather Herdman, RN, PhD

T. Heather Herdman, RN, PhD is co-owner of Sweet Willow Naturals in Green Bay, where we have over 140 organic herbs and 70 organic spices available for you to craft your own products, or to simply enjoy as tea. Our store focuses on education and we have many classes to help you learn about herbs, aromatherapy, nutrition, and self-care – focusing on safe information backed up by research and experience. We also offer wellness coaching and massage – stop in today! For more information, visit or email [email protected]

Subscribe Today
Community Partners Directory
Find a Complimentary Copy
Community Calendar