This seasonal blend is a bold mix of cacao, marshmallow, astragalus, and cinnamon, with a sprinkling of calendula petals. The obvious inspiration for this one is Halloween s’mores, but as I thought about October traditions, the blend grew and evolved. Astragalus is a nourishing root, often added to soups in China. It has a very mild, slightly earthy taste, and to me is the embodiment of deeply-rooted wellbeing. Cacao – minus the sugar we usually add to hot cocoa – is a potent antioxidant. Marshmallow is demulcent, meaning it moistens and soothes mucus membranes – great for dry autumn days. Cinnamon and calendula have their own herbal benefits, but here act mostly as condiments.
There are three delicious – and very different! – ways to enjoy this blend.
- Halloween “S’mores steamer” version: A warm, creamy treat reminiscent of cool nights and campfires. Steep 2 tsp in 8oz warm milk with 1 tsp honey or maple syrup. Serve with a graham cracker for extra s’mores-y goodness, and remember the treats you loved as a kid!
- Day of the Dead “Mexican cacao” version: Cacao and spices evoke Mexican hot chocolate, while calendula petals recall the marigolds used to decorate the graves of the beloved departed. Steep 2 tsp in 8oz hot water. Add ground cayenne or chipotle pepper to taste. Sweeten if desired. Ponder the enigma of sadness at a person’s passing, but joy at the legacy they left with you.
- Samhain “Dark and strong” version: Embrace the coming dark of the year, with all its bitterness and joy. Take strength from the deep-rooted astragalus as you think of all your ancestors have survived before you. Steep 2 tsp in 8oz hot coffee. For an extra kick, spike it with your favorite “bracing tipple!”