Three Wellness Rituals from Around the World

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by Linden Schaffer

I am fortunate enough to travel the world for a living and being away from home so often means I am exposed to amazing aspects of cultures and countries that vary greatly from my U.S. home. It also means I’ve been sick, felt unwell, or needed to balance my spiritual energy in many of these places. I’ve always turned to local wellness and healing rituals when ever possible. Here are 3 of my favorites that you can try at home.

Lemongrass Tea

Wellness History in: Bali, Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mexico, and Togo.

Prescribed for: Achy joints, digestive issues, exhaustion, high blood pressure, insomnia, and stomachaches.

Found in the tropical climates of India, Southeast Asia, and Oceania, the lemongrass plant is used in food and tea as an herbal remedy. Lemongrass tea recipes can be found in many herbal medicine practices across the world. Mexican folk medicine calls for the tea to calm nervous disorders, Brazilians prescribe it to treat digestive problems, and Amazonian cultures regularly drink the tea as a natural sleep aid. The taste of lemongrass can be quite strong so be warned. In the U.S. I’ve had a difficult time finding tea that is just lemongrass. What I’ve found is usually mixed with ginger or a citrus fruit; therefore I’ve resorted to making it myself.

Activated Charcoal

Wellness History in:Argentina, E.U. Countries, and the United States

Prescribed for: Diarrhea, food poisoning,gas, and indigestion.

You can find activated charcoal included in the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines, a core list of minimum medicine for basic health-care. This power has been used as an antidote to poising for centuries. If you’ve ever been rushed to the emergency room after consuming a poisonous liquid, you may have been given an activated charcoal drink instead of having your stomach pumped. I was first introduced to this home remedy in a chewable tablet form in Argentina after I contracted food poising. It worked so well that it is now a staple in my suitcase and medicine cabinet. If I ever feel an upset stomach or indigestion come on due to something I’ve consumed, I take a few charcoal tablets and ward off any further sickness.

Sage Smudging

Wellness History in:Canada and the United States.

Prescribed for:Energy clearing, protection, and purification.

If you have moved into a new place, have had an argument in your home or are beginning a new ritual or practice; you might want to consider smudging the physical space or yourself with sage. This Native American ceremonial ritual of burning sage is used to cleanse the air and protect your spiritual well-being. Open a window or door and light the sage so it creates a thick smoke. Then offer the sage to the four directions asking for a blessing or protection. Next fan the smoke over yourself or the space you wish to clear drawing out all the negative energy. Be sure you end your smudging ritual at the door or window inviting all negative energy you just cleared to leave.

Linden Schaffer is founder of Pravassa and the best-selling author of Living Well on the Road. Photo courtesy of Pravassa