Recentering the woman is the call of the time. A woman’s act of self-love creates a glow in her life and her household. Self love is the act of self care, it is how we stay rooted to self (and thus to spirit) in a whole and deep way.
Yoni steaming has been traditionally practiced for centuries. It’s recorded throughout Mayan culture, passed down by midwives and healers, for women after childbirth or miscarriage to encourage the healing features of the herbs used to pass into the bloodstream through the vagina. Presently used primarily through Africa and Asia and reported practiced in 28 countries around the world with a growing practice in the United States.
The internet has a lot to say about the risks and harms of yoni steaming and most medical sources denounce it, citing that there is no evidence of any benefits but there is evidence of negative drawbacks, mostly burns from too hot of steam. I am skeptical of these opinions because they are rooted in the patriarchal lineage of modern medicine that systematically denounces folk medicine and disregards female bodies.
Kelly Garza of Steamy Chick is collecting data over thousands of menstrual cycles of women practicing yoni steaming.
Women repeatedly report ‘signs of old residue (namely black or brown menstrual blood, clots or cramps)’ with steaming and there is a high correlation between old residue and menstrual pain, endometriosis and infertility. Steaming helps clear old residue and encourages timely menstrual cycles and signs of fresh, red blood.
Read more of her research here or listen to her explain it all on this podcast. Why don’t we count the anecdotal accounts of thousands of women across multiple cultures as evidence?! Will there only be ‘evidence’ to support yoni steaming by the medical community when they swab enough vaginas to find a measurable change in something? Women’s stories are evidence.
So with that, I introduce you to Yoni Steaming. Here's the how to:
Steep various medicinal herbs (think calendula, mugwort, tulsi, and yarrow) in boiled water and create a comfortable way to sit or squat over your pot of steamy infused herbal water. You use a special seat or box designed for yoni steaming, you can place a pot inside a bucket, or you can simply find a position on your knees where you can lean back over the pot. Women wear a big skirt or wrap from waist down in a blanket to keep the warm inside. Socks are great to wear for the same reason. Be comfortable over the steam for 15-30 minutes and of course, use your common sense and don’t burn yourself. If it's too hot, wait for sometime or open up your blanket tent.
Steam as an act of love.
This is an act of self-care. For many women, this is a healer. The anecdotal evidence speaks for itself. When are we going to start trusting women’s stories? When do we take our power back and trust our intuition and our own bodily experience? If we strip away all the physiological evidence for the benefits (or harms) of yoni steaming, what remains is still a pleasurable experience of self-care for a woman. It is a container, a period of time, for a woman to connect with and honor her body, breath deeply, be with her thoughts, to write and create or to cry and feel.
For me, yoni steaming is a ritual act of self care each month after my cycle. With a garden full of perennial tulsi and lots of calendula, the picking of leaves and flowers is itself a sacred communal with our Mamma Earth. I encourage all of you women to give it a try (except those that are pregnant or have an infection) and gift yourself this time for this healing and pleasurable tradition. Great tutorials to get started are with Veladya Chapman, found here.
Steam on my ladies! And take care of yourself the way that feels right for your body; let’s trust ourselves and our intuition and prioritize our care. Only when our fire burn steadily within do we have the light to shine on others.
More on which herbs:
Information on herbs from Sacred Lotus Yoni Steam.
Lavender: relieve stress, treats insomnia, nervous stomach and anxiety. promotes restful sleep. sooths stomach bloating. Antibacterial & antimicrobial. Inflame passions as an aphrodisiac.
Holy basil - "Queen of Herbs" is an adaptogen (anti-stress agent) that balances hormones, benefits immune, reproductive & urinary systems, protects organs and tissues from chemical agents/ heavy metals, relieve headaches & muscle tension.
Calendula - Prevent and relax abdominal & PMS cramps, promote ease of menstruation and alleviate hot flashes, anti-inflammatory, heal ulcers, improve skin firmness, anti-microbial & anti-viral, may discourage cancer.
Yarrow - "The Women's Herb" specializes in the reproductive and urinary systems and will both staunch heavy bleeding and stimulate scanty bleeding. Relieves menstrual pain. Assists vaginal infections, discharge and spotting between cycles. Urinary anti-septic & remedy for cystitis and urinary tract infections. Improve blood circulation, tones blood vessels & prevent blood clots, stimulate digestion, move congested blood and support the liver.
Black Cohosh - Traditional Native American remedy. Anti-inflammatory that eases PMS, relieves menstrual cramps & irregularities. Relieves multiple symptoms of menopause including hot flashes, irritability, mood swings and sleep disturbances. Studies show black cohosh produces positive results when compared to benefits of traditional estrogen replacement therapy during menopause.
Motherwort - Healer of the Heart. Cardio tonic which calms palpitations, high blood pressure and anxiety, traditionally given to young pregnant mothers. Nervine tonic which relaxes nervous system, resulting in an elevated mood. Anti-spasmodic muscle relaxant (relieves cramps), decrease blood clotting, brings balance to hyperthyroidism. Assists sleep cycles.
Mugwort - NEVER to be used by pregnant women. Nervine which relaxes the uterus will ease and stimulate (late) menstruation, helping to restore a natural cycle. Expel parasites, relax nervous system.
Rosemary - Longevity. Lower cortisol levels and reduce anxiety when used aromatically (not topically in an oil). Treat muscle pain. May prevent cancer cells from replicating, halting tumors from growing. Stop hair loss. Antioxidant that protects cells from damage by free radicals and toxins.
Mexican Oregano - Not to be confused with traditional Oregano. Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-microbial. Support late and irregular menstrual cycles. Anti-spasmodic will sooth PMS pain.
Lemon Balm - Soothe menstrual cramps, relieve PMS symptoms including nausea, gas/bloating and will relax bladder and uterus spasms. Anti-viral.
Marshmallow - Treat urinary infections and bladder infections. Induces phagocytosis, a process that supports cells to engulf bacteria & dead cell tissues to speed up the healing process.
Dong Quai - "Female ginseng" & Protector of Feminine Health. Balances estrogen levels and regulates menstrual cycles. Increase libido levels and fertility. Anti-spasmodic which relieves symptoms of PMS including cramping, mood swings & discomfort. Increase circulation & detoxify the blood - boosting energy levels after menstruation and relieving headaches and muscle pain. Lessen anxiety & stress associated with menopause. Heart tonic and skin purifier, assisting with psoriasis, rosacea & more. *not to be used for pregnant women
Red Clover - Reduces hot flashes in menopausal women, slow bone loss and increase bone density in pre/peri- menopausal women. Contains isoflavones (plant-derived estrogen) which relieve PMS symptoms. May block enzymes that promote endometrial cancer.
UTI FlyAway & Yogini Soulstice Herbs and Uses:
Cornsilk - Medicine of the Goddess Ixchel. Anti-inflammatory for urinary tract infections (UTI), coating the urinary tract lining and thwarting infection. Reduces the risk of bacteria build up by creating the urge to urinate and flushing out the urinary tract.
Damiana - Ancient and erotic Aztec remedy for sexual health. Aphrodesiac which improves blood circulation to sex organs, increases libido, potency and frequency of vaginal orgasms. Reduces vaginal dryness. Balance menopause symptoms.
Rose Petals - Worldwide symbol of Love & Sensuality. Boosts the immune system and is anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant for UTI prevention and treatment. Cleanses blood. Raises our vibration and enhances positivity of the mind. Reduces menstrual pain. Calms nerves and eases stress & tension.
Uva Ursi - Healing humans since the 2nd century. Aids UTI’s and bladder infections. Is a diuretic, astringent and muscle-relaxant. Anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which fight kidney infections. Anti-septic which protects the mucous membrane of the urinary tract. Anti-fungal. Soothes stomach cramping.
Pau D’Arco Bark - Native to the Amazon Rainforest, has been used for 1000’s of years as an immune system stimulant. Reduces inflammation. Powerful anti oxidant & destroyer of free radicals. Slows down the aging process. Anti-viral & anti-fungal.
Dandelion Leaf - Herbal cure-all wonder that is making her comeback. Liver detox which eliminates harmful toxins. Diuretic which assists the kidneys in clearing out urinary system while replacing lost potassium. Antioxidant which prevents free radical damage to cells and DNA.