During Midsummer, birch trees are at their best to make a cleansing birch whisk. Therefore, birch is often the first choice for sauna. But other familiar plants can also be used to make a whisk. By varying different plants and making mixed whisks, a wide range of different body effects can be obtained.
Many plants have traditionally also been associated with different beliefs. This tradition is a nice addition to the Midsummer Sauna theme. Midsummer magic is often associated with romance. There are also special plants for an aphrodisiac effect. If you want to add symbolism to the whisking ritual, perform the whisking first from top to toe. While doing it, wish all bad things in your life to go away. Additionally, while whisking from toe to top ask all the good things to come your way. Feel free to try something new this summer!
However, there are a few things that need to be taken into account while collecting the plants. In Finland, woody plants need a landowner’s permit for collection. Take into consideration your own hypersensitivity or limitations when using plants and always collect reasonable amounts respecting nature.
MEADOWSWEET – Nature’s own painkiller
Cleansing and refreshing meadowsweet is said to boost your mood, ease pains and bring a better night’s sleep. As a whisk, the meadowsweet also brings a lovely smell to sauna. Meadowsweet is rich in magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese and vitamin C. It is also said to bring happiness, peace and protection to the home and to its user.
YARROW – Strong women’s herb
Yarrow has especially been used to treat skin, but it also gives women hormonal ailments, relief from infections, fever, flu and urinary problems. Essential oils soothe the central nervous system in the same way as camomile. It has also been considered as a plant that brings blessing and protection. As a whisk yarrow calms and relieves stress and insomnia.
ROWAN – All-purpose cleanser
During Midsummer, the rowan whisk treats the skin and calms the stress stomach in particular. Cleansing rowan removes liquid and thus lowers blood pressure. In the Finnishfolklore, rowan has been considered as a power tree that can withstand storms and lightning strikes. Rowan is the sacred tree of Kalevala, the Epic Story of Finland.
NETTLE – Magical aphrodisiac
Nettle is one of the most effective plant of our nature. It is a real superplant with its active substances. Nettle is used especially for fatigue and for improving and strengthening general condition. Nettle reduces inflammation and pain, and it strengthens immunity. In the old days, rheumatic symptoms were treated with nettle whisk. Nettle is rich in silicon, important for connective tissues, hair and nails. Nettle has also been used in the spells for raising feelings of love. Add a few nettles to the whisk to bring a lovely scent and symbolism.
BLACKCURRANT BRANCH– A power-giving sauna scent
For many, blackcurrant is a familiar berry helping fight the flu, but its leaves are also wonderful. It is said that the use of blackcurrant branches as a whisk increases immune defenses, eliminates toxins and is good for the lungs. You get a lovely smell in the sauna when you wrap blackcurrant leaves and nettle and put them on the stove. The leaves are rich in vitamin C.
BILBERRY BRANCH– To support longevity
In Finland, wild blueberry is a common plant in traditional healing. It has been used for a wide range of ailments. Blueberry improves vision, enhances memory and cures stomach ulcers. Blueberry leaves also treat skin and are good for tired eyes. Blueberry branches can be used in the sauna, for example as a facial whisk. Blueberries are rich in flavonoids, vitamins C, A, B6 and B12, manganese, magnesium, potassium, iron, selenium and zinc.
JUNIPER – Restorative energy
Juniper is a common medical plant that prevents pain and inflammation and protects nerve cells in the brain. Juniper is strongly connected to cleansing. As a whisk, juniper activates surface blood circulation and gives great help for respiratory problems. It was also used in the sauna to banish the “bad spirits”. Juniper needles are rich in essential oils, protein, vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, copper, iron and manganese. In the old days, juniper was burned to clean up the air and prevent diseases. It is said that Juniper also eliminates negativity, replacing it with healing energy.
ROSEMARY – A revitalizing symbol of love
Revitalizing rosemary is believed to improve brain function and memory and treat sore joints and muscles. Rosemary is considered as a herb of eternal love. It is said that rosemary in the bath water, will bring out the maiden of all women at any age. It has also been used symbolically to call for happiness and prosperity. Rosemary calms the nervous system. It has been used for depression, digestive problems and the treatment of low blood pressure, among other things.
Add a few sprigs of rosemary to your whisk and be ready for the true love of your life to enter!
Anna Velten is Terhen’s Sauna Host and wild herb enthusiast.