Spiritual Healing Plants: Cacao and Blue Lotus

Spiritual Healing Plants: Cacao and Blue Lotus

The power of spiritual healing plants is something different cultures across the world have harnessed for millennia. Not only did plants provide our ancestors with food, clothes and shelter, but they also used botanicals to relieve ailments and as sedatives or stimulants to heal the mind, body and spirit. 

Humans started with a deep connection and appreciation for nature. We moved with the seasons and looked after the Earth just as it looked after us. Our modern lives, however, are so far removed from living in sync with the natural world that we’ve become disconnected, not only from nature but from ourselves. 

It’s no wonder alternative medicines are rising in popularity as we wake up and respond to our malnourished spirits. I am so glad many hear the call to return to our roots and rediscover the ancient wisdom of spiritual healing plants. If you’re new to experimenting with alternative medicines, then a couple of my favourites to start with are Cacao and Blue Lotus as their healing powers are gentler than others. I’ll be covering a couple more potent plants in an upcoming blog so stay tuned for part two of this mini blog series! 

Read on to find out more about Cacao and Blue Lotus, and how I like to use them to aid deep healing. 

Ceremonial Cacao

The use of Cacao dates back almost 4,000 years to Mexico where traces of its active ingredient were found in ancient fermenting pots and ceramic vessels. The most evidence we have of Cacao being used, however, comes from the ancient Mayan and Aztec empires almost 1,000 years later. Both ancient civilisations treated the Cacao bean as sacred and as a food of the gods. If you look back through Mayan drawings you’ll see many depictions of gods sprouting from the Cacao pods, while Aztecs considered the Cacao bean to be of divine origin and a gift straight from the god Quetzalcoatl. 

In our modern world, however, the Cacao bean isn’t regarded in the same way and is often confused with cocoa that’s used for chocolate. Although derived from the same Theobroma Cacao plant (and with similar names), cocoa and Cacao are processed in such a way that they are significantly different. To make cocoa, the beans are processed at very high temperatures to produce the smooth, sweet chocolatey taste we all know and love. However, this also removes many of the nutritional benefits of the bean. Cacao, on the other hand, is minimally processed and at much lower temperatures, so the beans maintain their nutritionally dense properties.

Ceremonial Cacao Spiritual Healing

Blue Lotus Flower

Thanks to its calming properties, Blue Lotus tea is one of my favourite spiritual healing plants. Also called Blue Water Lily, it is known to improve sleep, reduce anxiety and assist with muscle control. First cultivated by ancient Egyptians along the banks of the river Nile, the flower has been spiritually and culturally significant for more than 3,000 years! 

I usually drink Blue Lotus tea before bed as it can be soporific, promoting drowsiness and sleep. In my experience, drinking Blue Lotus tea before bed can induce lucid dreams and increase the likelihood of experiencing deja-vu. 

Making Blue Lotus tea is really simple. I like to use dried flowers to prepare my tea by adding about 5g for a mild dose or 10g for a stronger dose to a teapot, pouring over hot water and leaving the flowers to steep for 10-15 minutes before straining and enjoying while it is still hot. You can add a natural sweetener, too, like agave or coconut sugar, if you like. Ready-made tea bags are also available as an even easier option, but I prefer the ritual of making the tea fresh, as waiting for it to brew gives me time to reflect on my intention and connect with myself.

Ceremonial Cacao

Although Cacao is far more bitter and less palatable, it is also so much better for you than chocolate. In fact, Cacao drinking ceremonies haven’t changed much since the early Maya tradition. They would drink the Cacao at full strength in its natural state, usually without any sweetener, though adding honey wasn’t an uncommon practice, and that’s generally how it is consumed ceremonially today. 

Ceremonial Cacao is a heart opener that offers a gentle “high” without entering a mind-altering state. It’s a stimulant that feels similar to coffee minus the anxiety – which anyone with caffeine sensitivity will be glad to hear! 

I like to incorporate ceremonial Cacao in many of my practices. For example, I will drink Cacao during lunar rituals, equinoxes (read my blog on my Autumn equinox ritual including Cacao), when working with my heart chakra or any other time I want to tap into the childlike energy and creativity Cacao brings out in me.




Blue Lotus Spiritual Healing

Both these ancient spiritual healing plants have helped me so much on my journey, so I hope sharing my thoughts and insights will encourage you to also explore what powers they possess. In my next instalment of this mini blog series I’ll be sharing a couple of more potent medicinal plants to experiment with: Amazonian Hapé and Sananga. 

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© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra
Crystals for emotional healing

Crystals For Emotional Healing

Using crystals for emotional healing is an incredibly powerful practice, widely used to help us manage our feelings with the ability to dispel negative thoughts and bring to light our best qualities. Each crystal has its own unique abilities, which, when used in conjunction with other mindfulness practices, can help to guide us on our journeys of self-improvement.

The process of sourcing sustainable crystals is tricky business, however, as they continue to grow in popularity, so do the number of unethically and unsustainably sourced types. Be sure to check the small print so you know you’re buying from a credible and ethically sourced-provider. I recommend Moonrise Crystals who deliver internationally, or Dubai-based OOAKSTONES.

In this blog, I’ll be sharing a few of my favourite crystals, their properties, purposes, benefits and how I use them in my daily routine.

Rose Quartz

A pink-coloured crystal belonging to the mineral class of quartz, also known as hyaline quartz, rose quartz is a translucent crystal with a trigonal central system. It is one of the most abundant and inexpensive crystals – making it perfect for jewellery. 

With its blushed feminine hue, there’s no surprise that rose quartz represents love and compassion. This crystal will inspire you to love yourself, especially in times of loneliness and abandonment, and is a great tool for healing the heart. Rose quartz is ripe with emotional healing properties for negative feelings, too. It has the power to release bad emotions like grief, anger, jealousy, stress and rage, so you can convert them into joy and self-love instead.

Making the most of the stone’s compassionate energy, I like to keep rose quartz in my bedroom to increase the love vibrations. Since we’re 80% water and rose quartz is a very high-frequency crystal, I find placing it in my water every morning helps to set me on the right path for the day ahead. 

Jade Crystal


A purple variety of quartz, amethyst is a semiprecious stone with a glassy lustre and forms part of the hexagonal crystal system. Thanks to its ability to change under the influence of different lights and temperatures, the stone can evolve with the body and create a close connection with our life experiences. 

One of the most powerful gemstones of its kind, amethyst has strong healing properties and is known for its ability to purify, create serenity and overcome sadness. With its spiritual awareness and protective nature, it can balance your emotions making it a great stone to have by your side during a time of loss. Amethyst’s warming purple colour acts as a natural tranquiliser and a spiritual connection, believed to welcome intuitive energies and enhance our psychic abilities.

I tend not to use amethysts on my body when I’m feeling distracted as it can increase feelings of anxiety. Instead, I prefer to keep them in my bedroom as they help me reach a deep state of sleep and induce psychic dreams as I’m able to connect with my mind on a deeper level.

Moonstone Crystal for emotional healing


Amazonite, or  “The Hope Stone”, is a variety of potassium feldspar, in the microcline mineral class. Part of the triclinic crystal system, it has a  glassy lustre. It is mostly recognised for its cool blue or green colouring; a gentle colour scheme that reflects the earth’s natural beauty. Amazonite helps us to prioritise the good over the bad as it calls on our inner strength and commitment to apply that can-do attitude to everything we do.

Amazonite has the power to restore calm, ward off negative thoughts and grant a sense of peace. Replacing confusion with clarity, this gemstone can guide you through your emotional healing journey when you’re experiencing anger, fear or confusion. Helpful for those with past trauma, amazonite can soak up toxic attitudes – whether from yourself or others – and leave you with a clear path to let go of negativity.

This stone is also connected to the heart chakra, by allowing love to be given and received, and the throat chakra, to open up communication channels and create healthy boundaries. During my chakra healing regime, I like to place amazonite on my throat chakra and chant “HAM” to rebalance this part of my body and focus on the positive healing effects.

Carnelian Crystal for emotional healing
Rose Quartz Crystal


Identified by its tranquil shade of green, jade is another popular stone. A silicate mineral often synonymous with East Asian art, it is part of the jadeite class and has a monoclinic crystal system. Inspired by the ancient world, the stone is often placed within the home to cleanse the environment and create beautiful decorations, but can also be worn to ignite feelings of luck, happiness and energy for the user. 

Jade’s meaning translates to confidence, acceptance and health – whether that’s emotional, spiritual or physical. Mentally, the stone can encourage feelings of self-sufficiency and the need to dispel negative thought patterns so you’re able to love and accept yourself more easily.

Since rose quartz and jade both deal with compassion and heart healing, I like to combine these crystals and place them on my heart chakra to connect with their energies. My daily beauty routine utilises these crystals together, too, as they have significant benefits for the skin. Whilst rose quartz helps stimulate blood circulation and create a more natural glow, jade releases its healing powers when placed close to the skin.

Crystals for emotional healing


Part of the feldspar mineral group and an orthoclase stone, the moonstone is made of sodium potassium aluminium silicate which creates that pearly opalescent look. Deeply connected to the moon, this stone acts as a symbol of the goddess spirit, balancing feminine, hormonal energy. 

A powerful tool for creating emotional balance, this gemstone ensures you are moving in flow with the world around you and is known for helping to create new beginnings. Replacing feelings of overwhelm, the moonstone can create harmony with its naturally calming effects. Connected to the cosmos, the moonstone is deeply spiritual allowing you to connect with and heal the heart, third eye and crown chakras. 

My favourite is the peach moonstone, which helps to light up the dark to wash away fears and anxieties. I use this stone during my moon cycle to calm the cramps, as it has great healing powers for the female body. For me, the moonstone goes hand in hand with rose quartz, as both work in unison to calm female energies and increase feelings of compassion – I tend to keep both together in my bedroom and let them work their magic.

Amazonite Crystal


A member of the chalcedony family, carnelian is a silica mineral with a hexagonal crystal system and a glassy lustre. Known for its warm red and brown colouring, it is often referred to as ‘The Sunset Stone’. The stone was blessed by ancient Egyptians who tied the orange carnelian to feminine energy, the menstrual cycle and fertility. Whilst the red carnelian represents masculine energy and embracing new, emerging energies, this stone can stimulate feelings of love, passion and courage for its user.

A potent healing crystal, the carnelian is all about bringing your internal powers to light and giving you a bright burst of energy, banishing feelings of misplacement and fatigue. With the power to give you the drive you need to prosper and conquer – especially with tasks of a creative nature – it’s no surprise that it’s also considered ‘The Artist’s Stone’, encouraging feelings of spontaneity. Once your creative juices are flowing (and your spirit), you’ll be granted the power to let go of anger – which could have been holding you back. 

As the carnelian is a highly energising stone, I tend not to keep this one in my bedroom since that’s my space to relax and unwind. Instead, I find it’s best when worn or placed in my workspace as this can increase my motivation and determination to get things done. I like to use this crystal when working with my sacral chakra, where our passion, intimacy and inner fire sit. Using the carnelian in my practice helps to guide energy from my pelvis to my navel, so it can flow freely throughout my body.

The Holistic Approach

Each of these crystals can make a great addition to your home, workplace or jewellery. Keeping them close will emanate their powers, passing them onto the mind, body and soul. They’re best used as part of a wider holistic approach and in conjunction with other healing methods, so I would recommend combining crystal work with wellness practices like movement, meditation and maintaining a balanced diet

Or, if you’d like to find out more about the ancient practice of chakra and how to best connect with your inner self, have a read of the first blog in my series: The Chakra Chapters.

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© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra
Breathing Techniques To Calm The Nervous System

Balance Your Vegan Diet: Macros Edition

BSC in Food Science and Nutrition from Coventry


I am forever grateful for my degree, as I find the concept of nutrition comes into almost every conversation I have around wellness, veganism and even spirituality. And, when having those conversations, there is one key topic that frequently comes up – macros.

An important part of any diet, but perhaps even more important for vegans, macros are a valuable tool in maintaining your physical and mental health and reaching your goals. They are something I have spent a lot of time both in and out of my degree researching, and a factor I considered carefully when developing the recipes for my plant-based cloud kitchen, Plant Essence.

In this blog, I’ll be exploring what macros are, why each macro is important and how you can balance yours.

I have a BSC in Food Science and Nutrition from Coventry University. If you’d like to learn more about this qualification, or any others I have, you can find them on my about page.

What Is A Macro?

A macro, which is short for ‘macronutrient’, is one of three categories of nutrients that you eat most often: protein, carbohydrates and fats. 

Keeping track of your macros helps you to balance them out in a way that is right for you, your health goals and your activity levels. It helps you to make smarter food choices and reach your goals faster – both mentally and physically! 

Here is a quick run-through of the importance of each macro…


Carbohydrates get a pretty bad rep, despite being one of the most important food groups we can consume. They are your body’s main source of energy, which is why  a “no carb” diet can often leave you feeling tired and sluggish. But there are many other dangers associated with a lack of carbohydrates, including headaches, difficulty concentrating, nausea, constipation, bad breath as well as vitamin and mineral deficiencies. 

Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is then converted into energy to support bodily functions and physical activity. They are known to fuel your brain, kidneys, heart muscles and central nervous system as well as aiding digestion, helping you to feel full and keeping your cholesterol levels in check.

There are three main types of carbohydrates: sugar, starch, and fibre. Sugar can be found in fruit, nectars and syrups, as well as some vegetables and germinating grains. Starch can be found in potatoes, bread, cereal products, rice, grains and pasta. Meanwhile, fibre can be found in vegetables like broccoli, whole grains, beans and lentils, popcorn and some fruits, like apples and bananas.

My favourite healthy and vegan-friendly carbohydrate sources are millet, potatoes and rice.

Vegan Carbohydrates


Protein is well-known for being crucial to building muscle and helping your body to grow and repair itself, but it also has many other important functions, too. Protein helps red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body, supports normal digestive function and regulates hormones. It can also curb hunger (particularly those late-night cravings) and boost the metabolism, helping us to maintain a healthy weight. 

A common misconception of a vegan diet is that vegans often struggle to get enough protein, but that is rarely the case. Protein can be found in a wide variety of plant-based foods, including seitan, soy beans (including tofu, tempeh, edamame and soy milk), lentils, beans, nutritional yeast, spelt, quinoa, oats, rice, chia seeds, nuts, seeds and even fruits and vegetables! For example, did you know that spinach is equal in terms of protein per calorie to chicken and fish?

My favourite plant-based sources of protein are lentils, chickpeas, edamame beans and tofu. 

Vegan Fats

What Is The Right Macro Balance For A Vegan?

Many people talk about getting the “perfect macro balance,” but truthfully this all depends on many factors, including your personal goals, your activity levels and the type of exercise you do. However, there is a general rule that I often recommend. Ensuring your daily calorie intake is made up of approximately 50% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 20% fats is a great place to start.

Not sure where to start with your macros? Try aiming for 50% carbs, 30% protein and 20% fats.

While not every meal you eat will have the perfect balance of macros, it is important to try to create a balance like the one in my pie chart in the food you eat each day. Some of my favourite recipes with a perfect macro balance are hummus with flax seed crackers, chickpea & lentil curries with rice, and a breakfast burrito with tofu and avocado.  That’s why all of these recipes are part of the menu at Plant Essence!


Because the word “fat” has such negative connotations, we often shy away from fatty foods for fear of gaining unhealthy weight. However, a moderate amount of fat is an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Fat is a source of essential fatty acids, which the body cannot make itself. These acids are vital energy sources for our body. They influence tissue and cell metabolism while affecting how they function and response to natural signals, such as hormones. Fat also helps the body absorb vitamins A, D and E, which can’t be absorbed any other way. They are helpful sources of energy, as they can be easily stored around the body. Plus, fats support cell growth, keep blood pressure under control and protect our organs! 

There are four main types of fat: monounsaturated, polyunsaturates, saturated and trans. The first two are ‘healthy’ fats, whilst the latter two are not so healthy.  

Healthy (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) fats can be found in nuts and seeds, olives and avocado, whilst unhealthy (saturated and trans) fats can be found in meat and dairy, palm oil and coconut oil, and, unsurprisingly, in many biscuits, cakes, pies and pastries.

My favourite healthy fats are avocado, coconut oil (in moderation, as it is a saturated fat!) and cashew nuts.

Balance Your Vegan Diet: Macros Edition

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© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra
Breathing Techniques To Calm The Nervous System

Breathing Techniques To Calm The Nervous System

Breathing is a natural reflection of the current state of our body and mind. Our pace of breathing changes depending on how we’re feeling at the time – whether that’s relaxed, stressed or in between. And, though it is an automatic reaction that we don’t even have to think about, once we find the time to tune in, we can unlock its powerful healing abilities for our mental and physical health.

As the easiest, most accessible and often most powerful form of healing, studies have shown that breathing exercises can relieve feelings of stress and anxiety by removing mental blocks and allowing you to think more clearly. Our brain associates different emotions with different breathing patterns, making breathing exercises a useful tool to help us understand how we’re feeling and apply effective coping mechanisms to counteract negative feelings.

In this blog, I’ll be sharing a few of my favourite breathing techniques for reducing anxiety and promoting calm. I hope you find them useful!

Breathing techniques

Breath in Through The Nose and Out Through The Mouth

One of the most common techniques, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth is a great way to relieve feelings of stress, anxiety and panic. You can get the most benefit by making it a part of your daily routine. This technique can be done standing up, sitting or lying down. Begin by breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth for a consistent length of time, like 5 seconds in and 5 seconds out. After repeating this exercise in a cycle of at least 5 minutes, you’ll feel much more relaxed and ready to overcome the barriers that were once in your way.

I find this method helps when I am feeling restless and finding it difficult to focus when meditating. Whilst meditation is a calming practice in itself, it can be easy to get distracted and struggle to find the inner peace that is required for a really fulfilling session. Thankfully, this breathing technique really helps me to circle back and refocus when I feel agitated or unsettled during a meditation.

Many basic breathing techniques like this one are also being incorporated into popular apps like the Mindfulness feature on the Apple Watch, which includes a ‘Breath Session’. If you’ve already got an Apple Watch or a similar wearable device, you can set a reminder to do this every day, which is a great way to ensure you’re consistently incorporating breathing techniques into your daily routine!

Diaphragmatic Breathing

A slightly more advanced breathing technique that also uses the in through the nose and out through the mouth method is diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing or abdominal breathing. This technique helps you to connect with your diaphragm and train it to open up to your lungs so you can tune into your entire body and breathe more deeply and efficiently. The basis of many relaxation techniques, diaphragmatic breathing has many positive physical benefits, like increasing oxygen in the blood and reducing your heart rate and blood pressure, all of which help you to relax.

This technique is easy and involves a simple method – breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Once you’ve got yourself in a comfortable sitting or lying position, the first step is to relax your shoulders and place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Next, without straining, breathe in as much air as you can through your nose. As you do, take note of the air moving through your nostrils and into your diaphragm, as your stomach expands and your chest remains still. As you exhale, purse your lips and breathe out for 4 seconds through the small hole you’ve created as your stomach gently contracts. Repeat these steps a few times for the best results.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

I like to do this breathing exercise when I’m feeling overwhelmed by a situation or task and I need to bring myself back to the present moment and start afresh. Encouraging feelings of renewal, this method puts me in a better position to approach the challenge again with a clear mind.

Alternate-Nostril Breathing

Forming part of Pranayama (yoga breathing practices) and also known as nadi shodhana, alternate-nostril breathing is used not just in yoga, but mindfulness and relaxation methods, too. Deep-rooted in ancient traditions, this method works to recognise and channel the feminine and masculine energies; with the breath creating balance between the two sides. As the name suggests, this technique involves breathing through alternate nostrils, one side at a time. By controlling your breath and focusing your attention, this method of deep breathing has many positive effects on the body and mind including regulating the nervous system, lowering blood pressure, improving overall breath quality (if actioned regularly), and reducing symptoms of stress and anxiety.

Begin by pressing your right thumb on your right nostril, close your eyes and exhale slowly through your left nostril. Once you’ve exhaled fully, you can move onto the other side and place your ring finger on your left nostril, inhale through your right nostril and release. Repeat the process by placing your right thumb on your right nostril and so forth. You can do this 3-5 times, but research shows you’ll reap the most benefits if you continue for around 10 minutes.

As an avid yogi, alternate-nostril breathing is a method that I regularly apply to my yoga practice. It helps me to generate the right mindset and take notice of my breath so I can sync my breathing with each movement. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is focusing on their wellness or using meditative techniques like yoga to connect the body and mind – particularly if you are practising vinyasa. 

My pet dog

My Practices

In addition to breathing, there are a few activities that I like to do to stay calm and centred.  These include practising yoga, going to the gym, playing the guitar and spending time with my dog. These activities help to clear my head and reach a peaceful and graceful state of mind.

Breathwork can be a great way to gain better control over your physical and mental wellbeing. Having incorporated all of these techniques into my practices and witnessed how effective they can be in keeping me calm and centred, I would highly recommend trying them out for yourself! 

Or, if you’re already using breathing methods like these and would like to explore some more complex techniques, I’d recommend holotropic breathwork, which I explored in a previous blog

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© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra