Simples Tonic with Traci Donat
“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson -
One of my daily go to practices are making herbal teas and tonics. I usually make a nettle, oat straw and red clover blend which can help with calming the nervous system, balancing hormones, and assisting in beautifying our skin and hair. Since we are lacking so many minerals in our food source, this is a good way to connect to the natural world and absorb nutrients.
For me when I am on the run or driving across town for my daughter’s school, I like to have something in the car that will be nourishing and grounding. Juices sometimes are too heavy, and water sometimes just bland. I try to make an infusion for these long drives that I can sip on while I listen to amazing podcasts (the one I have been into for a few months called Rewilding). Sometimes though there just isn’t time to seep some herbs so I was so over the moon thrilled when I heard about Simples Tonics. I have always wondered why no one has tried to harness these magical weeds and herbs in this way. I assume it’s because to organically source them, it would have to be someone with high integrity and wisdom. Traci Donat has just bridged this issue by creating Simple Tonics.
Meet the amazing Traci below ~
1- What makes your heart sing?
There are many things that bring me joy. Mostly they have to do with being in nature, learning new things, and nurturing. I am in love with plants and herbalism, so I am happiest being outdoors, exploring wild places, looking for plants that I can recognize, wild harvesting, and just being with plants and trees, and breathing in the air.
As a perpetual student, I love to study anything health related, but most especially herbalism. I have been blessed with some amazing teachers along the way and feel very happy and grateful when I can sit with a seasoned herbalist. I always learn something new or see things a different way.
My daughter will attest, sometimes with annoyance, to the fact that I like to nurture through nourishment. I definitely show my love by feeding. I love getting healthy things in people, so I do a lot of cooking and even more brewing of herbal tonics for my friends and family. My heart sings when someone drinks a tonic I’ve made because I know how good it is for them.
2- How did you discover the merits of drinking tonics?
I have been brewing herbal tonics at home for decades. I began an interest in herbalism as a teenager when I bottomed out as a junk food junkie and saw an herbalist. My body responded immediately and powerfully to the herbs she gave me and that sparked my interest and began my life long study.
But it wasn’t until I discovered Susun Weed’s first book and became aware of the power of herbal infusions that it all really clicked for me. Working with nourishing herbs and plants changed my life and my health. These humble wild plants and weeds are packed with nourishment and have so many tonic effects for the different systems of the body, I was literally transformed and so excited because it was easy, readily available, and so simple. I felt like Dorothy with the ruby slippers. They were there all along.
3- What are you daily go to tonics or herbs?
I began my exploration with four basics, Nettle, Oatstraw , Dandelion root and Burdock, which was a great place to start. As I have learned and experimented more, I now have many more plants that I work with at home. I do not have a set routine, but rather will work with a certain plant for a period of time depending on what I feel I need. I use my book knowledge but now as I have relationships with these plants, a lot of it is intuitive when I brew. I generally choose one of the 8 Simples that we have to offer, they represent a great balance and there’s really something for every need. I drink a lot of chickweed, rose and burdock. But I also really enjoy working with Holy Basil, and it will probably be a Simples offering soon. My suggestion is for someone who wants to begin exploring herbal tonics is to choose one plant to work with for 30 days and drink it daily. They will really get to know that plant, the taste, the smell and feel the benefit that comes with the deep, bioavailable nourishment these plants provide. See which plant speaks to you or what you are most craving or what body system is in the most immediate need.
4- What are the ones best for gainsaying beauty and vitality for women?
I am of the mind that when you give the body proper nutrition, vitamins and minerals, it knows what to do, and will work to balance and repair, elimination is better, detoxification improves, energy and mood balance. When you feel good and your body is working optimally you no doubt look and feel your best. You are radiant and balanced. There is an inner glow that comes with deep nourishment. So drinking any nourishing tonic will deliver a payload of essential vitamins and minerals, the real key is consistency. If you drink these amazing plants on a regular basis, you will see and feel an increase in vitality, and that to me is true beauty. With that said, there are a few plants, that might specifically target beauty solutions. Schisandra is widely considered a beauty remedy because of it’s tonifying action, and that translates to toning the skin. While the bitters, Burdock and Dandelion improve digestion and work on detoxification which is essential to clear radiant skin.
5 – Do you have a motto or mantra you live by?
That’s an interesting question as I don’t consciously live by any one motto and yet I am inspired by so many., thank you Instagram. In this moment, I think I will go with a quote my daughter had written on her wall for years, and that is, “Live the in the Sunshine, swim the sea, and drink the wild air” by Emerson. It pretty much speaks for itself and also connects beautifully with our Simples motto, “Drink the wild”.
6- Do you see us moving towards healing our planet during these tumultuous times?
I have only one choice, and that is to live in hope and action. I love our planet and believe our survival and healing is directly connected to us not giving up and living in faith while taking whatever actions we can.
It is disheartening when you see the news, and watch environmental protections eroding or our beautiful sacred public lands threatened, but we cannot and must not give up. It’s like that parable about the two wolves inside of us, and the one that wins is the one we feed. I choose to feed hope.
And the truth is there are some very smart people who believe it is not too late, and many have some pretty compelling ideas about how farming practices and soil management as well as certain plants or fungi can actually reverse the damage done to our environment. I try to remember their ideas when feelings of helplessness and hopelessness threaten.
I think it’s important to note to that our actions as well are critical. We have power as individuals to impact our planet, each of us, more than we sometimes realize. I am in awe of conservationist Jane Goodall, and she reminds us how every one of our choices makes a difference, every product we buy, or don’t buy, that little veggie garden we tend and from which we feed our family, where we invest our money, this too is our voice.
7- What book is on your night stand?
There is never just one book on my nightstand! At this moment, I have a stack that includes, Many Moons workbook, the Wild Medicine Solution, and You are a Badass. But I also listen to a lot of books on tape, as I live just outside the city and spend a lot of time in my car. I love to listen to great storytellers read their own books. I am savoring and lingering on Braiding Sweetgrass, so beautifully read by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Anything by Brene Brown, Anne Lammott or Pema Chodron are favorites to listen to.
8- Are you a mermaid or forest fairy?
If possible, I am a Mermaid who grew legs, and am now most definitely a Forest fairy. I am happiest in the woods, but I have a special affinity for places where the forest meets the sea.