Celebrate with a Bhang! Holi Festival's Cannabis Ritual for Spring Awakening
This year, I learned about and celebrated in Holi, which is considered to be the most celebrated and revered festivals celebrated by the people of Hindu community all over the world. While celebrating Holi (you can hear more about my Holi experience in a blog post, Here.) I found out about this 'Cannabis Elixir' called Bhang. Although there are lots of Mythology and theories about the coming of the ritual consumption of Cannabis as bhang, my favorite story revolves around the Lord Shiva:
" There are numerous folktales about bhang’s first appearance on the planet, most of which revolve around the well-known tale of the Churning of the Ocean – when the Hindu gods churned the cosmic ocean to obtain Amrit (the elixir of immortality). One version of the story tells that marijuana plants grew wherever the drops of this elixir fell on Earth (quite telling about its status as a miracle plant). In another version, when Shiva was summoned to drink up the poison from the churned ocean, his throat turned blue (Neelkanth), and the agony of the burning poison was too much to handle. His consort, goddess Parvati, churned some bhang, and he was then relieved of the pain. Much of the medicinal lore around bhang comes from such stories where Lord Shiva uses the plant to cure an ailment."
In India, Bhang is a preparation of cannabis, traditionally made with the fresh leaves of the cannabis, steeped and ground with spices (cardamom, cinnamon) and milk using a mortar and pestle, which in this form is legally sold by government shops during the festive season. The earliest mention of cannabis has been found in The Vedas, or sacred Hindu texts. "The Vedas call cannabis a source of happiness, joy-giver, liberator that was compassionately given to humans to help us attain delight and lose fear (Abel, 1980)." In the Vedic texts, bhang is a treatment for a variety of medical conditions, from epilepsy to depression. Still today, bhang is believed to have many holistic health benefits and is used in ayurvedic medicine to cure fever, lessen pain, clear phlegm, aid digestion and appetite, as well as bring alertness to body, to de-stress and as a sleep-aid. Tradition on holy days and festivals like Holi is the consumption of this bhang or thandai. Bhang is also used in India as a spiritual awakening. The Shiva-honoring use the plant to enter a transcendant dreamlike meditation state.
© Frances Ellen / Flickr (Culture Trip)
Traditionally making bhang is a time consuming labor, made with a process of steeping, sifting, mixing, draining, grinding of ingredients like nuts and spices, like almonds, pistachios, poppy seeds, pepper, ginger and sugar, combined with cannabis and boiled with milk. Yogurt is also used instead of milk (as a refreshing lassi). We've adapted the bhang recipe and it's flavors to create a 'bhang' of our own that suits a more busy lifestyle. It's a great way to enjoy Ayurvedic ingredients with no psycho-active side effects. Our 'bhang' adaptation is extremely easy to infuse with your own personal dosage of hemp CBD, no mortar & pestle needed! Try it out by following the recipe below.
Make your own
* infused with full spectrum hemp CBD.
1½ cups water
3 cups cashew milk, almond milk or milk of choice, warmed.
¼ tsp garam masala
¼ tsp ginger (can be powdered)
¼ tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp anise seeds (can use star anise)
½ tsp cardamom
½ tsp rosewater
½ cup honey
a generous pinch of saffron threads
Personal Dosage of CBD Tincture or CBD Honey*
Rose petals, mint leaves, chopped almonds or cashews to garnish (Optional)
Bring water to a rapid boil in a teapot (or pan for less traditional methods). Once boiling, remove water from heat and add in fennel seeds, anais seeds, cardamom. Allow it to steep for ~ 7 minutes.
Strain the tea through cheese cloth or a mesh strainer and save the tea. Continue extracting the liquid until none remains.
Combine the milk, rosewater and the water used to boil the spices into a container of your choice.
Add the garam masala, ginger, cardamom and honey to the warm liquid. Stir until well combined
Allow the mixture to cool before serving.
Add your CBD tincture, oil or infused honey to the personal servings to control dosage.
Garnish with rose petals, mint leaves, chopped almonds and cashews, or star anise.
ENJOY! Remember that it can take up to 2 hours to feel the full effects when ingesting cannabis. Use this CBD FAQ to answer questions and curiosities about full spectrum hemp CBD.
hemp for holistic healing.
FULL SPECTRUM HEMP CBD + HONEY is an amazing all natural anti-inflammatory supplement.
WHAT IS CBD?
CBD is a natural, effective solution for increased vitality and optimal health and wellness. We are proud to offer medicinal tinctures and topical salves infused with full-spectrum hemp CBD, as featured in this recipe, for anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and anti-anxiety benefits. Learn more about full spectrum hemp on our CBD FAQ.