Increasing Your Vitality in Winter with St. Hildegard’s “Greening Power”
With the cold temperatures and the stress of the most recent strand of Covid making its rounds, it’s easy for our health to be compromised in the wintertime.
To help increase my vitality and support my health in winter, I like to turn to the wisdom of St. Hildegard. One of her many contributions that I still find so valuable in my life is her idea of viriditas.
Translated as “greening power,” viriditas is the divine life force that lives and breathes within all living beings. It’s a potent force that’s full of vitality.
It’s able to bring creativity and health into the world. It’s what makes all things grow and thrive. We experience it in the dynamic growth of plants in nature as well as our own sense of health. ​


And when you’re sick, it’s the force that returns, after being absent, when healing.

“The soul is a breath of living spirit, that with excellent sensitivity, permeates the entire body to give it life.  Just so, the breath of the air makes the earth fruitful. Thus, the air is the soul of the earth, moistening it, greening it.”
– St. Hildegard of Bingen

I find that especially in the winter when I go outside and feel the bitter cold wind on my face and the slippery ice under my feet with little greening power visible to the eye that I need to create my own inside!One of my favorite recipes from St. Hildegard’s is her Parsley Honeywine Elixir for the heart. But I also like using parsley in other recipes too since it’s an herb with many health benefits. It’s packed full of nutrients and certainly viriditas!What is Parsley?Parsley is a flowering plant that is native to the Mediterranean. There are two common types – French curly-leaf and Italian flat-leaf. They are both bright green and have a mild, bitter flavor.

Known as a powerful plant to fight disease, parsley has many impressive health benefits. Here are a few.


Health Benefits of Parsley

1. Rich in antioxidants– They help to prevent cell damage and lower your risk for certain diseases such as colon cancer and heart disease.

2. Supports bone health
– Rich in vitamin K which is essential for bone health and helps to reduce the risk of fractures and improve bone mineral density.

3. Supports heart health
– Rich in the B vitamin folate which helps to reduce your risk of heart disease.

Here’s a favorite soup filled with viriditas that I love to eat in the wintertime, packed full of nutritious vegetables and herbs including parsley. Best eaten on a snowy, cold day!

Chicken Vegetable Soup with Herbs

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small, sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, ends trimmed and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups (64 ounces) chicken stock
  • ½-3/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/3-1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 t. Italian seasoning OR *fresh chopped herbs with stems removed:
    • 3 sprigs each of fresh rosemary and thyme
    • 1 sprig each of fresh sage and oregano
  • 2 cups shredded cooked, seasoned chicken
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add garlic and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add carrots, celery, chicken stock, and herbs. Stir and continue cooking until soup reaches a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in chicken. Cook until the chicken is heated.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

*Add more fresh or dried herbs, as desired.