I invite you to place your hands over your heart and take some relaxing breaths. Bring your attention to your heart. Do you feel it beating? Your heart is a source of power, intuition, compassion, wisdom, discernment, resilience, intelligence and knowing. Remember to listen to your heart.
Your heart emits an energy field that extends 10 feet around you. Emotions influence your heart and affect your heart’s energy field. Positive emotions such as gratitude, appreciation, caring and love are healing for you and those close to you.
This is great time to reset intentions and adopt new & better methods of self-care. How we care for ourselves daily has a direct impact on our overall wellness. Some of our favorite self-care rituals include taking a bath, sitting quietly with a cup of tea, and taking walks in nature.
Explore the beauty, peace and gladdening of herbs that invite stillness, strength and comfort to our life. Here are a couple of our favorite herbal allies for the heart & soul.
Hawthorn berries (Crataegus sp.)
When the sweet-scented, snow-white flowers of hawthorn bloom in May, we know summer around the corner. Hawthorn is a supreme herb for the heart, and a healthy heart is essential to a long, productive, and happy life.
The flowers, berries, and leaves strengthen and tone the heart muscle and its blood vessels.
Hawthorn dilates arteries and veins, allowing blood to flow more freely, thus releasing cardiovascular blockages and constrictions. It lowers blood pressure and helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels. The red berries aid with fatigue, palpitations, labored breathing and generally strengthen and nourish coronary circulation.
As a heart tonic, hawthorn has the amazing ability to either gently stimulate or depress the heart’s activity as needed. Hawthorn is used for tension, irritability, depression, anxiety and “broken hearts”. Specifically for those who have a difficult time expressing their feelings or who suppress their emotions. By opening up the heart, hawthorn helps healing take place.
Rose petals & hips (Rosa canina & related species)
Rose has a long legacy of being the flower for lovers. This loving plant not only plays a part in seduction, it also benefits the reproductive system, treating infertility, impotence and low sperm count. Rose also balances hormonal functions and encourages a regular menstrual cycle as well as easing painful periods.
Rose is an excellent remedy for soothing emotional difficulties around menopause or for women who feel insecure in their sexuality. Rose calms, nurtures, soothes anger and irritability and helps mend a “broken heart”.
Albizia (Albizia julibrissin)
Used for centuries in China, albizia (mimosa tree) bark is called he huan pi, translating as “collective happiness bark”. In Traditional chinese medicine, mimosa is used for people with symptoms of disturbed shen or spirit, including disturbing dreams, irritability, anger, depression and poor memory due to constrained emotions.
Albizia is a wonderful remedy for calming and quieting an active mind. We often recommend taking albizia in the evening before bed because it calms the body and helps stimulate long-lasting, restful sleep.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
Known as the “mushroom of immortality” in ancient China, reishi use was restricted mostly to the emperor, his court and the upper classes. Today reishi is cultivated and widely available.
In TCM, this mushroom is used to nourish the heart, which is stores the shen. The term shen usually is translated as “spirit” which refers to mind/consciousness and emotional balance. When the shen is unbalanced, symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, disturbing dreams, moodiness, listlessness, and poor memory occur. Reishi is used for these conditions, along with other nervine, adaptogenic or sedative herbs.
Reishi is useful as a remedy for those with deficient qi and blood, which manifests as fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, neurasthenia and dizziness. This amazing mushroom is an adaptogen, an anti-inflammatory and an anti-viral. It also stimulates the immune system, improves cardiovascular function, and protects the liver.
Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
A favorite in our garden, these tiny, scented daisy flowers are well known for their calming effects. Chamomile is a gentle herb that helps us relax and harmonize our energy. It works to balance our needs and wants, and the frustrations we feel if these are not met. Often when we do not get what we want, we demand more from ourselves and others, accumulating feelings of frustration and irritation. Chamomile soothes tensions and eases resentment and depression. It’s cooling and calming properties give us perspective and balance.
Since ancient Egypt, chamomile has been recognized to bring wholeness to the self by offering many avenues of healing. Although it is relaxing, chamomile is restorative and stimulates the healing process. This tiny flower balances, softens and harmonizes many different conditions such as headaches, depression, nervous stomach, menopausal mood swings and menstrual cramps. A chamomile tea bath is soothing for children before they go to bed to help them sleep soundly.