Integration of Mind, Body, Heart & Spirit
“Imagine being on a river raft excursion and after an exhausting series of heart thumping, white water rapids passing through narrow openings, the river suddenly empties into a calm expansive lake. Ahhh! You feel like you can catch a breath, take stock of where and how you are, and enjoy the calm interlude…” – from David Ponds Astro Forecast, Summer 2013
It’s Summer Solstice in the north, a pivotal peak time on earth, when the earth’s axis is most tilted towards the sun bringing expanded days and contracted nights. Summer 2013 also arrives with a rare “grand trine” of planets in water signs, too (Jupiter in Cancer, Saturn in Scorpio, Neptune in Pisces). Grand trines are triangles of planetary energy in the sky which assist the creation of ease, harmony and flow in the cosmos. Water, the most receptive element, also represents flow, emotions, and adaptability. What an ideal time to connect with the essence of your being! Experience the the expansive energies of nature and “go with the flow”…. As Above, So Below… If one can remain grounded (“earthed”) and consciously aware during this transition, this summer time offers a rare opportunity for emotional well-being this season.
One way to nourish our well-being is to nourish our connection to the earth, and reconnect with healing plants, such as herbs. Herbalism is a science and art that is essentially feminine – it embodies the qualities of intuition, trust and gentleness – and it depends on plants that have evolved over millenium, rooted in the heart of the earth, and nourished by the light of the moon. Herbs contain the inherent organizing principles and intelligence of nature. All the elements necessary for their growth – earth, water, fire (sun) and air – are the same elements which ensure our growth. Herbs can provide the human body with many highly assimilable vitamins, minerals and vital nutrients – especially as teas which unite earth and water – but most importantly they can heal our spirits, because they carry the “life force” energy, and the “spirit” of the planet.
In Herbalism, any dis-ease which manifests in the body, is viewed in an emotional (heart), mental (mind), spiritual (spirit), as well as physical (body) context. When we’re stressed, anxious or nervous – multiple organs, or systems, can lose function – stomach indigestion, muscle spasms, chest tightness, tension headaches – are some examples. Herbs can treat the root causes of dis-ease by addressing the healing integration of mind, body, heart and spirit rather than just treating physical, or “superficial”, symptoms. When drugs are taken to suppress physical symptoms of discomfort, they also tend to suppress our awareness of the mental, emotional and spiritual connections to the cause. As a result, the most important things needed to heal the root cause of any dis-ease – recognition of it’s early signs, and paying attention to it’s multiple levels of expression – are suppressed, as well. While there may be a place in our modern world for chemically-synthesized medications, a world in which the holistic approach of herbal healing is also suppressed, or wholly ignored, is an imbalanced world, indeed. Nourishing and healing our mind, body, heart and spirit requires not only an awareness of the whole, and our connection to it, but an integration of those pieces within ourselves, too.
The Nervous System and The Brain In no other system of the human body is the connection between the psychological (mind) and the physical (body) more apparent, than the nervous system and the brain. The nervous system is where all psychological processes take place, and the mental affects the physical in an intimately interconnected way, like a inextricably linked network throughout the entire body. An herbal approach to healing the nervous systems and the brain will always treat both the psychological causes, as well as the physical symptoms. When we feed and strengthen the nervous system, as part of the whole body, we feed and strengthen the psyche, too.
Many “neuroses” that are epidemic today – Stress, Anxiety, Irritability, Depression – may actually be normal responses to an absurdly abnormal environment. In some cases, these are quite sane reactions of the psyche and emotions to the “ insanities” of an imbalanced, dis-eased society. “To be whole, each must be whole”. While the “flow of energy in the cosmos” may assist in emotional well-being this summer, it is fully supported when our mind, body, heart and spirit are fully integrated, as well.
Soothing Herbs for Well-Being Below are many safe, gentle and effective relaxing and nervine herbs which can soothe and heal the nervous system to promote emotional well-being. Nervines are the category of herbs which treat the nervous system, and may have either a tonic, stimulant or relaxant effect. Wild Sage Teas which employ the herb are highlighted, as well. An herb tea blend, like Wild Sage’s Organic Moondance, which combines many relaxing, sedative and nervine herbs, can often be more effective than taking a single herb alone. However, every person is unique, and has their own preferences – whether you like to use single herbs to discover them individually, or enjoy the synergistic effect of a harmonious blend in which “the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts”, Wild Sage wholeheartedly endorses both approaches and recommends to “follow your intuition”.
California Poppy – Eschscholzia californica flower in WILD SAGE’s Calm Unitea
A mild sedative with gentle effects, california poppy is also analgesic (pain-relieving) and antispasmodic in action. A somewhat distant relative to the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum), it does contain some sedative alkaloids, but contains no real opium. Used for treating various physical and psychological conditions including anxiety, stress, nervous tension and insomnia – even gentle enough for children. It’s analgesic and antispasmodic properties are useful in the relief of acute nerve and muscular centered pain, and it has been used as a remedy in cases of high fever, rapid pulse and persistent spasmodic cough.
Chamomile – Matricaria chamomilla flower in WILD SAGE’s Minty Belly Balm, Moondance, Sweet Surrender
A mild bitter tonic and soothing, digestive aid, chamomile is a famous remedy for digestive upsets, but also relaxes muscle spasms, cramps and has a sedative action. Anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, anti-microbial, wound-healing, and anti-fungal (especially for thrush), chamomile is part of a smart herbal first aid kit and particularly useful for stress, anxiety, irritability and restless or hyperactive children.
Kava Kava – Piper methysticum root in WILD SAGE’s Kavalander, Sweet Surrender
Kava kava is extremely useful for any times of stress, anxiety, depression or panic. It is stress-relieving, anti-anxiety, pain-relieving and muscle-relaxing. Not to be consumed in excess, the “less is more” concept applies to kava, but it is very useful for quick relief for headaches, muscle tension, irritable coughing associated with bronchitis and asthma, painful urinary tract infections and “emotional well-being”.
Lavender – Lavender officinalis flower in WILD SAGE’s Celebritea, Moondance, Kavalander
Lavender has sedative properties, good for calming anxiety and tension, as well as relaxing spasms of the digestive tract. A gently soothing relaxant and nervine, lavender is especially good for soothing for the mind. Also traditionally used to treat chest infections, colds and headaches.
Lemon Balm – Melissa officinalis leaf in WILD SAGE’s Celebritea, Elderberry Wisdom, Gypsy Lemon Peace, Kavalander, Moondance, Minty Belly Balm
One of our favorite, gentle, yummy, soothing herbs! Lemon balm is a calming antidepressant and tonic for the nervous system. An important ingredient in Medieval cordials, lemon balm was distilled to “strengthen the heart and lift the spirits”. Very useful for melancholy, depression and seasonal affective disorder, it is also an excellent herb to soothe digestion and relax muscles. Lemon balm’s reported anti-viral properties also assists colds, flu and congestion, and is especially gentle and calming for children.
Linden – Tilia cordata flower and leaf in WILD SAGE’s Celebritea, Calm Unitea, Moondance, Soul Mother Sage, Sweet Surrender
Linden soothes and calms the heart, relieves tension and anxiety. Gently sedative and relaxant, it tastes like chamomile only sweeter, and is recommended for headaches, depression, anxiety, irritability and insomnia. It’s relaxant effects combined with it’s natural bioflavanoids make linden is an herb reported to dilate the blood vessels, relax coronary arteries, ease palpitations, reduce high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis. Beneficial for colds, flus, fevers, sore throats and colitis – the mucilage in the flowers coats mucous membranes to soothe inflammation and irritation.
Oatstraw – Avena sativa whole leaf inWILD SAGE’s Daily Puritea, Essential Tonic, Goddess Chi, Moondance, Minty Belly Balm, Soul Mother Sage, Tai Chi
Oatstraw calms the nerves and provides a wide range of vitamins and minerals that feed a debilitated nervous system. A rejuvenating nerve tonic and important nervine, oatstraw is invaluable for stress, anxiety, depression, exhaustion, convalescence and insomnia. Oatstraw can also strengthens immunity, stabilize blood sugar and assist thyroid function. A nutritive nervine tonic also used for arthritis, rheumatism and multiple sclerosis.
Passionflower – Passiflora incarnata leaf in WILD SAGE’s Moondance, Sweet Surrender
Passionflower is a safe, gentle sedative which relaxes the nervous system, and has non-addictive tranquilzing properties. It is pain relieving, antispasmodic and an important remedy for stress, anxiety, tension and insomnia. Passionflower is also reported to reduce high blood pressure.
Sage – Salvia officinalis leaf in WILD SAGE’s Calm Unitea
Sage’s species name “officinalis” indicates sage was part of the U.S. Pharmacopoeia through the turn of the 20th century formerly prescribed for depression, anxiety, nervousness, migraine, insomnia and exhaustion. A brain and nerve tonic, ancient Arabic and Chinese herbalists believed that drinking sage tea enhanced mental and spiritual clarity. In the Middle Ages, sage had a wide reputation as a rejuvenating tonic and was a major ingredient in prescriptions for longevity and elixirs of life. Sage is beneficial to the liver, blood and nerves and was given to strengthen the mind, the memory, enliven the senses, lift dull spirits, banish lethargy and restore failing virility. Sage is also a used to alleviate menopausal symptoms, especially hot flashes and night sweats, and is beneficial for colds, flus, sinusitis, sore throat and coughing.
Saint Johns Wort Hypericum perforatum flower and leaf in WILD SAGE’s Calm Unitea, Kavalander
An important nervine and sedative, St. John’s Wort is primarily used to treat pains and diseases of the nervous system; neuralgia, sciatica, arthritis, rheumatism and any nerve injuries. Antiinflammatory, astringent, calming and soothing to the “brain”, St. Johns Wort is a well-known antidepressant herb, very beneficial for anxiety and depression.
Skullcap – Scuttelaria lateriflora flower and leaf in WILD SAGE’s Moondance, Sweet Surrender
Skullcap is a well-known nervine, rich in minerals to strengthen and tone the nervous system. A nervous system tonic, it soothes frayed nerves and is recommended for all nervous stress-related disorders. Recommended for anxiety, depression, nervous headaches and insomnia.
Valerian – Valeriana officinalis root in WILD SAGE’s Sweet Surrender
Antispasmodic and sedative for the central nervous system, valerian root is beneficial for muscle spasms, cramps, nervous stomach and irritable bowel. Especially effective in combination with other relaxants and nervines, strong earthy tasting valerian is beneficial for anxiety, nervous tension, insomnia and headaches. Also excellent for strengthening the heart, reducing palpitations and easing blood pressure.
Solenne C. Walker is a geologist/herbalist/alchemist at Wild Sage Teas