Herbs for change
We are going through a period of extreme change. Whatever you believe; whatever it is that you are afraid of, one thing is for sure – the world has changed beyond belief. We are experiencing a collective, societal trauma that will be imprinted in our minds and bodies for generations to come.
Along with the political and social changes that have been imposed on us since the start of the year, we are also going through a more familiar type of change: the change of season. Autumn brings with it a deep transformation of the natural world and a slowing down of the pace of life, giving us more time for reflection and contemplation.
For the many thousands of people who have been desperately trying to survive the summer, and with possible further ‘lockdowns’ on the horizon for this winter, it is more challenging to sit and contemplate – to just ‘be’ – than it has ever been before in our lives. For these people, and for anyone else who has been psychologically, emotionally or spiritually affected by the events of the last few months – I have 3 herbs for you.
Perhaps the most difficult type of change is that which you weren’t expecting, or have no control over. It might take the form of a traumatic event or experience – it may be sudden or prolonged.
Borage is known as the herb for ‘courage’ – courage to step into your new role or circumstances with confidence and hope. It is a very joyful herb, helping to disperse any melancholy or negativity that has arisen as a result of change.
Borage leaf is highly nourishing – it contains various minerals as well as silicon, helping to physically rebuild the nervous system after prolonged stress. It is used to treat ‘burnout’, especially when associated with menopausal exhaustion and hot flushes, in combination with milky oats, another nutritive tonic for the nerves.
Borage gives you the courage to step into your new role with confidence and hope.
Its strengthening action is also felt on the heart – along with other herbs like rose, hawthorn and lemon balm it can make a wonderful remedy for grief, bereavement and loss.
In terms of its energetic qualities it is moistening, sweet and therefore grounding, taking the edge off tearfulness, nervousness or agitation brought on by challenging memories or thoughts of the past.
Due to the presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in the leaf and root of the plant, borage should be taken in very small quantities (3 drops 3 times a day for tincture) to avoid any damage to the liver, and should be avoided completely in people with a history of hepatitis or any other liver condition.
Vervain is one of my favourite herbs. It is small but potent in nature, with bluish-purple leaves that appear delicate but are actually quite tough. It is suited to the same type of person – it gives gentle people the confidence to find and express their voice, but also calms and restrains a tense, over-active person with a loud voice.
Vervain helps to initiate change when fear is holding you back. It’s for when you feel stuck, but it’s your own insecurities or worries that are keeping you there. Vervain gives you the strength to move countries, change career, leave your husband/wife or otherwise re-assess your life.
Vervain is also for people who find it difficult to surrender themselves to the twists and turns of fate – who like to be in control, and therefore find it difficult to let go when they need to. It calms excess self-judgment as well as judgment of others, which can also stop an individual from developing and/or moving on.
Vervain gives you the strength to move countries, change career or leave your husband...
Physically it is very bitter, grounding and heat clearing. It acts on the liver to increase bile flow, alleviates pre-menstrual tension in women, and is a useful herb in a prescription for an over or under-functioning thyroid, lessening the anxiety and other nervous aspects of thyroid conditions.
Vervain is best taken as a tincture due to its intense bitterness, in doses of 15-20 drops three times a day.
Lady’s mantle has long been associated with magic and alchemy. It is useful when inspiration for change is needed – when you know something needs to change but you don’t know how or where to begin. It enables a clear picture to be formed in your mind’s eye of the change you wish to see.
The female womb is the centre of creation both physically and energetically speaking, which is why women may enjoy the creative boost offered by lady’s mantle more noticeably in the weeks preceding and during menstruation. During this time women are more able to take in the big picture and reflect on what needs changing, exploring or abandoning, compared to the first 2 weeks of our cycles where we are more focused on reaching our personal goals, nurturing our relationships and expressing ourselves outwardly.
Women may enjoy the creative boost offered by lady’s mantle more noticeably in the weeks before and during menstruation.
Lady’s mantle is a drying, astringent herb, helping to tone and repair connective tissue – it is a specific for perforated eardrums, torn muscles and hernias, as well as any damage to the uterine or pelvic tissues after surgery or childbirth. Its toning action on the womb makes lady’s mantle useful for spasmodic or congestive period pain as well as uterine prolapse, and its astringent nature helps reduce heavy bleeding due to fibroids or endometriosis.
Lady’s mantle is best taken as a tea for connective tissue healing, but the tincture works well for boosting creativity and clarity during times of change.