Herbs for Times of Tragedy


Hiya, everyone,

Given the recent events in Boston, I was reminded that I have wanted to start a community conversation about herbs in times of tragedy. In my own practice I work with lots of folks who are recovering from various levels of violence and trauma in their background, so I have certain herbs (including flower and gem essences) that I find myself reaching for often. In general, I reach for adaptogens (such as Tulsi Ocimum sanctum) and nervines (like Oats Avena sativa) for dealing with the impact of trauma. I think Bach’s Rescue Remedy is an excellent in-the-moment aid and I usually keep a small bottle on me. The remedies I use range depending on the circumstances as well as when I use them, but Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca), Elder Berry and Flower (Sambucus nigra), Ghost Pipe (Monotropa uniflora), Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) have all been useful. For those who hearts are hurting right now, consider inviting Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) in as a tea, tincture, glycerite or powder.

For herbalists, street medics, birthworkers, social workers, and others who find themselves working on the edges, I always recommend knowing what plants are your allies – the ones who have your heart when things get really tough – and to develop a sacred relationship with them before the hard times come.

What other herbs have folks used? I look forward to learning about other folk’s herb allies and the way we support our communities when they are in pain. Join in the conversation here on the blog and over at Poppy Swap.

Be well, be tender, and reach out to those around you,

Autumnal Equinox: Herbs for Balance

Autumn Equinox

The Autumnal Equinox is a mark of the end of summer and the return of the dark of the year.  From the equal balance of night and day, we now journey towards longer nights until the longest night of all on the Winter Solstice.  The Equinoxes are a time for us to nurture our ability to balance the complexity that makes us who we are – and that is a lot of work!  The Autumnal Equinox is an opportunity to slow down, take a deep breath, honor the work of the year so far and carry summer heat through to winter fires.  We have a few herbs in the Apothecary that we consider great friends during this season as they are particularly inclined to help us find balance during the early days of Autumn.

P.S. Check out our post on recipes for the Autumnal Equinox!


Boundary-marker, boundary-breaker: Hawthorn

Hawthorn from botanical.com

Hawthorn Craetagus monogyna gets its name from the Anglo-Saxon word “haw” meaning hedge or enclosure and is used as such in parts of the world like the UK to mark the boundaries of fields.  Known simply at times as “thorn,” Hawthorn is one of the sacred trees of Celtic folklore that along with Oak and  Ash, help mortals to see the Good Folk.  Hawthorn is both a charm of fertility and chastity (quite a permeable boundary there) – place it in a bouquet for a fertile union and beneath the bed to make it less so. The Hawthorn hedge is a sacred plant of May, used to decorate May Poles, though is must be carefully harvested so as not to anger the Gods to whom it is so sacred.  Witches were sometimes called “hedgeriders” invoking their ability to ride the hedge from the fields of humankind to the fields of faery.

For times when someone feels misplaced and disconnected because their heart has squeezed shut, aching from the pain of disappointment, grief and change.  For those who have lost touch with the desire of the heart when life challenges us with unexpected outcomes. They fidget, are anxious, have trouble sleeping, and may even experience heart palpitations as they close off from the pain rather than engage in the process of transformation.  It’s as if they’ve been thrown up in the air and can’t seem to find their way back down, left only to fall, feeling disoriented and so they close up to try and protect themselves from the impact.  Hawthorn might be the green ally to help them fall in love, not fear. (more…)

Owl Post! ~ Hogwarts House Teas Have Arrived ~

image from the hp-lexicon.org

We are delighted to introduce our new line of Hogwarts-inspired House Teas to those lovely Muggles, Witches, and Wizards who shop the Apothecary.  It is no secret that we’re fans of the magical world of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, and have spent many an hour dressed up as Professor Trelawney and dreaming of having a copy of One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi by former Hogwarts Headmistress Phyllida Spore.  Hopefully our new Hogwarts House Teas will inspire the student of magic in you! (more…)