The Gift of Plants:
Healing for the Body, Mind and Spirit
by Suki Roth
We live in stressful times, far from the comfort and peace one experiences when immersed in an intimate relationship with nature. What is it exactly that is causing our modern ills? The question here is a bit like the saying "what came first the chicken or the egg"? Is it physiological disorders or disorders of our spirit and emotions? Luckily we do not have to ponder this question. In their molecular cell structures, medicinal plants hold all the keys necessary to unlock our physical, emotional and spiritual vitality.
Through many hours of plant meditation, individually and in groups, I have been introduced to the subtler benefits the plants offer. Let me share some of my most profound plant meditation and clinical experiences with you. This in itself is a difficult task as picking out a few plants to highlight is like picking your favorite child. You love them all and they all offer so much individually.
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)
Collect Meadowsweet while it is in flower. Use its beautiful leaves and sweet almond scented flowers for your tea or to tincture. Your first experience with either the tea or tincture will be one of deep release and relaxation. Meadowsweet has a warming, relaxing and soothing effect on the digestive tract. It contains large amounts of salicin, one of the main ingredients in aspirin, without the harmful effects to the stomach lining. It is specific for gastric pain, abdominal cramps, colic, and irritable bowel. Its pain relieving qualities are indicated for tension headache, muscular pain and arthritic complaints.
Meadowsweet, a great facilitator for achieving a deep meditative state, also has the ability to quiet the mind and guide the body into a restful sleep. Considered the emotional "chill-pill" it defuses congested thoughts while putting one at ease. It eliminates emotional pain that stems from living in a fast paced over stimulating world. Meadowsweet is able to rebalance electrical body charges making it an ally for opening up energy centers in the body. With daily use for a month or so it expands the body's energy field creating a greater sense of self and a boost to self-expression. A favorite herb of the Druids who believed it made the heart "merrier". A must for mild depression. Safe for children, elders and the overly sensitive.
Dose: Make a tea using 1-2 teaspoons of the dried herb to one cup boiled water steep for 15 minutes. Drink three times a day. Tincture 2 or 3 mls
(60-80) drops three times a day.
Betony (Wood Betony) (Betonica officinalis)
Collect the aerial parts (leaf, stem and budding flowers) of Wood Betony just before the flowers bloom. Prepare yourself for a little taste of heaven with a cup of tea or tincture.
Wood Betony is one of my favorite herbs for insomnia. It quiets our restless minds and caps our frayed nerves. Its medicinal actions are anti-spasmodic, nervine, and anodyne (pain relieving). Wood Betony is specifically indicated for tension headaches caused by stress, fibromyalgia pain, and sore, over worked muscles.
A tonic for the nervous system, it reduces fatigue and tension the symptoms of nervous exhaustion, by inducing a restful sleep.
Wood Betony with its antispasmodic action relaxes our bowels, musculature and our stifled sense of self- expression. Creating the sensation of being nurtured and held it fosters a feeling of safety and protection. This opens up our emotional body and allows us to express our creativity and stimulates self-expression. Wood Betony has a stimulating opening effect on the solar plexus, considered the center of "gut-level" instincts, groundedness and self-confidence. A true anti-anxiety it erases contracted life experiences. Wood Betony considered a brain tonic, will increase arterial blood flow and cerebral circulation. Lose that frenzied burn out feeling with a cup of Wood Betony today.
Dose: 2 teaspoons of dried herb to one cup boiled water, steep 20 minutes drink three to four times a day. Tincture 20-60 drops three to four times a day.
You now have two new calming friends to take along on life's journey. Do not forget the old stand bys, Lavender, Chamomile and Lemon Balm. Cheers, to your health and well being.
About the Author
As an herbalist for the last 16 years Suki Roth has had the opportunity to share her knowledge and great love for the large bouquet of medicinal and edible plants growing "right outside our doors". Sharing her intimate knowledge of the plants is her life passion. She is available for classes, workshops and consultations all designed to connect you to the gifts the plants offer us for healing on many levels. For more info on contacting Suki please see her web site www.herbhaven.com