Grief is a healthy, normal response to any kind of loss, whether that loss is the death of a loved one, loss of a home, a divorce, loss of a job or the death of a pet. Grieving is very personal and each person grieves in their own way and time. It is a complex amount of emotions enveloping the person, sometimes coming in undulating waves other times laying just under the surface waiting to erupt.
Grief can be so embedded in a person they can’t seem to find their way through it. They get lost in a dark fog thinking there is never going to be an end. So what happens? We bury our feelings, mask the pain, stuff all the emotions down and not deal with any of it. It just hurts so damn much. This is not the answer, we must allow ourselves to feel the emotions, work through the pain and then release it.
Herbs For Healing Grief And Loss
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) is an herb for the heart in all ways. It has the ability to normalize the heart as it sees fit, bringing balance and integrity to the tissues by simultaneously strengthening any weakness and reducing states of stress within the cardiovascular system.
Hawthorn gives us support when we need help with forgiveness, bringing about a softness to move on. This herb is useful when we are fearful of death. It assists those of us who are ready to cross over easing that transition.
Rose (Rosa spp.) is one of the most used plants for times of grief and trauma, specifically for pent up or stuffed down emotions. The flower petals taken as a tea allows rose to move and release energy that no longer serves us, especially if we are not able to let ourselves release and feel into our pain. If we do not feel into our pain, then we are preventing our own healing and growth.
Rose helps us find balance once again within our self. It opens the heart allowing us to be vulnerable, allowing strength and empowerment to shine through. The petals and scent of a rose embody a sweetness that melts our vulnerability opening our hearts. Adding a little rose to a tea blend will uplift suffering from any form of anxiety, anger, insecurity, grief, and depression lifting our spirits.
Rose is an old botanical commonly used after loss, encouraging the heart to stay open and soft as opposed to closing up and pulling inward, retreating from life after experiencing deep hurt.
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) calms unease and anxiousness associated with turbulent emotions, especially in our physical body which shows up as heart palpitations and tension in the chest. Motherwort drives melancholy from the heart and cheers the mind.
It is not sedating, but calming, leaving your body relaxed with tension being released. This herb is a tonic to your heart, strengthening your heart to be able to endure the waves of emotions that accompany grief and loss.
Linden (Tilia spp.) leaves and flowers are a delicious sweet tasting tea releasing tension in the muscles and circulatory system of the body. In doing so linden softens any tension and lifts worry relaxing your body. Linden flowers support restlessness, improves sleep and lowers anxious states. It targets anxiety around the heart because it physically supports the circulatory system, gently widening blood vessels and lowering blood pressure. Linden will reinstate a sense of calm and gladden the heart with its sweet, aromatic blossoms.
Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin) flowers bring relief when we feel overwhelmed from continuous tears that just won’t stop. These flowers allow us to take a breath and feel peace fill our hearts. This flower is specific for uplifting the spirit and awakening a sense of happiness.
Mimosa is an uplifting remedy that is very good for emotions that become stuck causing irritable anger, insomnia and feelings of pressure in the chest.
Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum) is also known as holy basil and is very helpful in supporting your voice so you can express what needs to be released from your heart so you can move on. This herb is useful in times of feeling choked up or having a hard time expressing what you’ve been experiencing through a traumatizing experience. Tulsi ensures these areas of your body are working together in unison so there is an easier release to these plaguing thoughts that weigh your spirit down.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is such a wonderful plant to lift depression and sadness where grief has taken over. It helps bring back a sense of our inner child, taking away the seriousness of adult circumstances to impart a lighthearted cheer we once had before grief took over.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) calms strong emotions by bringing you back into the moment. Lavender helps in releasing pent up emotions while allowing energy to move and flow through the body. These effects can be felt even just through smelling the essential oil, which immediately grounds and calms the nervous system when you feel frantic.
St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) is universally known as sunshine in a bottle. This plant works to restore and tone the nerves within the body. St. John’s wort is used to ease anxiety, tension, and support seasonal affective disorder or mild to moderate depression. Taking St. John’s wort helps when you are worn out from old grief and needs some nervous system repair.
Note: Please take caution when considering taking St. John’s wort as it has many negative side effects with medications. If you’re considering taking this herb internally, it’s important that you first consult a qualified health practitioner or doctor if you are on any pharmaceutical drugs before you consume this herb.
Herbal Grief Tea
This delicious tea strengthens your heart and mind as you grieve. It supports you both mentally and physically allowing your heart to feel again.
- Combine herbs and mix well. Store in a labeled glass jar.
- To use, add 2 teaspoons of herbal grief tea mix to 8 ounces of just-boiled water. Steep 10 minutes before straining and composting herbs.
- Sweeten as desired, drink, and enjoy 2-3 cups a day!
- A part is whatever measurement you want to use, such as 1/2 cup, 1 cup etc.
“Heart Be Well” Support Syrup Recipe
This is the perfect rejuvenating formula to support your health through grief. You can drizzle it over pancakes, ice cream, or just take it straight by the spoonful. It’s easy to make and tastes wonderful.
- 3 cups cold water
- 1/2 cup organic elderberries
- 1/2 cup organic hawthorn berries
- 1/4 cup organic rose hips
- 1 organic cinnamon stick
- 3/4 to 1 cup raw, local honey
- 1.5 ounces brandy or skullcap tincture (optional preservative)
- Combine herbs with cold water in a pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and allow herbs to simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Remove from heat and mash the berries in the liquid mixture.
- Strain the herbs through cheesecloth and squeeze out the juice.
- Measure the liquid and add an equal amount of honey.
- Gently heat the honey and juice for a few minutes until well combined, but do not boil!
- Stir in brandy or tincture if you’d like and pour the finished syrup into sterilized glass bottles.
- Label and keep refrigerated for up to 6 months.
Recipe courtesy of Mountain Rose Herbs
Our green allies help so much in supporting and building our hearts whole once again, helping us find strength, courage, and relief as we move through these emotions into greater healing. The intelligence of these plant beings are so brilliant, we need to simply trust these plants will shine a light that will open our hearts towards healing that we may have not known possible.