As Valentine’s day approaches and again I notice how we are all bombarded with another commercial fray of goodies, my mind has been turning to the heart on an emotional level and how the phrase ‘heartbroken’ and ‘a joyful heart’ are actually very relevant in reflecting our emotional way of being at times in our lives, and the role that Medicinal Herbs can play in restoring health to a wounded heart.
It is interesting that the physical heart is the first functional organ to form in the embryo of all vertebrates and that it is now understood that emotions are not just mental expressions generated by the brain but a complex interaction between the nervous system, the brain and the heart.
Most of us have experienced an increase in our heart rate and/or a change in heart rhythm when in a stressful emotional situation, whether that be an acutely frightening situation or a longer term anxiety/increase in stress levels.
In fact, many people who experience ‘palpitations’ ( a change in heart rate) at rest, often in the evening in bed or simply ‘relaxing’ in the evening have anxiety/stress related palpitations.
However, it is very important to have an examination and a consultation if you do experience a change in heart rate or rhythm to rule out a more serious cause.
The Medical Heart conditions I think will be a good subject for another blog post.. :0)
In Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture the Heart governs the mind, if the heart is out of balance the emotions will be affected resulting in a lack of joy with life, depression and possibly insomnia.
In Ayurveda the mind is said to reside in the heart and every thought and feeling has an impact on our health.
Take a moment to settle yourself, to breathe, in through your nose, out through your mouth…
take your mind to a memory, a good memory – a time of deep joy and fulfillment and of love..
maybe it was when you first held your child in your arms or another situation that you can recreate in your mind.
Really take yourself back to that memory, feel the emotion.. how does your body feel, how does this make YOU feel inside
How do you feel that this emotion affects your body/mind?
You can also do this exercise with a negative memory if you choose, just for the experience and to compare but I think it is always better to recreate the good feelings ;0)
So now to the herbs….Herbs that support the nervous system with a particular affinity for the heart include Rose, Motherwort, Hawthorn, Lime flowers, Lily of the Valley, Broom to name a few.
Of course top of the list has to be Rose. One of my all time favorites and the ultimate Valentines flower of love.
Rose is used in a flower and gem essence for the heart chakra by www.rainbowmedicinecircle.com, here they advocate it’s use to encourage self acceptance and self love.
In my practice I use Rose aromatic water, Rose Tea and Rose Tincture especially in situations where there has been a lot of sadness in a persons life, maybe recent bereavements or losses, again where self image is low or simply where there is a need for a ‘cuddle in a bottle.’ Rose has a slight bitter element which works with the liver, the root emotion of the liver is Anger and Frustration. So maybe it would be very useful not just in cases of sadness to restore joy but where there is anger or resentment to encourage forgiveness.
For home remedies:
Vinegar can be made with dried Rose Petals and unpasturised cider vinegar.
Rose Vinegar Uses:
As a first aid remedy:
Insect bites, stings, minor wounds, cuts and abrasions as an anti-inflammatory and astringent it helps stem bleeding and encourages wound healing which in turn leads to less scarring. There is a mild antibacterial property too.
For Burns: Minor burns where the skin is unbroken is best, also for sunburn.
Add a teaspoon to water 1-3 times daily as needed for those days where things just get too much, if you are sad or maybe even a little frustrated or short tempered. Rose will help you to open your heart to self love as well as love for others
For Cosmetic Uses:
Try as a skin toner, for spots or oily skin, dilute in a little water for this.
Also add to a jug of water as a final rinse for your hair after shampooing or add a tablespoon to your bathwater.
Don’t forget the wonderful benefits of unpasturised apple cider vinegar aid in detoxifying your system.
Other home remedies for Rose
Take fresh or dried rose petals, place in a lovely see through glass teapot if you have one and add boiling water from the kettle, allow to steep for 5 minutes, strain and drink as a warm or cool tea.
- Pack a jar with dried scented rose petals
- fill 1/3 jar with liquid honey and add brandy to the top
- allow to steep in a dark cupboard for 4 weeks
- Strain, bottle and take a teaspoon or two as you feel you need some support or uplifting..