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Written by guest writer and herbalist Taylor Jeffers for Herban Wellness.
Edited and contributed to by Katya Difani.
Just as we are multi-dimensional beings, plants have been layers to their beings. One of the elements that is not as often talked about is the use of plants as spiritual and emotional allies on our healing journeys. Many plants have been used throughout time for their nonphysical benefits. The development and use of Flower Essences is one such way in the modern world that we use plants more for their energetic properties, but essential oils, resins, woods, and leaves, can be utilized this way as well, by burning for incense or smudging, or by placing certain plants on our being as annointing oils or in pouches. Just as easily, however, many of these plants can be utilized as teas or put into baths to call upon these comforting and healing properties. Here are a few plants that can be utilized in such a way, with purpose and intention.
Devil’s Club – The Fiercely Armored Warrior
IMG_3686This plants’ latin name is Oplopanax horridus which translates to Fiercely Armored Warrior and that kind of spirit is what herbalists love to use Devil’s Club for. When someone is in need of the energy to fight or help strengthen “the backbone” of a person, we call upon Devil’s Club. This may show up in your life during chronic illness when your vitality is lying low or when going through an emotional battle that requires a strong stance and healthy boundaries. This native adaptogen grows as a strong colony that networks its roots together to keep all members of the family healthy and with the help of large thorns encasing all parts of the plant (yes, even the leaves!), no one would dare to get too close. Harvesting this plant is done with great respect and care. One can gain Devil’s Club’s unique energetic medicine by taking a few drops of tincture as needed, simmering into water to drink as a tea, carrying a few pieces of the root bark with you in a pouch, or by meditatively engaging with the plants’ spirit.
Rose – A Soft Opening to the Heart
RoseOh, rose! Such sweetness comes from this plant. Its link to love, romance, and the heart is well-known. Rose speaks of grace, softness, and reassurance when dealing with matters of the emotional heart. Nerves that are frazzled by trauma or a heart that is weighed down by grief or loss would find comfort in Rose. Rose softens the edges around the pain of our past hurts allowing us to feel uplifted, cared for, and open to new possibilities. A rose glycerite or infused honey is a lovely way to engage with this energy. Or maybe you prefer the aroma of rose essential oil on your heart chakra or around you. You can find a wide variety of rose preparations in our store.
Yarrow – The Protector
Yarrow is a plant with historical notations dating back to when Greek mythology was in full force.   The lore associated with this plant tells uYarrows that protection is what Yarrow stands for. This humble woundwort is capable of sewing up the ‘holes’ in your energy field so that you may safely interface with the energetic world without consuming the sorrows of others or be drained by remaining in a porous state. Yarrow offers us protection in any vulnerable state we may find ourselves in. These qualities are best utilized by bathing in Yarrow (add some fresh or dried plant material to your bath), drinking the tea, or taking a few drops of the tincture or flower essence. You may find placing Yarrow around your home or on your altar helps maintain a space you desire.
 

Mugwort – The Guide to Wisdom

MugwortGiven many names, this plant that is highly regarded and upheld in the herbal community. Mugwort is well known for invoking a strong connection to Spirit by engaging the intuitive and creative forces of the mind. Use her wisely and with intention to tap into your subconscious for answers to your waking life questions. Adding Mugwort to your nightly tea or dream pillow is helpful to induce dreams that are vivid so that you may unravel the wisdom they contain more readily. The infused oil that we carry at Herban Wellness can be used before bed, meditation, or during a woman’s moontime (menstrual cycle) to relax the body and enhance psychic forces. Smudging can also help to purify the energy of your space.
 

Vervain – The Enchanters Herb

Vervain 2Across time, Vervain has been revered for its’ magical properties well documented by Druid priests and witches. In Western Europe, the protective nature of this plant was called upon by placing around the home or carried by anyone seeking protection from evils, especially the ill will of another. Today we look to Vervain when we feel overwhelmed by the pressures in life, leading us to a constant state of frustration. This plant is paramount to lessening the physical burden of high ideals and mental tension. Consumed most often as a tincture or flower essence, the tea is also beneficial, although bitter in taste.
 

Frankincense – The Purifier

FrankincenseFrankincense has been used to restore connection to Spirit, while instilling a sense of faith and trust in the inner workings of life. We have all been through stressful times that can provoke a state of mind that is weary, pessimistic, and always on guard. Frankincense is here to deeply center the mind and open us back up to the wisdom of the universe. Aromatherapy is a fantastic tool to utilize Frankincense best; look for the essential oil or real hand-rolled resin incense in our shop.
 
 

Agrimony – The Revealer

Agrimony2Unabiding truth and authenticity is the medicine that Agrimony carries. When we are unable to share our feelings or even acknowledge them, we are in need of Agrimony. Masking our emotions only worsens our pain and ultimately stems from the fear of vulnerability. Agrimony is historically used to redirect energy that is impeding our life force back to its’ original source by serving as a protective barrier between self and non-self energy. This protective barrier serves as an opportunity to tend to our true feelings rather than the feelings of others.
 

Calendula– The Empowerer

CalendulaThe bright and sunny flowers of Calendula bestow optimism in anyone who encounters it. This cheerful little plant is traditionally used to heal wounds of all kinds. Whether the skin or GI is inflamed, such as with ulcers or eczema, Calendula will soothe and heal. Calendula has an affinity for healing the solar plexus chakra, which is the energy center directly connected to digestion and our will power. To immerse yourself in the strengthening and cheerful energies of Calendula, utilize a daily cup of tea, a dose of tincture or the flower essence. Even putting the flowers in a bath can lift the mood.
 

Ocotillo – Realigning Purpose

OcotilloStagnation of our vital force often arises from a disconnect from Earth energies. Encouraging our lower chakras to remain open and in harmonious flow helps us to feel rooted in the Earth and grounded in our bodies. When blockages occur here we may feel unsafe and insecure resulting in overwhelming fear, which may also affect our sexual and creative energy. Ocotillo is the perfect ally to connect us to our core self, our basic needs, and our purpose and passions in life. Most often consumed as a tincture, taken in drop doses. 
 
All of life is waiting to connect with us on a deeper level. Rather than viewing herbs as obsolete medicines, or only as physical medicines, try engaging with them in other ways that are meaningful. Ask our herbalists how else plants may serve you… you may be surprised to find out all that they have to offer.

This tea is a blend of herbs that can help increase insulin sensitivity of cells and therefore increase uptake of glucose (blood sugar) from the blood and into cells.  This is the primary action and intention of this blend, but other herbs – such as Devil’s club in this tea blend – also help with adrenal and immune function, while Eyebright and Bilberry leaves also can help prevent venous and eye issues that can result from hyperglycemic conditions by strengthening and toning the blood vessel walls.  The herbs Fenugreek, Cinnamon, and Devil’s club are the primary blood sugar regulators, helping to balance blood sugar levels in those with high blood sugar conditions, such as those with Diabetes mellitus, both insulin-dependent and non-insulin-dependent.  Fenugreek has perhaps the most research on it, showing a hypoglycemic effect, as well as helping to reduce cholesterol levels.  Cinnamon can also be a helpful herb for those wanting or needing to avoid high glucose spikes after meals.  This blend can also have a beneficial effect on digestion and help support the healthy digestion of fats in particular.  This tea is beneficial for those who suspect or know they are “pre-diabetic” and for those who have well-controlled diabetes, as well as those who know they could be headed that way if they don’t change course with dietary changes.
Contains: Fenugreek seeds (Trigonella foenum-graecum), Cinnamon bark (Cinnamomum cassia), Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis), Bilberry leaf (Vaccinium myrtillus), and Devil’s club (Oplopanax horridus).
Enjoy this tasty tea daily for best results!
See my post on Fenugreek as well for more information.

Devil’s club is a familiar sight in our local woods, and a plant many hikers (or bush-whackers) know only as a nasty plant they may have grabbed once on accident.  Covered in spines, this plant is like our “native ginseng”.  Large leaves that are reminiscent of our big-leaf maple sit like umbrellas on top of thin, spiny stems that grow from 3-10 feet tall.  The root bark is used, harvested by very carefully and respectfully entering a family of these spreading stems covered in thorns, and cutting a chunk of root between two plants.  This does not kill the plant.  The bark is then stripped and cut up to make medicine.  Devil’s club has been used as a medicine for a long time, as the indigenous people all through the Pacific Northwest were well-acquainted with it.
The root bark acts as a safe and effective respiratory stimulant and expectorant, helping to break up and dispel mucus from the lungs.  It also seems to act as an herbal adaptogen, helping to support and protect the body from the potentially detrimental effects of long-term stress by strengthening the immune system and adrenal glands and balancing blood sugar, even perhaps helping with sugar cravings.
Energetically, this herbs seems to have a strong protective and strengthening ability, helping people to have better boundaries when that is needed.

Stress is unavoidable at points in our lives.  The goal is to manage our response to stressors in such a way that it is not detrimental to our health or well-being over time.
This is a tea blend for stress relief and adrenal support, containing herbal “adaptogens” that help the body better adapt to stress.  The challenge with many of these adaptogens is that they are roots, bark, or berries that do not infuse very well as a tea; they need to be “decocted,” which means they need to be simmered in water like you would when cooking a grain like rice, for anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.
Herbal adaptogens are herbs that act in nonspecific ways to help the body better “adapt to stress.”  These herbs were originally studied on world-class athletes and people in the military, primarily by Russian and Chinese scientists, and have been shown to generally help support the adrenal glands, strengthen the immune system, protect organs vulnerable to the effects of stress, and increase energy levels and endurance.  Adaptogens are thought to act on the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal axis in some way, helping to re-regulate and balance teh hormonal signaling systems in the body. Three herbs in this tea blend have this effect, all but cinnamon.
The herbs in this blend, Eleuthero, Licorice, and Devil’s club also have their particular unique properties.  For example, Licorice root is protective to the liver and antiinflammatory while also supporting the adrenal glands and energy levels.  Devil’s club is a native plant whose root bark is used to balance blood sugar, boost the immune system, and help with respiratory health, helping to break up mucus and acting as an expectorant.  Eleuthero is generally balancing while strengthening the immune system, increasing endurance & oxygen-carrying capacity, lowering blood pressure & triglyceride levels.
Ingredients: Devil’s club root bark, Eleuthero root, Licorice root, Cinnamon bark.
*As a side note, licorice root does not take like the flavor associated with black licorice candy, which is flavored with anise seed oil.  Licorice root has a sweet, starchy flavor and is very nice in tea blends.
*Licorice root should not be consumed in quantities of 3 grams or more per day (about 1 tsp of the dried root) by people with a tendency toward high blood pressure because of its effect on aldosterone in the kidneys.