Marguerite Dunne is a city girl and traveler. Visit her website at www.herbs-on-hudson.com or listen to her radio show, The Urban Herbalist, on www.wtbq.com. Marguerite was also the third place winner in The Herb Companion's essay contest, "Looking Forward to Herbs."
My Jewish friends have always found it odd that I'm such a fan of Yom Kippur. I like the idea of taking one day a year for thinking about your mistakes and making yourself a better person. When I was still teaching, I used the occasion to assign this essay thesis statement: If you could take back one thing you did as a child, what would it be?
The stories were often painful to read. One story was written by an angry, adolescent young boy from the inner city. He wrote about the time he was 11 years old, hanging out with his pals in the garage, and playing with his father's guns. They were each taking turns handling the gun. When it was his turn, he accidently shot his friend, nearly killing him and taking out one of his friend’s eyes.
He never alluded to this tragedy before, masking the emotion he felt. The part that was so painful for him was that he'd never been given the canvas, the paper or the platform to express his feelings and tell his tale.
People are faced with great challenges, and somehow people have to deal with them daily. Reading these painful essays reminded me of how regenerative Mother Nature can be, and how lucky we are to have her abundance to help overcome tough situations.
Although it would trivialize my former student’s situation to imply that a few herbs could take away the pain of his life situation, I do believe that some of nature’s healing plants can help put our bodies and spirits at ease.
Here are some herbal remedies that have specific healing properties for dealing with overcoming sorrow, anger and depression.
There’s nothing like a sip of skullcap tea. Also try a medium green leaf tea, which helps relax nervous tension and is a favorite at the end of a trying day.
Vervain (don't forget to add the honey to this one!) is more “full-bodied” and can help overcome a deeper depression. The secret is in the consistency; you can’t have a “one cup here and a one cup there" approach. Instead, use 2 to 3 cups daily for a couple of weeks, depending on how overwhelming the sorrow is and how many toxins one loads up with. Vervain also acts as a hepatic remedy and helps with inflammation of the gallbladder. In Chinese Medicine, anger is held in the gallbladder.
Next, I suggest picking up a paintbrush, grabbing a pen, or finding a guitar and discovering new ways to express your emotions and overcome terrible situations. Bodies and minds can mend; nature and art can lead the way.