Herbs for the Spiritual Heart

By Samantha Grant, CH

            What comes to mind when we think of the heart? It is typical to think of the chambered organ that resides in our chest and pumps our blood. Our heart is instrumental in providing our bodies with blood, carrying vital nutrients to nourish all of our body systems. But, what about the Life force carried by our emotional heart?  In Unani medicine, the ancient Greek tradition, as well as Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Heart is recognized as an anatomical organ with physiological function, but also as the seat of the conscious mind (Bergner). In both traditions, the heart is considered to carry the spirit, and so emotional imbalances or agitation are considered afflictions of the Heart. Our emotional or spiritual heart provides our spirit body with the vital Life force that we feel pulsing through us on an emotional level.

Our emotional and spiritual health is just as important as our physical health. Today, it is common to feel heartbreak or loss, anxiety, lack of safety, and the inability to connect to our heart space. Herbs that are supportive of our heart’s vitality on an energetic level can restore the emotional heart and lift the spirit when there is a disturbed emotional state. In these cases, anxiety and mental agitation can become obstacles to cure due to the disturbance of the spirit or consciousness that resides in the heart. An aphorism of Unani medicine says “when the heart is not healthy, the entire system is diseased.” (Bergner)

Using herbs to deepen our connection to the spiritual heart and support our emotional health is an inspiring way to remove these obstacles to cure and bring wellness to the system, holistically. Heart exhilarants are herbs which strengthen and uplift the spiritual heart. Some examples of heart exhilarants are Basil, Cinnamon, Lavender, Lemon Balm, and Rose. Using drop doses of the herbs can provide a profound effect on an energetic level.

In some cases, protecting the emotional heart and establishing safety is the goal. Herbs that can provide energetic protection of the heart space include, Hawthorn, Rose, and Devil’s Club. This is especially effective in cases where someone isn’t feeling enough heart-centered trustworthiness to express themselves honestly and freely.

Heart relaxants provide a heart-centering and relaxing energetic in a time of emotional disturbance. Some heart relaxants include Motherwort, Peony root, Vervain, and Pasque Flower. Using drop doses as opposed to full doses provides energetic support, similar to that of homeopathy, without the strong sedative action that some of these herbs can have.

Incorporating these energetic actions into formulas to support emotional and spiritual health can bring deepened connection and vitality in all aspects of a person. Combining the different energetic qualities of these herbs together to affect the whole heart can bring about a profound shift in one’s emotional health. To learn more about using these herbs to deepen the connection to the spiritual heart and how to use them in a balanced formula, please join me for a workshop on this topic on February 12th from 6 – 8:30 pm at Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism.

To reserve your place or for questions, contact – sam.grant@clinicalherbalism.com

Class fee – $10 plus a small materials fee

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