Plants and herbs are the keepers of our planet's experience throughout time. Ultimately, all animals — including humans — return to the soil, and the plants await our demise, as our decomposition becomes their nourishment. They metabolize our lifestyles, illnesses, emotions, traumas, joys and even our thoughts.
We are reborn and we eat them, and they complete our development by nourishing us with vitamins and minerals, balancing our hormones from our ancestors' legacies. And they certainly came first; I have lovingly named them: our Plantcestors.
I've compiled 10 of my favorite healing plant herbs that are essential in my home, and their corresponding chakras to help you find optimal balance. Flower essences and spices are not mentioned here, though they're also keepers of our wellness within the plant ally realm.
1. Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
This member of the mint family, native to North America, is a nerve and mental diffuser that soothes anxiety by helping us adapt in stressful situations. This herb is a "tonic," meaning it tones and rehabilitates the nervous system. It's a must-have for new parents, who must master the art of adaptation.
Chakras: Solar Plexus (self-esteem + warrior energy) and Throat (expression, wisdom + communication)
2. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
An aromatic and carminative flowering member of the celery family, fennel is also a galactagogue (yes, that's a word), meaning milk-producing. Mother Earth gave us this lactation-inducing herb that bears seed, leaf and flower to help enrich the breast milk of nursing mothers. Fennel is also used as both digestive aid and antacid for the stomach. It can also help to cleanse harmful uric acid from joints, which can lead to gout.
Chakras: Sacral (emotions + confidence), Heart (love + relationships) and Throat
3. Comfrey Leaf (Symphytum officinale)
Her nickname is Boneset. She's the old lady who lives just outside of the village, and her nature is to mend any ailment, including a broken bone. Her actions are demulcent and anti-inflammatory. Comfrey Leaf can speed wound healing, encouraging the rebuilding of cells. Burns can feel immediately soothed, and new mothers can find relief from the soreness of giving birth.
Chakra: Root (grounding + sexual energy)
4. Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus)
If you have a uterus, you should definitely have raspberry leaf in your home! The leaves of red raspberries are the uterine tonic — strengthening and toning the muscle tissue of the womb. Tea infusions of raspberry can nourish the uterus with iron and calcium. If you're pregnant with a baby girl, the leaves can nourish her womb, too! Also quite the astringent, raspberry is helpful with loose bowels, slowing the apana — the eliminating force in our body, aka the energy of elimination in Kundalini Yoga.
Chakras: Root and Sacral
5. Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis)
We can use the leaves and roots of marshmallow. She is the Goddess of the marshlands — full and abundant in ripeness; both demulcent and emollient. Mallow soothes, coats and brings forth comfort. Always keep it handy in case of sore throats, diarrhea, constipation and irritations.
It is an ideal herb for children, and was originally used in the manufacturing of marshmallows.
Chakras: Root, Sacral, Solar Plexus, Heart, Throat, Brow (intuition + memory) and Crown (wisdom, awareness + higher self)
6. Oatstraw (Avena sativa)
A potent yin of the Plantcestors, Oatstraw is an essential tonic herb for reproductive health, a remedy for impotence and even an antidepressant — this plant just makes us feel good. She smells like sweet hay just after cutting, and the color shimmers, suggesting she will make you shine from the inside out — and she does! Oatstraw is mildly sedative and can help fortify our nerve tissue with B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, proteins and more.
Oatstraw is also ideal to use when healing from addiction. Externally, it is soothing to eczema and dry skin. If you had room for only one herb, this is the one — I get turned on just by writing about it.
Chakras: Root, Sacral, Solar Plexus, Heart, Throat, Brow and Crown
7. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
We use the flowers, leaves and roots of this happy-making maiden of early spring. Dandelion is a diuretic, and helps to cleanse our liver. Psychologically, dandelion can relieve us from stored anger, as it lubricates the energetic pathways to flow freely. Any healing regimen can begin with dandelion.
8. Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha)
Hawthorn is the granter of wishes, with permission and trust. This old man of a tree offers berries, leaves and flowers known to mend broken hearts and lift depression. Hawthorn is the heart tonic of tonics and can be used to help lower blood pressure. With Hawthorn, the heart is opened, illumined and healed on an energetic level.
9. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
An ace at breaking fevers, Yarrow should be kept in the medicine cabinet, as it is known to stop bleeding, both internally and externally — making it an excellent first aid remedy, as well as beneficial during menses and during cold and flu season. Yarrow possesses anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, and can be used as an astringent.
Chakra: Solar Plexus
10. Motherwort (Leonurus cardica)
A lion of a lady, this plant is a calming heart tonic, relieving muscle tension and can help lower blood pressure. It's the big mama who holds you steady when the boat is rocking hard.
Chakras: Sacral and Solar Plexus
Directions for herbal infusions:
To infuse any of these herbs, boil cold water, then turn off the heat and add the flowers, leaves or stems of the plants.
Add one tablespoon of herbs per cup of boiling water, and steep the herbs for 12-15 minutes.
For larger batches, you can leave 4-8 hours for a deeper infusion. I like to make my infusions at night, so they are ready to drink in the morning.
You may also put cold water in a clear glass jar and make a sun tea. Just let it in the sun for 4-6 hours for a delicious gentle sun-infused herbal tea.
Directions for herbal decoctions:
You can also make a decoction from roots and berries for a more concentrated essence. Strongly simmer the roots and berries in cold water for 20 minutes, then turn off the heat and cover, leaving it to steep an additional 20 minutes.
This post is not intended to be used as medical advice. Always check with your doctor before beginning any naturopathic regimen.