Herbal Allies For The Heart Space
Herbal Allies For The Heart Space
In many traditions the heart is known as the seat of the soul, the gateway to oneself and spirit.
Today, modern science has evidence that the heart has a power that goes beyond its biological function. The heart communicates with the brain through a nerve called the Vagus Nerve, a nerve that runs from the brain to the abdomen. However, research has shown that the heart sends many more signals to the brain than the brain sends to the heart. Have you ever felt something in your heart a couple seconds before you actually knew what was happening? You’re not the only one.
The heart is such a powerful organ as it governs our cardiovascular system. This is a very important system in our body as it transports nutrients, oxygen, and hormones through our body as well as remove metabolic wastes and toxins. However this intelligent system goes way beyond the physical as some would say this is the center of our being, the portal to our spirit, and seat of our soul.
“The truth of who we are is the truth of the heart, the truth of who we are lies beyond the body” – Marianne Williamson
As we move deeper into the heart space, beyond the physical and into the emotional heart center, I am here to explore a few herbal allies that can be used to support not only our physical body but our emotional body as well.
The emotional body is just as important as the physical since it is an important factor in our overall well being. I’d like to bring attention to our emotional wellbeing, or as I like to call it, Emotional Hygiene as it is a crucial component to our whole. Just like the moon controls the tides, our emotional hygiene controls ours. Specifically speaking on our energy levels, mood, immune system, nervous system, cardiovascular system and digestive system, which are all incredibly important members of our body’s community.
Having well maintenanced emotional hygiene equals self care, and self care is not always pretty and effortless as it may seem on instagram. It can be tough, long, and a lot of hard work to move through emotional bounds and blockages. However, incorporating herbs for our heart space can bring in the softness and sweetness we need to process.
Heart Herbs come in many different shapes and sizes, petals and berries, and roots and rhizomes. So what makes certain herbs better for the heart space than others? In the following I will be exploring 5 different herbs, roots, and berries that have known benefactors for our emotional and physical heart body.
Here are a few of our trusted allies:
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.)
Beginning with a true heart tonic, Hawthorn. This shrub is a medicine for the heart on many levels and is commonly referred to as a cardiotonic. From the physical to the spiritual hawthorn is widely known for its gentle aid in our heart’s health. Most herbalists today use the flower, leaves, twigs and berries medicinally, but native people also used the bark, sap, and the root of the Hawthorn for various medicinal purposes. 1 Hawthorn has been used for almost all cardio ailments, such as improving circulation, regulating heartbeat, and overall tonifying the heart. This herb also has anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Hawthorn is a wonderful and gentle herb to call upon when sitting with any emotional and energetic weight being carried in the chest.
Ahh, Rose, often referred to as the queen flower. She is so sweet and nourishing to the soul and an ancient mascot for love and romance. However, Rose is far more than just a beautiful representation of romance.. Up until 1930’s, Rose was still considered as an official medicine by doctors for internal and topical use. Rose is Described as sweet, astringent, generally either neutral or slightly cooling 2
“Wild rose softens the areas that we tense to protect ourselves, unraveling emotional tension patterns that get locked in the body. Rose naturally works in places where ‘flow’ is impeded. Rose unwinds the stuck-ness that is often rooted in old grief, old trauma.”
Rebecca Altman 6
Ginger Root (Zingiber officinale)
From the flowering buds to the medicinal roots, many know Ginger as a medicinal root but it is not widely known for its benefits in preventive cardiology. Recently, Ginger has gained interest among the scientific community for its potential to treat various aspects of cardiovascular disease, in part due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiplatelet, hypotensive, and hypolipidemic effects 3 Ginger is also an amazing ally when it comes to circulation hence aiding in the cardiovascular system. On the other hand, Gingers energetic effects are stimulating and soothing so creating a heart opening effect once it is consumed.
Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa)
Next on the spot light is this wonderful sultry botanical known as Hibiscus. Traditionally natives once spoke about how the colors of herbs are good indicators of which systems of the body they can enhance. Since Hibiscus is red, it is easy to assume she is good for the heart. Hibiscus, also known as Sour Tea has a long history of use in traditional botanical medicine in many parts of the world for their multiple health effects, but especially in relation to cardiovascular disorders 4 The dark red tea actually comes from the calyx of the Hibiscus plant which is the little cup of modified leaves that hold the flower. Calyx contains anthocyanins which hold a remarkable amount of antioxidants and other constituents that aid in relieving hypertension. Other than Hibiscus being known for improving cardiovascular disease it also has many other benefits as we know today, such as anti-bacterial, improves liver, improves weight loss, and cancer prevention.
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum)
After the sour comes the spice, cinnamon is a spice that comes from the bark of the Cinnamomum tree. The bark is harvested then dried, which curls into what is commonly known as cinnamon sticks. Rich with fiber and calcium, Cinnamon is a great ally for the heart. These constituents help lower cholesterol levels and protect the heart from blockages and arterial build up from something called atherosclerosis. On a physical level Cinnamon helps the heart in many ways but let’s not forget to mention the soothing energetical sensations that cinnamon has to offer. Warming our body and creating a relaxing feeling whilst stimulating us with flavor and spice. Cinnamon is not only a loyal ally to our heart space, it has been know to help with: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and food poisoning. 5
How wonderful it has been moving through these different plants and their medicinal benefits to the heart space. As mentioned before, although “self care” isn’t always a luxurious experience, we can call upon nature’s intelligence to aid our experiences. Much like the physical body, our emotional body is also a very important component of our wellbeing, thus, it should be taken care of accordingly. Incorporating these herbs into our daily lives can greatly benefit our heart health and emotional space.