Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Daily Herb-o-Scope - Natural remedies for Grief

                 The passing of our loved ones can cause so much grief and turmoil in ones life. Grief is such a strong and hopeless emotion that for some it's so easy to get stuck in a bottomless pit of depression and yet others turn to pharmaceuticals to repress the grief. I want to provide some herbal and natural remedies for getting through the difficult time of coping with grief.

          In Chinese medicine, grief can injure and weaken the lungs causing shortness of breath, shallow breathing and making us more susceptible to catching colds. Repressed grief can cause more long term issues of the lungs including asthma, emphysema and allergies. Deep breathing exercises helps to tonify the lungs and release grief. One exercise that you might find helpful is to breathe in through your nose for 5 counts, hold for 5 counts and then breathe out through your mouth for five counts and then hold for five counts. Repeat at least 10 times and do it as many times throughout the day as you find helpful. There are also many herbs that can be helpful to tonify the lungs and help the body deal with the stress of loss. I suggest using adaptogenic herbs like astragalus, reishi, ashwaganda, eleuthero and licorice root.

          Uplifting and euphoric essential oils can be helpful in lifting you spirits. Bach flower remedies have proven to be useful along with essential oils such as neroli, melissa, jasmine and what I would consider to be the most helpful, rose essential oil. The smell of rose is so comforting and soothing that it can penetrate the heart; however, rose essential oil can be very expensive. I suggest purchasing rose water or rose hydrosol. It's not as pricey and still elicits a similar response.

          Receiving flowers after the death of a loved one is very common in American culture, and internally flowers can be as wonderful as they are esthetically pleasing. Try making an tea infusion from flowers such as chamomile, rose petals, hawthorn leaf and flowers, hibiscus or St. John's Wort.

          The physical manifestations of grief and include insomnia, poor appetite and physical exhaustion. Herbs can help to promote relaxation and rest, and calm and soothe in times of grieving. Such herbs can include lemon balm, lemon verbena, passion flower, and chamomile to name a few. Vitamin B complex and a magnesium and calcium supplements can also be beneficial while grieving.

           As hard as it may seem, the grief must be acknowledged. If we repress this hopeless emotion we can become cold and rigid. Crying helps to free the heart and make room for love. By shedding tears, it helps to clean the wounds of loss. Don't discredit the importance and value of bereavement counseling. It can be very helpful to talk to someone who knows what you are going through. All else aside, be sure to nurture yourself in this painful period and hopefully with time you will find the piece of yourself that was lost.

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