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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mental Health and Herbalism

I just finished a class in Mental Health and Herbalism and it gave me a lot of time to reflect on so many subtle and powerful forms of healing.  

One definition of Mental Health: the psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment

Many holistic forms of medicine consider mental health to be an essential part of healing and that many physical manifestations of illness are rooted in emotional holds. In Holistic Medicines, you may choose to use herbs to treat mental illness but do not forget the wide array of therapies to use with your teas and tinctures.

Treatments to Consider Integrating into your Mental Health Protocols:
Flower Essences
Platicas/Story Medicine: learning to Listen or finding someone to listen with an open heart and open mind
Aromatherapy for the spirit
Cleansing with Smoke and water/Limpias(Barridas)/Sound: herbs, resins, smudging, tuning forks, bowls, bells, herbal baths
Ritual and Ceremony, Chanting, Prayer and Song
Herbal Teas
Family and Community Support
Nature Therapy
Magick and Divination
Earth treatments
Temazkals/Sweat Lodges
Energy Work

Constitution and time of year play a big part.  The treatment must fit the client
Always go back to the original insult or injury to the body.  Find the beginning of the story.  Start the treatment there
The Elements of Ritual: Intention is key.  Create sacred space and teach your clients how to
1)Clearing space, this may be done with smoke or sound,  or something to clean the area(brooms)usually widdershiins
2)Protecting the area you are working with a circle.  Drawing the area.  Sometimes these areas become permanent
3) Asking for other energies to be present with you, lighting a candle to signal this(ancestors, spirit guides, earth energies)
4)  Pray or perform ceremonies of healing in this space
5) Seal the intent.  Sometimes this is done with something that can be carried around afterwards
6) Release the energies
7) Close the circle

This sort of creation of sacred space is important for both you and your clients/loved ones.  What your put energy towards becomes your reality.  Words and intent are part of this

Herbs for the Spirit: May be used in drop dosage
any herb can be used to affect the spirit and mental health in drop dosage some common examples include:
Mimosa Albizia : He Huan Ha Collective Happiness Flower, regulating to life force
Pasque Flower  Anemone : Let things move thru you like the wind, and ground you from wind and make decisions
Lemon Balm Melissa: Bee Happy and Alive, headaches, glandular support, elevate
Vervain Verbena Bendability and shifting.  Movement from one place to another in the psyche.  You can do it, if you want to
Chasteberry Vitex: Take away the haunting addiction,calm the frantic desire
Wood Betony Stachys: Bring to center and clear the head for dreams
Rose Rosa: Open and soften the heart

Aromatherapy for the Spirit
Vetivert-grounding and opening
Lavender-panic attacks and anxiety
Mint-Invigorating and clears the head
Cedarwood-Grounds and centers and slows
Orange-Lifts the spirit
Rose-Again softens the heart

Flower Essences for the Spirit

Some ways of assessing the correct remedy for yourself or a client:
Muscle Testing
Pulse Reading
Cranial Sacral

Things to remember:
  • Spend time creating the proper Space for healing, especially when dealing with mental health issues
  • Protect yourself by be present and grounded. techniques include wearing a white or light colored head covering
  • Drugs: When to Say When. Sometimes Drugs can save people's lives. Dont suggest or act in ways that could create a life threatening situation. I am very much a believer in natural therapies and seen them do amazing things. Some people have gotten off of meds and led much healthier lives BUT I lost one of my close friends many years agowhen she tried to stop taking her medication. She ended up taking her life while in a bad epsiode. For her I will always remember that there is a time and a place for medications. With all of that said Walk in Beauty and may you find peace


  1. Thanks much for your post Niki. I am a therapist as well as an herbalist...I am a a strong proponent of integrating these traditional tools into classical "therapy." Smudging, ritual, aromatherapy, plant spirit medicine, herbal teas, decoctions, tinctures and accessing somatic wisdom are some of the tools I use. Thanks for sharing.

    jon keyes

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  3. Spend time creating the proper Space for healing, especially when dealing with mental health issues.
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