For obvious reasons, February is heart health month, and so we see messages all around us aimed at keeping our tickers ticking along. Good food, exercise, stress reduction and other healthy habits are all great ways to protect the vital organ at the center of our being. On the subtle levels, our Heart is also central to our being, and as the seat of our wisdom, connectedness, and peace, it needs energetic care as well.
On the physical level, the red berries of the rose-family tree Hawthorne are a classic cardiac tonic, used for hundreds of years to strengthen, tone, and even out the heart’s rhythm and function. The antioxidants in the berries strengthen the walls of the blood vessels, helping the heart’s efforts be more efficient, and throughout the body, Hawthorne protects collagen structures. Our Hawthorne Essence is a great expression of all these effects.
Often combined with Hawthorne, Motherwort’s Latin name points to its uses: Leonuris cardiaca. The “cardiac” part of that name is obvious, and the Leonuris refers to its name in some cultures, “lion’s tail”, which it resembles when in early flower. Together, the name invokes Lion’s Heart, which is an apt description of this herb’s energy.
Physically, it strengthens the heart and smooths its functioning, and that strength and steadiness carries up to the spiritual Heart, as well. Motherwort, as its common name implies, is also an herb for mothers, supporting healthy cycles and hormonal balance, as well as calling in the fierce loyalty of a mom’s love. This energy can be connected with by anyone, whether literal mother or not, as we all have creations that we nurture and then put out into the world as expressions of ourselves.
I find our Motherwort Essence most useful when I am feeling over-adrenalized, especially when I am so energized that I can’t sleep, and the menopausal heart palpitations start. I include it in my bedtime tonic Sage’s Sleep Ens, along with Mugwort, Sage, Hops and other Essences. A few drops and my heart is calm and steady, my mind relaxes and lets go of the day, and I’m eased into deep sleep and pleasant dreams.
Shatavari is another herb with a strong feminine energy, called “she with a hundred husbands” in Ayurveda, referring to its strong tonic properties. Shatavari is balancing to female hormones, organs, and systems in a way that is not directed to any specific hormone, and so it is useful for all stages of life and health.
Like Motherwort, all people can benefit from the nurturing energy of Shatavari, as it enhances love and devotion, and heightens compassion and connectedness. We especially love our Shatavari Spiritualized Essence for wildcrafting hikes, as it brings your vision into an open, liminal state in which plants are more easily seen and their higher natures become accessible.
Reishi mushroom also has well-rounded tonic effects to the circulatory system and heart, along with being the premier herb to support the Shen. In Chinese medicine, Shen is the peaceful spirit that resides in the heart, protecting the other subtle energies and bringing wisdom and inner balance. When Shen is strong and protected, as with our Reishi Essence, we act with courage and our emotions are stable, we are strong yet gentle and wise with our energies.
Another Shen tonic is the medicinal mushroom Spirit Poria. Poria is a subterranean fungus, growing around the roots of trees, especially pine. It is called Spirit Poria because it is said to contain the spirit of the tree whose roots it surrounds, protecting them like the Heart energy protects the Shen in our bodies.
Our Spirit Poria Spiritualized Essence is a calming tonic to serenity and a steady mind, not sedative, but acting as a true Shen tonic to calm anxiety, anger and worry, and the physical imbalances they bring, such as palpitations.
For times when the Shen is very imbalanced and the Heart is assailed by loss, grief, or any hard-to-shake trauma, Bleeding Heart shows us a remedy in its very appearance. Looking like a heart opened and bleeding, this lovely Northwest native flower has been used since the time of the Eclectics for pain of a mixed physical-emotional nature.
Its visual signature describes the states it heals and supports- a heart opened by pain, but also needing to be open to process the lessons of that pain. Our Bleeding Heart Spiritualized Essence has proven invaluable for cases in which a situation needed to be dug into, felt, and worked with in order to come out the other side. As I wrote in this post, Bleeding Heart combines well with Bee Balm to dispel the heat and shock of trauma, and with Shatavari to nurture and bring back peace and comfort once the trauma is processed.
Straddling the heart/Heart divide, our Linden Spiritualized Essence is made from a classic European plant, the beautiful and fragrant Linden tree. Calming and relaxing, Linden lowers blood pressure and relieves strain on the physical heart, while also uplifting and cheering the emotional Heart.
As French herbalist Maurice Mességué puts it, Linden brings “peaceful nights, joyful awakenings, and happy days.” Linden combines well with Hawthorne, and for emotional uplift, it’s great with Lavender and Rhodiola, as in our Bliss Somalixir.
Finally, in our dance of the heart with the Heart, we have two Spagyrics that express the planetary archetypes of the Solar heart organ and the Heart Chakra and its energies of Venus.
Rosemary is a beloved plant of culinary and medicinal uses, and one of my favourites for both healing and teaching. It carries so many beneficial and easily-extracted qualities, and is a great teacher plant with high intelligence and safety. We work with it on all three levels of Spagyric, and it expresses different energies in each creation.
Our Rosemary Magistery is a Sun-dedicated Spagyric, created as an energetic reflection of the shine and vibrance that the Sun’s intelligence rules. This Magistery is aromatic and warming, sharpening to the mind and uplifting to the mood. It has a very centering energy, opening the circulatory movement of the heart, as well as creating a radiance from within that brings courage and cheer.
For the spiritual Heart, the center of higher love and devotion, we created one of our most popular Somalixirs- Heart Opener. This formula is built around our Rose Magistery, a luscious manifestation of the sensual and spiritual qualities of Damask Rose. To that, we have added our Cacao for a more physically-energized quality of love, and a bit of our Alchemical Oil of Ruby to bring a spark of fire to the composition.
Together, Heart Opener pretty much does what it says- helps you move through the world in a more open, compassionate, and kind state, both for others and for yourself. Equally useful at the office and with your beloved, Heart Opener keeps you connected to the wisdom of your best self so that you can remain positive even when life is challenging.