It's no secret that herbs add a tasty depth and dimension to our culinary experience. They also contribute a nutritional component, and beyond that, offer medicinal and healing benefits.
Various methods are used to extract the goodness from herbs that can enhance our health and well-being in surprising ways. There's the simple infusion, commonly called tea. Then there are a couple more sophisticated extracts known as essential oils and flower essences.
Essential oils are the steam distilled extract of a plant that is complex, concentrated, and extremely potent. Used for aromatherapy, essential oils cleanse and purify unpleasant odors rather than mask them (like synthetic fragrance). These rich alchemical elements also permeate our limbic system, stimulating our memory and feeling centers. The beauty of essential oils is that when used properly, they are non-toxic and can take us on a healing journey of stimulating our psyche, emotions, and pleasure center.
Another form of plant extract that is less understood and not as widely acknowledged is flower essences. Essences are solar infusions of a plant's flower, at its peak, capturing the pattern of life-force energy from it into pure water. This is preserved with brandy as an antimicrobial and anchor material. Flower essences are ingested and help re-pattern and balance us energetically on emotional, spiritual, and psychological levels.
Let's take some popular herbs and look at their healing and health-giving capacities from these three modalities:
As an herbal tea, it's used to calm an upset stomach, ease nausea, fever, and migraines.
The essential oil is breathed to alleviate headaches and fever, added to preparations for topical pain relief, and used to disinfect air and clear nasal congestion.
The flower essence helps stimulate the mind, bringing one out of lethargy and into more vibrant, clear, and active thought processes. It also works with safety and confidence issues.
Chamomile (Roman and German)
As an herbal tea, it is taken for irritable bowel syndrome and indigestion. It helps calm one down to alleviate stress and anxiety, inducing sleep.
The essential oil is used as an anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, sedative, and to ease skin disease.
The flower essence aids emotional balance, calming the nervous system, alleviating anxiety, tension, stress, insomnia, and sluggish metabolism.
As a tea, it's used for colds and flu, indigestion, fatigue, and headache.
The essential oil is used as an inhaled stimulant for nervous exhaustion, topically for arthritis, and in a hair tonic for stimulating new hair growth.
The flower essence stimulates memory, self-awareness, vibrancy, and clarity to develop more peace and grounding.
Knowing that common herbs that we may have growing in our gardens have such powerful healing and health-giving properties can instill more self-reliance and confidence that there is natural support for every aspect of our healing and transformative process. Learning to utilize and trust this ancient promise of health and balance from the Earth is an empowering endeavor well worth pursuing.