A blend of motherwort, rose petals, scullcap, lavender and hawthorn.
Herbal Grief Tea
Right now we are all facing a form of grief- a grief for the loss of how things were, for the uncertainty the future holds. Many of us are grieving for loved ones, for the loss of our 4 legged friends and for mother earth. As vets we face grief more than most people.
We thought we would run through what grief is and ways you can support both yourself and your dogs through any period of grief or distress.
What is grief:
“Grief. Loss. Heart ache. An emptiness of the chest.
Grief is the acute pain that accompanies loss. It is deep, because it is a reflection of what we love, and it can feel all-encompassing. Grief can follow the loss of a loved one, but it is not limited to people; it can follow the loss of a treasured animal companion, the loss of a job or other important role in life.”
Grief is a process, comprised of many emotions: sadness, sorrow, anger, disbelief. For some people it is all of these, for others some. There is not ‘right way’ to grieve and there is no set process- for each person it is different.
It is important we are able to go through the grieving process, to feel these emotions and to heal. Not allowing ourselves to feel these emotions pushes them deeper inside ourself- resulting in future problems (both emotional and physical)
We use herbs to to support the body through the grieving process, below are a selection of herbs and a suggestion for a herbal tea- to use in times of grieving.
Lavender flower (Lavendula angustifolia): useful for mild depression with difficulty thinking, in a fog, or fixated on a specific traumatic event
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis): it is helpful in healing broken heartedness. Valerian root is commonly used in sleep aids Helping to sleep if taken in large enough doses when sleep is disturbed by heartache. Because it is a nervine and also a cardiac tonic Note: it has the opposite effects in 5-10% of people and animals- causing excitation.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): helps to ease exhaustion and debilitation. Rosemary tonifies the Qi, replenishes deficiency and generates strength.
Rose (Rosa spp.): It opens the heart to allow us to be vulnerable. It allows for strength and empowerment to shine through when we are feeling soft. The petals and scent of a rose embody this heart opening sweetness that melts our vulnerability, and the thorns share this representation of that personal empowerment. By adding a little Rose to a formula will uplift suffering from any form.
Hawthorn (Crataegus Spp): It balances the cardiovascular system physically as well as emotionally to balance and support the heart and it’s associated feelings
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca): Motherwort is a good remedy to turn to during times of weakness within the heart space. It can calm unease and anxiousness that can be associated with turbulent emotions – especially if it’s presenting in our physical body as palpitations and tension in the chest
Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
Skullcap does wonders for the brain as a relaxing nervine but also for the heart as it decreases the risk of atherosclerosis. Taking Skullcap during times of grief can help to quiet the thoughts so we can focus on the present and not re-live a painful experience repetitively in our minds. This can be incredibly useful when such thoughts or recirculating traumatic memories prevent us from sleeping. . It soothes nervous tension while renewing and reviving the nervous system. Skullcap is a good friend in times of anxiety when the brain will not stop with whirling thoughts around and around. As a nervine it is capable of balancing hormone levels and stimulating the release of endorphins
Linden flower (Tilia platyphyllos): Linden is a supportive herb for the heart and mind, especially when it comes to grieving releases tension in the musculature and circulatory realms of the body, softening tension and lifting off worry.
Example HERBAL GRIEF TEA :
6parts (eg 60g) motherwort
4parts (eg 40g) rose petals
2parts (eg 20g) hawthorn
2parts (eg 20g) skullcap
2parts(eg 20g) lavender
Combine herbs and mix well. Store in a labeled glass jar. To use, add 2 teaspoons of herbal grief tea mix to 8 ounces of just-boiled water. Steep 10 minutes before straining and composting herbs. Allow to cool and add 1/2 a cup/10kg dog twice daily (or 2-3 cups daily for an adult)
Disclaimer: always check for potential drug-herb interactions or contra-indications before taking any herbal medicines
Please be aware the the blue cross offer a grieving line for those who have lost animals:
https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-bereavement-and-pet-loss 0800 096 6606 .