Herbal medicine can be used to help manage grief. Grief is a part of life and loss, and while I don’t believe that it needs to be medicated (though there are exceptions) it can be soothed and helped. The remedies listed below aren’t meant to numb the pain of grief, but rather to help calm the mind and heart while providing gentle strength and comfort.
Rose petals are my favorite remedy for dealing with both acute and chronic grief. I think that they are best in a sweet glycerite, but they are also helpful as a tea. Make sure to choose rose petals from an apothecary or culinary store rather than from a florist. Rose petals from flower shops are often sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals that you don’t want in a tea.
Lemon Balm (Tea)
Lemon balm is one of my favorite anytime teas and it is great as a glycerite as well. It helps to reduce anxiety and overthinking while brightening and lifting your mood. It is a good choice on days when everything seems dark and when grief starts to become depression.
Tulsi or holy basil helps to boost inner strength when you feel like you just can’t go on. It is also helpful for an overtaxed nervous and endocrine system. As a tea or glycerite it pairs beautifully with rose and lemon balm.
Hawthorne (Solid Extract)
Hawthorne is a remedy that I frequently use for physical heart problems, but its use extends to emotional problems as well. It is a medicine that can be used when your heart needs both protection and healing. I like hawthorne as a solid extract if you can find it, but it also works well as a tincture, tea, capsule or glycerite.
Unlike the rest of the herbs listed, motherwort is a bitter herb that doesn’t work well as a tea (unless you like really bitter flavors). I prefer to use motherwort as a tincture. It has a specific affinity for mothers and is useful for the grief that comes with the separation of mothers and children. It is also helpful for the anger and rage that can accompany grief. Rather than suppressing the anger, it supports its healthy expression.
Valerian is a gentle, relaxing, medicine that helps unwind an overactive nervous system and heal a broken heart. It is very helpful when grief won’t let you rest and sleep. Valerian has a strong unpleasant taste so it is best blended with other herbs.
Bleeding Heart (Flower Essence)
Bleeding heart flower essence it is a powerful healer for broken hearts. It isn’t easy to find in stores, but there are many small makers on Etsy.
Botanical medicine can be used to support physical, mental, and emotional issues. When using herbs to help manage grief, expect gentle comfort and the feeling of emotions flowing rather than getting stuck. The herbs that I use most often in my practice are rose, lemon balm, tulsi, hawthorne, motherwort, and bleeding heart.