The world is full of plants that help us deal with the most stressful moments in life. In this new article, we talk once again about plants and herbs capable of relaxing the nerves. Once again we emphasize their traditional uses, their mystical powers, and medicinal use.
How man, over time, has chosen to use herbs and plants is manifold. We cook them and prepare pills, infusions, and liqueurs. We chop them up and create powders and medicinal oils. Phytotherapy is one of the many existing branches that focus on the therapeutic use of plants.
This is a very ancient practice, which partly represents one of the first examples of human therapeutic practice. So widespread throughout the world, in different eras and historical periods, that it is not possible to identify a precise geographical area of development.
The term phytotherapy derives from the Greek φυτον (plant) and θεραπευω (cure), therefore “to cure with plants”. However, this is something different from herbal medicine; does not follow philosophies, religious or cultural beliefs. Furthermore, it does not use diagnostic methodologies or therapeutic bases other than those of scientific medicine.
The phytotherapist is someone who manages to use the active ingredients of plants and the compounds derived from them, maintaining all their chemical properties to fully exploit their medicinal potential. The hand of the phytotherapist is guided by a precise methodology, which leads to scientific principles and proven effectiveness. Perhaps we could define phytotherapy as the less “magical” side of the exploration of nature, closely linked to the traditional meaning of science.
Calming herbs and plants
At least once in their life, everyone has had that stressful day that drags on for the next few days. There are remedies for this, which can relax the mind and spirit. So let’s see some of the herbs and plants that can help us find emotional balance.
Called sunrise thorn by the Romans, and used to adorn altars during wedding rites, the hawthorn is a plant of protection. For this reason, it was also placed on the cradles of newborns as a sign of love. It was also used to adorn the Maypole, around which people danced according to propitiatory rites to ensure fertility.
Linked to ancient female deities such as Artemis, Flora, and Ceres, later in Christianity it was transposed into the symbol of the Virgin Mary. It was also very present in the Celtic tradition where it was considered the secret home of fairies and forest spirits. It is still used in Beltane celebration rites and has an entire day dedicated to it: May 13th, Hawthorn Day.
The flowers and leaves of the hawthorn are traditionally used in phytotherapy, harvested at the moment of anthesis, as soon as they are opened.
This plant is an excellent remedy for the heart. It is used in the treatment of mild heart failure, as it can give strength to the cardiac muscles and make the heartbeat regular, bringing serenity, confidence, and calm.
Chamomile was a plant already known at the time of the ancient Egyptians, who used it for its calming effect, to relieve pain and reduce fever. However, it was a natural cure also practiced by the Greeks, the Romans, and during the Middle Ages.
In popular tradition, it is used to attract money, to encourage meditation, and to recall love. It is a purifying and protective herb. Sprinkled around the house, it is said to be able to remove curses.
It is an excellent remedy for digestive disorders and for the treatment of restlessness and insomnia of nervous origin. It is a herb with extraordinary relaxing and sedative properties.
Alongside its medicinal use, chamomile also enjoys widespread popular use: this flower can soothe urinary tract infections and alleviate eye problems.
Maca is a spontaneous Peruvian plant whose tuber-shaped root is used.
Its use as an aphrodisiac dates back to the Andean populations. In the pre-Columbian tribes of Perù, maca was used for food purposes and in religious ceremonies. The plant was already known and used by the Inca populations to give strength and vitality to the troops. It was considered a magical plant, a gift from the gods, particularly used by warriors and priests.
It can relieve psycho-physical stress, helps against male impotence, fights sterility, and strengthens memory.
Its name derives from the Latin passio which stands for passion and flos which means flower, a name given to it by some Jesuit missionaries in 1610. They saw in some parts of the plant the representation of the Passion of Christ.
According to traditional magic, this passion flower can help to have self-control over impulses and anger, giving harmony and inner calm. To attract luck in Love, its dried leaves or roots are brought in a red flannel bag and anointed with oils of love attraction. In ancient times, in Mexico, a dried hummingbird heart was added to the bag. But since it is now illegal to kill hummingbirds (increasingly rare birds), today a spell dedicated to what is called the Divine Hummingbird is simply added, together with a metal image depicting it.
It has relaxing properties, as it can lower blood pressure in case of restlessness. Its infusion can be used in the evening for its sedative properties which promote excellent restful sleep.
Linden is a symbol of femininity and fertility. Considered sacred to the goddess Aphrodite by the Greeks and to the goddess Freya by the Germanic populations, it was also often used as a symbol of longevity and justice.
In many traditions, the linden was the plant under which the population gathered when important decisions had to be made, as it was considered capable of inspiring a sense of justice and mercy.
Also considered by some peoples to be a symbol of sweetness and kindness, according to Nordic traditions the linden was a tree capable of predicting the future.
It helps fight anxiety and insomnia, promotes correct digestion, and is useful against colds, coughs, and flu.
Flowers as a starting point
The relationship between humans and nature has always been troubled. Over time we have always tended to brutally exploit every resource, without understanding that the use of force is not necessary to use the tools that nature has always made available to us.
For this reason, I believe that starting from flowers is a good way to learn about the complex, fragile yet extremely tenacious structure of the nature that surrounds us. Because the flowers are delicate, each petal retains a history of simple surrender, yet they can prove to be extremely pointed, thorny; and so powerful that it is one of the main sources of help against physical and mental ailments.
We learn from flowers to be kind and strong at the same time.