september is for nervines
Hi friends, It’s been awhile. For the moment, the sky is clear, blue and the air cool. It feels like a sweet relief after two months of straight rain here in the Mahicantuck River Valley. I’d be lying if I said things have been peaceful. With both the delta and mu variants testing our collective thresholds of what we can handle AND the never ending climate devastation of fire, fury, flood, displacement and grief, it’s hard not to feel like I'm auditioning for the role of eeyore these days. I’ve been finding myself trying to find joy in bearing witness to others' (human and non-human alike) small glimmers of bliss and microscopic victories. The purple loosestrife whose colorful blooms show me that even in mass chaos, there is some relief in choosing how we get to self-express. The parent and child who are strangers but whose giggles and hand holding make me feel like I can take a breath. The small acts of human kindness that melt my heart into a puddle of sap and tears, and remind me how powerful it is to lead with love. Hoping that in these days of uncertainty, grief, and mourning, you’re finding ways to be okay. Something I've been asking friends and loves instead of “how are you doing” is…”where, what, and how are you finding joy?” For some it's the bathtub, or a piece of chocolate in bed before bed, or a trashy sitcom on netflix, whatever it is, hold it close to your heart…. And of course, the plants are always out here showing up as only chosen fam can... with care and everything I didn’t even know I needed. When we’re out here in a season (an N.K. Jemisin reference, fyi), aka life as we know it coming to an end, it’s nervines everyday and all day for me. So, let’s talk a little about nervines. There is a whole spectrum of nervines and believe it or not, not all nervines are relaxing! My advice for folks new to using herbal medicine and especially nervines is to start slow and really explore different plants and dosages until you find something that works for you. Nervines can vary from being mild in their calming effect, to having a powerful sedative action.
I personally like my nervines to taste sweet, and tend to favor preparations that are food-like like elixirs, syrups, and glycerites. However, if you’re looking for a fast acting remedy, tinctures are definitely the way to go. Listed below are some of my go-to herbs for emotional health support. While I’ve broken them down into categories, many of these herbs can be used interchangeably, and can support many mental support needs, and obvi this a general list, so there's much to explore beyond these suggestions.
Grief/depression: mimosa, rose, lemon balm, st. john’s wort Anxiety/Stress: skullcap, blue vervain, milky oats, holy basil, rose, catnip, linden Sleep/Insomnia: passionflower, hops, valerian, lavender, chamomile, california poppy
*** If you’ve been dreaming about connecting more with plants, herbalism, community care, and are looking to do that deep diving with other cuties desiring the same, come find us in the halls of zoom (mid-september thru mid-october), for our foundations in herbalism online program, where for 5 weeks we can drop into the plant portal together, xo.
Lastly, here’s a Nina Simone incantation for you September's ahead. I’ve been singing this song as an active spell to find my way through the shit to a new dawn, day, life, future, <3 mandana
“Dragonfly out in the sun, you know what I mean, don't you know Butterflies all havin' fun, you know what I mean Sleep in peace when day is done, that's what I mean And this old world is a new world And a bold world For me For me Stars when you shine You know how I feel Scent of the pine You know how I feel Oh, freedom is mine And I know how I feel It's a new dawn It's a new day It's a new life”