Now that Spring has sprung up here in northeasten California, I find my emotional state to be as varied as the winds that blow across the emerging pear blossoms. Mind you, we have just survived Winter…an elongated, protracted season that invokes its own specialty of emotional torture. I am growing weary of navigating my emotional state based on what the weather is throwing around outside my front door.
I found myself today feeling agitated and anxious. Be it the astrological position of the full moon, or the cold, dark, dreary day….I was fighting a losing battle. So I bundled up and took off on a walk to see what I could find of emerging herbs that might prove useful for my flagging Spirit. Lo and behold I spotted the tender early leaves of catnip! Very little in this World proves as satisfying as a hot cup of fresh herb tea to soothe ones soul. Fresh sprigs of catnip simply immersed in a cuppa hot boiling water both delights the eye and warms the heart. Miss Bardswell in “The Herb Garden” wrote of catmint: “Before the use of tea from China, English peasantry were in the habit of brewing Catmint Tea, which they said was quite as pleasant and a good deal more wholesome”. Catmint is known for its benefits as a springtime tonic, among other graces, yet it did little to soften the edges of my agitated state.
Looking through my herb garden, nothing was showing above ground yet. I returned to the house and began to look through my dried stores from last year. Lemon balm…good choice, but so little of it left. As I pushed the jar to one side, my eyes fell upon my remedy…Motherwort Tincture! Ahhh, the Champion of herbs for a woman’s heart! Personally, I grow it in my garden. It is native to England, but certainly not here. I have to watch it carefully because it reproduces in a most prolific manner and will rudely usurp its neighbors.
In the older herbal texts, Motherwort is described as being used for everything female including an antispasmodic, tonic, and nervine, It stimulates blood flow and induces perspiration as well. It is especially valuable in “female weakness and disorders, allaying nervous irritability and inducing quiet and passivity of the entire nervous system”. Whoa, strong plant juju here…. Yet, it has proven its worth as an overall heart tonic and also in “spinal disease”. Hmmm, think it can regrow collapsed disks or remove spinal stenosis? Need to check that out….
Anyway, Culpepper wrote that “there is no better herb to drive melancholy vapours from the heart, to strengthen it, and make the mind cheerful, blithe and merry”. In another herbal it is listed as THE most powerful herb to use against “wykked sperytis”. By and far the best way to take it is in a tincture. So, 20 drops in a half glass of wine should do the trick. But I choose to keep my “wykked sperytis” wits about me……