I am often confused about herbalism posts or articles saying this herb for this and that herb for that, especially when it’s about emotional issues like anxiety or depression. Of course there are herbs that have uplifting properties, that are calming, grounding etc,… and these herbs can be amazing allies with mental health. But in my experience any herb or plant can help us, especially in the midst of intensity. Seeing and touching an oak tree can be incredibly grounding when you’re anxious, and you won’t see ‘Oak’ mentioned as a herb for anxiety. Seeing the bright flowers of dandelion can help you feel that little spark of light while feeling down.
These are some very ‘in the moment’ examples, but even if you’d want to work with herbs in a consistent way to help with an emotional issue, it can be worthwhile looking beyond the herb that is typically used for something. In TCM, feeling down and tense is often attributed to stagnant Liver Qi, which is actually helped by Dandelion. In this case, drinking Dandelion tea would help move that stuck energy (also, breathwork!). You could for example take Dandelion intentionally while also gently starting a moving practice, and bit by bit you’ll notice feeling better. To feel more spacious in your body and feel less down and anxious. The only thing we need to do is pay attention, which often isn’t the easiest when we are stressed. That’s why regularly connecting with plants when you’re feeling ok can help you ‘train’ that ‘connection muscle’. Next time you’re outside, see if there’s any plant that draws your attention, give it a little time and check in with any sensations in your chest and belly, how are you feeling?