It’s that special time of year when many of our favorite plants are expressing themselves to their fullest potential and we find ourselves getting lost in their summer magic. We get to know them in their flowering stage of growth and experience their beauty as well as their medicine. Whether we dig their roots in the fall, or harvest their fresh greens in early spring, it’s safe to say that seeing plants at their peak potential during these sweet summer months is medicine in itself. We have a few that resonate with us this time of year, not only because they are in bloom but also because they are appropriate for the times we live in and can act as everyday medicine. Each of these plants has a special place in our medicine cabinets and can be found throughout our formulas as they confer unique qualities to each one.
Motherwort, Leonarus cardiaca
Parts used: Aerial, leaf, and flower
This weedy herbaceous plant is part of the mint family and is one of the most beloved herbs by herbalists. As a true nerve and heart tonic, Motherwort has been used throughout history to soothe worries and nervous tension. Motherwort is one of our best herbs for calming anxiety in the moment, especially when felt in the heart center.
True to its name, Leonarus cardiaca translates in Latin to “lionhearted;” and this plant sends a message of tough, fierce love during the times when we need it most. It is an herb that supports grounding strength during emotional times.
The name Motherwort suggests an added affinity for use by women. Its leaf and flower extracts can support a normal, healthy attitude during PMS. Because it also promotes balanced muscle tone, Motherwort is nice to have on hand for other minor, general discomforts associated with healthy menstruation.
It is energetically cooling and grounding, making it a great one for overworked, fiery folks.
Physically, it supports healthy cardiovascular function, by gently easing anxiety and toning the tissues. It supports a healthy heartbeat and healthy blood pressure.
Its strong bitter flavor energetically brings us into the moment and grounds us, and works well as a digestive aid.
Its bitter and relaxing qualities make it a supportive herb for sluggish digestion that is accompanied by a tense body and tightness in the belly.
Its name also refers to its ability to mother the mothers—it is helpful when we need a little love and support and a reassuring sense of calm.
Motherwort pairs beautifully with Rose when it comes to supporting those who are heartsick or experiencing grief in their heart—this is one of the reasons why we include both in our Joy Tonic formula.
Rose, Rosa rugosa
Part used: Flower petals, rosehips, and seeds
Herbalists love this plant because of its gentle yet steadfast affinity with the heart. This plant protects our most sensitive side emotionally and physically, and gives us the strength to open our hearts and enjoy the quotidien aspects of life.
Rose medicine gladdens the heart and encourages a balanced emotional response to everyday challenges, and brings peace and strength to the body and spirit. It has a unique yet strong ability to protect and strengthen the heart during times of grief. It’s an herb we can lean on heavily, because it is very safe!
Rose is a heart opener and can help us feel safe and approachable. Rose has our back—it can help us feel less defensive and guarded or afraid of getting our hearts broken.
Rose is particularly important in challenging times, and can offer a gentle hug of support or act as a protective barrier for your emotional heart when things are awry.
We are facing such challenging times in our world right now, that we could all use a little heart-strengthening and protection.
For our physical body, Rose acts as a cooling, heart-settling nervine and aids in gentle cardiovascular support. Its slight astringency supports healthy toned tissues and can be used for skin, tissue and gut support.
Its beauty helps calm us and reclaim our self-love and strength.
Rose is also a lovely one to use in supporting a mindfulness practice of gratitude as it puts us in touch with our heart center.
In the fall when the rosehips ripen, the fruit makes an excellent flavonoid and antioxidant rich food that is used in teas, jellies and tincture formulas.
Linden, tillia spp.
Part used: Leaf and Flower
Also called Basswood, this tree offers a gentle yet necessary medicine, and lots of it, because Linden trees grow all over the world.
Linden is prized for its sweet, soothing taste and soft, floral fragrance—almost like honey. Its flowers, which bloom in early summer, are soft and whimsical and offer a lovely experience when smelling them. Linden supports a healthy, balanced nervous system when taken internally, and encourages a relaxed feeling in the face of occasional nervous irritability.
Energetically this tree is cooling in nature and it is an excellent herb for those people who tend to get worked up with a fiery response to everyday stressors or emotional triggers. Its cooling nature is what contributes to its ability to calm the emotional heart and ease tension.
The Linden tree offers a gentle, relaxing quality that has a way of soothing our tense, jagged edges.
One of our greatest allies for supporting ourselves through life’s everyday stressors, whether we tend to get wound up, or need to unwind at the end of the day.
Linden is also traditionally used to promote healthy respiratory function.
Hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna
Part used: Leaf, Flower, and Berry.
A member of the apple and rose family, Hawthorn has been used for thousands of years as food and medicine, and its affinity with the heart never ceases to amaze us. Both physically and mentally, this is the herb we turn to for heart medicine.
Traditionally it has been used to support optimal cardiac function as well as a healthy emotional balance.
The small, red berry offers a flavonoid-rich medicine and encourages a healthy functioning heart. While the leathery toothed leaves and delicate white flowers act as a gentle heart nervine, supporting relaxation and stable emotional support.
When used daily it’s true shining characteristics are as a circulatory tonic, supporting healthy blood flow and the heart’s natural ability to get blood to all parts of our body. Daily use has also been shown to help people to relax into a softer, and more patient approach to the world.
Energetically, Hawthorn has been used to support grief, broken hearts and those needing a little protection in their boundaries ( it has a long thorn that suggests this!).
This aspect seems to be especially important during these uncertain times, that we protect our heart but also act from a place of fierce love for the world.