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Heart-Supportive Herbs for Grief & Loss
By Madeline Christie
Madeline is a Death Companion initiated through the School of American Thanatology, as well as a passionate death-positive advocate and educator in her community. She runs a small business @pet.wakes helping people plan and prepare for the death of their pets, and is currently the Coordinator of Special Projects and Initiatives at Harmonic Arts.
Grief is a tough subject to talk freely about. It can show up in our lives in many different ways. Perhaps we’ve lost a job due to COVID, are grieving the end of a romantic partnership or friendship, the loss of a way of life, or are anticipating the loss of a family member, friend or pet. Grief can feel especially painful during the holiday season.
Personally, living with two beloved elderly cats keeps grief at the front of my mind. Navigating these thoughts can be difficult at times, and I’ve developed a herbal self-care routine to support my stress response. This practice keeps me grounded when things feel heavy, and helps me emotionally prepare for when the time comes to say goodbye to my fur babies.
Grief and stress often go hand-in-hand, affecting us both mentally and physically. When it comes to herbs for my own grief, I like to focus on supporting adrenal function. The adrenal glands are essential for regulating our hormones, blood pressure and our fight-or-flight response. When we’re dealing with ongoing stress caused by grief or loss, our adrenals might struggle to keep up which can leave us feeling fatigued or anxious.
Taking time for ourselves and adding adrenal-supportive herbs to our daily routines when anticipating or experiencing grief can be really impactful. One of my favourite herbal supporters is Reishi Mushroom. Reishi opens the heart, calms the mind and promotes emotional balance when we’re facing trauma, shock and anxiety. Reishi is known to gladden the heart and support peace while keeping our immune systems strong. Adding our Reishi Mushroom Tincture to my daily coffee, tea or smoothie is a simple way that I stay grounded while living with grief.
Here are some additional herbs that can be soothing and healing:
Rhodiola helps our body adapt to chronic stress and burnout, especially when we’re lacking energy. Leaning into Rhodiola can uplift our mood, concentration and emotional stability.
Linden has heart-shaped leaves that are indicative of its affinity for the heart. It softens tension and lifts worry and unease so we can feel more at peace.
Hawthorn is a classic heart tonic. It supports emotional well-being, and helps us restore strength when our spirits are low.
Tinctures are a convenient way to receive the supportive benefits of these herbal allies, and make the tough times a little easier.
Do you take any of these herbs to support grief? Let us know in the comments.
Click here to try our Reishi Mushroom Tincture.