By Angela England and Linda Bertaut
Nature heals in many ways. Most of us have felt the sense of renewal that comes from walking through a garden filled with fragrant flowers, or sitting under a massive tree, shaded from the burning rays of the sun. Indigenous peoples worldwide believe that each plant has a spirit we can communicate with, to ask for their help in healing.
You can tap into "plant spirit" by keeping aromatic plants around your home or wherever you spend time. Whether fresh or dried, herbs and plants can delight the senses and offer varied health benefits.
Choosing Favorites Here are some popular herbs, as well as their purported health benefits. When choosing your favorites, take a few minutes to breathe in the scents and try to identify what the aroma does for you. Caution: If you have plant allergies, some herbs may cause a reaction.
Chamomile: Euphoric--Soothes nerves, aids digestion, and improves appetite. Good for circulation to the surface of the skin. Induces perspiration. Good as an overall tonic.
Jasmine: Magical--Helps menopause symptoms. Antibacterial, antioxidant, and aphrodisiac. May lower bad cholesterol when used in teas.
Lavender: Healing--Calming and sedative. Relieves anxiety, depression, and exhaustion. Helps with digestion, headaches, and skin problems. Antiseptic, antibiotic, and a natural detoxifier.
Lemon Balm: Joyful--A member of the mint family, it was used for centuries to treat melancholy. Soothes the nerves and helps with indigestion. May be used topically to reduce redness and swelling.
Peppermint: Uplifting--Calms the stomach and helps with digestion. Increases secretion of bile. Anti-fungal, highly nutritive, and can alleviate symptoms of allergies and asthma.
Red Clover: Cleansing--Blood purifier, sedative, and good for the nerves. May be used topically to help acne, psoriasis, and skin sores.
Rose Hips: Fortitude--High in vitamin C and bioflavonoids. Antioxidant. Also contains vitamins A and B, essential fatty acids, and lycopene.
Rose Petals: Beautiful--Antibacterial, antidepressant, and aphrodisiac. Rose water is beneficial to the skin.
Rosemary: Awakening--Highly nutritive, with vitamins A, C, and B complex. Boosts the immune system. Anti-fungal,anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiseptic.
Sage: Wisdom--Grounding. Antibacterial and astringent. Helps with digestion; good as a gargle for sore throats; relieves sore gums; helps reduce hot flashes. Can be used as a rinse to darken grey hair.
At Harmony Day Spa we are currently diffusing Peppermint and Lemon Balm. Delicious.