We are nearing the end of summer, and what a unique and interesting summer it has been for so many of us. Big life changes have been catapulted into this shared reality and the looming question of whether or not school will begin in-person or if we will again go into lock-down, anxiously hangs over our hearts and minds.
These past months of the COVID 19 experience spans a wide spectrum on the stress scale for everyone on the planet. While many have been dropped into the depths of despair and utter loss, others have been left relatively unscathed. Beyond the necessary hard work and repair from such devastation globally, prayers of gratitude for what we have, focused vision for what we truly want to create for ourselves and a dedication towards health for all life, may steer us with clarity and a steadfast swiftness into the winds of change so needed at this time and sweeping us up regardless. We are far more powerful and capable, as individuals and a collective, than we remember. Several things that can impede our power are despair, isolation, disconnection and stress. We know that elevated stress (not the good kind, called eustress) can certainly have a negative impact on our health; the stress and fear response dampens the immune system and can promote inflammation and when left unchecked, can pave the way for chronic disease to set in.
There is a best-suited starting point for every unique individual to find a healthier balance in life; while some may need to focus inward and practice mindfulness and gratitude throughout their days, others truly need to focus on the physical body by eating healthier, increasing physical exercise or changing habits or lifestyles that are stressful to the body; perhaps finding ways to just get good sleep is significant enough for many. One thing is true for almost everyone on the planet right now; an increase in stress, whether it be psychological, physical, emotional or even spiritual has been ramped up significantly. Another thing is also true; we are in immense transition with incredible possibility surrounding us.
In addition to eating a healthy, highly plant-based and diverse diet, the medicinal plant world is there to support us through most anything that we could go through in life, including such stressful times. Adaptogenic plants assist us by lessening the stress load on the psycho-neuro-immuno-endocrine systems. Some of my most trusted adaptogenic allies that I include in my herbal honeys for stressful times (sometimes just everyday, modern life!) are Ashwaganda (Withania somnifera) in Queen Bee, Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) in Peaceful Mind, Siberian Ginseng (Eleuthero) (Eleutherococcus senticosus), Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis), Gynostemma (Gynostema pentaphyllum) and Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) in Bee Energee, Tumeric (Curcuma longa) in Pot of Gold, among many others including our beloved and powerful Nettle (Urtica diocia) in Bee Nutritive, Bee Nourishing, Bee Energee, Breathe Easy. Their assistance not only helps us to feel better throughout our days, but also aids in physiologically maintaining balance and proper functioning within our body systems, most importantly our endocrine, neurologic and immune systems, thus mitigating any deleterious effects of more chronic stress. We also cannot discount the energetic and spiritual attributes of plant these medicines.
Nervine herbs also come to our rescue in stressful times, to support, calm and restore the nervous system. Some well known favorites, also included in many of Harvesting Vitality Herbal Honeys, are Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) in Sleepeez, Flower Power, Happy Belly, Scullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) in Sleepeez, Children’s Cool n’ Calm, Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) in Flower Power, Children’s Cool n’ Calm, Motherwort (Leonarus cardiaca) in Flower Power.
In addition to our herbal allies, strengthening communal ties, supportive networks and interpersonal bonds within our families and communities is also adaptogenic in many ways. Physical contact with our loved ones, such as cuddling, hugging, or hand-holding also strengthens our neurologic, endocrine and immune systems by increasing the production of endorphins, serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine, the feel-good-hormones. In a time of decreased social contact, increasing this type of physical contact with those we feel safe to do so with can only be of significant benefit. Ultimately, love, not fear, is one of our greatest allies.
Pausing in moments throughout the day to acknowledge the state of our physical, psychological, spiritual and emotional body, allows us to breathe in possibility, strength and healing in perhaps entirely new and different ways; for what we need now, more than anything, is inclusiveness, expansion and empowerment, all of which cultivate the deep well of love we each have within us. Through the cultivation of love, we will be far more capable to stand firmly in the empowerment of each cell within our magnificent bodies; in the empowerment of the self and our greater purpose at this time; of our local communities coming together to support one another beyond our differences; and in the empowerment of our global community, collectively upholding the sacredness of Life.