Regardless of where we all are, there’s a unifying uncertainty gripping the world right now – whether it manifests as subtle stress, anxiety, or full-body overwhelm. Fear of the unknown, suddenly changed life dynamics and dismantled comfort zones are affecting many of us. So a shift to compassion for oneself, through nourishing our inner body, can be deeply powerful right now.
Here, naturopath and herbalist Sarah Mann, who runs her own business, Sarah Mann Naturopath, guides us through how to incorporate herbs into our daily wellness routines, and how they may help us centre ourselves in unsettling times.
Cultivating Stability In Changing Times
By Sarah Mann
It has been a wild year; globally, culturally, personally.
In small ways, in torrential ways, in devastating ways and truly positive ways. Life has been unhinged for both children and adults alike. How can we cultivate stability in times of utter upheaval? To be adaptable, creative and full of hope? Luckily, plants and nourishment have always been here for us in the hardest of times, and they have an incredible capacity to help us find our centre.
Stability is to feel secure and embodied , and it has its seat in a smooth, nourished nervous system. When we are stressed, shocked or confronted, we constrict and are pushed out of ourselves with the sustained tension in our nervous system, until the danger has passed. When it’s safe, our breathing relaxes, our muscles unwind, and we come back, warmth spreading back into our fingers and toes. From here, we’re are free to create, to grow, to digest, to be innovative, to expressive, to respond.
How Herbs May Help
We have a natural affinity to the medicine of plants, through the fabric of our body. It’s the foundation from where stability grows – physically, emotionally and spiritually. It enables us to thrive in any circumstance, and know we have what it takes to feel it all and meet it all.
Adaptogens are a wonderful group of herbs with a therapeutic attribute unique to herbal medicine. Adaptogenic herbs strengthen and fortify our nervous system and help us adapt to stress. They help us find our stability in trying times. They pair beautifully with calming or stimulating herbs depending on what we need to find our centre. These herbs are beautiful enjoyed as herbal infusions (tea).
Some Herbal Adaptogens
- Holy Basil (Tulsi)
- Gotu kola
- Licorice root
- Withania (Ashwagandha)
- Medicinal mushrooms like Reishi and Shiitake *We get ours at SuperFeast
If you’re feeling frazzled and overstimulated
- Oats Straw
- Californian Poppy
A favourite calming herbal infusion: Withania, Rose and Chamomile
If you’re feeling lethargic and exhausted
- Siberian Ginseng
- Korean Ginseng
- Cacao together with Reishi mushroom
- Lemon balm (uplifting)
A favourite fortifying Herbal Infusion: Licorice, Siberian Ginseng and Ginger
Whole Nervous System Tonic
If you’re feeling both exhausted and frazzled
Holy Basil, Oats Straw and Nettle
Our Need For Nourishment
Two essential nutrients to support stability are protein and good healthy fats.
Protein stabilises our energy, blood sugars and appetite and gives us the best chance at feeling centred through the day. Have a wholesome source of protein in every meal, but especially at breakfast. For plant-based people, that looks like combining nuts and seeds, whole grains and/or legumes together, so a herby nutty pesto on wholesome seed-based toast with a hemp protein smoothie on the side is a beautiful start. For omnivores, try a herby frittata with goat cheese, fresh leafy greens and homemade hazelnut dukkah.
We need good healthy fats, and wholesome cold pressed oils for a healthy nervous system. When we are parched of good fats, we feel frazzled and thin-skinned. Healthy fats provide a buffer and are a conduit for smooth inner communication.
Plant-based essential fatty acids come from hemp seeds and oil, flaxseeds and oil, chia seeds, and walnuts. If you’re an omnivore, you can also get your good fats from fish and seafood, always sustainably sourced.
A nourished body gives you the best opportunity to be emotionally and creatively stable and assured when the world turns upside down. You are safe, you can do it.
Steadfast I stand in the world
With certainty I tread the path of life
Love I cherish in the core of my being
Hope I carry into every deed
Confidence I imprint upon my thinking
These five lead me to my goal
These five give me my existence.
– Rudolf Steiner
Sarah is available for in-person appointments at her practice in Katoomba, Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia, or online via Telehealth video consult. https://www.sarahmannnaturopath.com/naturopathic-consultations