by Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac.
The medicinal benefits of herbs have been recorded for centuries. Herbs were extensively used to cure practically every known illness and have been documented by Egyptian, Roman, Native American, Persians and Hebrews alike. Many herbs contain powerful ingredients that, if used correctly, can help heal the body. By using herbs in their complete form, the body’s healing process utilizes a balance of the ingredients provided by nature. The fresh leaves, bark, and roots of herbs can be used in their natural form or can be found in dried form and used in capsules, tablets, tinctures, essential oils, powders, creams, lotions, and salves. Herbs have a vibrational frequency that is in tune to that of our own bodies.
Aromatherapy is the practice of using naturally distilled essences of flowers and herbs to promote the health and well-being of your body, mind, and emotions. These essences, called essential oils, can restore balance and harmony to your body and to your life. Essential oils of herbs, fruit, and flower essences are created to center and enhance the body and mind in order to help us in preventative measures, as well as, an effective cure for many illnesses. Scents can induce an amazing power as they influence our moods. Our sense of smell is the most direct path to our emotions. This is the principle behind the ancient art of aromatherapy.
Sensing one’s own energy vibrations is an individual experience and may take a little practice. The more open we are to the universal pathways, the easier we perceive the energy vibration. Regular energy work such as meditation, reiki, yoga, acupuncture, will bring a higher awareness and the change in perception that is important. I often teach that energy follows thought. Where we put our thoughts, which are where our energy goes. Simply by being aware of our energetic system and focusing on the various components we raise our vibrational frequencies.
Vibrational remedies are subtle energy stimuli, which interact with the energy system to help stabilize physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual conditions. Once balance is restored, we can easily rid ourselves of toxins and negative patterns that hinder our life processes. Through vibrational remedies we revive a proper flow of energy. The energy closest to the physical is where the meridians are found. That is why this level of energy can be manipulated through physical instruments, as with acupuncture; pressure from hands, as with massage or Chakra manipulation, as with herbs, crystals, color therapy and mind/breath work.
The word “Chakra” is Sanskrit for wheel or disk and signifies one of seven basic energy centers in the body. The Chakra are stations along the central axis of your being. Each one is a point at which energy can be expressed in a certain set of actions, attitudes and emotions. The Chakra are a map of the soul which must move and flow for healing to occur. Each of these centers correlates to major nerve ganglia branching out from the spinal column. In addition, the Chakra also correlate to levels of consciousness, archetypal elements, developmental stages of life, colors, sounds, body functions, scent and our viseral organs.
Use the following herbs by either anointing the Chakra centers with their essential oils, drinking the herb in the form of herbal tea, using the herb as a compress or poultice.
Muladhara: 1st Chakra (Base or Root Chakra): Earth, Physical identity, oriented to self-preservation. Located at the base of the spine, this chakra forms our foundation. It represents the element earth, and is therefore related to our survival instincts, and to our sense of grounding and connection to our bodies and the physical plane. Ideally this chakra brings us health, prosperity, security, and dynamic presence. The color for the root chakra is red and it is grounded with your power. When this chakra is open, you feel in good health and connected with your physical body. It is used to ground your essence into your physical body. This chakra gives you determination, grounds you and aids in survival in the physical realms. First chakra : Cedar, Clove, Pepper, Raspberry leaves, Vetiver. For example:
Cedarwood is considered the “tree of life” because it withstands the four elements year round no matter how harsh the seasons are. The name Thuja is a latin form of a Greek word meaning ‘to fumigate,’ or thuo (‘to sacrifice’), for the fragrant wood was burnt by the ancients with sacrifices. Thuja also contains volatile oil, sugar, gelatinous matter, wax, resin, and Thujin. Works both as a stimulant and tonic as well as reducing stress and tension.
Clove is the most stimulating and carminative of all aromatics; given in essence, powder or infusion. The medicinal properties reside in the volatile oil. The oil must be kept in dark bottles in a cool place. Grounding and warming, clove works on warming the interior of the body.
Svadhisthana: 2nd Chakra (Spleen or Sexual Chakra): Water, Emotional identity, oriented to self-gratification. The second chakra, located in the abdomen, lower back, and sexual organs, is related to the element water, and to emotions and sexuality. It connects us to others through feeling, desire, sensation, and movement. Ideally this chakra brings us fluidity and grace, depth of feeling, sexual fulfillment, and the ability to accept change. The color for this chakra is orange. It is used for creativity, vitality and sexual expression and creates the balance between connectedness with other people and time spent alone. The spleen chakra is located in the sexual organs– ovaries in women and testes in men. Second chakra : Burdock, Damiana, Gardenia, Sandalwood, Ylang-Ylang. For example:
Gardenia has very fragrant creamy-white flowers and glossy, dark-green leaves. Gardenia jasminoides is native to China although they are cultivated all over the world. The pods are used in the Chinese Materia Medica for clear heat in the body. The perfume oil can be used to anoint the second Chakra and it?s petals make for a fragrant bath ingredient or to can entrance the senses!
Sandalwood fights infection, especially in the urinary tract, relieves muscle spasm, softens and soothes all skin types, moisturizes, stimulates new cell growth, clears mucous, congestion, calms nerves, stimulates sexual desires. Sandalwood and is the oil from the first pressing. This oil is known as “Liquid Gold” and is the third oil referred to in the Wise Men’s sacred offerings.
Ylang Ylang is enticing, soothing, sensual. The aromatics are fresh, floral, sweet and very seductive. Ylang Ylang calms nerves, lifts depression, fights infection, improves circulation, lowers blood pressure, stimulates sexual desire.
Manipura: 3rd Chakra (Solar Plexus Chakra): Fire, Ego identity, oriented to self-definition. This chakra is known as the power chakra, located in the solar plexus. It rules our personal power, will, and autonomy, as well as our metabolism. When healthy, this chakra brings us energy, effectiveness, spontaneity, and non-dominating power. The color for this chakra is yellow. Yellow is very good for getting in touch with your power and to build confidence. It is your center of will. This Chakra deals with the human ego, emotions and self-love. Intuition is believed to begin in the area of our energy center Solar Plexus Chakra. Although, the Third Eye Chakra is most associated with intuition, the “spark” is what is felt in the area of our solar plexus. This being the biggest nerve center in our body connected to almost all the organs, the solar plexus is often where we consider our “gut” feeling to come from. This is also where the connection between the three lower Chakra interchange with the four higher Chakra energy centers. Third chakra : Bergamot, Carnation, Lavender, Marshmallow, Rosemary. For example:
Bergamot has antiseptic properties. This makes it useful for urinary tract infections, acne and skin problems, cystitis, arthritis, respiratory ailments, cold sores and other herpes related ailments. The source of this scent is from the rinds of the fruit. The aromatherapy benefits are that it refreshes and uplifts and has a lovely light lemon, orange citrus aroma.
Marshmallow stimulates the immune system and the production of white blood cells. It also soothes inflammation, slows production of mucus, and reduces sugar levels in the body. This herb stimulates this Chakra and can be found in its most popular form of tincture or capsules.
Rosemary, rosamarinus officinalis stimulates the adrenal glands, circulatory system, liver, gallbladder, promotes nerve health, improves the functioning of the heart and nervous system. Tones and tightens the skin, regulates oil secretion, fights infection, joint pain, muscle spasms, and eases digestive orders. The aromatherapy benefits are stimulating, clarifying and invigorating.
Anahata: 4th Chakra (Heart Chakra): Air, Social identity, oriented to self-acceptance. This chakra is called the heart chakra and is the middle chakra in a system of seven. It is related to love and is the integrator of opposites in the psyche: mind and body, male and female, persona and shadow, ego and unity. A healthy fourth chakra allows us to love deeply, feel compassion, have a deep sense of peace and centeredness. The color for this chakra is green. This chakra deals with physical healing, balance, harmony, compassion and love. The heart chakra is located near the heart. Fourth chakra : Geranium, Hawthorn berries, Jasmine, Lavender, Marjoram, Orris root, Rose oil, Yarrow. For example:
Hawthorn berries are the herb of choice for the heart. Hawthorne Berry may help strengthen the heart, help increase blood flow, encourage healthy blood pressure levels and maintain healthy arteries. Useful for anemia, and circulatory disorders, high cholesterol and lowered immunity. High in Vitamins B &C, it is also used as a kidney tonic. Often used as a digestive aid.
Jasmine, jasmine officinalis is used as a relaxing and antidepressant oil, which gives rise to it’s status as an aphrodisiac. A wonderful oil for the skin especially dry skin conditions. Calms nerves, reduces inflammation, fights infection, clears mucus, softens skin. Thousands of jasmine flower picked at just the right time are then steam distillation in order to utilize the aromatherapy benefits of relaxing, soothing and a sheer confidence builder.
Rose, is the Mother of All Flowers, the Rose has amazing powers oflove, trust and self acceptance. Roses are representative offaith, hope and love and has the qualities to restore the verycenter of one’s being. A gentle tonic of the heart, Rose oil’s psychological properties lie mainly in its effect on the mind,the center of our emotional being. Rose oil calms and supports the heart and helps to nourish the soul! Also symbolizing the feminine, red is the color of choice for Roses used or gathered at Midsummer. Long associated with the eternity of true love, at Midsummer this flower also blesses the Sacred Union.
Visuddhi: 5th Chakra (Throat Chakra): Sound, Creative identity, oriented to self-expression This is the chakra located in the throat and is thus related to communication and creativity. Here we experience the world symbolically through vibration, such as the vibration of sound representing language. The color for this chakra is blue. This chakra deals with communication and expression. The throat chakra is located near the thyroid gland. Opening this chakra allows you to speak the truth and to express your true feelings with love. Fifth chakra : Benzoin, Basil, Chamomile, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Red Clover, Sage. For example:
Sage in tincture form or when burned, has a pungent odor. Sage is used principally for smudging but can also be used in the blessing down of our homes and vehicles. It is commonly used in medicine tea to flush ones system of all impurities. In sweat lodge ceremonies, sage is used to sit on and represents part of the plant world. It is also burned in smudge pots. The herb is widely used in many of our sacred ceremonies.
Chamomile, an herb of the sun, Chamomile’s bright yellow flowers bring power and light to your space and rituals. Chamomile’s medicinal properties range from skin inflammations to lightening hair to treating digestive problems. As a mild sedative, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial, it improves digestion by relaxing the muscles throughout the gastrointestinal system and it can induce an overall sense of calm and well-being.
Ajna: 6th Chakra (Third Eye Chakra): Light, Archetypal identity, oriented to self-reflection. This chakra is known as the brow chakra or third eye center. It is related to the act of seeing, both physically and intuitively. As such it opens our psychic faculties and our understanding of archetypal levels. When healthy it allows us to see clearly, in effect, letting us “see the big picture.” The color for this chakra is indigo, a combination of red and blue. This chakra deals with clairvoyance and mental activity. The third eye chakra is located in the center of the forehead. Sixth chakra : Eyebright, Jasmine, Mint, Mugwort, Star Anise. For example:
Eyebright is one of the primary herbs used for eye care. It has been depended upon for at least 2000 years in the treatment of various eye problems. It is especially useful for eyestrain, over-sensitivity to light, eye inflammations, weeping eyes and other eye ailments. In addition, Eye Bright can relieve other symptoms that often accompany runny, sore, itchy eyes due to colds or allergies. This herb lends its power to the third eye by virtue of it?s proximity, it?s auric imprint and true intention.
Mugwort is a wonderful warming herb that is used to boost the Yang energy in Chinese Medicine. Burned like ceremonial sage or cedar, or on the body on slices of garlic, ginger or onion, this rich fragrant herb can assist in any type of cold in the body. Because of its Yang nature, it assists in the up and outward movement of energy from the inside (Yin Nature) to cast out into the Universe power of intention and intuition, which is all that empowers with the third eye.
Sahasrara: 7th Chakra (Crown or Christ Consciousness Chakra): Thought, Universal identity, oriented to self-knowledge. This is the crown chakra that relates to consciousness as pure awareness. It is our connection to the greater world beyond, to a timeless, spaceless place of all-knowing. When developed, this chakra brings us knowledge, wisdom, understanding, spiritual connection, and bliss. The color for this chakra is a mixture of Silver, Gold and White and Violet. It is the combination of All that Is and the Divine Connection. The crown chakra is located at the top of the head. The silver is the feminine energy of creation, the gold is the masculine energy of creation, and the white/violet light is truth and clarity which give clear vision of the truth and protection. Seventh chakra : Frankincense, Lavender flower, Lotus, Neroli, Rose, Olibanum, Spruce. For example:
Lavender flower stimulates new cell growth, lifts depression, calms nerves, fights infection, reduces inflammation, and eases congestion. Relieves pain and muscle spasm. Lowers blood pressure. Steam distillation of these fragrant flowers creates aromatherapy benefits such as stimulates, relaxes, calms and soothes the entire body.
Frankincense rejuvenates skin, so it’s used on mature and aging complexions and to fade old scars, reduce inflammation, moisturize dry hair, and cure acne. A holiday favorite, this pungent scent is often associated with Christmas and is said to be one of the gifts of the Magi. Its antiseptic properties fight bacterial and fungal skin infections in a salve, lotion, or as a compress. This oil works in two ways to help the body fight infection and pain. It first numbs nerve endings to reduce the amount of pain sensations that reach the brain. And then it boosts the body’s immune system to accelerate the healing process. As an added bonus, the oil’s aroma relaxes the brain, which helps bring on sleep.
Neroli is a rich citrus scent often used in the scenting of perfumes. Neroli oil has a sweet, floral and slightly haunting aroma. This essential oil is also known as ‘orange blossom’ and it takes about 1000 lbs. of orange blossoms to make 1 lb. of Neroli oil. The orange petals were used in China in the making of cosmetics and are still an ingredient for making traditional smelling Eau-de-cologne. Orange petals are often associated with marriage, purity and brides who traditionally wore it in their hair.