Herbs for Grief

When I first came up with the idea for this blog I was unaware of the events happening in Beirut, Paris and other places. I was thinking more from a personal level. It seems only appropriate that I write it now.

What Grief Does to the Body

Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine quotes an article that states that grief is believed to be related to the suppression of white blood cell function. It can take up to a year to return to normal.

PsychGuides.com quotes the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth physical symptoms of grief as:
Digestive Problems
Chest Pain
Sore Muscles

The website griefwords.com also adds

Increased allergy symptoms
Immune system suppression

While most people know that grief causes emotional issues very few of us know that grief is a physical thing. Let’s take a look at a few herbs that can help.

Lemon Balm
I have written so much on lemon balm that I won’t repeat it here. If you are interested in information on Lemon Balm please check out my blog at www.joyborthwick.com

canstockphoto4491373 Valerian


Valerian is a sedative herb. It is excellent for the nerves as well.
Valerian has been found to produce calming effects in stressful situations.  There are studies that show valerian as being effective for use against stress and anxiety and studies that show it has not.  The fact that valerian has been used for hysteria, anxiety and stress for centuries tells me that there is definitely an effect.  On a personal note I have occasionally used valerian for anxiety and found it effective.

canstockphoto3206801 chamomile


Chamomille is one of the most soothing herbs. It is also one of the safest. It has no interactions and is easily available. You can even place a drop of chamomille oil on the end of an infants nose to soothe it. Chamomille has a sedative effect and has also been used for centuries to treat sleep disorders.

Chamomille has also been used traditionally to treat digestive disorders. It boosts the immune system and is even helpful in preventing coronary heart disease.
It can be taken as a tea, in a tincture and applied to the skin (in carrier oil) as an essential oil.
A soothing bath can be made by simply tossing a chamomille tea bag into the running water. Then steep yourself in the calming steam.



Calendula is possibly one of my favourite herbs. It is excellent for keeping your immune system strong and healthy.

Calendula stimulates the immune system and promotes lymphatic drainage.  It increases sweating in fevers allowing toxins to be removed from the body.  There are capsules, tinctures, oils and teas made from Calendula.

My personal favourite delivery system, as usual, is Calendula tea.  The tea can be taken internally to boost the immune system, combat candida and clear congestion.  It can also be used externally to reduce inflammation and sore muscles.  The anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties of Calendula also make it excellent for wound healing.

Bach Rescue Remedy

I don’t normally do this, but I couldn’t write a blog on grief without mentioning this amazing product. It consists of 5 flowers:
Star of Bethlehem
Cherry Plum
Rock Rose

Each flower has its own formula but rescue remedy was created for the times when you just need something now.

Prior to becoming an Herbalist, this was my go to remedy. Frankly it is still a convenient way to relieve grief and stress. Better yet, it is 100% safe for pets. There is even a Pet Rescue Remedy. Check out Rescue Remedy here.

Time may heal grief but it’s nice to know there is help along the way.




Bartram Thomas FNIMH, Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, Marlowe & Company, New York