Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Boston

Herbs for Emotional Well-Being

Nov 30, 2017 10:41AM ● By Tommy Priester

Emotional well-being is essential in order to walk through life in a kind and respectful way. When one is feeling balanced, they’re generally happy, kind and often playful. Conversely, when one is stressed, out of balance and absorbed in their suffering, it can be difficult to smile or even be present in the moment.

When stressed, the body releases a set of chemicals caused by the stress response. Some of these chemicals are adrenalin, cortisol, thyroxin and insulin, among others. These chemicals can cause several imbalances, especially if the stress response becomes chronic.

Chronic stress can lead to many deficiencies. These deficiencies can lead to malnutrition and improper endocrine/ hormonal communication in the body. Humans are hormonal beings. When balanced and happy, hormones are sending and receiving harmonious messages from the heart, digestive system, adrenals, pituitary gland and other endocrine glands.

According to Candice Pert, author of Molecules of Emotion, The intestines are the seat of our emotional brain— our emotional headquarters. When responding to stress, the intestines begin to shut down, as the circulatory blood is mostly diverted to the peripheral muscles for the fight/flight response. This stress response can in turn cause mild to severe imbalances. When in stress, the communication between the liver, heart and most endocrine glands starts to break down and goes into an emergency mode. In this emergency mode one can become super anxious, sad/depressed, overwhelmed, angry, insecure, etc.

Many people suffer with seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.). For them, the season’s changing can bring on depression and or anxiety and an anticipation of the darkness of the winter. S.A.D. feelings are often triggered by the seasonal changes, but can be more related to unhealed early traumas, be it pre-birth, birth process or post-birth. Once these traumas are healed, S.A.D. issues ease or clear entirely.

This is an area where herbs can be most helpful. The teas below are focused on calming, warming, healing and balancing one’s body, mind, emotions and spirit. These formulas can bring about a sense of ease and in turn allow one to be more present, calm and engaged in life. These herbal formulas can help to relax and rebalance the whole system, no matter the source of the stress.

Wholesome herbal teas should be consumed three times per day for proper effectiveness. When sitting down to drink a freshly brewed tea, stop a moment, remind yourself to breathe deep and slow, and notice how the tea makes you feel. Herbal teas are the least expensive, simplest and very effective approach to bringing harmony and balance into being.

The following teas can bring ease, balance and harmony, and be simply formulated by using one teaspoon to represent one part. Tea blends are arranged in one to three parts per herb. Make the formulas by mixing herbs together in a zip lock bag. Use one to two tablespoons of the blend to three cups of boiled water. Let it steep covered for 20 minutes or let it sit overnight in an airtight bottle. Drink three cups daily.

Uplifting and nourishing blend: 1 part reishi, 2 parts linden, 2 parts holy basil, 2 parts catnip, 1part rose and 3 parts hawthorn. Actions: Immune modulating, heart calming, anti-anxiety, digestive, anti- spasmodic, endocrine balancing and cardiac supportive.

Calming and centering: 2 parts passion flower, 3 parts skullcap, 1 part ashwagan-da, 1 part lavender, 2 parts lemon balm, 2 parts linden and 3 parts chamomile. Actions: Calming, anti-inflammatory, endocrine balancing, anti-viral, cardio- tonic, digestive.

Endocrine balancing: 1 part reishi, 2 parts eleuthero, 3 parts skullcap, 2 parts stinging nettle, 2 parts holy basil and 1 part licorice. Actions: Heart centering, adrenal supportive, calming and fortifying.

Energizing and warming: 3 parts holy basil, 2 parts eleuthero, ½ part cinnamon, 1 part dandelion root, ½ part ginger and 1 part licorice. Actions: Endocrine balancing, warming, mild stimulant and digestive stimulant.

Tommy Priester is a clinical herbalist, wellness counselor and founder of Bear Medicine Holistic Services & Heart Mind Integration Healing. In addition to his own workshops and seminars, he has been a faculty member at The Boston School of Herbal Studies for 14 years. For more information, visit