I can honestly say that I have never experienced raw, breath-taking, life-halting grief as some people have. Yes, I’ve lost friends and family, and while some of these losses have taken time to heal, they have healed. Sure, the memories and the feelings of loss are still there, but the grief itself is not.
Over the past year, I’ve come across several different people who have experienced great loss, and every one of these losses has resulted in a kind of grief that is unyielding and suffocating for them.
Grief is a healthy, normal response to loss—any kind of loss, and I believe that there is no specific time period for grieving. Grief is a complex thing and is a subjective experience for each individual. But what is it about grief that is, oftentimes, so deep, so embedded in a person that they can’t seem to find their way through it?
As a friend and herbalist, I’ve often wondered what I can do to help in these specific situations?
As I was recently thinking about this, I came across an article in The Herbarium called “A Materia Medica For Grief” by herbalist Naomi Ullian. In this article, Naomi speaks of heartbreak and how the physical body is affected by it. She looks at how healers in various cultures and traditions have approached this deep-seated type of grief, and she provides a short list of herbs that have been known to bring support to the grieving mind and body.
As I read this article and thought about what I could do to support someone through their time of grief. I realized that when I’m feeling a little down, one thing that never fails to calm my spirit and help me feel centered and grounded is a quiet place, a blank journal, and a nice, hot cup of herbal tea. For whatever reason, it helps me to shut out the noise, look inward, and simply dump everything in my mind and heart on that paper, whether it makes sense or not.
In today’s article, I’d like to share a simple recipe for an herbal grief tea that you can make and give to someone (along with a handwritten note and a blank journal) anytime someone you know is grieving in some way.