Herbs and Resources to help support your body~mind~spirit as you participate in protest, marches, demonstrations, and actions.
On November 25, my whole herbal class "Mi Cuerpo Sagrado," taught by Ancestral Apothecary, processed what was happening in the world as a response to the grand jury's decisions to not indict Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown. We wanted to make an herbal crisis/trauma kit that we could share with our communities. I shared how this amazing herbalist I follow on Instagram @soularbliss from Beatbox Botanicals (along with a collective of people) sent wellness kits to Ferguson. After our discussion, we ended up with a good list of resources. I hope that the information below is useful. I hope the herbs sustain your body~mind~spirit and help you continue to do the very important work you are doing in the community. I summarized the info we discussed in class so please feel free to do more research. Share this resource with your friends. You can send me a message or e-mail (email@example.com) and I can add your tips to the list along with your business name/contact information.
1. Flower Essences
A very common flower essence is the Rescue Remedy. It helps with crisis and shock by stabilizing our energy and the energy around us. You can add a few drops in a spray bottle with distilled water and carry it with you to help emotionally and energetically support someone that may go into shock. People make their own flower essences so you can experiment with what feels right for you. With flower essences, the more frequent you give them the better in times of shock so maybe 1-4 drops every 5-10 minutes can help for as long as the person needs it. If you are taking it internally, make sure to put the drops under your tongue. You can take the essence over the course of a couple of days as well.
It all depends on how your body responds to it.
Rescue Remedy Photo Credit
Nervines are a category of herbs that help support your nervous system (which is usually hyper or under active in times of crisis). My personal favorites are Skullcap and Passion Flower. Skullcap helps with twitching, agitation, chronic stress, tension, pain, calming, insomnia (related to grief), and it is great for "taking the edge off" in a situation where you may feel too upset. Passion Flower has similar properties but it is specifically good for relaxing the muscles. Other herbs that are good to have are Vervain for head shock, Lemon Balm for calming and uplifting (especially because it is an anti-depressant), Chamomile, Lavender tea or as an essential oil (for headaches, cramping, and first aid/disinfecting wounds). You can have these herbs fresh, dried for tea, in essential oils, in massage oils, or in tinctures. They are stronger in tinctures and they need specific dosages so I always like to have them ready to give as a tea. Please do your own research or consult someone that is knowledgeable about herbs if you have any questions.
The Calming Herbs Concepts Photo was taken from this article about nervines by Mountain Rose Herbs.
3. Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil helps people come back to their body in times of shock. It helps people stay focused and centered. You can add drops of the peppermint essential oil in a bottle with some carrier oil (almond, olive, grapeseed, coconut, etc) and have it ready to use by rubbing it in your forehead, neck area, or temples. As a tea, it has many benefits but it specifically relaxes our digestive system. Our digestive and nervous systems are intimately connected so when we are under highly stressful situations, our digestion is impacted. Many people suffer from constipation or loose stool (poop) because of stress. Since the intestinal organs get tight from all the emotions we hold in the belly, it is hard for food to go through or for nutrients to get absorbed. Peppermint is heating and soothing to our belly.
Yarrow is another great herb to have in your kit. Yarrow helps stop external and internal bleeding. If someone is bleeding, you can have them chew some yarrow (i like to carry a little ziploc bag with dried yarrow) and then place it in the bleeding area (like a poultice). Cover it with cloth, a wrap, gauss, or anything else available. If you have the tincture, you can place a couple of drops on the bleeding area to help. Yarrow also helps regulate internal bleeding or help move blood clots out of your body. You can take it internally as a tincture or tea. Energetically, Yarrow is a protective herb and it helps us set boundaries with ourselves and with others. This information is specifically for emergency situations. If you have issues with internal or external bleeding that are more long term, please see a doctor, health practitioner, and herbalist to talk about treatment. Yarrow just has an amazing ability to go in the body and work for both stopping and allowing stagnant blood to flow. Be cautious when you use it internally. DO NOT give to anyone that is pregnant! Photo Credit for Yarrow
I also like to carry chocolate. Chocolate (especially the one with a high percentage of raw cacao) is very grounding.
Other grounding Barks (Cinnamon) and Roots (Burdock, Dandelion, Yellow Dock, Astragalus). Burdock is one of the most grounding roots. You can make a Comfrey (good for bone and connective tissue. Spiritually, comfrey is good for when people feel "broken." It is stabilizing after shock), Lavender (Nervine), Tulsi/ Holy Basil (Adaptogen), and Burdock (Grounding) tea blend.
Other Helpful Herbs, Tips, and Resources
* Calamus Root- Read more about it here
* Olive Flower Essence- Read more about it here
*Healing/First Aid Salves.
* Need some support? Check out Peacock’s list of QTPOC low-cost therapists and other resources
4 Self-Care Resources for Days When the World is Terrible
How to Handle the Emotions of Racial Injustice While at Work
WAYS TO COPE WITH RACISM AND TRAUMA
*Bay Area QTPOC Mental Health Services
Herbal Support for Stress and Trauma
"You Feel Like Shit" Interactive Self Care Guide
* PEOPLE'S COMMUNITY MEDICS (Each One, Teach One) FB
*Know Your Rights Demonstrations and Protests by the ACLU
*Staying Safe and Sensible in Action
*12/18 Healing Justice for Black Lives Matter Thursday
To find a practitioner or sign up to share services visit:
*The Radical Politics of Self-Love and Self-Care
* Protesting in a Police State: How to Stay Safe When Exercising Your Rights
*We Breather Resistance
*The Immediate Need for Emotional Justice
*Our Bodies are Intelligent, Our Bodies Remember
* @soularbliss added the following things to their wellness kit to ferguson:
"Heart healing oil, elderberry syrup, peaceful feeling tea, healing salve, protection spray, a dream pillow, a love note, a quartz crystal, epson salt, vitamin C packets, mint ginger candy, ginger honey packets, nervous system support, immune support and detoxing, cleansing medicine."
List and Photo from @soularliss's Instagram
Home made Gas Masks
Option one: I saw this video and it is supper easy to make them. You only need coffee filters, charcoal, good masking tape, and string! When you actually use them, you need to activate the charcoal by adding water to it or spitting on it. The charcoal will act as a filter.
Option two: is illustrated in the image. The important part is to be able to breathe if shit hits the fan.
****I always recommend finding fresh herbs or flowers. Use them to clean yourself after you leave any action/demonstration/protest. Depending on what you use to smudge yourself it is always a good idea to set up space if needed to clear your energy. You can use copal, cedar, sweetgrass, palo santo, sage, myrrh, tobacco, or any other herbs that are accessible to you or that you use to smudge in your community. Just be cautious when you use herbs because every body will have a different reaction to them. Good luck, stay safe, and take care of your bodies. I am available if you need any help making the kits or if you want to gather a group of people to make them with****
How this article can be more useful:
1. Share your knowledge! If you have anything else to add, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can add it. Send the tips along with your contact information, website, social media names so people can learn about your work as well.
2. Print this article and give it to your family, friends, community spaces, students, and co-workers.
3. Make time in your schedule at work or during a meeting, or even at home to make a kit. If you have the capacity to make more, take them and given them to people in the streets. I am available to come support.
4. Help me by making a graphic of this that people can use when they give away the kits.
Right now, we need to sustain our body so that we have the energy (in our own way) to demand justice & elevate human rights, especially for the #blackbodies #nativebodies, at the top of the priority list in this country.
For the last two years I have participated in a really important ceremony in Mexico. The ceremony is organized by elders that are giving us permission to one day host ceremonies and have our own temescal in our community. For me, this commitment is an 8 year long process. 2014 marks my 3rd year and I am supper excited. As some of you may know, I transitioned into being self employed this fall and the journey has been beautiful but it is also having me get used to a different flow of money and resources. I am currently asking for people to help support me get to Mexico. I was going to start a fundraising page but instead, I decided to make hella pomadas and earrings and just have people support me by buying a product on my Cantos De La Tierra online changarrito. You can buy it for a friend, a family member, for people to use at your office or work space, or for yourself. Everything I make is organic, chemical free, and made with hella love. I will be posting a set of 50 pairs of earrings to sell in the next week. Everything you purchase is supporting me in gaining skills and knowledge that will benefit community. One day I hope that you can use the community temescal that I open up. If you do not want to buy a product you can schedule a limpia session, a massage session, a consultation, and also just donate what you can/want via my website. Click the DONATE button on the home page and give as you wish.
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Echinacea is one of my favorite plants to keep at home before the start of the flu season. It supports your immune system and a healthy immune system means that you are able to fight off viruses and bacteria faster. People also use echinacea for:
You can buy Echinacea in bulk online at:
For More resources on Echinacea please visit:
For the last two weekends, I have been one of the lucky participants of the East Bay Community Birth Support Project Doula Training Program (http://www.birthjusticeproject.org/get-involved/training/).
I was not sure what the experience would be like but I was excited to learn more about birth and how to be a support person to anyone birthing a child into this world. The training itself was one of the most beautiful experiences I've had in my life. I was humbled as I learned how important and necessary it is to provide a just experience to people birthing babies as well as to the babies themselves. I found myself writing a lot of reflections in between breaks and noticing how my own body was responding to everything I was experiencing. One thing I noticed was that I had a headache at the end of the first weekend of training. I was not sure why my head hurt or why the pain felt very unique to any pain I had ever felt on my head before. On Sunday, I slept with the question on my mind and when I woke up I had a message about why the pain was there. In my dream, I went back to my birth. Now, I want to give you a little context on what I know about my birth. My mother had a Cesarian when I was born. She told me that when I came out, I was immediately taken away from her and they kept me in an incubator for a week. When she finally saw me, I had already been drinking formula for a week so I refused to breast feed. I only breast fed for a month after my birth. I am currently working on another story about my actual relationship to my mother in relation to my birth but my dream Sunday night brought into awareness a component of my birth I had not even considered. I realized that the headache I was feeling during the whole training was directly connected to the way I was pulled out of my mother's womb by the doctor during the Cesarian. All the conversations and activities about birth were bringing up my own birth experience (in a good way of course). I realized that maybe I needed to have the memory awakened to do some work around a particular trauma my physical body experienced from my birth. The whole process was an interesting experience, to say the least.
My headache was gone in the morning but I quickly learned how important it was to check in with myself about unfamiliar pain. The pain was a language from a part of my body that has been numb for a long time. My head finally had an opportunity to communicate with me, to ask for acknowledgement, and to receive some love. Maybe my head has been waiting to speak for a long time and I was finally in a place where I would be open to listen, to not numb its expression with medicine or whatever. I was at a place in my life where I was open to just process what was coming to me moving out of me. I learned that our body is a massive universe with memory, stories, and feelings of its own. It is what carried us into this world. I was very humbled to my body for trusting me enough to communicate such an intimate experience that my mind does not remember. I realized that starting my journey as a Doula and as a birth companion to people was another journey I was starting with myself. I was taking myself back to remember how I came into this world. So, as I reflect about my two weekend intensive training, I know that there are so many pieces to my birth story that will begin to recover as I embark on this journey. I start wondering... what else do I not remember about my birth story? As I ask this question, I evoke the power and spirit of Tlazolteotl the Aztec Diosa of Childbirth. Although I do not know too much about her, I know that she might have been at my birth and may have some stories to share. Today, I surrender to magic of the universe and give thanks for the ability to remember, experience, and share. So, what is your birth story?
Image by Viva La Muerte http://www.deviantart.com/art/Tlazolteotl-145936804
In December of 2013, I got in a really bad car accident. I was hit by someone that was speeding so hard that my car flipped over 3 times. I opened my eyes and was upside down in my car. I managed to get myself out of the seat belt and I was pulled out of my car by people that were in the street. It has been 6 months since that experience and a lot has happened. I was grateful that I did not get major injuries from the car accident. I started tending to my body immediately with herbs. I feel very grateful to my body for recovering so rapidly. I am also thankful to the beautiful community of friends and family that took care of me and helped me recover. Although many parts of my body have recovered, my womb is still re-balancing itself from the shock and physical impact of the accident. I have gotten my moon cycle only once since December. I've tried massage, limps, baths, herbal tea and everything has slowly help the inflammation go down but not my cycle. During the May Full Moon, I got inspired to make a massage oil just for my womb. I made it out of castor oil, rose, lavender, chamomile, comfrey, and other herbs that I have special connections too. Today is New Moon in Cancer and I'm excited to press my oil so I can use it. The new moon is about shedding, letting go, releasing, going into the darkness to face those parts of ourselves that we fear, that we want to let go, that we no longer need. Since the New Moon is in Cancer, it is specifically connected to our emotions and to the Moon which is undoubtedly connected to water as well since the moon rules over las agues de la vida y de la tierra. I finally feel ready to move on from that experience and let go of the fear it cause me and my body.
What I have learned is to really move with the waves of the experiences life brings us in the same way I swim with waves in the ocean. Allow them to take me where I need to go and be humbled by the messages the journey brings. Two days ago, I got a limpia from my mentor and maestro Estela Roman. She hella adjusted my ovaries because she told me they had dropped from the car accident. She reminded me that healing from that experience will take. She told me to continue taking care of myself and to be patient with my own body's process. She also told me to continue bathing in herbs to help the inflammation that is still present in my body. I share this oil recipe so that you can use it yourself or share it with someone that might need it. You can use other carrier oils that call to you and other herbs that you might connect with. Im excited to start my herbal bathing ritual this summer and to massage myself with this amazing oil tonight. I'll be making a slave out of this oil as well. If you are interested in a salve just contact me.
You can read about the new moon in the articles below.
You can read about vaginal steam baths in the link below.
Below is a link to an herbal chart so that you can read more about the medicinal properties of herbs.
In an effort to make use of the resources available to me, I decided to start a monthly newsletter. The newsletter will be a space for me to share news, updates and other resources related to the health and wellness work I am doing. The first newsletter will debut August 2014. You can go to the bottom of my contact page to sign up. http://www.berenicedimas.com/contact.html
Photo was taken outside a botanica in San Antonio, Texas
This summer, I will be teaching a 3 week intensive class titled: “Mi Cuerpo Recuerda: A Youth Health and Wellness Class.” I am excited because this will be the second summer I teach the class. Last year I had the honor of working with 13 amazing young girls from our school. This year, I have a co facilitator and we were able to increase the enrollment of the class to 25 students. The purpose of the class is to offer the youth with skills and knowledge around indigenous ways of health and wellbeing. At the core of the class is a hands on experience making different forms of medicine like massage oils, bath salts, tea blends to help the youth process emotional and physical issues they are dealing with. Last year, some of the youth in the class had been victims of assaults in the community, were addicted to drugs, had attempted suicide, had been raped, and were overall struggling in their daily life. This year the student population is similar and the class offers a space for them to re-connect with themselves and gain tools that can help them deal with the impact of their experiences and to inspire them to envision a new perspective about life. The class also focuses on helping them reflect about how historical trauma, social toxins, and other health issues impact the access they have to caring for themselves.
I am currently fundraising for the class. You can visit https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/dlk4f to donate or to share it with your friends!