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.