We hear much about various addictions these days and how people are not being nurtured to health in responsible and loving ways. Let’s look to the plants, specifically nourishing nervines to see a way forward. Nervines are some of my favorites [herbs] because most of them are nourishing and enlivening to the body. When the body, mind and spirit are attacked by too much stress, media, etc, the nervous system slowly breaks down a bit and needs the support of nervines. When they are not working properly, the nerves are like a pool table, they send the message, but it goes off in the wrong corner and doesn’t hit the pocket. So, we want to have plenty of delicious nervines in our lives in a daily way. We want to slowly build our bodies up and feed it what it needs, so that you can in fact go to sleep at night. I don’t like the pharmaceutical approach, where you take something at night and knock yourself out. I like to treat the nervous system all day long and that way, you’re ready to go to bed and embrace the pillow.
When working with addiction, whether it’s addiction to pharmaceutical prescriptions, substances or even screens, my two absolute favorite herbs are milky oats or oatstraw (two different parts of the plant) and marshmallow root. I use these herbs together, but you can also use them apart. Let’s look at Avena sativa, Milky Oats. Milky oats is the stage of the oats where when you squeeze the beautiful tip of it, the exudate looks like mother’s milk-and it is like mother’s milk. When people are working with addictions, what they really want is nurturing, they want to be back at the breast and milky oats is as close as you’re ever going to get to being nurtured by the Great Mother. If you gather the oats in the milky stage the milk dries into the oats, or you can make a fresh glycerite, and that has an advantage because the glycerite has no alcohol in it and many people suffering from addictions should avoid alcohol, even in tincture form. Another advantage with glycerites is that it expands within the body, it’s as though it fills the gap of need.
I work with people coming off serious opioids and this is very very helpful, as that sense of being held is what people need and the oats can fill that gap. When you think about oats, imagine seeing this field of oats blowing in the wind…and the feeling there is calmness, it’s like having a stroke of love across the body. Milky Oats is incredibly calming. It’s full of silica, the light of life, so it brings back to the person that spark that they might be missing. When you’re depressed, you need to have more sources of light, but adding some plants, that hold light, can nourish you and bring more light. The demulcent action of Milky Oats is completely necessary from mouth to exit in the human body. All those mucus membranes also need to be nurtured, so the demulcent action supports the body, supporting the extracellar matrix of the body. Oatstraw can be used interchangeably as the milky oats, although it is not going to have the major kick that milky oats has, but I have used oatstraw very successfully and it works incredibly well. When we think about oats, you’re going to see beautiful shiny horses dancing in the fields—and the oats will make you more frisky too! It feeds your hair and nails and makes what is dull shiny, and that dullness is dullness of the brain, as well as the dullness outside that you notice. We want to be alive and vital, so this type of deep nourishment is vital to helping someone get away from any sort of addictive behavior….
“Taken from an interview with Margi Flint at The Plant Medicine Summit.”~ edited for this blog by Beth Mwano
To be continued…