This one had what I needed, a formula for panic attacks that also stops some migraines, and a bottle of Lavender essential oil. I got in the truck and took a few dropperfuls of the tincture bottle labeled Calm Down Fast. I dabbed some Lavender essential oil under my nose, on my temples and on my collar. I waited a few minutes.
Well, it was probably less time than that, as I was still freaking out and worrying that I had gotten to the medicine too late. I took a few more dropperfuls. I sat there, dosing myself with both remedies for about20 minutes. Slowly, my vision cleared up, my heart rate slowed down and I felt a growing sense that things were going to be alright. This episode reminded me that with all the writing I have done lately about herbs and mental health, I have primarily focused on herbs for building resilience — herbs for the long haul. I have spent relatively little time talking about how to work with herbs for emotional emergencies, for acute symptoms that require immediate relief.
To correct this imbalance, here are some of my go-to herbs for getting through moments of crisis. If I were to carry only one herb in my emotional first aid kit, both for myself and for others, it would be Lavender , Lavandula officinalis. Lavender is a calming,aromatic herb from the mint family. You can procure affordable Lavender essential oil at most health food stores. When in crisis, simply rub some of the oil on your temples, under your nose or on your collarbone. You can also hold the bottle under your nose and breathe deeply for a few minutes.
One bottle will last a long time.
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If you prefer whole plant medicine, carry dried Lavender flowers in a reusable tea bag or fabric pouch. When under stress, pull out your sachet and inhale deeply.
Sit still, close your eyes and count your breaths. See how they slow down. Feel your muscles relax.
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You feel calm and out of danger. I have given variations of this formula to many clients and friends with good results.
The base of the formula is a combination of Hawthorn and a bitter mint, usually, either Motherwort, Betony or Skullcap, with Kava and Anemone to support those herbs. I put Hawthorn, Crataegus sp. Hawthorn is specific for overwhelm and over-stimulation. It is gently calming while also helping provide a sense of protection. We have a greater capacity for letting in only that which we want to let in and filtering out the rest under its influence. Hawthorn works as a gatekeeper and boundary-strengthener. To Hawthorn, I add a bitter mint. The bitter mints are calming nervines that support our parasympathetic response.
When we are entering full fight or flight mode in instances when that type of response is not needed, these herbs provide calming, relaxing support. Motherwort, Leonorus cardiaca, goes in if there are heart palpitations or if the person feels an overall lack of support when they are activated. Skullcap , Scutellaria lateriflora, is a powerful sedative that relieves anxiety and reduces overwhelm. Anemone brings us down from panicky states. It slows and strengthens the heartbeat, while dispelling agitation. Anemone also heads off migraines if you take it early enough, in the aura phase before the migraine takes over.
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You could take Anemone alone, but higher doses cause nausea and headaches. In my experience, if Anemone is not in formula with other herbs, the afflicted person has a difficult time taking a little and giving it time to take effect. Instead, we keep pounding dropperful after dropperful to ease our sense of urgency.
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