Good Grief


herbal medicine


To listen to a radio broadcast on this topic go to:


Grief is an unavoidable, and important, part of life. Grief can also be really challenging to find a balance with. Grief is often not dealt with very well within our culture and so when we are going through it, there isn’t always the support and understanding that we need to go through our process; even, or should I say especially, within ourselves.

When I talk about grieving, I am talking about loss. Loss could mean the death of a loved one, human or otherwise. Loss can also mean the loss of a job, home, relationship, you name it.  Beyond the personal, we also have more global issues that can bring us grief; war, global warming, lack of food, water, medicine. The list goes on.

Moving from one stage of life to another can be a time of grieving as well as celebration. Our dominant culture doesn’t offer much in the way of meaningful rites of passage for moving from one stage of life to another so these can be times when people get stuck in the grief process.

It is important, because it is so often not talked about, that each of us find our own balance with grief. Before, I mentioned the word process. Grief is not a moment, but a process, especially over big losses like the death of a loved one. So, finding that balance of feeling and processing  your feelings and going back and forth is important. Good days and bad days.

Like most of life, if you are in your power and in your heart, most things become more clear. So you will know when to have more compassion for yourself and you will know when you need to get yourself out of bed and into the world. And you will know better what you need so you can express those needs to the people in your life who are there to support you. Sometimes the well-meaning just miss the target and can make you feel worse. Grieving is an individual process that looks a little different for each of us. If the people around you are not comfortable with your grief, you may need to expand your web of support. That can be part of the gift of times of transition.


herb school

Bleeding heart. Photo by Claire Bohman

The herbs and essences

There are, thankfully, an almost endless list of plants and essences to support us. Here are just a few to give you an idea of what you might be looking for. I have them loosely categorized, of course there is overlap, into the following categories: shock/trauma, nurturing, expressing feelings, transformation/transition and reconnecting with life.



Comfrey – feeling cut off at the knees; trauma from sudden loss; helps re-integrate self and experience; brings structure and form; helps with transitions, especially grief

Skullcap – gives ability to handle things; helps with shock or fears; allows to grieve without being edgy; gets out of mind and into heart and body

Judas Tree (Greek Tree Essences) supports you to retrieve pieces of  your soul that were unwittingly given away or left during trauma

Tamarisk  (Greek Tree Essences)   relates to the breath chakra which includes the lungs; helps you to relate to the leaves of the tree which exchange the life breath with us; for those who cannot take a breathe without trauma; releases unwashable grief and repairs the body’s filters



Honey Paw Elixir (Planetary Essences/Elixirs) – for deep nuturing and feeding from an archaic root

 Moon Milk  (Planetary Essences/Elixirs) comforting, nourishing, gentle

 Royal Poinciana (Hawaiian Essences) brings emotional refuge for those who care for others or need to feel safe and cared for; helps you to access ancient wisdom and an openness to receive the future

Water Goddess Temple (Bali Essences) surrounds you with a mist of compassion so that you can drop into the deep silence and simplicity of who you really are; connecting with your wise heart and ancient wisdom; makes room for clarity by stilling the mind and allowing the heart to speak; grounds your focus in your heart

 Dolphin Blessings (Hawaiian Essences) cultivating affection for the resting cycle and an awareness of restoration through connectedness; deeply experiencing how rest, play, love and joy recalibrate our nervous systems towards greater health and well being

Peace Beach (Hawaiian Essences) changing the habit of perpetual motion to allow our bones, blood, nerves, senses, brains and fluids to rest; bring a deep interconnected relaxation that restores your peace and protects sustainability; good too if burnt out from being caretaker

Ancient Power (Bali Essences) access core power and strength of the earth connect with own authority, power of truly being present of being able to move forward in life with core strength; balanced masculine energy of grounded strength and authority, sense of gentle and safe containment; act from heart with intention and authority


Expressing feelings

Hackberry (Desert Alchemy) resistance to grieving process; seeing yourself as inadequate for the length or depth of your grieving; resistance to allowing old grief to surface and be felt; gives permission to feel grief; helps complete or continue unfinished or unresolved grief

Wolfberry (Desert Alchemy) deep sadness from past; holding onto or denying grief; feeling overwhelmed by too many things happening at once; gives: allows personal grief or sadness to take you to a transpersonal level; empathy; feeling emotions while not being victimized by them

Blue Elf Viola (Alaskan Essences) – emotional repression; unable to get in touch with and process deep-seated anger, rage and frustration; difficulty resolving conflicts, esp in group situations; gives: calming vibration supports the process of understanding and releasing deeply held anger and frustration; understand the root of these emotions; brings heart into the process, forgive those responsible (including self) and bring whole emotional cycle to completion

Bougainvilla (Desert Alchemy) agitation or nervousness especially if accompanied by shallow breathing or a spastic diaphragm; feeling uninspired; creativity blocked; suffering with grief; relaxes and slows the body through relaxing and deepening the breathing; calms the mind allowing self-reflection and inner listening; helps us to find peace and ease in the face of hardship or crisis through inner stillness; facilitates an easiness with feeling grief and sadness; helping sadness to be felt without suffering


Transformation/Transitioning from life in this form to the next – for the person dying and/or their loved ones


Beyond Time with Sister Infinity Elixir  (Planetary Essences/Elixirs)  for stepping through a doorway into a vast expanse

Restructuring Elixir  (Planetary Essences/Elixirs) for strength and focus in the midst of intense transformation

Pomegranate (Greek Tree Essences)  allows you to recognize when closure is needed

Persian Lilac  (Greek Tree Essences) crown chakra, recognizing our wings to take flight into the realms of the spirit world; when you cannot see the beauty in your life and  see everything in terms of monetary worth; helps keep your heart in focus

Banyan Tree (Hawaiian Essences) strongly rooted presence that helps us stay grounded while integrating change and growth during times of expansion good for times when our life is up in the air. Soothes our nervous system when we feel tired and wired

Thurbur’s Gilia (Desert Alchemy) fear that you may never emerge from a limiting situation or from your own limitations; feeling entranced by your fears; fear from losing previous sense of self; gives insight and movement through anything fear related; moves beyond concept of limitation; courage to face fears; comfortable in limbo state while old self has dissolved and new self is not yet apparent

Sphagnum moss (Alaskan Essences)  feelings of failure, overly critical and judgmental of one’s healing journey; unable to see the positive side of transformational experiences; supports our ability to turn inappropriate judgment and criticism into unconditional love and acceptance; helps open the heart in the moment when the urge to judge or criticize first appears and clothe the object of our judgment with unconditional love


Reconnecting with life

Sweetness of Life Elixir  (Planetary Essences/Elixirs)  for opening to life, with strength and support

Aliveness Elixir  (Planetary Essences/Elixirs) for gently powerful embodiment with a sense of graceful fruitfulness

Sun Shine  (Planetary Essences/Elixirs) warm, uplifting, radiant

Jupiter Juice  (Planetary Essences/Elixirs) expansive, smooth, grounding

Yellow Rose (luna fina) bringing in your own sun

Violet Rose (luna fina) awakening to love and light

Chiming Bells (Alaskan Essences) if you are feeling sad, discouraged, worn out and feeling out of touch with life; brings regeneration and renewal when you have lost track of who you are; helps reestablish peace and stability at the physical level of your being and opens you to the joy of physical existence

Plumeria (Bali Essences) brings sensual aliveness; embodying pleasure; helps you to feel pleasure in every cell of your body; encourages you to take care of your body and reclaim and own heart connected physical sensuality and pleasure

Tundra Rose (Alaskan Essences) motivated by fears, especially of dying; uninspired; lack of clarity in thought or expression; if you have lost hope; communicates a love for life; affirmation of the power of life over death; brings our deepest fears of living into the light of love so we can be motivated by a love of life rather than a fear of death


So don’t run out and get all of these at once; or buy them all for you friend who is really going through it, you’ll just overwhelm them. Select one or two, three at most to start working with. Get to know them. Notice how they move in you and see where they support you to move through your process.

Most of all, remember to have patience and be gentle with yourself.

Be Well!




If you can’t find these essences at your local herb store, go to the individual websites for further information.

Rose Chakra Flower Essences –

Greek Tree Essences –

Planetary Essences –

Hawaiian and Bali Essences –

Desert Alchemy –

Alaskan Essences –