Most of us are guilty of letting things slide and having bad habits we can’t seem to shake off. And, if we do try and change our routines, we often turn to pharmaceutical drugs for help rather than nature’s medicinal alternatives. We want to share with you herbal support for breaking habits using 5 potent herbs that can change your life.
So, if you’ve ever identified something in your life that you want to change but it seems impossible to do it, help is on hand.
Before we get to the herbs that can really support this process, let’s have think about why patterns of behaviour can set in. There can be many influences such as environmental factors, emotional factors, social factors. Plus, many more that are unique to our personal lifestyles.
As herbalists, we work with clients to support the transition of detrimental patterns of behaviour to a more kind, nurturing attitude towards self-care. We identify self-care as a powerful political act. In this sense, you are taking charge of your own life by saying you want to be well. To do this, you often need to foster a ‘Mama Bear’ Spirit to overcome certain patterns and to gift you the energy of a powerful, loving caring mother – literally mothering yourself well.
We’ve also had our own fair share of needing to stop certain habits for our health so we know first-hand how hard it can be.
And that is why we’ve simplified things down here. One herb that can be used for each specific change you want to create.
What to consider when adopting herbal support for breaking habits
To ensure a positive healthy road, don’t take on too much all at once. It’s important that you work on one habit at a time – small steps make great changes!
Create a plan: think about what triggers the pattern of behaviour. How can you reduce or avoid these situations while the habit is embedding?
Be prepared: this will depend on your personal circumstances so we’ve listed some common helpful hints:
- gym membership (to increase/improve exercise),
- alternative foods to snack on (if changing eating habits/reducing sugar)
- soft drink options for nights out or social occasions (reducing or stopping alcohol)
- coffee replacers (reducing or stopping coffee consumption), something to take when you have a craving or occupy your hands in social situations (stopping smoking/vaping).
If you are stopping something altogether – like smoking or alcohol, the best practice is to dedicate a period of complete abstinence, otherwise each time you act on a craving, it will set you back.
Make a timeline: this will vary depending on the habit. For example, for dietary changes, it may be three weeks; for exercise – six months; for smoking – three years. Choose an appropriate goal that will help to re-form the habit and be prepared to stick to it.
Make a list: consider and write down the herbs you need and what preparations you will make to take them.
Write an affirmation: make sure you are truly ready to let this habit go from your life – the clearer you are with an affirmation the better.
Adopting Mama Bear Energy: this is vital to feel that you are strong in your decisions. Your voice of ‘Mama Bear’ reason, protects you from your voice of unreason. Your Mama Bear might say ‘I have dedicated myself to having no refined sugar for these weeks in an action of self-care’, your voice of unreasonable reason might say ‘but you have had a long day, one chocolate biscuit won’t harm. Your Mama Bear voice of reason needs to be handed the baton and really listened too. The more you listen to them, the louder and clearer their voice will be and the voice of unreasonable reason will become quiet or almost none existent.
Look after yourself generally while you are changing the habit – drink lots of water, eat healthily and get good rest. Tiredness is the enemy of habit changing. You can lose willpower, make excuses, forget or choose the easy option if you are tired.
So now to the herbs….
5 potent herbs that can change your life!
We’ve picked five of the most common resolutions that prove tricky to stick with. We’ve also matched them with our 5 favourite herbs to support the journey towards creating positive change on your life.
1. Nettle seed for exercise
Exercise is one of those things that you don’t just do for 3 months to break the habit, or 6 months or even 3 years. It’s something that ideally we should embrace in a steady achievable way throughout life. It can be a huge challenge to keep this calm consistency when faced with busy lives, injury improve your dedication to exercise.
Nettle is a herb of ACTION. Ruled by Mars, nettle directs your energy into the places it is most needed. The seeds of nettle are particularly potent, energising and nourishing. A small amount of nettle seeds give you a sense of superhuman powers. Collect them from the female flowers (after flowering) and they look like small green oily disks. They are packed full of the essential fatty acids needed for the good functioning of cells throughout the body.
Nettle seeds are known as adaptogens, they assist the body in being better able to adapt to stress. We have noticed that even just nibbling a few seeds on a walk gives a gentle tingling buzz. Seeds can be collected to add to porridge, make into energy balls or to tincture and take a few drops of at a time.
2. Rose for supporting your journey to improved eating habits
When you are looking to reduce meal sizes, eat less frequently or cut down on sugary foods. It can be quite a process re-setting habits around eating especially where cravings for sugar are concerned! Have you ever tried a bout of no refined sugar! You can feel really crazy, hang to the cupboards sniffing out sugary treats. You have to check your willpower and quieten the mind that tells you you need sugar.
Rose is a cooling nervine herb and she promotes self-love and worth. Rose relaxes the nervous system and is a great tincture to have a round to take a drop or 3 of when a craving appears. We use rose alongside an affirmation of ‘I choose to take good care of myself’
3. Milk Thistle to aid alcohol cessation
Alcohol can have profound effects on the body and the emotions. Alcohol can affect the muscles controlling the transition from the oesophagus into the stomach, this increasing potential for gastric reflux. It can affect digestive juices (including hydrochloric acid) in the stomach. Alcohol can increase motility in the bowel creating loose stools and subsequent reduction on nutrient absorption form food. All that happening in the digestive tract and in sever cases can lead to alcohol related liver damage and damage to other organs.
When it comes to reducing alcohol, milk thistle is a brilliant herb for supporting the liver to excrete and process excess and un-needed toxicity in the body. While alcohol consumption can cause the breakdown of liver cells, milk thistle can help to regenerate liver cells. The production of digestive enzymes and acid are encouraged by milk thistle. It is a truly wonderful herb. Stunning milky white and green marbled leaves, highly protected flower heads and seeds give these milk thistle beauties their striking looks. Taken daily for a period of time, milk thistle will really support the lover and the process of alcohol cessation. Milk thistle is so quick acting, and detoxifying to the liver (primary organ of elimination). Therefore, if you take regular, daily prescribed medications for chronic ailments, this herb isn’t safe to take without consulting a health care provider first.
4. Reducing coffee with rosemary
Coffee, the rich-scented digestive herb that has become so prevalent. Coffee is an extremely powerful herb and can, when drunk in excess, create an adrenaline-like fueled state. Over time this can really deplete the nervous system and the adrenal glands. When reducing coffee, the first thing we suggest is drinking one coffee and only after 11am or at least 2 hours after waking. When coffee is drunk habitually first thing in the morning, the body is woken by caffeine rather than the normal function of the adrenal glands. This can lead to a feeling of sluggishness without caffeine.
When you reduce caffeine, a nervine stimulant is a useful addition to help with the transition. A nerviness stimulant is a herb that protects the nerves but is energetic in nature. We use rosemary for this. A cup of tea with a tiny spring drunk in the morning for the first 2 weeks of reducing coffee supports a transition to a happy, energised morning.
5. Smoking – lobelia
One of the most notoriously challenging things to quit, smoking cessation can really do with a helping hand. We have used several herbs with this but a very famous herb is lobelia. It contains compounds that actually sit on the nicotine receptors, reducing the cravings and frankly, with reduced cravings you are half-way there. It is a powerful herb and we recommend that you see a herbalist to support your journey with this. Remember that each time you get a craving and don’t give in to it, you are a step closer to stopping smoking.
These are the 5 herbs to change your life that we would recommend so you can experience their amazing benefits! Use them wisely and let the magic help you achieve a lifestyle that lessens stress and anxiety while benefiting you mind and body.
Don’t stop reading yet…..!
If you’re keen to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself but not sure of what you need for relaxing and finding peace, sign up for our Pathway to Peace online course. Delve into plant magic, unearth skills, and develop tools for keeping calm and nervous system nourishment.
When you join the course, your journey of walking through 7 steps gives you instant access to:
💚 7 herbs
💚 7 musical guided mediations
💚 7 self-care tasks with beautiful PDF downloads
💚 Access for a whole year to really embed the lessons!