Most all of us live through periods of intense stress. For some of us, long term stress and anxiety can manifest as insomnia, irritability, mood swings, nervous system hypersensitivity that feels like the next sound or touch is going to send us into a complete nervous breakdown. As deep muscle tension, heart palpitations, and ongoing adrenalin rushes that leave us exhausted but still running. This kind of stress response inevitably leads to blocked, stuck life energy (what we call Animá) in the body. Once the energy is blocked it’s often hard to get it flowing again, like a dammed river or diverted current.
There’s many life energy moving herbs, but one of the best for the above stress pattern is Blisswort (also called Skullcap, or Scutellaria). Sometimes classified as a general nervine or calmative, it has some very specific applications where it is most useful. When used as a specific, the flowering tops of this beautiful plant have the unique ability of modulating the flow of life energy river, moving dams and quietly adjusting the flow of energy back where it goes. A few drops of fresh plant tincture can work great for muscle cramps, insomnia, irritability, and general nervous hypersensitivity.
There have been times I was laying in bed just twitching with exhaustion and stuck energy, so tired but continually irritated by the way the sheets felt on my body, or the movement of a mouse or skunk nearby or even my own breathing. In these situations, Blisswort provided amazing relief. Taking a few drops under my tongue, I was able to tangibly feel my muscles relax, the floodgates open and the life energy flow through my body, allowing me to finally relax into the bed and blankets and welcome embrace of sleep.
The infusion of recently dried herb can also be very effective, though somewhat different than the tincture, and seems to me to be more outright sedative and sleepy, whereas the tincture removes energy blocks that allow me to sleep without sedating me. Both have their place, and it’s nice to have such versatility from a single plant.
Blisswort has a distinct affinity for the nerves, but can be combined with California Poppy or Wild Peony for more muscle related tension. It’s also an extremely effective nerve tonic, and seems to truly rebuild and restore a damaged or exhausted nervous system (something I’ve experienced personally and witnessed in others, simply remarkable) and for this is well combined with Milky Oats tincture and/or Vervain.
It also has a tendency towards bitterness (the native ones here are VERY bitter) and have a relaxing effect on the liver and a stimulating effect on digestion. A great combo for adrenalin stressed folks with impaired digestion and uptight livers. Lovely with Evening Primrose for tension related GI distress with anxiety or depression.