Air is movement manifested. It is the force of our intellect. It is our vivid imaginations and the source of our inspirations, dreams and wishes. It is our breath, our nervous system and our minds. It is the element of new life and fresh possibilities. It is the smell of wet dirt when you walk outside after a thunderstorm. It is the feeling of the wind kissing your neck as you stand on top of a mountain. It is the taste of bitter, green herbs that revive your digestion. It is the sound of birds outside your window. It is the warm, yellow light of the sun that refreshes all it touches and slowly overtakes the dark winter days.
In the Celtic tradition, the wind is found in the East – the position of spring, dawn, youth and beginnings on the medicine wheel. Abundance, prosperity and the encouragement for us to make room in our lives for something new are all gifts that air brings.
The signs ruled by the air are Gemini, Libra and Aquarius – the storyteller, the peacemaker and the truth-teller/genius, respectively. Gemini sparks curiosity & communication; Libra reminds us to find tranquility through balance; and Aquarius teaches us freedom, individuality and the ability to choose our own path. People whose dominant element is air are sociable, charismatic, outgoing, warm, spontaneous and friendly. They might also be impulsive, loud, chronically late, self-absorbed, or inauthentic.
As the spring progresses, take some time to meditate on how the element of air shows up in your life. Where is it in or out of balance? How do you relate to the element?
Take a moment to breathe.
With that, here are some of the herbs associated with air. These are herbs that can help you access the consciousness of the wind, heal the shadow associated with this element and prepare your body and soul for the fresh perspective of spring!
Herbs to Balance Air:
Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora): Everything is in the name with this plant. Associated with Aquarius.
Uses: One of the best nervous system tonics. Skullcap is super soothing to the nervous system – it is used to help with anxiety and panic attacks and is essential to people fighting depression and suicidal thoughts. It helps with nervous exhaustion (especially when paired with milky oats) and it is often used to wean people off addictive substances. It can be used to combat headaches and pain. Skullcap is also nice for explosive anger and for kids with ADD/ADHD. The tincture is more powerful but the tea helps bring you down out of an anxious, obsessive mental state.
Dosage Parameters: Tincture: 1tsp 3x/day; Tea: 3-4c/day
Flower Essence/Magic: Works on the crown chakra. Facilitates integration of the spirit/soul with the physical body. Helps balance excess air. Calms the mind and heart to prepare for meditation. Strengthens the inner channel of inspiration so inner truths can come out and be manifested.
Spearmint (Mentha spicata): Peppermint’s fun, sassy sister. Associated with Gemini & Leo.
Uses: Nausea, especially from migraines/headaches. Smelled she increases and sharpens mental power. Useful in a UTI tea blend. Also, she is just delicious and tastes amazing in many teas.
Dosage Parameters: Tea: 3-4c/daily
Flower Essence/Magic: Spearmint is believed to add clarity, vividness and color to dreams. The entire mint family works with themes of vitality and healthy embodiment.
Vervain (Verbena officinalis): A gentle friend to your angry liver. Associated with Mercury in Aquarius.
Uses: Unblocks constricted energy in the liver. A great ally for irritability and anger (especially in the luteal phase, PMS anyone?!). It functions as a nervine (an herb that acts on the nervous system), anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. It is heating and can help relieve fever and coughs. *Contraindicated during pregnancy.
Dosage Parameters: Tincture: 5 – 30 ml, up to 3x/day; Tea: bitter! Drink if you can stand it!
Flower Essence/Magic: Vervain was a very important plant to the Druid priests and has a history of being used in spiritual traditions for purification and unlocking the 6th chakra (third eye) allowing us to see things differently. It is associated with air in the Celtic tradition. As far as flower essences, Dr. Bach typified the typical Vervain patient as someone who has an intense attitude toward life resulting in physical, emotional and mental tension. Vervain helps this passionate idealist learn to practice moderation, tolerance and balance.
And yes, before you ask, Dandelion is an awesome spring herb! There are a bunch of amazing liver cleansers and blood purifiers – red clover, burdock etc. that you can and should start incorporating into your diet as spring progresses.
For now, do yourself a favor and go to your local health food store (or unsprayed patch of land) and get some of those yummy bitter greens!