Dec 172007

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.

  4 Responses to “Blisswort as Energy Modulator and Nerve Restorative”

  1. Completely agree! I recently dipped into my first batch of homemade skullcap tincture to help complete a miscarriage. I knew the bulk of the bleeding/need for my uterus to empty was finished, and most of the cramping had subsided, but there remained a deep dull residual ache around my right ovary and into my back that was making it IMPOSSIBLE to sleep/rest comfortably. The only positions that gave me even *some* measure of relief were not at all conducive to sleep. And so I was becoming increasingly restless and very,very hypersensitive and irritable. I was toying with the idea of going to the ER, but knew that there was nothing really *wrong* (no signs of infection etc.). Just relentless ache and a sense of impending doom that I wouldn’t be able to get some much needed sleep.

    Dropperful of Skullcap, dropperful of Wild Yam, few drops of Cal Poppy. The ache finally released it’s grip, my nerves settled, and I was able to get in a good solid night’s sleep.

    Blisswort she is!

  2. I think I’ve heard skullcap works on headaches, too, am I right? I had a doozy the other day, and a lot of the things you mentioned that indicate skullcap apply to me! I’ve never heard it called blisswort before! I think I’ll have to find some somewhere. With poppy, eh? Hmm….

  3. That’s a nice combo, MDV, and very appropriate for that kind of pain. If it was available I would add Wild Peony root for that kind of situation, SO helpful with resolving uterine cramping, as is Evening Primrose though it is somewhat milder then the Peony.

    Persephone, yes, Blisswort can be helpful with tension caused headaches, it works better with Lavender or Vervain depending on the situation…. Wood Betony would also be a nice combo, though I haven’t worked with Wood Betony much myself.

    Blisswort is VERY easy to grow in most climates, and is a wild weed or native in many areas, including here.

  4. […] written a bit about this wonderful nerve tonic here and here, and more tidbits can be found by looking up Blisswort or Skullcap in the search […]

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