In this edition of Honeysuckle’s Bach flower series we bring our attention to the remedy of Vervain.

This wasn’t the remedy I intended to concentrate on this month, however after witnessing an overwhelming and recent collective need for Vervain, as well as experiencing new layers of the remedy presenting on my own journey, it seemed too hard to ignore!

Verbena officinalis is better known as Vervain, and it tends to grow on dry or stony ground with a chalk presence, where it’s not surrounded by much competition.  It will also nestle amongst hedges and roadside verges, although this is not such a common sighting in the UK today since the introduction of chemical sprays.  Vervain tends to gravitate towards areas that have been recently cleared or left sparse.  It is a tall and slender perennial, which bears pale lilac flowers that surround leafless stems and nobbled spear-like heads.   There are many species of Vervain/Verbena, and the plant itself has been widely used and respected for centuries due to it’s medicinal benefits, including it’s use in tea and Homeopathic tinctures and as a common offering to altars.

However, as always with the Bach remedies, we look at the energy harnessed from the plant to support the emotions of a Vervain type or mood, rather than consuming the plant itself.

Vervain’s can be intense individuals for they will have a strong sense of self and purpose.

Some people might even find them a little intimidating, if they perhaps don’t share the Vervain’s passions.  However, by and large, Vervain’s will be infectiously persuasive and to witness them in action can be very impressive!  They will be sure of what they believe in and what they are willing to fight for, and as a result they will not tolerate injustice of any kind, whether that’s against themselves or others.  They will often be the first to fight the case for others who don’t perhaps feel strong enough to fight for themselves or are more willing to ‘let things go’, they will not be afraid to take on organisations, stand up for the underdog and indeed will remain very loyal.  Animal rights campaigners or eco-activists for example can be strong Vervain types or indeed exhibit Vervain tenancies.

The Vervain remedy links to a feeling of being ‘overworked’, both mentally and physically and although it can be common for people to identify Olive as the remedy for exhaustion, Vervain’s can often reach burnout due to their inability to relax or switch off.  Vervain’s tend to keep going and to keep moving; from one campaign to the next or from one project to the next and they will often adopt other peoples battles along the way.  For this reason, Vervain can be a great remedy for stress or tension, difficulty to sleep, fidgety or restless natures, overactive minds, and for those who like to be doing things all the time.  Vervain’s tend to be perfectionists and can be very methodical, organised, and have a natural mental energy to get things done or to see things through.  They tend to like to work in a group, but naturally adopt the role as team leader due to their noticeable ability to lead and direct, for they are great organisers, motivators and like to get everyone on board and into their way of thinking.   Steering the ship as it were to their chosen destination, with as many people on board as possible.

Vervain’s will often be tolerant in nature, they will tend to stick at a cause or a task long after others may have given up, but often to the point where they will push themselves too far both physically and mentally, and are very susceptible to burnout.  In illness, Vervain’s tend not to listen to their bodies and will push themselves, often too far. I think of a Vervain a bit like the stereotypical Duracell bunny that is relentless in it’s goal, but in it’s haste the batteries eventually deplete and they need to recharge. Or a fancy sports car, which has the ability to reach great speeds and cover more ground than your average Morris Minor, but isn’t so efficient on preserving energy or leaving enough fuel in the tank. Vervain’s can also be like a lifeboat, speeding through the waters, collecting those stranded at sea along the way, eventually realising they have taken on too much water and overloaded their very vessel.

Vervain’s tend to start off very passionately, often with rigid ideas of what they want to achieve and what needs to be done, but they can lose interest as they tend to take on too much at one time.  Although this often isn’t a trait described for a Vervain, it can be one that presents further into the deeper layers of healing, due to their enthusiasm meaning that they take on too many projects and can’t always perhaps give their all to each one.    In the negative aspect of the remedy, a Vervain’s drive, their zest for life and their desire to learn can mean that they will start things and not always finish them.  Perhaps trying many new courses, attending copious events and lectures, without perhaps taking the necessary quiet integration or processing period that’s needed in any successful path of healing or self-development.

Vervain’s find it hard to take advice and to be told what to do, for they have strong views and opinions, which mean they struggle to see the flaws in their plans or to take on others viewpoints.

They aren’t coming from quite the same angle as say a Vine, who would be more domineering and perhaps even controlling in their ways, but Vervain’s will just want to get everyone on board, and can be quite persuasive and even infectious due to their passionate stance.

Vervain’s fight for injustice.  They tend to be those who are compelled to drive change on epic levels!  They will be the platforms and protesters for equality, for human and animal rights, for justice of any kind and will be the strong voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.   They are courageous and restless in many ways, wishing to build communities who share their strong ethics and sense of fairness, and to do what’s ‘right’.  They have many admirable and loyal qualities, but where they fall short is that sometimes they can come across as a little ‘too much’.  Vervain’s are the sorts who will come back from their Bach flower training and need to tell everyone about how amazing the system is (naming no names haha!)  In their plight to win everyone over to their strong way of thinking, they can tend to do the opposite, and can come off as a preacher and teetering on the edge of domineering.

The danger for Vervain’s is that they are at risk of becoming fanatical.  Their strong need to ‘rally everyone up’ and around to their ways of thinking can be obsessive and can be too much for some people to handle.  Vervain’s can be the very cause of their own stresses and strains for they put a lot of pressure on themselves to be the change they want to see in the world so to speak.  They almost see this as their plight, and they will often struggle to switch off or relax, for they naturally ‘buzz’ and thrive on life, with a real zest for living and need to fulfil their destiny’s.

As always, there is a scale with Vervain and many reasons for why you may take it.

Vervain’s do have many wonderful qualities, and like all the remedies, we need Vervain’s in this world.  We need people who want to leave a better world for the next generation, who are willing to stand up for what they believe in and may often foresee things that others can’t, and for this reason

I often associate Vervain with the Indigo children.

This is of course just a general outline of some of the more unbalanced natures of a Vervain, which may be having a knock on effect on their physical or mental health conditions.  Taking the remedy can help us to find a balance, to remain passionate and authentic in our causes, to still be supportive of others, but to also respect the need for individuality, varied viewpoints and to be able to interact on a more equal playing field.  It can allow us to stop and smell the roses (or Vervain in this case) a little, trusting the process and relaxing, without the need to be quite so wired or fidgety.  The remedy carries an air of calmness and an ability to soften our views in order to consider and support others, whilst still respecting ourselves and the need to take downtime.

The world needs you Vervain’s, so take this remedy to check in with those ego’s and to find the balance in all that you do.

Yours in love and flowery light,

 

 

 

 

 

PLEASE NOTE: I would always recommend having a consultation with a qualified and registered Bach Foundation practitioner/BFRP, to ensure that you get the most from the Bach system.  Dr Bach advised that blends be bespoke and BFRP’s teach their clients how to use the system effectively.  These monthly insights are offered as a guide to the remedies, but are by no means exhaustive.  Guidance is always advised when using the remedies for the first time or without suitable qualification.

 

Sharing is caring!  Sharing my blogs, quoting my insights, and your continued support is always appreciated.  However, if you reference any of my work then please credit Honeysuckle Healing, and include links to the appropriate piece so that others may benefit from these tools too.  I work hard to ‘give back’ to my community through my free blogs and self-empowering online content.  I can only continue to meet this dedication through your respect and recognition.  Thank you

 

Green Lamborghini photo is supplied courtesy of the amazing Motorsport and landscape photographer, Pete Atkins.  To see more of Pete’s portfolio or to request his services, please visit his website or follow him on Twitter 

Ulex Europaeus is better known as Gorse and this beautiful evergreen shrub seeds and propagates itself extensively.

Gorse is a member of the pea family and it is wide-spread, seen anywhere from coastal paths and woodlands to growing wildly along the side of motorways and on golf courses in the UK.

Gorse is a distinctive looking shrub when it commonly flowers from January to June, as it has delicate perfumed Yellow petals which bloom amidst needle-like leaves.  Dr Bach first prepared remedy number 13, Gorse, in 1933 in Buckinghamshire.

Following on from last month’s focus remedy of Agrimony, I again feel like you can tell a lot about why you might take this remedy from studying the plant in which it comes from.  Gorse has many uses and is a great protector of wildlife; providing shelter and food for many insects and birds.  But like Heather, when Gorse grows wildly and is left to its own devises it can quickly become invasive, leaving dense pockets which make it impossible to pass through or enter. Gorse can also flower sporadically, making it often unpredictable to witness its movements.

Gorse is the remedy for when we feel hopeless or in a dark despair.

It is often indicated for an air of pessimism, when we don’t see the point in trying because the situation isn’t going to improve (in our opinion).  Looking at the plant, the remedy can be a lot like this.   A Gorse mood can be unpredictable. I find it comes on sometimes suddenly and subtly, each day getting that much harder to bounce back from, especially for those who are battling long term health conditions, when days can seem relentless and the future can look bleak.  It’s not to be confused with Mustard, for a Gorse state will often hang around a lot longer and be that much more difficult to shift.  Like the plant, a Gorse state can be invasive and difficult to wade through once the feelings of hopelessness settle in.  It’s difficult to see the wood through the trees so to speak when a Gorse mood comes to town and if left untreated it can quickly become a very dark and dense place to reside.

Gorse sits somewhere between Gentian and Sweet Chestnut on the despair-ometer.  Gentian is more for those who tend to bounce back a bit quicker and Sweet Chestnut would tend to supersede Gorse as it’s often referred to as the ‘dark night of the soul’.  Gorse for me can be more common a feeling than we often care to admit.  Like all remedies, everyone will experience Gorse states at multiple times during their lives, but for some, perhaps with good reason, they may need to utilise this remedy alot more.

Gorse haven’t completely lost hope in many ways as they will still be willing to try something, but they will need a lot more support than a Gentian to get there.  Often a Gorse will go along with things just to be able to say ‘I told you so’ or just to keep the peace and an appearance that they are still trying, but this will be more for the benefit of others rather than for the Gorse themselves.  For example, if a friend suggests a Gorse tries a new activity or perhaps a Dr suggests a change to a treatment plan or medication then a Gorse will need an element of hand holding to make the appointment or to even attend.  Gorse’s will just have given up hope in many ways that the situation will get any better, so no longer see the point in trying.  They can feel as though they are just setting themselves up for a fall.

Gorse can be quite a negative mindset and leaning more towards a glass half empty attitude rather than a glass half full.  Expecting the worst results or outcome, just so they won’t be left further disappointed.

In a Gorse state we believe that nothing will improve.

A Gorse is likely to have tried many things before they have got to this state and perhaps have simply, and in some cases quite justifiably, given up.  Gentian is often the remedy that is suggested for those who are battling with long term health complaints, but personally I think Gorse is a much more appropriate tonic.  That’s because chronic conditions can be relentless.  Every day has the same high level of devotion required to ‘keep going’, to stay positive and to always be striving to never completely give up.  Therefore, I think Gorse states are more common with this increased battle of will and can provide a much needed change in outlook when people are bravely fighting never ending wars against physical and mental health.

That’s not to say that Gorse isn’t the remedy for a subtler pessimism or negative outlook, as with all remedies there continues to be a scale.  Gorse may be indicated earlier along the scale when someone exhibits a general ‘mood-hoover’ tendency or assumption of the worst case scenario.  Even expecting it to rain on holiday as it ‘always does at this time of year’, or not seeing the point in making an effort with our appearance as ‘were not going to meet anyone’, or even something as simple as avoiding a certain shop because we know its ‘not going to sell anything we like’.  Gorse negativity, is not limited to those who are fighing permanent low moods, and can be just as effective for a general Mr or Mrs Grumpy who isn’t even willing to try.

There can be a real melancholy to Gorse and they will often voice their concerns, whether subtle or extreme, that there is little point in trying for they know the outcome will bring no relief or success.

What I love about Gorse is it can be a subtle stimulant,

sometimes taking one to two weeks (or more) before we look back and realise just how much our mood has lifted, our outlook has changed or we’ve become more productive.  For this reason poor Gorse often doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, as we often forget just how low we were when we first took it or indeed what a lack of optimism we were exhibiting.  Whilst the benefits of Gorse can be experienced quickly, I mention it can take one to two weeks to ‘kick in’ as this can be how long it takes before the penny drops as to why we feel better…it’s almost like a ‘ahhhh, yes, I took Gorse some weeks back!’ realisation.  I have seen an extreme difference both physically, mentally and emotionally in clients who have taken Gorse, yet they will swear it’s because of a change in something else like getting more sleep, a new relationship or their long-prescribed medication finally kicking in.  It can be nothing short of amazing to witness the positive changes, which perhaps to me and those who have taken Gorse for some time, understand is very likely to be as a result of this wonder shrub.

When Gorse is given early in any chronic case, it can be nothing short of a life saver.

Gorse can be seen as a negative remedy by some, and resistance can kick in if we don’t want to admit we are in this state.  But, why wouldn’t you want to feel more positive, hopeful and strong in your convictions that any obstacle in life can be overcome?

Yours in love and flowery light,

 

 

 

 

 

PLEASE NOTE: I would always recommend having a consultation with a qualified and registered Bach Foundation practitioner/BFRP, to ensure that you get the most from the Bach system.  Dr Bach advised that blends be bespoke and BFRP’s teach their clients how to use the system effectively.  These monthly insights are offered as a guide to the remedies, but are by no means exhaustive.  Guidance is always advised when using the remedies for the first time or without suitable qualification.

 

Sharing is caring!  Sharing my blogs, quoting my insights, and your continued support is always appreciated.  However, if you reference any of my work then please credit Honeysuckle Healing, and include links to the appropriate piece so that others may benefit from these tools too.  I work hard to ‘give back’ to my community through my free blogs and self-empowering online content.  I can only continue to meet this dedication through your respect and recognition.  Thank you

 

Agrimonia Eupatoria is better known as Agrimony and this perennial plant grows tall, bearing small Yellow flowers along its single stems.

Agrimony grows widely and wildly along roadsides and in meadow-land, and the remedy was first prepared by Dr Bach in 1930 in Cromer, Norfolk.

It’s often been said that you can learn a lot about why you might take each Bach remedy by studying the plant that inspired them.  For me this is especially true when looking at Agrimony.  In short, Agrimony is the remedy for those who hide their worries, fears and unhappiness behind a cheerful façade.  The plant grows in a way whereby the Yellow petals reveal themselves in stages, from the bottom up, which to me is what those needing the remedy may well do; try to hide what’s really going on for them, revealing the bare minimum of their struggles when they are perhaps confronted by others or having difficulty hiding them.  Growing in clusters, its bright Yellow appearance creates a visionary carpet of joyous sunshine, which can’t help but make you smile when you are around them.

Agrimony’s will often be the life and soul of the party; the ones first on the dance floor or providing all the laughs when you’re in their company.  The ones who cheer everyone up with a friendly face, a general good nature and funny one liners.

They are often the colourful characters of the group who appear to not take life too seriously with a carefree nature, finding the humour in most situations. Sometimes you may never even be able to tell an Agrimony is feeling stressed or down and whilst they may let you in a little, they will perhaps control how much they share or to the extent of pain they are in.

When I was studying for my practitioner exam we were told to associate each remedy with a celebrity so that we would remember the characteristics of each remedy easily.  Agrimony for me has always been Robin Williams.  A beautiful man who made his fame from making others feel good about themselves by making them laugh.  He was a natural entertainer and it’s clear that he was born to be a comedic star.  Through his cheerful characters and witty public persona, I think most of us were nothing short of shocked when we heard he battled depression and this later contributed to his suicide.  I’m not saying that Agrimony necessarily leads to suicide, but what I am trying to convey is just how much pain an Agrimony can be in, whilst still portraying to the rest of the world that they are a happy go lucky kind of person.  In fact it was Robin Williams who said:

 

“All it takes is a beautiful fake smile and they will never notice how broken you are”

 

Agrimony’s feel the need to put on a brave face and the sad reality is that they will often be lying to themselves in many ways just as much as they are deceiving those around them.  It can be hard for Agrimony’s to do the internal work needed for them to be free from their demons and in turn their addictions.  They often fight such painful and silent battles, which at times can be nothing short of mental torture, not to mention they can feel as though they are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders.  This living nightmare can understandably be something they wish to escape from or avoid, hence the go-to reaction of fun, humour or addictive tendencies.

The pressure Agrimony’s put on themselves to struggle in silence can mean that they often find equally abusive coping strategies to manage their fears and worries.  Like everyone, Agrimony’s need an outlet to cope with life’s stresses.

It’s not uncommon for Agrimony’s to have addictions such as alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, sex or food or to use crutches of escapism such as binge TV watching, creating hectic social lives, working longer hours, going from one failed relationship to another without adequate time for reflection in between, or just generally avoiding spending time alone and quiet.

Agrimony’s prefer to be in the company of others and find it hard to be alone for prolonged periods of time, even meditation or relaxation may be difficult for an Agrimony as this will require them to be in their own heads and to break the cycle of self-avoidance.  Agrimony’s may have trouble sleeping, often having periods of insomnia, as they can be kept awake by their worries or struggle to switch them off.  Sometimes this isn’t even conscious, the mental churning can just become such a background white-noise or way of life that they have come to accept, masking it with whatever their chosen coping strategy or addictive weapons of choice may be.

Agrimony’s will keep their cards close to their chest in terms of playing down their struggles to others and often going as far as to add a joke to the proceedings or perhaps downgrading the severity of the issue.  Agrimony’s can find it hard to face up to their troubles.  This isn’t a sign of weakness, and in many ways a sign of their strength, for they will carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, a lot like Atlas in order to ‘cope’.   The problem of course comes when inevitably this mask slips, as no one is invincible and no one can carry such troubles alone all their life without needing some help and support through difficult times.

However, like with every remedy of course there is a scale, and sometimes the Agrimony behaviours may not be quite so extreme and the battles and coping strategies can be less obvious.  You don’t have to tick every box to welcome the positive aspects of the Agrimony remedy, for this  list is just a characteristic summary and by no means exhaustive.  It’s also very ‘English’ to keep a stiff upper lip and to feel the need to deal with things alone, keeping up appearances in a way of not wishing to bring others down or show any sign of weakness.

Humour is a common defence mechanism and a way in which many people deal with pain and difficult situations.  The key to Bach remedies and in this case Agrimony, is to always remember that there is a scale and that you don’t have to experience the extreme end of the scale to benefit from taking it.  The layer effect of the remedies will also mean that you will inevitably have to revisit Agrimony as varying tendencies and characteristics exhibit again.  As the layers of an Agrimony peels, some layers will inevitably be harder to deal with, as this mask may have been worn as far back as childhood.  But as the spiral of healing towards our authentic core continues, there can be many variations of Agrimony indicated and many ways in which it can be the remedy for solace, especially for those who may have this as a ‘type’ remedy.

Taking Agrimony can be a difficult decision to make for some, as the very realisation that we need to journey within in order to get the freedom from behaviours/addictions we crave, can be a daunting one for many of us.

Facing up to the need to break cycles of self abuse, addiction and indeed ‘masking’ problems can be the exact reason why Agrimony’s need this remedy, therefore admitting this need to themselves and in turn finding new ways to cope can be a very frightening prospect.  I find that there can be a real resistance around Agrimony, due to a common fear that their joie de vivre will diminish in some way, leaving them vulnerable and losing their ability to make others smile.    But this isn’t the case.  Like all remedies, Agrimony works subtly with the sole purpose of simply bringing balance to our emotions and characteristics.  Agrimony is there to allow the tears of a clown to sometimes be seen, when appropriate.  It will allow you to share the load a little more, to offload some of the burden in a way in which you are able to work through what’s coming up and generally ask for help before it’s too late.  Not only will it enable you to remove the mask so that humour becomes more organic and less draining, but it will also lessen the need to mask these feelings with unhelpful addictions or destructive behaviours.  There is a level of real liberation and freedom to Agrimony I feel, but I also personally understand how scary the thought of taking this remedy can be.

The real beauty of Agrimony remedy is that it restores the balance.  The necessary need for there to be a happy medium between sharing a problem, seeking help for an addiction or indeed facing up to our demons, whilst still keeping our natural ability to be the social butterflies and jolly beings that we are.  It brings about an inner happiness, allowing us to be vulnerable when needed and to lessen the load so to speak.  Agrimony can help to reduce the reliance on addictions and abusive patterns, but this will vary from person to person and will depend on a commitment to taking this remedy for perhaps a prolonged amount of time.

It’s time to cut yourself some slack now Agrimony’s.  Turn your caring nature and ability to help others to see the funny side of life onto yourself.

This is such a beautiful remedy, which no doubts can be hard to work with, but is so utterly rewarding and freeing when you do.

Yours in love and flowery light,

 

*NB: I would always recommend having a consultation with a Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner (BFRP) to ensure that you get the most from the Bach system.  Dr Bach advised that blends be bespoke and BFRP’s teach their clients how to use the system effectively.  These monthly insights are offered as a guide to the remedies, but are by no means exhaustive and guidance is always advised when using the remedies for the first time.