At the very essence of our being lies our heart, the epicenter of our emotions and connections with others. Our hearts enable us to experience profound depths of emotion, particularly when they are open and receptive.
However, there are times when our hearts may feel closed off, limiting our emotional expression and stifling our ability to truly connect with others. To truly immerse ourselves in the richness of love, it is vital to maintain an open and healthy heart.
Perhaps you've found yourself here, seeking a way to break free from the barriers that prevent you from connecting with others, fearing rejection or mockery for your vulnerability. It's human nature to crave the happiness that comes from making others happy and giving our all to those we cherish.
Yet, for some, the whirlwind of life leaves us feeling invisible, unheard, and hesitant to open our hearts to others.
We all yearn for the warmth of adoration, appreciation, and love that not only brings happiness but also elevates our self-worth. So, how do we attain this cherished state of love?
This article aims to shed light on the intricacies of the heart and the two forms of love it encompasses, while also introducing six remarkable medicinal herbs that can help unlock your heart and nurture the growth of your spirit or Shen.
Table of Contents
Two Types of Love
"Love" is a potent force in the cosmos, with the potential to bring about wondrous transformations. The four-element theory of love identifies two primary forms of love: Eros, representing romantic love, and Agape, embodying unconditional love.
In ancient Greek culture, the term "love" encompassed both Eros, the passionate and sensual love shared with a partner, family, or friends, and Agape, the selfless love that transcends personal desires. Eros is a dynamic, ever-evolving bond built on emotions and feelings, with each lover seeking someone who complements them and enhances their sense of fulfillment and happiness. This passionate love is possessive in nature, as it is driven by a desire for reciprocal affection and commitment.
In essence, Eros is rooted in vulnerability and dependence.
On the other hand, Agape represents selfless, unconditional love that expects nothing in return. Although it may not be experienced as intensely as Eros, witnessing Agape in action is truly awe-inspiring.
Achieving a loving and open heart requires striking a balance between these two forms of love—Eros and Agape—in one's life.
Many individuals tend to focus solely on one type of love, which may suffice during their youth. However, as they age, the absence of the other form of love becomes increasingly evident and detrimental.
To truly embrace love and welcome it into your life, it's crucial to comprehend and appreciate the diverse elemental energies at play.
TCMs 5 Elemental Energies | Overview
Unlock the secrets of the Five Elements (Wu Xing) in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and unveil the incredible connections between nature, our bodies, and our emotions. The Five Elements, consisting of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water, reflect not only the physical world around us but also our inner selves.
Witness the beauty of the Five Elements in nature as they embody the essence of each season:
- Spring - Wood - The season of rejuvenation and new beginnings.
- Summer - Fire - The season of abundance and flourishing.
- Late Summer - Earth - The season of nurturing and preparation for the colder months.
- Autumn - Metal - The season of release and letting go.
- Winter - Water - The season of tranquility, rest, and conservation.
By exploring the distinct characteristics and qualities of each element, we can gain profound insights into their representations within our bodies and emotions. The Five Elements showcase a remarkable array of strengths, vulnerabilities, personality traits, and behaviors, offering us the key to better understanding ourselves and others.
Embrace this ancient wisdom and apply it to your everyday life, as observing these elements can lead to a deeper understanding of ourselves and our relationships.
Although we won't delve into the specifics of each element, let's take a moment to appreciate the Fire element. Associated with intense emotions like love, joy, and passion, the Fire element represents the warmth and energy that bring life to its fullest.
Deep Understanding of Fire Element
Discover the transformative power of the Fire element - the source of our innate compassion, love, and positive emotions that we long to share with others. Embrace the warmth of joy, happiness, enthusiasm, optimism, and confidence as you embark on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth.
As the Fire element's energy radiates outwards, it symbolizes activity, growth, pleasure, laughter, and love, all of which contribute to the natural state of expansion and wellness in our lives. Every living being thrives on growth, reproduction, and progress.
The Fire element embodies the very essence of life, fueling us with motivation, passion, and warmth. It enables us to mature, grow, and evolve while nurturing the love and enthusiasm within. Those blessed with a fiery persona are adventurous and fun-loving, often characterized by their optimistic, sociable nature. They have a knack for making friends and making others feel at ease.
By harnessing the Fire element, we forge connections with others and become part of a greater whole. A balanced Fire element instills confidence and self-assurance, empowering us to be beacons of warmth and light to those around us. This joyous energy supports our spiritual growth, allowing us to transcend self-imposed boundaries and embrace humanity with open hearts.
The health of our heart, the receptive organ, reflects the vitality of our relationships with nature, ourselves, our families, communities, and the world at large. True balance with our inner Fire enables us to love unconditionally and give wholeheartedly from our hearts, eradicating the barriers between ourselves and others.
However, imbalances in the Fire element can lead to emotional turmoil, such as anxiety, excessive seriousness, or heightened emotions. Physically, these imbalances may manifest as heart palpitations, insomnia, or high blood pressure. Often, these issues arise when an individual does not feel secure enough to connect deeply with others, possibly due to past experiences where trust was compromised.
To restore balance, one must rebuild confidence in forming meaningful relationships and cultivating a deeper, more loving connection with oneself.
How can you nurture your Fire element? Practice compassion, love, and joy without becoming overly excited. Embrace giving and receiving love and affection. Foster connections within your family, relish the pleasure of eating, and remain open to others. By embracing these natural conditions, you'll stoke the flames of your inner Fire, illuminating your path to growth and connection.
Knowing Your Heart
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the heart holds a revered position as the most vital organ in the body. As the ruler of all other organs, the heart governs blood and blood vessels, playing a crucial role in cognitive function and encompassing the mind or spirit, known as Shen.
The heart serves as the abode of wisdom, bestowing us with the capacity to think, reason, experience emotions, and act accordingly. Furthermore, it determines our desires and willpower, regulating our emotional state and mood by controlling blood flow to the brain. A weak heart presence can manifest in memory loss, difficulty understanding, confusion, forgetfulness, and depression.
Additional indicators of a frail heart include pale skin, glossy or damp-looking nails, a feeble pulse in the radial artery, insomnia, or general restlessness.
Ancient Taoist masters believed, "The Heart reigns supreme among the organs and houses the spirit, Shen. A wise and stable master ensures tranquility among his subjects. However, if the master falters, the twelve officials (the body's organ systems) face peril.
Knowing Your Shen
Delve into the captivating world of Taoism, an ancient Chinese tradition steeped in rich history and diverse beliefs and practices. Among its many fascinating elements, the concept of the "Three Treasures" - Jing, Chi, and Shen - stands out, forming the foundation of human existence on reproductive, metabolic, and spiritual levels.
Shen, the spiritual treasure, represents our heart's realm and our connection to higher consciousness and personal spirituality. This treasure encompasses our individual self-awareness and our distinct existence within the universe. With it comes a profound sense of compassion, kindness, and love.
Our eyes and actions emanate the energy of Shen, and when we align with it, we experience tranquil courage. We overcome fear, anxiety, and dread, facing life's challenges with inner peace and serenity.
A balanced Shen leads to contentment within ourselves, free from the need for external approval or validation. We exude self-confidence, feeling deeply connected to others and the world by simply being alive. This balance also allows us to be assertive without aggression, eliminating the need to distance ourselves from others in order to create personal space.
Disturbances in Your Shen
Life today is a whirlwind of distractions, with our fingertips granting us instant access to unlimited sources of entertainment, wealth, pleasure, and work. However, these very distractions can create a rift between us and our true selves, leading to the disintegration of our spirit or Shen.
Shen disturbances can arise from various factors, such as emotional trauma, mental and financial stress, abuse, illness, overworking, and excessive use of stimulants. It's no wonder that we often find ourselves enveloped in a constant haze of anxiety and stress, disconnected from our true essence.
Attachments often lead to Shen disturbances, as the Shen represents the part of our being that closely connects with the outside world.
- Those with weak or disturbed Shen often exhibit symptoms of emotional instability, such as sadness, anger, anxiety, and insomnia.
- Others may experience physical symptoms like heart palpitations, dizziness, or sudden weakness.
- Some individuals may struggle with chronic fatigue, brain fog, concentration issues, or more severe problems like panic attacks, depression, or chronic nightmares.
Achieving optimal health requires a balanced state of mind, as mental and emotional imbalances can take a toll on our physical well-being. The ultimate goal is to cultivate and maintain Shen, which is built upon a strong foundation of Jing and Qi, to lead a long and peaceful life.
Thankfully, there are medicinal herbs that can help nurture Shen and open your heart.
6 Recommended Herbs For Unclogging Your Heart
Numerous herbs can assist in opening your heart and fostering self-love, compassion, forgiveness, and understanding. We've handpicked the following list of heart-opening herbs that can be used individually or in combination to nurture Shen and promote self-love.
Stay tuned as we delve into the benefits of these herbs and offer various ways to incorporate them into your life, allowing you to find the perfect fit for your journey toward inner peace.
This beautiful flower not only brings happiness, warmth, and emotional balance but also provides a delightful aromatic experience that melts away stress and emotional sensitivity.
Hailing from Europe and Asia, roses have been cherished for centuries. Greek mythology tells the tale of the first rosebush, born from Aphrodite's blood as she hurried to assist Adonis. This divine flower is also connected to other deities like the Hindu goddess Lakshmi, seated on a heart chakra-associated red lotus, and revered in Islamic tradition as a sacred creation of Allah from a drop of his daughter Fatima's blood.
The heartwarming powers of roses stretch beyond their symbolism. They serve as a remarkable heart tonic, opening and balancing our emotions. When we're emotionally overwhelmed, roses come to our rescue, calming frazzled nerves. Their long-standing use in addressing depression and nervous exhaustion is equally noteworthy.
Rosehips, packed with bioflavonoids, vitamin C, and vitamin E, boast incredible benefits. European sailors once relied on dried rosehips to prevent scurvy on lengthy voyages. Even during WWII, "Victory Gardens" featured roses for the valuable medicinal properties of their hips.
In herbal tea blends, rose petals are a popular ingredient for their heart-soothing effects. A positive Wild Rose state embodies a carefree spirit, replacing apathy with purpose, happiness, and enjoyment.
Regardless of the species, all roses possess similar medicinal qualities. They offer calming, cooling, and uplifting effects while soothing the nervous system. Roses have been used to treat various conditions, including female complaints, heart palpitations, and diarrhea.
To harness the power of roses, prepare a tea or tincture by steeping the petals in water or alcohol for several days. For the most nutritious experience, harvest petals in the morning just before they fully bloom, when their vitamin C concentration is at its peak. Adults may enjoy a cup of tea daily as needed, while children over 6 may take half a cup as required.
Hailing from the Mesoamerican regions, cacao has been embraced by civilizations like the Mayans and Aztecs for millennia.
Since 1900 BCE, cacao beans have served as a sacred currency and a key component of spiritual rituals, symbolizing divine power and the ability to reach heightened levels of consciousness. This wondrous gift from the gods, as the word "cacao" suggests, has the power to evoke feelings of bliss, euphoria, and well-being.
Today, we can see the enduring legacy of cacao in our association of chocolate with love and Valentine's Day. When we indulge in chocolate, our bodies release dopamine, giving credit to the mood-enhancing compounds within.
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) are the source of cacao's mood-lifting properties, boosting levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and phenylethylamine. This cocktail of feel-good chemicals creates a sense of euphoria, suppresses appetite, and enhances energy, focus, and mental clarity. As a result, cacao has long been used to alleviate symptoms of depression.
Cacao's rich, complex chemistry also includes magnesium, which supports relaxation and healing, anandamide—known as the "bliss chemical" or "runner's high," and phenylethylamine, which is released during the throes of romantic love.
Embark on a cacao ceremony—an immersive experience designed to open the heart chakra and connect you with your innermost desires. These ceremonies, led by seasoned practitioners, draw inspiration from ancient Mesoamerican rituals and resemble group meditations.
During a cacao ceremony, participants consume cacao tea to help them release their thoughts and tap into their hearts. As the cacao works its magic, it unshackles trapped emotions, clears mental clutter, and cultivates presence.
With a guiding intention, participants can navigate their cacao ceremony journey, focusing on attracting or letting go of certain aspects of their lives. In this nurturing environment, surrounded by a supportive community, emotions can be expressed through dance and movement.
Cacao's bountiful health benefits include cardioprotection and neuroprotection, thanks to its rich polyphenol content. These antioxidants shield cells from free radical damage, which can lead to cancer and heart disease. Polyphenols also boost nitric oxide production in blood vessel endothelial cells, promoting vasodilation and improved blood flow.
Theobromine, another key component of cacao, is a xanthine alkaloid related to caffeine. However, unlike caffeine, it doesn't impact the nervous system or heart rate. Instead, it primarily affects smooth muscle tissue, such as blood vessels and bronchial tubes, increasing circulation, lowering blood pressure, and facilitating easier breathing.
You can enjoy cacao in a variety of forms, from whole beans and powders to elixirs and decadent desserts like chocolate bars and brownies. To fully appreciate cacao's incredible nutritional benefits, opt for raw or minimally processed options to preserve its phytochemical properties.
For millennia, these mushrooms have been celebrated for their ability to enhance health, boost vitality, and promote longevity. Experience the transformative effects of this exceptional tonic, as it helps you find inner peace and calm by balancing your nervous system and nourishing your spirit.
Renowned in Chinese herbalism as a premier Shen tonic, Reishi mushrooms possess the extraordinary ability to alleviate anxiety, diminish stress, and instill a sense of tranquility and well-being. Ancient Chinese texts praise Reishi as a spiritual medicine that brings harmony to emotions, quiets turbulent thoughts, and soothes the mind. By fostering a deeper connection with our true selves, Reishi mushrooms grant us a sense of serenity and contentment.
For centuries, Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners have harnessed the power of Reishi to address insomnia, anxiety, and stress-related issues. This remarkable mushroom not only eases worries and tension but also grants us access to our most profound emotions, helping us understand our true desires and aspirations.
Reishi mushrooms encourage self-reflection, honesty, and authenticity, allowing us to live in accordance with our personal truths rather than conforming to societal norms or others' expectations.
The impressive benefits of Reishi mushrooms extend to cardiovascular health, backed by extensive scientific research. Rich in polysaccharides, triterpenes, steroids, coumarin, mannitol, and alkaloids, Reishi helps to open our hearts by alleviating stress and bolstering cardiovascular health.
These remarkable mushrooms can regulate blood pressure, strengthen blood vessels, and enhance blood flow, reducing the risk of atherosclerosis (arterial hardening). Reishi can also help lower high cholesterol, contributing to improved heart health.
Furthermore, Reishi mushrooms demonstrate effectiveness in addressing arrhythmia by minimizing the heart's oxygen demand, enabling it to function more efficiently with reduced effort. The high antioxidant content in Reishi mushrooms makes them beneficial for combating high cholesterol and other cardiovascular conditions. Antioxidants are essential in fighting cell-damaging free radicals, which cause oxidative stress linked to chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer's.
Experience the remarkable benefits of Reishi mushrooms by brewing a soothing tea from the raw mushroom or opting for more convenient and potent forms such as concentrated extract powder or liquid tincture. Embrace the ancient wisdom of Reishi mushrooms and embark on a journey toward harmony, health, and self-discovery.
Since as early as 600 A.D., China's elite relied on this extraordinary substance to maintain their youthful appearance, vibrant energy, and sensual vitality throughout their golden years.
Experience the magic of Pearl Powder, which when consumed, transforms your skin into a radiant, silky-smooth canvas. When applied topically, it helps diminish wrinkles and fine lines.
In a pioneering study conducted in 1934, Dr. Linus Pauling, a two-time Nobel Prize laureate, discovered that pearls are abundant in magnesium, calcium, and over 30 trace minerals crucial for cellular health and rejuvenation. He hailed pearls as the "ultimate oceanic superfood," brimming with calcium carbonate, amino acids, proteins, and numerous other vital nutrients.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) regards Pearl as a powerful Shen tonic that opens up the heart—both physically and emotionally—reducing stress and instilling tranquility.
Overwhelmed and overworked individuals frequently experience tension, irritability, sleeplessness, and even anxiety. Pearl combats these issues by promoting circulation and soothing hot body types.
TCM also attributes Pearl with nourishing the Jing essence—responsible for growth and development—and improving restless sleep, anxiety, irritability, mental exhaustion, and even premature graying of hair loss.
Women who grapple with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can benefit from Pearl's calming properties, as it nourishes the Shen and eases symptoms like emotional irritability, tension, stress, headaches, and cramps.
Additionally, Pearl bolsters the cardiovascular system, strengthening the heart and enhancing blood vessel elasticity. For generations, it has been used to prevent heart attacks, alleviate high blood pressure, and treat angina. Pearl is also known to lower cholesterol levels and improve circulation.
Incorporate Pearl powder extract into your routine, either by ingesting it to alleviate stress and improve sleep, or applying it externally to nourish your skin. Unlock the ancient secret to a more vibrant, beautiful, and serene life.
Unclog your heart, bestowing tranquility, fulfillment, and inner serenity! This miraculous berry revitalizes heart tissue, fortifies heart muscles, and enhances blood circulation throughout your body.
Schizandra's extraordinary ability to harmonize Yin and Yang energies fosters a deep sense of inner peace, love, and self-assurance. This "five-flavor fruit" (wu wei zi) boasts a delightful blend of sweetness with a hint of tartness, embodying the fire element and the emotion of joy.
Experience emotional equilibrium, reduced anxiety, and an open heart each night with Schizandra, allowing you to greet each day with renewed vigor. This potent anti-aging elixir rejuvenates your skin, diminishing wrinkles, while acting as an adaptogen that bolsters your resilience against stress, nourishing adrenal glands and shielding your nervous system from harm.
Schizandra berry's soothing effects diminish stress and anxiety, calming your mind. Ideal for those who struggle with nervousness, irritability, insomnia, or restless sleep, Schizandra offers relief for menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats.
As a Three Treasure tonic (Jing, Qi, Shen), Schizandra invigorates your body's energy levels and possesses powerful detoxification properties that promote liver health. Experience increased stamina, endurance, mental clarity, and memory enhancement with this extraordinary berry.
Create a revitalizing elixir by simmering dried Schizandra berries in water, or opt for a convenient concentrated extract powder.
Enchanting Polygala Root (Polygala Tenuifolia), a genus of flowering plants from the milkwort family Polygalaceae, also known as "Yuan Zhi" in Chinese. Revered in China for over 2,000 years and cherished as the "divine herb that opens one's spirit," Polygala fosters a peaceful heart, a calm mind, and reduced stress.
With its reputation for "opening joy" and "resolving sorrow," Polygala offers happiness, tranquility, and enriched relationships for both men and women. In Chinese medicine, Shen stability — a quiet, clear, and focused mind — is essential. Polygala dispels mental clutter caused by stress or overwork, allowing you to concentrate on life's most meaningful aspects and cultivate deeper connections with others.
Often combined with other herbs to address heart conditions, particularly heart palpitations due to anxiety and stress, Polygala is hailed as the "heart protector" for its ability to fortify the pericardium meridian, safeguarding the heart physically.
Let go of negativity, anguish, and any other emotions that have held you back from progressing. When you open your heart, you invite pure, unadulterated love into your life.
As we allow our hearts to embrace the universe and its offerings, we are forever transformed.
Love, a potent emotion, can bring serenity to our lives as we extend it to others. However, experiencing love from others is only possible when we first attain inner peace and learn to share our emotions genuinely.
To achieve this level of happiness, we must first undergo a personal transformation, becoming more self-aware and conscious individuals who resist acting impulsively due to anger or mistreatment from others.
Sharing yourself with others is a crucial milestone in personal growth, enabling you to transcend previous limitations and foster healthier connections.
Grant Yourself the Freedom to Accept Love.
By fully opening your heart, you embark on a journey of self-exploration, where each day presents novel experiences and opportunities for growth.
You give yourself the ability to love others without restrictions or obstacles, allowing your love to reach its highest potential.
These six healing herbs serve as invaluable aids in opening our hearts, fostering increased love and compassion for ourselves and those around us.
Explore their benefits and share your experiences with our community. Leave a comment below – we're eager to hear your thoughts!
- Radiant Health: The Ancient Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs by Ron Teeguarden
- Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina and Stress Relief by David Winston and Steven Maimes
- 5 Best Herbs to Open Your Heart - https://wisdom.thealchemistskitchen.com/5-best-herbs-to-open-your-heart/
- Polygala: Opening Energy Flow - https://herbworks.com/blogs/recent-posts/polygala-opening-energy-flow