15th February 2016
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
While the chakras themselves are energetic/etheric in nature, they each have corresponding physical organs, glands and systems in the body that can, and do, have an effect on their functioning. When the associated organ/gland/system is weak or out of balance, the relevant chakra will be under active; and when the associated organ/system is balanced and healthy, the chakra will generally be in harmony.
This interconnectivity of the physical and etheric bodies goes the other way as well—if there is an energetic imbalance in a chakra, for example, as a result of emotional disturbances, then this can also cause the associated physical elements to become weak as well. As such, it is important to not only address physical imbalances with herbs and lifestyle adjustments, but also on an energetic level as well with breathwork, meditation, kriya/tantric yoga, qigong or whatever your preferred flavor of energetic medicine.
It is interesting to note that in the system of Traditional Chinese Medicine each organ corresponds to specific emotional states. This is an important distinction because, as mentioned, emotional patterns also have an effect on chakra function in the sense that negative emotions tend to disturb chakra function and positive emotional states tend to improve it. By using herbs to balance the underlying organs, glands and systems of the body, and hence the chakras themselves, it has the added benefit of helping us to work through the associated emotional patterns that may be also negatively impacting the chakras as well.
There are many different practices—both energetic and otherwise (as outlined earlier)—with the end goal of healing and balancing the chakras that are effective to varying degrees, but, like putting water into a bucket with holes in it, if the corresponding organs, glands or bodily systems are weak for whatever reason, simply charging the area with Qi or Prana will not necessarily be as effective as simultaneously working to heal any underlying imbalances in the physical body itself. Besides general lifestyle adjustments, there are few methods as powerful and effective as the proper use of herbal medicines to bring the various aspects of the body back into balance.
In a general sense, you will get the most benefit by using the following herbs as an adjunct to the energetic/etheric practices outlined above. With that being said, I recommend two ways of taking these herbs for maximum benefit and to avoid imbalances in the bodies—etheric and physical. The first is slightly more sophisticated and requires you to understand what chakras or organs/glands/systems may be weak in your body. If you have this awareness and knowledge then you will generally want to take specific herbs from the list below to treat that specific imbalance. On the other hand if you are not sure what is in or out of balance then I would recommend taking a blend of a small portion of each of the herbs outlined below in order to maintain systemic balance and harmony so as not to overactivate or neglect any specific chakra or part of the body.
1. Root Chakra (Mooladhara): Perineal Gland and Urogental System
Recommended Herb: Shilajit
Although not an herb in the traditional sense, Shilajit is the byproduct of thousands of different herbs because it is the solidified resin of prehistoric forests compacted under the weight of the Himalayas for eons of time. As such it is very grounding, building and rejuvenating, rich in minerals and other compounds that literally restore the body at a foundational level. In that sense, the root chakra is also foundational in the chakric system and helps us stay grounded energetically. Shilajit also works on a number of other systems, organs and glands in the body and has many other remarkable benefits that you can learn about in the in-depth article I’ve written on it here: consciouslifestylemag.com/shilajit-benefits-ancient-superfood as there is simply too much to go into for the scope of this article.
2. Sacral Chakra (Swadhisthana): Sexual Organs and Kidneys
Recommended Herb: Schizandra Berries
Schizandra is an incredible herb with many positive effects in the body, but it is particularly well known for strengthening and tonifying the sexual organs in both men and women. As a mild diuretic, it is also cleansing of the various energetic pathways that run through this area of the body and is particularly nourishing to the kidneys, making it an excellent herb for the sacral chakra and healing any underlying imbalances therein.
3. Solar Plexus (Manipura): Digestive Tract, Intestines and Adrenal Glands
Recommended Herb: Pine Pollen
Manipura is in many ways the seat of power in the body both etherically and physically—our digestive system is responsible for turning the food we eat into the vital energy that runs our body. When the digestive system is weak, everything suffers. The third chakra is also the etheric-emotional seat of our self-confidence and sense of personal power. Correspondingly, when it is weak or there are imbalances in this area, it manifests as fear, worry and anxiety, as these emotions arise when we lack self-confidence. Thermal bio-scans of thousands of people in large-scale research studies at major universities have found these emotions (fear, worry and anxiety) are concentrated and most often experienced in the third chakra area.
In that sense, few herbs strengthen the body quite like Pine Pollen. One of nature’s most treasured herbal medicines, Pine Pollen is rich in DHEA, the body’s master hormonal precursor, which nourishes the adrenal glands directly and balances the entire endocrine/glandular system, which is foundational to our sense of personal power and self. Pine Pollen is also phenomenally rich in rare and important nutrients and nourishes the body at deep levels, supplementing weak digestion, which is remarkably common, and giving us added energetic support, no matter what phase of life we are in. There are few things which energetically strengthen the body like Pine Pollen, making it a perfect corresponding herb for the third chakra.
4. Heart Chakra (Anahata): Heart and Lungs
Recommended Herb: Reishi Mushroom
In the Daoist tradition, Reishi is considered a supreme heart Qi tonic, meaning that it increases the flow of vital energy to the heart and strengthens it directly as a result. It is also calming and balancing to the nervous system, which helps with our overall emotional balance, of which the heart is the center in the body in many ways. Reishi is also a supreme ‘Shen’ tonic, which translates to herb that nourishes the spirit. As the Anahata chakra is the ‘gateway chakra’ to higher consciousness and the heart itself is one of the key intuitive centers of the body, Reishi is particularly nourishing and relevant as a tonic for this area. Reishi also increases blood flow to the heart and lungs, further supporting the organ systems underlying the heart chakra.
5. Throat Chakra (Vishuddhi): Thyroid Complex
Recommended Herb: Kelp/Seaweed
While there are many factors that influence thyroid health, perhaps the most pertinent is the supply of bioavailable iodine in the body. And there are few better sources of iodine than seaweeds. Rich in iodine and other important trace minerals, seaweeds supply the body with abundant raw nutritional materials that are hard to get and conspicuously lacking in modern western diets, even for those who eat quite healthfully. Iodine and the minerals in seaweed also strengthen the entire endocrine/glandular system as a whole, making it a great dietary addition for anyone doing regular energy or healing work.
6. Third Eye Chakra (Ajna): Pineal Gland, Brain
Recommended Herb: Gotu Kola
One of the premier herbs in the ancient Indian Ayurvedic system of holistic medicine is Gotu Kola, a powerful herb for the brain and related glands and systems. Gotu Kola enhances oxygen uptake to the brain specifically and to the body’s cells in general and has been shown to actually increase intelligence in long-term users. It has also been shown to enhance and harmonize trans-hemispheric communication in the brain, which is likely why it has been traditionally used by meditators. Brain hemisphere synchronization produces measurable changes in brainwave state into the alpha, gamma and theta spectrum, which are associated with expanded states of consciousness. Gotu Kola is also said to act directly on the pineal gland in part through the above mechanisms and due to the fact that it is a vasodilator, causing both increased blood and oxygen flow to key areas and glands within the brain and body.
The Hindus also consider it to be a powerful herb for balancing the pituitary gland and the crown chakra, essentially killing two birds with one stone. In that sense, the plant acts as a sort of ‘shortcut’ to help one access higher states of consciousness and awareness and is a key herb for harmonizing the brain and higher chakras.
7. Crown Chakra (Sahasrara): Pituitary Gland
Recommended Herb: Sage
I’m going to make a non-traditional recommendation here. Most know sage as the premier smudging herb, but it can also be taken internally and works in much the same way—to clear the etheric body and physical body of energetic blockages and imbalances, as well as destructive influences. As the crown chakra is the gateway between the higher non-physical planes/energies and the body, it is fitting to suggest an herb that is energetically cleansing and harmonizing rather than deeply physical in its effects, although sage certainly has those properties as well. Recently discovered in some fascinating studies is sage’s ability to increase perceptual awareness, intelligence, brain function and memory; and those intuitively tuned into the deeper effects of the herb will notice it also enhances sensitivity to subtle energies, which further cements its appropriateness as a tonic for this chakra. Taken in tandem with Gotu Kola, all of the physical organs, glands and systems correlated with the crown chakra are are addressed, strengthened and balanced.
As always with herbs, seek organic, wildcrafted/harvested or biodynamic whenever possible and choose those with minimal, low-temperature processing to preserve active constituents and enhance potency. Start slow and work your way up in dosage to what intuitively feels right for your body as you acclimate to their effects, and be sure to take a few days’ break from the herbs now and then to let your body rest and integrate the changes.