Did you know that every year the Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens hold a botanic art exhibition called Botanica at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney? The annual exhibition features the exceptional work of Australian botanical artists and serves as a great platform for new and emerging artists. At Saltuary, we are extremely excited by this year’s exhibition theme, Botanica de Materia Medica, which will showcase artistic interpretations of plants that have healing properties. Beginning on 29th July, the exhibition will run for two weeks and raise funds to support the scientific works and infrastructure of the Gardens, protecting unique plant life and inspiring the community to invest in plant conservation.
At Saltuary, we are huge believers in the healing power of plants. Natural ways to manage stress and anxiety can be plentiful when reaching out to Mother Nature’s medicine cabinet. Incorporating plants into your daily routine can help reduce stress levels, improve sleep quality, and provide numerous other health benefits. In this article, we will explore 5 plants that we love!
Kava is a herb that has been used for centuries in the South Pacific for ceremonial purposes. A natural anxiolytic, Kava is known for its calming effects and is often used to relieve anxiety, helping to reduce symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder, insomnia, and nervous system conditions such as restlessness. In Australia, only certain constituents of the plant are used, specifically kavalactones, which offer potent calming effects. With any herbal medicine, it’s helpful to speak to someone well-versed in herbs before adding them to your regime. Naturopaths and herbalists are great sources. It’s always important to stick to the correct dosage guidelines too; Kava is no different.
Passionflower is a gentle herb that offers anxiety-reducing effects and a host of other benefits for the mind and body. It is an excellent alternative to Kava, with similar, calming results but is much more gentle than Kava. Traditionally used to treat neuralgia and insomnia, Passionflower is known to promote relaxation and can help with regulating sleep. It also has anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory effects, making it useful in conditions such as coughing and asthma. The white and purple flowers have intricate petals that resemble a swirling vortex, making it one of the more hypnotic and beautiful flowers you are likely to come across.
Schisandra is an incredibly versatile berry that contains all five flavours within it. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, it targets our five Yin organs – kidneys, heart, spleen, liver, and lungs. Schisandra is a potent antioxidant that fights free radicals, reducing the risk of chronic disease and promoting overall health, while its anti-inflammatory properties make it useful in treating a variety of inflammatory conditions. Schisandra also regulates the immune system and protects the liver from toxins and is perfect for anyone who might need extra endurance through the day, such as athletes.
Withania, more popularly known as Ashwagandha, has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to relieve stress, increase energy levels, and improve concentration. Classified as an adaptogen—herbs, roots, and plant products that support body and brain health by acting as ‘scaffolding’—Withania is an excellent herb for promoting overall health and well-being.
Withania is also an anxiolytic that breaks down anxiety while assisting with managing symptoms of depression and helping with cognitive function. Withania can also be helpful for those with reduced iron levels as it helps the body utilise iron better.
5. Blue Lotus
Blue Lotus is a mystical herb that is said to enhance intuition and ascension while providing calming effects that reduce stress levels and improve sleep quality. Ancient Egyptians associated Blue Lotus with the sun and creation, while the Mayans are said to have discovered its mood-enhancing properties and used it as an aphrodisiac. Blue Lotus has calming effects on the nervous system, reducing stress levels and promoting relaxation. Blue Lotus is revered in the mystical sense for those seeking to enhance their intuition!
Whether hobby-related or for aesthetic value, there are many reasons to love plants—but choosing plants with medicinal properties can do wonders for your mental and physical well-being. From reducing stress levels and improving sleep quality to promoting better health overall, plants such as those above and many, many others offer a range of health benefits. So why not incorporate some of them into your routine and experience the therapeutic power of plants for yourself? Whether you prefer to drink them as teas or take them in supplement form, plants with healing properties could be the secret to a happier and healthier you!