When Mercury goes retrograde, everybody feels it. The illusion of backwards motion that occurs when Mercury speeds past Earth causes quite a bit of chaos down here. Since Mercury governs communication, language and technology, its retrograde inflicts disorder and confusion. And it doesn't just tornado through our external world -- it also affects our physical health. Thankfully, we can take herbs to support the systems weakened during this topsy-turvy time.
Mercury rules over our nervous and respiratory systems, so when it's in retrograde, those systems get thrown off-balance.
"Mercury retrograde disturbs the energy of our nervous system and affects our adrenal glands and regulation of stress hormones,” says Caity Flanagan, in-house herbalist at The Alchemist's Kitchen. ”It makes us stressed and exhausted. It also affects our digestive systems, causing a nervous stomach."
What we need during this period of turbulence are herbs that soothe and ground us. "Nervines like lemon balm are very soothing to the nervous system," says Caity. “It’s a gentle herb that grounds, nourishes, and soothes the digestive and nervous system. It's also heart-opening."
Root herbs are especially grounding. One of the most effective is ashwangandha, also a nervine, which Caity highly recommends. "This adaptogenic helps the body deal with chronic and heightened stress, and is a powerful ally to the adrenal system."
Another powerful root herb is Brazilian ginseng, also known as suma. As an adaptogen, it strengthens and protects the body by balancing hormones, strengthening the adrenal glands, and boosting the immune system. It's also been used by indigenous peoples of the Amazon as an aphrodisiac due to its rejuvenating and energizing effects.
If you find yourself in New York City during one of these retrogrades, stop by The Alchemist’s Kitchen new terrestrial home in the East Village (21 E 1st St), where we serve fresh herbal drinks at our tonic bar. For a potent antidote to Mercury retrograde's effects on the body, try the The Kombucha Revitalizer, an herbal blend that grounds and boosts the immune system. It also functions as a pro-biotic.
The Kombucha Revitalizer is a flavorful combination of the herbs ashwagandha, Brazilian ginseng, horsetail, and pau d'arco mixed with kombucha, black tea, green tea, and pink lady apple juice. Pau d'arco and horsetail give an added health boost to the vitalizing effects of ashwaghanda and Brazilian ginseng. Pau d'arco has detoxifying and antifungal properties, while horsetail is high in silica, which makes it good for strengthening and repairing bones, hair, and nails.