Herbal Medicine to Heal the Tidal Wave of Grief, Part One

A flower photographed with a Kirlian device that shows the energy of the flower

By April C, Brader –DOM National Board Certified and Florida licensed Traditional Chinese Medicine Physician, Acupuncturist and Herbalist 

The tidal wave of grief can be profound and overwhelming. It often comes without warning, plunging us into the depths of the psychic abyss. Grief is the universal equalizer as everyone we know–our entire family, our beloved friends and cherished pets– will one day die. Grief is also a profound motivator. It compels us to examine our soul beliefs.  It rocks us to our core and opens the door to emotional, mental and spiritual transformation and even healing.

When I was a student in a graduate course on thanatology, the study of death and dying, our professor invited several parents who belonged to a support group for parents who lost children.  One toddler died of a rare heart defect, another adolescent died of cancer, one was killed in a terrible accident at home and the last child was tragically murdered.  

The guests spoke about the loss of their child with such emotional candor and intense, palpable grief that as they shared their stories, the entire class of graduate students in class were openly weeping.  

One mother described her anguish of not knowing whether or not she should consent  to surgeons operating on her two-year-old daughter with a very rare heart defect. The surgery was very risky with reported limited success rates. She told us in the end, she reluctantly agreed to the cardiac operation but her tiny, beautiful two-year-old daughter died while on the operating table. 

However, even though these stories were tragic, there was a tangible spiritual energy in the room, almost kinetic.  I felt strangely elevated. We all felt a deeply  spiritual connection to one another and the souls of  those parents who were just moments earlier, perfect strangers.  

We empathically understood one another beyond language, beyond the mortal grasp of human frailties and ego imperfections. Something powerful and sacred happened. For a brief period, we suspended our earthly physical selves and existed symbiotically as one mutually, loving entity of light and energy.  

At the end of our class we all embraced our guest speaker parents in one communal hug with an innate knowing we had been forever altered. In the end, the grieving parents told us how our communal experience of shared grief and love had helped them immensely.

I often use this story and others like it is to help my patients understand the way in which acupuncture and herbal therapies work energetically to facilitate profound healing in patients.  

Our ancient therapies work on the energetic body and recent research scientific studies support our 10,000-year old history. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is ranked as one of the most effective medicinal systems in the world with patients being highly satisfied with their outcomes.

Herbs and plants are energetic in nature and recent scientific experiments demonstrate plants are able to communicate with each other, the soil and microbes within the soil.  They feel pain, move with the sun, moon and stars and often the exact herbs people need grow within a few feet of their surroundings.                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A good example of this is dandelion or Pu Gong Ying in Chinese Medicine.  Dandelion is a superior herb for liver health. It helps cleanse the liver which is responsible for the free flow of Qi within the body. Most Americans feel exhausted, overwhelmed and stressed. Dandelion is anti-cancer, clears heat from the liver, detoxifies, supports bone health and is incredibly nutritious, replete with vitamins and minerals. Grief only magnifies feelings of exhaustion and of being overwhelmed, so a remedy such as this is indicated.  

Many years ago when I first started studying herbal medicine, I dreamed I was in a radiant field of herbs and medicinal plants as far as the eye could see stretching out unto the horizon.  

As I wandered through the fields of herbs, I heard each one singing in beautiful, distinctive other worldly octaves. I was also able to see and witness their pulsating, vibrant and unique energetic signatures.  They were overjoyed in my presence and they vibrated and glowed in unearthly light, not dissimilar to the Kirilian photographs that I have seen in the years since the dream.

I then knew without one doubt  that herbs and plants are divine gifts given to us by the Creator to nourish and heal us.  A well-designed herbal formula is without side effects and helps the patient regain health and restore balance. 

In tomorrow’s post, I will offer specific herbal formulas that can strengthen the body and tap into the energetic healing properties of herbs and plants.


April C. Brader had a near-death experience at the age of two after a severe head injury and was hospitalized.  For 15 years she ran community-based hospital occupational medicine, injury prevention and wellness programs for HealthTrust, HCA and Community Health Systems for the State of Florida.   She discovered Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) after she developed acute kidney disease and credits Chinese medicine for healing her and changing her life path.  She is an herbalist and acupuncturist studying and using medicinal plants from all over the world including rainforest herbs, TCM herbs, Western herbs, Native American and Ayurvedic herbs to facilitate healing in patients.