Essentially, herbs for both types of situation all come from the same class of herbs called nervines. Lavender, linden, rose, skullcap, motherwort, valerian, passionflower, and lemon balm are all examples. Herbs that are often used for more long term care can also be used as needed in a short term setting, but a few really stand out for short term support.
Rose- for it's uplifting influence, and it's ability to support a sense of being soothed and nurtured.
Hawthorn- for it's grounding influence, and it's ability to support a sense of calmness and courage (or at least make things feel less insurmountable!)
Angelica-for it's expanding influence (where shock is seen as a type of emotional contraction) and it's traditional uses in soothing anxiety and pains (such as headaches and stomach aches) related to anxiety.
Albizia - for it's ability to calm and settle the spirit and lift the mood. Known as "The Tree of Happiness" or "Happiness Bark" in Traditional Chinese Medicine, this herb has been valued for centuries for it's ability to help support emotional equilibrium. Albizia is also very beneficial for emotional upheaval associated with grief.
I prefer to use albizia by itself (it also gets used a lot for physical bumps and bruises around here), but the other three work very well together in a combination.
One of my favorite extracts to keep on hand for life's sudden shocks and setbacks is a combination (or compound, as herbalists are found of calling them) of Rose+Hawthorn+Angelica. I favor a ratio of 2 parts rose, 1 part hawthorn, and 1 part angelica, but this can be changed to equal parts, or to only 1/2 part angelica (some people may find the angelica makes them feel too spacey). I use like any standard extract, 15-30 drops at a time, either mixed in a little water or added to a glass of warm milk.
Next week, we will look at something that's all to easy to take for granted in our relatively sterile society of tetanus shots, triple antibiotic ointment, and sanitary living conditions. Stay tuned for an article about herbal care for cuts and scrapes!