Going Beyond The Symptom
All of my life I’ve “looked beyond”. I knew from a very young age that this wasn’t normal, and by “this”, I mean being so sick. We are all so sick beyond relief that we have subcommed to endless amounts of potent sedatives, antibiotics, pain killers and drugs that have more side-effects than they do relief. We’ve become so ill that companies have decided to profit off of our illnesses. We are all malnourished and we don’t even know it. Our foods have become the disease even though food is to be our medicine. We have become so technically advanced beyond our years that harmful amounts of static frequencies are rushed through our bodies 24/7 from our phones, tablets, computers, cars and wifi signals. Our air has become polluted by companies who choose to look for the dollar instead of the people, and the only way to get around for a lot of us is by having to drive a vehicle. A lot of us don’t even know how to cook anymore or what it means to checkout books at the library. We are so detached from ourselves and our planet that we are killing them both simultaneously.
True Holistic Herbalism
The word holistic has been thrown around like it’s nothing these days so I want to make this very clear: Just because you practice herbalism, does not mean you are holistic.
In medicine, holistic is described as treating the whole person physically, emotionally and spiritually. True holistic practices of any kind have always looked beyond the symptom, and this is what drew me to this practice of plant medicine, Herbalism. To practice this ancient modality in a holistic manner, instead of an allopathic manner, you have to see beyond the ailment and into the soul of the individual. This means taking note of their spiritual practice, social environment, mental state, cosmic alignments and relationships with others past and present.
I’ve come to learn that disease is rooted in human emotion and this is why I have become so fascinated by the energetic world of herbalism. The mind of a human is incredibly powerful and is often times undervalued. Have you ever stopped to think about how amazing a placebo pill actually is? To notice the countless amounts of studies done on a variety of different topics and seeing results almost equal to those who took the “real pill”, or even out perform it? Why would a pill made up of sugar give equal or better results to that of a pill chemically designed to treat something? The answer lies in the mind and its ability to self heal.
Does this mean that herbalism is a placebo? Or astrology? Or Ayurveda? Or TCM? No.
However, what this does prove is our ability to retrain our years of programing, to find safety in difficult situations inside of our body, to find relief in the emotional damage done to make us sick. Our bodies are incredibly smart, but what our body can’t do is tell the difference between a lion attack or us rushing into work because we are late. Our bodies are not able to decipher this chemical rise because our bodies instantly want to protect in the most emotional, and in this case, frightening circumstances. However, because we live high-strung in our modern world, our body thinks we are running from lions 24/7. This causes our cortisol levels to skyrocket creating an immense amount of stress. Stress has been proven to be linked to multiple diseases, like cancer, because we have overworked our systems so much it doesn’t know how to keep up. Sure, disease is rooted in our gut, but it’s also rooted in our stress.
So, how can we use herbalism to practice holistically?
We stop taking herbs for their uses.
We know that herbs have an array of uses to treat many ailments, but what we have failed to understand is the different energetic qualities that each herb has. For instance, 2 herbs classified as a nervine doesn’t mean that either of the two will work for any individual. One nervine could act as a sedative and the other could act as a stimulator, obviously two ends of a nervous system reaction. This is so incredibly important. Then, we take the information for the energetics of the plant and we tie it with the energetics of the human! Once you are able to bridge the elemental energetics of the two species you will have then successfully bridged the two together creating a well rounded, whole body approach to treatment.
What are the energetic qualities? The elements, the taste, the planetary ruler, the temperature, the chakra connection, the meridians, the dosha.. and so much more. Connecting all of these dots between plant then to human creates harmony and a holistic herbal practice.
Introspect Into Plant Energetics
Recently we talked about the importance of tasting our herbs, and in that journal post I highlighted our 6 main tastes that we look for when working with herbs, and also food. If you have not caught up to that post, you can find it here.
When most of us see the word “energetics”, often times we are lead to think about a godly force, or some type super spiritual esoteric concept, but that isn’t really what we are talking about here in terms of herbal energetics. As mentioned earlier, energetics are talking about certain qualities like temperature and taste. You can also further this by talking about the affinities, the meridians and the rulers of the cosmic and bodily alignments. There’s a great teacher who may be of interest to you if you want to really get lost in this way of practicing true holistic herbalism using the western system of astrology, and that’s by Sajah Popham, the founder of the school of Evolutionary Herbalism.
In this journal entry we aren’t going to dive deep into each of these energetic equations, but my goal here to educate you on the whole other side of practicing herbalism, and practicing it holistically. Learning about the plants is only one side of the equation, and we have to understand the people, which is overlooked. Herbalism itself is growing and more and more people are wanting to connect with earths medicine, but without understanding the tissue states of someone, understanding how to assess or look at core patterns in a person, we won’t be able to bridge the gap. That gap being sickness, or emotional turmoil. My hope is that you now have a better understanding into how I practice herbalism, and how I can now better introduce you even deeper into the world of plant therapy. Make sure you’re signed up for my email list!