Traditional herbal medicine is the use of plants as teas, tinctures, salves, poultices, powders, pills, bolus, balms, glycerites, honeys, cough syrups, steams, and many more
Herbal medicine is the medicine of the people and is for all to use and practice. Plant medicine is gentle and strong. The source of all medicine is the earth we live on, so it is gifted to us by the mother of all beings. It can be found all around us—in our backyards, in the cracks of sidewalks, in our gardens, and in the woods. Many indigenous elders say that each plant has a specific job and remedy for every ailment, physical and emotional, inflicted upon the people.
Identifying the medicinal qualities of plants can be very easy. There are many different methods besides looking up the herb or a remedy in a book:
- Doctrine of Signatures—You can see this when a plant looks like the organ or body part for which it has a cure, such as the branching of most coniferous trees mimicking the bronchioles of the lungs. Pine, spruce, and cedar all work on healing colds that infect the lungs.
- Color—When we eat a rainbow of foods, we are nourishing our bodies in many ways. When we are feeling an imbalance, we can increase the intake of the colored food or herb that relates to the organ system for which we need a remedy; for example, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), green foods and herbs nourish and protect the liver and gallbladder, yellow for the stomach and spleen, red foods and herbs for the heart and blood, white for the lungs, black for the kidneys. Colors vary depending upon the tradition you choose to follow.
- Intuition—Note your subtle response to the smell of an herb or flower. If we need a plant, it typically smells very good, though it may not taste very good. Familiarity with your plants is essential for safety reasons.
- Journeying with the Spirit of a Plant —In a safe and quiet space, we can access a part of ourselves that will give us our truth through pictures. There, the spirit of the plants can communicate their healing properties.
- Scientific Case Studies and Research—In the past 20 years, there have been more and more case studies collected and research on herbs and their medicinal values. Many of these case studies can be found on the internet using reliable resources, such as the Harvard website and Pubmed.
The best way to find out if a plant works for you is to do your own investigation and self study. Start out simple for example, if you get a cold, try to make yourself some healing teas to nourish your body’s natural defense system. Be adventurous!!
If you have any questions feel free to leave some below.