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Herbalism of Our Ancestors: Listening to Plants and Intuition

I'm going to guess that everyone reading this is either an herbalist or will become one in the future. We all have our favorite plants, which if you all are anything like me, every plant seems to be your favorite once you start talking about it. But what happens when you can only work with plants you are unfamiliar with?


Let's say we are on a deserted island, and this strange island has all new species of plants. How do you go about identifying the medicinal uses of those plants?

Is it totally trial and error or is there a strategic method that you can use.

The reason why I ask this is I want to ask the question, is our practice based solely on memory and familiarity? Are we aware of the visual cues of the plants?

Think way back to day 1. The very first people who experimented with the plants, how did they find out which plants were poisonous. How did they know the effects that plants had on the body without scientific reasoning or proof? They may not have had formal education or training, yet they were able to maneuver through the limited plants that they had access to, in order to heal their communities. We’ve lost that essence; we’ve lost that effortless ability to decipher the way of plants. Why is it that our wealth of information has not afforded us a deeper understanding of these concepts?



This is one reason why it’s beneficial for all herbalists to learn the traditional methods and indigenous practices of the folk practitioners who came before us. Life is unpredictable and we won’t always have our first-choice plants at our disposal. There is always a new illness or circumstance that will test our willingness to learn and adapt.


We’ve seen, some of us firsthand, that access to clean drinking water is not a privilege, even in what’s deemed as “first world countries”. In some communities' access to modern medical care and supplies may be limited, if not totally unavailable. We need to be able to rely on our knowledge in all of these cases.

So, essentially what I’ve been saying is that we need to really get to know plants in an intimate manner. Along with that we need to learn to better communicate with people who want to use plants as well.


How do we choose the right herb for the person? Why is diagnosing by the symptom ineffective in a lot of cases.





Modern herbalism neglects the emotional aspect of both the person and the plant.


We understand all of the herbal jargon, but we need to use real language that clients use.





When we are happy what happens?

Our heart beats faster, we put a smile on our face, and sometimes we may even laugh until we cry tears of joy.

When we are Sad what happens? How do we feel?

Our heart feels heavy, we may cry. In response to this crying the body releases prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and endorphins.

When we are angry our muscles tense, we may have an elevated heart beat

in response to stress or other stimuli, the body can release adrenaline, cortisol, and noradrenaline.

When we are Nervous our teeth clench, our stomach is in knots, we may sweat.

Sweat is regulated by our nervous system; adrenaline is also produced in this state.

I just subtly showed you how emotions affect the different areas of our body. Vice versa, stress or imbalances in certain areas or organs of the body can also lead to emotional symptoms. It gets even deeper, by using components of traditional African medicine, you can predict other regions of the body where disease may be manifesting or will migrate to next. This is crucial because people aren’t always able to articulate in words how they feel, you may even be able to ask questions which will remind them of symptoms they didn’t think to mention.



That's what African Herbalism entails.


  • Understanding the emotional and physical symptoms of an illness

Emotion plays in the effectiveness of herbal remedies- Taking herbal remedies that don’t address the emotional, spiritual components of the person is just like pharmaceuticals, masking symptoms.


  • Understanding everything inside and outside of the body, how they affect and connect with what’s going on a mental, physical and spiritual level.


  • Understanding how we can learn to pick up on these signals, what they tell us on a cellular, molecular level.




Creation has a perfect design. When we observe the patterns of the plants, and learn to decipher the unique code of the body, we can have a harmonious balance. No more will you need to learn about one plant at a time, instead you will learn foundational tools to understand any medicinal plant you come into contact with. You will also learn how to approach healing holistically- not just using herbs in place of pharmaceuticals or for symptom management.

 

(This is a paid class, click the buy option above to rent or purchase!)



This is the class that every herbalist should take before they begin on their herbal journey. We'll deep dive into the traditional practices of our ancestors and how we can use this grassroots approach today.


*Learn why diagnosing by the symptom doesn't work

*Learn herbalism from the plants' perspective

*Understand how to choose the right herb for the person

*Learn to understand plants by more than what you see under a microscope.


Creation has a perfect design. When we observe the patterns of the plants, and learn to decipher the unique code of the body, we can have a harmonious balance. No more will you need to learn about one plant at a time, instead you will learn foundational tools to understand any medicinal plant you come into contact with. You will also learn how to approach healing holistically- not just using herbs in place of pharmaceuticals or for symptom management.