Posted by Nathan on September 09, 2016
I've been reflecting upon gratitude for the plants lately. How they offer us so many gifts, from their physical beauty to giving their bodies for our teas and medicines. Next week, I will be entering a clinical herbalist program in Berkeley, and really I owe so much to the plants themselves. For guiding me along the windy, bendy path I have taken. For poking me when needed. For sharing their beauty and reaching out to my spirit during good times and bad. For simply being.
I am already an herbalist. And of course, there's always room for improvement.
Kind of like the Dandelion. That common, "lowly weed" which first sparked my interest in herbalism, over 20 years ago. Dandelions are excellent medicine. They support liver health, help expel toxins from the body, are useful for common skin conditions like acne, and more.
And they tend to grow in soils that are low in calcium. Interestingly enough, Dandelions themselves are fairly high in calcium and are thus a useful support for general bone health. When it comes to the earth, that which is needed usually shows up to restore or create a balance, or wholeness.
When you consider taking plant medicines, it's worth reflecting upon what might be underneath the easily noted symptoms that are present. What deeper pattern might be present? What could be lacking, that a specific herb or set of herbs might address?
Of course, determining these things is often easier said than done. Even seasoned herbalists sometimes struggle to locate the underlying patterns or missing elements driving our symptoms.
However, if you begin to give space to reflection, to meditation on, what's happening behind your runny nose or hacking cough, you'll begin to develop the capacity to be with your illness with less fear. And to more likely find herbal (or other) solutions to your health issues that solve more for pattern than symptom.
I'll speak more about this in coming months. In the meantime, head outside and soak up some love from the plants today! May you all be happy and well.