You have heard about herbal medicine and are wondering how to begin furthering your learning?? How does one gain experience with the ancient concept of the using herbal medicine to nourish and support the bodies internal healing mechanisms.
One can easily enter into the plant/human relationship by selecting an herb to study in depth,and get to know the personality of that plant, just like you would a close friend.
- Select 1 herb to become familiar with and use for non-emergency situations, such as indigestion, sleep support or relaxation and continue to expand your knowledge and personal experience with each plant. Humans tend to learn through personal experience and being creatures of habit, we often reach for what is most familiar; begin incorporating herbal choices into your daily living and over time, these plants may be more likely to be used in acute situations.
- Spend time reading about the plant, (ideally from more then one author) and ensure that the author has in-depth training and clinical experience with plant medicine, rather than being an expert in another field and simply providing “opinions”, without personal clinical experience.
- Identify both the main action and secondary or supporting action of each plant. Traditionally plants, being complex be-ings, have more than one use in the body. When used in combination they can become supportive catalysts for a stronger herb, or help to restore the overall function of a specific organ. Some herbs are tonics in nature, others have sedative properties, are astringent, stimulating, or nourishing and taken like a food.
- Decide on the method of use for your selected herb, are you preparing a herbal tea by infusion or decoction,making an infused oil or using a cream or tincture?
- More is not necessarily better, once reading on the use and dosage of a plant, follow the instructions and stay within the recommended dosage.
- Give yourself time to use the plant on a daily basis and notice any subtle effects in the body. Develop a relationship with the plant. Identify the taste, subtle flavor and scent of the plant as well as take in the appearance, visuals can tell much about the personality of the herb; is the plant delicate in nature, or appears robust and solid, are you using a hard seed or a fragile stem or flower?
- Remember that herbs have consistently fewer side effects than conventional medicine yet herbal medicine does need to be respected and used mindfully.
- Plant medicine is subtle yet can be powerful. Tune into your body and respect the plant medicine you are using. Visualise the plant working in the body. For any chronic condition and especially when one is using medication, booking a consultation with a herbalist trained in-depth with the use of herbal medicine is always recommended.
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