I have been spending a lot of time lately talking to clients not just about herbal remedies but lifestyle changes. Herbalists are not only people who recommend herbs. We are holistic practitioners, and to be holistic, we must accept and operate under the belief that mind, body, spirit are linked. Physical health, emotional health, sexual health, spiritual health are all part of the picture . Just as your physical organs work in harmony to make you well, or disharmony to make you sick, it is time we consider that the other parts of who we are elicit influence on our this process as well.
I wonder sometimes if people are surprised that I may recommend beets as a remedy for the liver, or ghee as a remedy for a dry constitution, or taking a stroll everyday as an antidepressant, eating spicy foods for circulation and antioxidants, or consuming cabbage for an upset GI...?
Last year, at an herb conference, I had the pleasure of learning from some amazing clinicians. One of them was Paul Bergner and he told us something that has stuck with me since.
“In medieval Baghdad, the "license" to practice medicine was given as permission to practice in the marketplace. One of the rules was that an individual would be disqualified from the practice of medicine if they were observed to 'use a strong herb when a mild herb would suffice, used an herb when a food would suffice, or use a food when a lifestyle changes would suffice.' Now that is a standard." -Paul Bergner
I think this is beautiful. The more I learn about the human body, and all forms of life for that matter, the more I sit on my heels in awe at the orchestra at play. The intelligence of the living world is something to behold. Our bodies know what to do, just as the sunflower knows when to bloom and the squirrels know when to steal the seeds. We are in a time period where everything is fast. Medicine, weight loss, colds, flu, depression, whatever it is we are rushing ahead, right through it, and past it, and on to the next.
I think I am healthier today than I was at 21. Since the age of 18 I have been making slow, steady changes that lead my body back to balance. I can honestly say I feel better today than I did 5 years ago, or 2 years ago, or whatever. This isn't because it is my blueprint, for goodness sakes I've had plenty of health problems, and 5 pregnancies, and 3 babies, and enough stress for a lifetime. It is because I am choosing slow medicine and my body can repair. Slow is sustainable.
If someone wrote a health book titled “Three years to a healthy you” who would buy it? We want to be healthy last week, or at the latest next week. We aren’t conditioned to allow for process, for nature, for our own selves. To be well, we may have to learn how to be patient again.
So, are lifestyle changes a quick fix? No.
Are foods going to reverse an illness overnight? No.
Are mild herbs going to change your life in three weeks? No.
Are strong herbs going to work as rapidly as pharmaceuticals? No.
Should we rush to the end and get the fastest, most powerful result first? Or is there value to the process in between?
I’ll leave that up to you. Until next week... be well.
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