Celebrating the Plant Kingdom (My Journey into Herbalism)

Conventional doctors don’t understand the healing power of Gaia. That’s an understatement. Recently, when I told a conventional medical doctor that I use only plant medicine and supplements to heal myself, I was practically given the riot act by the doctor. Actually, he used the weapons of guilt and fear because I didn’t want a prescription for antibiotics to fight Lyme bacterias.

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In the past this would have bothered me more. I might have lost sleep over it. But I’m not new to plant medicine. I gave up pharmaceutical products in 1994 because I suffered from systemic candida and other syndromes that conventional doctors wouldn’t diagnose for fear of liabilities or tarnishing their reputation as having a rational mind.

But prior to that, in the late 1980s, a wiccan friend introduced me to teas made out of wild crafted and other herbs. Then in the early 1990s, I caught a wicked cold that wouldn’t go away. I coughed so hard that I thought my lungs would pop out of my chest. The friend told me to visit the Herbalist (in Seattle) and she gave me a list of herbs to purchase.

When I showed the list for the herbalist (owner of the business), she suggested that I purchase one of her herbal blends for colds. I did and two days later I was cough free and my energy returned. Needless to say, I became a frequent visitor of the herbalists in Seattle. For me, it was a pleasure to walk into the old shops which usually had wood floors and glass containers and bins of exotic and common (or native to the region) herbs.

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It wasn’t long before I bought The New Holistic Herbal by David Hoffmann which became a medicine chest for me. When I worked as a receptionist, I kept this book underneath the desk and I pulled it out to read about the different plants in between phone calls and other tasks. Decades later, I still have the book along with other plant remedy books. I also branched out over the years to work with flower essences and essential oils. In some peoples’ minds this makes me woo-woo or at least, old fashion.

However, here’s the thing, I have cured myself of sinus and bladder infections with the help of plant medicine. I haven’t taken any prescription allergy pills since 1994 when I learned that I could resolve seasonal allergies with herbal remedies. I even used herbal remedies to help me with depression which I suffered from for years. Now, I’m not recommending that anyone ditch their conventional medicines overnight because that would be dangerous for many medical conditions. Besides, it’s best to work with a holistic doctor if you choose to go the natural route. Don’t do this on your own.

Vermont

I’m merely sharing my story to open minds to explore the anthropology of plants, the history of plant medicine and the current practices. Not everyone is called to the Plant Kingdom, but I’ve been and I’m feeling it more strongly than ever. Since I suffer from Lyme disease (and I might have caught it in Washington State, maybe even years ago), I chose to heal myself with supplements and herbal remedies.

I read two of the late Stephen Buhner’s books about healing Lyme with plant medicine. I also had a strange dream about the herbalist around the time of his death. I had never heard of him until I was living in Brattleboro, Vermont and I had this strong desire to write an article on local herbalists in Southern Vermont. I interviewed Tim Scott an herbalist who had studied with Buhner and was a proponent of Japanese knotweed.

When I learned about Japanese knotweed, I had this feeling that I would become familiar with the plant soon because I suspected I had Lyme. After all, ticks were plentiful in Southern Vermont. And I wasn’t in a permanent home and was stuffing my dirty clothing (with ticks on them) into the same bag with my clean clothing. But this is another story.

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So, now, I’m in Pennsylvania where I had this urge to write an article on houseplants for a magazine based out of New Hampshire. I bought houseplants that unfortunately had pests. This led me to learn about natural remedies to rid the plants of mites and flies. And while I’m in the process of writing the article on plants and nursing the plants I have (who ever thought I would be a caregiver for plants?), I feel something coming alive in me which I recognize as a calling to the Plant Kingdom. The timing couldn’t be better since Gaia is suffering under the weight of consumerism and high-tech. It’s time to reclaim my place in the natural world and the natural order of things.

Before I end this article, I’ll share a story from when I was in my late twenties and living in Seattle. The wiccan friend that I mentioned earlier and other friends worked at an herbal shop near Volunteer Park. I enjoyed visiting this shop because it was in a historic building and like the other herbal shops had rows and rows of glass containers with an array of herbs.

The friends and I sat around a wooden table where we discussed a range of topics ranging from our favorite alternative rock bands to herbal remedies. This memory is precious because we no longer have opportunities to spend hours sitting around a table with friends sharing our passions. Those moments engaged all my senses and I felt loved by the other women. I felt seen and heard as I witnessed a whole other realm opening up before me (the Plant Kingdom).

I imagine that very few people have face-to-face friendships or the time to foster those friendships. With everyone hiding behind laptop and phone screens or rushing around to make more money to consume more goods, we have lost our connection to Gaia. And is there hope for Unity Consciousness when we don’t even have our feet planted on the Earth?

I’m not pleased that I caught Lyme, but if I had it all along, then I’m glad I was finally diagnosed. I’m also grateful that I was led back to the healing power of plants. It’s not that I had forgotten but I have been ordering most of my remedies online and not visiting as many herbal shops as I had in past decades. However, I’m awakening to new possibilities and I’m allowing the plants to lead me further on this path of healing. And who knows? Perhaps, Stephen Buhner’s spirit is helping me on this quest.

Postscript: Vermont is ruled by the Goddess Ceres who rules plants and agriculture. I believe that my time in Vermont led me back to my love of plants.

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Published by pnwauthor

I'm a former Washingtonian from Washington State, not Washington DC. I currently reside in Pennsylvania, even though my dream was to live and work in Vermont.

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