On Saturday I was organizing my herbal medicines (see jars below). Herbs are one of my favourite modalities to use. The power of herbal tea and herbal medicines is astonishing, and I see great results from using them. My patient came in, looked fondly upon the herbs I had laid out, and said very simple to me, “This is the medicine that my family uses all the time. Mother Earth makes the best medicine. It’s so simple, but it’s natural and it works.”
She put it so beautifully – Mother Earth makes the best medicine. The best kind of medicines are foods and herbs (and many herbs are foods – such as licorice which is a legume). The amazing thing about herbs is that they tell you what they are good for by how they look/taste/smell and where they live. For example – dandelion is yellow – bile is yellow – dandelion helps cleanse your liver. Aloe lives in a dry climate and is good for dry skin and sunburn. Generations upon generations lived amongst the land and by using the medicines they found in their backyard. They didn’t over complicate things. They tried different herbs at different potencies, and when something worked they shared the knowledge amongst the land (almost like the archaic beginnings of the scientific method and communication of medicines). This elder knowledge became the basis for many pharmaceuticals – where the primary medicinal ingredient is cultivated from the plant and replicated in a concentrated form (such as aspirin, which is created from white willow). If the plant in it’s whole entirety is effective, why not just use that?
The answer lies in the need for control. To improve on nature, to have something compact and convenient. For it to be man-made. Hence, we improve nature and are in control. This is a trend ever evolving in modern day medicine. We abandon the simple medicines of nature, and the knowledge attached to it, and believe only in the power of man-made medicines. The same trend extends to our believe of healing and disease. We put trust completely in doctors to cure us and forget the healing power that exists within ourselves, giving our power completely to another which creates a unhealthy hierarchy which is detrimental to our own healing. I have the upmost respect for Medical Doctors – they are incredibly skilled, knowledgeable, and noble in their oath to serve and help their patients. However, it is not their job to “fix you”. The ability to heal resides already in your cellular biology and genetic makeup – it just has to be activated. In short, it’s not their job to fix you, it’s their job to guide and support you in healing (or “fixing”) yourself. You are responsible for your health, and that healing power resides in yourself. The role of Doctor is Teacher – to teach you how to activate your own healing power and the healing power of nature to accelerate your healing. Doctors are guides, not mechanics.
As humans we are not a sum of our parts. The same concept applies to our health. We can’t look at our symptoms separately. Everything is interconnected and communicates with each other, creating our whole being. If we are to remove an organ we affect every organ that that organ communicates with. The same applies to an herb/food. If we augment it too much then our bodies don’t recognize it and it’s medicinal affect becomes lost (hence why fortifying our foods have contributed to an increase in food sensitivities, our bodies no longer recognize it as natural and create an immune response toward it like it’s a foreign invader). Let’s recognize and respect the healing power of Nature, rather than trying to improve it. Let’s recognize and respect the healing power of ourselves, and take responsibility for our health, rather than give that power away to others. That is what it means to be truly empowered – embracing the power you have within yourself and eliciting it to produce positive change.
Mother Nature is so smart. We just have to listen to her.