Walking The Plant Path – The More I Learn The Less I Know

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional.  If you are in need of medical attention, seek the advice of a trained medical professional. 

Herbal Medicine

I recently finished my Chartered Herbalist diploma from the Dominion School of Herbal Medicine.  It was a program I enrolled in (pre covid) because I felt inspired to learn more, plant medicine has been a curiousity of mine for years.

Interestingly, this deep dive into herbs coincided with a virus that would cause a world pandemic.  I balanced news reports with herbal textbooks and while I am thankful for our modern day medicine, I am also thankful for the traditional teachings of the medicine growing around us.  There is a need for both.

As political leaders declared war on a virus, I was learning how our vastly diverse human microbiome (a community of micro organisms as well as viruses) are necessary for human life. It became clear that the answer is abundantly more complicated than simply declaring war on a virus. What makes some viruses pathogenic while others are necessary for our health and well being? Why are some of us experiencing severe or lingering symptoms while others have no symptoms at all? 

We still do not know one thousandth of one percent 

of what nature has revealed to us.

-Albert Einstein-

The human body is in itself its own ecosystem. There is a life force, an innate intelligence within us that is constantly striving for balance. When disease shows up, it’s signalling that we are out of balance, unable to restore normal functioning. Our job is not to take over this innate intelligence but rather support it with the nourishment it needs in order to function properly. True healing becomes a passive offering of nourishment, creating a healthy environment for healing to happen.

We are not powerless in our own health and well being. Just as the human body continually strives for balance, there is a balance we can achieve in listening to our medical health professionals, seeking medical care when needed while also taking a proactive approach in our own day to day lives.

Everything Is Medicine

We have all heard the expression, food is our medicine but have we really granted it the weight it’s due? What we feed ourselves matters.  And of course I’m referring to the food we put on our plate but I’m also referring to everything else we take in and put out into the world; physically, emotionally and spiritually. What is nourishing to our bodies and what is not?

Red Clover - Herbal Medicine

As I write, I am sipping on a herbal infusion of Red Clover, which is basically a strongly brewed tea. Clover is a plant I noticed growing in abundance around me this past season and on advice from a herbal teacher, I do my best to pay attention to the medicine growing around me.

Red Clover has alterative properties, otherwise known as a blood cleanser or purifier.  Alteratives work to gently cleanse the blood while toning the liver, kidneys and skin. It is high in nutrients, also having anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful for a spasmodic or bronchial cough. Its sedative properties are soothing to the nerves.

All this in a plant that grows outside my front door. A plant that is often considered a weed by many.

This journey into plant medicine humbles me. I find myself sitting in reverence for the grace nature continues to show us, waiting for us to see what has been right in front of us all this time.

Where Do We Begin?

We start small. 

Small changes lead to big ones over time. Think of one thing you can add to your day that nourishes you, an afternoon herbal tea for example. Or maybe it’s a nap or a friend you’ve been meaning to call.  Focus on small things that add sustenance to your day; physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Red Clover Tea Infusion Recipe

A simple Red Clover tea infusion is 1-2 teaspoons of dried flowers steeped in a cup of hot water, cover for 15-20 minutes. Strain & enjoy.   

Contraindications for Red Clover:

Do not use if you are currently taking blood thinning medications or have any bleeding disorders.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional.  If you are in need of medical attention, seek the advice of a trained medical professional. 

Harvesting Wild Plants

If you are foraging for plants, please reference professional advice for proper plant identification or work with a local plant expert who can show you the wild edibles in your area.  Always take caution to know the plants you harvest, taking care not to over harvest and never harvest a plant that is endangered. Be informed if the area has been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides.    

Herbal Medicine Resources

I encourage you to research your local area for organic, sustainably harvested herb and seed companies to support.

More On The Blog

A herbalist teacher once told me to pay attention to the plants growing around me, they are often an indicator of the medicine I need.

Some years it’s the dandelions growing in abundance.  This year it’s clover. 

When did beauty products become so complicated?  I’m a big fan of simplicity, especially when it comes to making my own products.  This DIY lavender body oil recipe is a great alternative to lotion. 

I love this homemade body butter recipe. It’s simple to make, using only shea butter, jojoba oil and the refreshing scent of peppermint. This is the perfect recipe to try if you’ve always wanted to make your own lotion.

Any thoughts? I'd love to hear from you!