There are just so many levels to herbalism that is often hard to figure out what to do, where to begin your journey. We have been working on building a solid Biblical foundation on the “Legacies of Grace” program. If you’d like to see what we are up to, just pull up that page and scroll down to the ‘foundation’ posting.
Today we are going to look at where and how to build a solid physical foundation. I am reminded of the teaching of Jesus where He shares the importance of building on the Rock and not the sand. This is our example, even in herbalism.
Sand is always shifting, blowing, sinking and less then dependable, even on a good day. It is not my intention to criticize other modes of health care but most really are not health care at all, they are sick care and they are built on sand! You see, if you neglect to build a solid foundation, you are destined to illness, disease, injuries and a life of less then vital well-being. I must admit that there is a mode of herbalism, becoming ever so popular since the age of internet, that uses the same foundation. Whenever I see postings on social media that run something along the lines of: “what can I do about this or that, I am thinking maybe I should do A, B and C” and then about a hundred people pipe in with “just use D, G and Z because my cousin did and it really helped” I just want to scream! No amount of A,B and C or D, G and Z will help if we don’t have a foundation of health and wellness to build on! In addition to this, well educated health care practitioners, even natural ones, are posting things all over the internet giving us the idea that health can be obtained in a sum total of 4 or 5 paragraphs of their greatest wisdom, all with practically no reform or effort on our part.
Whenever we live as we choose, let our flesh dictate our lifestyle, sure and certain doom is close behind. This has become a deep and obvious part of the American culture for some time now, though there are some gentle breezes of renewal blowing. I don’t want to lose sight of our subject today, but you just can’t eat at Mc Dees all week, slumber your life away on the couch and slather all kinds of pretty stuff on your skin, pour in the coffee and hit the road to another day of the same. We need to build healthy bodies and herbs have so much to offer us here!
So, our foundation will not be how to use herbs to overcome illness and disease unless and until we understand the importance of building our Terrains (or basically healthy bodies). In saying this I want to make sure you understand, I fully believe that illness, disease, injury and so on can and do happen to healthy people and often times no amount of a rock solid foundation can overt the setback. I do not want anyone to feel guilt over past lifestyles or decisions either, today is the day of mercy and new beginnings. For that matter, each and every day of my life I make less then ideal decisions that effect my health. What I want to stress in this post is how important and beneficial a rock solid foundation is and not wanting to leave you on your own to figure out how to obtain that foundation, we shall see just what can be done!
So, I am hoping you all have read the post on sleep and are beginning to see the great benefit good rest has to offer us in our effort to build and maintain our foundation (or wellness). I have not forgotten that I promised you all some concrete information on good herbs for sleep, we are getting to that right now. There are so many wonderful herbs that offer us help when we are having a hard time obtaining good sleep! Many people could supply you a great list and they would all be great choices I am sure. Indeed I have shared such a list right here on this website. But today we are going to stray away from the typical nervine/relaxant/stress reducing/etc. type of herbs and look at herbs anew.
Yep, this is the right and only place to start in herbalism! So let’s define just what tonic herbs are. A quick definition would be: Herbs considered to be those that are nourishing and nurturing to our bodies. It’s just about that simple, we use this herbs daily as a food, beverage, bath additions, etc. we don’t even think of them as medicine! When I have taught a similar series of classes in person I titled them “Lifestyle Herbalism” that is because herbs can and should become a total lifestyle and it all begins with Tonics! These herbs are those which are the safest, most gentle and usually benefit us from the high level of nutrition they contain. They have the ability to build and strengthen the body and even be specific to particular body systems. These herbs are generally used over long time periods where as many other herbs are not. Sometimes we can see an almost immediate effect but most often we experience a gentle, slow return to a state of health where symptoms that were very pronounced are not noticed any longer, etc. These herbs provide the body with the needed components to naturally move us to a state of homeostasis (which is a state of balance and perfect function within the body). There are other classifications of herbs that take us up the steps in health and healing but like a strong ladder that is mostly useless if the bottom rungs are not in place, we will have a hard time going further up the road on this journey without tonic herbs being put into place.
Building on our foundation of rock rather then sand, can you see how this class of herbs plays such an important role? Back to our study of sleep, now I will provide you with some “tonic” herbs for your consideration: Top of my list for the nervous system would be Oats Avena sativa, also to consider are Mugwort Artemisia vulgaris, Wood Betony Stachys officinalis, Vervain Verbena officinalis, Chamomile German Matricaria recutita (although caution should be taken to assure no allergic reaction is present as this plant comes from the Asteraceae family), Skullcap Scuterllaria lateriflora (although caution should be taken to assure it is not combined with sedative medications).
So here is a bit of information for your consideration! In the days to follow I will be placing a page on this site, specifically as a Materia Medica. This will provide detailed information on each of these plants as well as many others, as we meet them.
Thank you for your patience with me, this would be my first and foremost occupation if it were not for reality and bills!