Plant medicine goes back a long way in our history. Shamans known as the back-then doctors would use herbs and natural ingredients like honey to treat people.
In ancient Egypt, and that’s going back 3000 BC, they used spiritual remedies to remove the spirits that were blocking the health from a person, along with natural medicine. Their solutions involve spiritual rituals and ceremonies, as well as the use of what nature had to offer.
They were even quite well versed in birth control and how the menstrual cycle worked with getting pregnant.
With time however, doctors started emerging, carrying cases full of injections, modern medicine, pills, and with acceptance of new, modern medicine, the natural ways started to die out.
As doctors and western medicine were accepted by the world, shamans and plant healers were perceived as witches/wizards and crazy individuals for believing that plants and nature had healing powers could help.
This was mostly due to the scientific claims doctors and institutions started to make and like with anything, evidence and science is much more believable than herbs used by shamans with no scientific backing.
As the modern medicine started to emerge and be accepted by the masses, herbalism and plant medicine was completely overshadowed and began to be forgotten.
It was pushed by all institutions and governments, and it’s clear now that there is a lot of money to be made in the pharmaceutical industry.
I won’t go into the political details of medicine, but you get the picture.
Of course we need modern medicine, certain conditions wouldn’t be cured by herbal medicine, and certain vaccines save a lot of children from catching and spreading deadly diseases. We have a lot to thank for when it comes to modern medicine.
What if, we could turn back time and only use and study herbs and plants as a measure to treat people? What if all the research and time spent figuring out science and chemically-created treatments, was better spent on plants and herbs?
We will never know the answer, but how different could our world look right now – in fact, if we didn’t have any chemicals or man-made toxins, preservatives added to our food and skincare products?
Could it be that these man-made/scientific chemicals and additives are the cause of these new, strange conditions?
Of course our diet is the most important factor that affects our health and condition. If processed foods were not available to us, how much different would hospitals and medicine be right now?
Some food for thought there, but for now, let’s get back to plant medicine and how you can apply it today.
Although we don’t live in villages in tents surrounded by fields, we still have access to many herbs and plants that we can easily get or order online. You can also go out foraging (here’s a guide to foraging), as most medicinal plants grow anywhere and everywhere!
You could be walking past medicinal herbs on your way to work every day, and not realising their healing power.
Or you could take the easy route and order them online.
I like to order mine on Etsy, as I always know that I’m supporting independent and small businesses, and some of them actually grow their own herbs, which makes it even more special.
Here’s a few shops I like to use on Etsy.
StarWest Botanicals is also a reliable and trusted source that I like to use to get my herbs. You can use this safe link.
If you’re in the UK like me, there are many ways in which you can use medicinal plants whether you have a garden, live in a flat or in the middle of a city. If you have a garden, you could for example grow echinacea flowers – not only do they look pretty, but they’re also a natural remedy for the common cold/flu symptoms.
For anxiety, you could grow lemon balm, and for better sleep, plant some lavender.
If you’re in the UK, here’s a list of some medicinal plants you could grow yourself:
The above are all herbs/flowers you can easily get in a seed packet and sow them in a suitable place in your garden. Always read the packet/label to check when to plant them and whether they like shade or the sun.
If you’d like to know how or where to study plant medicine, you can start by reading up on them in a few books. There’s plenty out there, so it depends on exactly what type of plant medicine you’re interested in.
You can start by learning about essential oils for example, as these are oils extracted from plants, flowers and herbs that have medicinal properties.
You can read about how to get started with essential oils and their benefits, here.
You can also easily find books and information online about plants and herbs, and how by growing them yourself, you could save money, enjoy the process and reap the benefits of herbal medicine.
There are also YouTube channels with all things plant medicine, and benefits of each herb, plant, flower you could think of. Here’s a few of my favourites:
Before you decide which book to read, or where to start your learning process, decide why you’re wanting to learn and what you want to gain from it.
Is it because modern medicine has let you down and you want to completely switch to herbalism?
It is because you’ve heard other people mention it and want to try it yourself?
Are you interested in becoming a holistic healer and want to start growing your own herbs/plants, but you’re not sure why and for which properties?
Before you embark on the exciting learning and exploring journey, you must first decide your intention and what you’d like to learn.
A great starting point for me was an Encyclopaedia of Essential Oils, as it goes into details of herbs and plant medicine, and then lists every possible herb, plant and flower in terms of medicinal benefits and the different variations of each herb/plant.
Although the book is about essential oils, the benefits of each herb/plant listed are applicable and can be used in various ways. For example let’s take lavender, it’s great for sleep.
As an essential oil, you can rub some diluted lavender oil onto your wrist and pillow to help you sleep, as well as you can grab a few lavender pieces and put in inside or under your pillow.
It’ll have the same effect and purpose, calming you down. I have a piece of dried lavender hanging above my cooker, and even looking at it makes me feel calmer! It probably has no scientific or actual effect on my emotional state, but it certainly makes me feel better about life…
It’s all about the little things eh!
So there you have it, medicinal herbs and plants can work miracles, and add a bit of magick into your life, making you feel like a witchy goddess making potions that make others feel better.
Share your herbal medicine journey below!
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