So You’re Going to an Herbalist

“He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herbs for the service of man” – Psalm 104:14

Herbalists can be as different as chalk and cheese, to use a British expression. One may specialize in the culinary aspects of herbs and spices, another in their cosmetic properties, while yet another goes to fields and forests, foraging roots, identifying and categorizing.

What is a Master Herbalist?

The Master Herbalist focuses on the medicinal constituents of herbs and how they assist the body in functioning harmoniously. Drawing from scientific study, centuries of historical use and personal experience and observation, the Master Herbalist does not diagnose or prescribe but helps one to understand how certain plant’s medicinal properties may benefit a medically diagnosed problem.

One of the greatest truths about holistic healing is that the body is designed to heal itself. Therefore, regardless of where one seeks expert information, the responsibility for health and wellness must remain with the individual. To facilitate ones journey into healing plants the Master Herbalist may recommend helpful foods and give workshops in addition to private consultations.

The health of the body depends upon the health of the colon.

A well-known adage in natural healing circles is that “The health of the body depends upon the health of the colon”. A concern about acne, for example, would have the Master Herbalist questioning colon function as well as food and drug intake, to better understand how this person’s body is handling the evacuation of toxic material. A poorly functioning colon, retaining toxic waste, allows the blood to circulate those poisons throughout the body, further stressing the liver as well as one of the largest eliminative organs, the skin. Blood, liver and colon-cleansing herbs, therefore, would be called for. The client is taught to view the medically diagnosed skin problem from the outside in and the inside out, looking at the use of medicinal herbs to cleanse, nourish and heal skin as well as the body’s internal workings.

Botanicals vs pharmaceuticals

A primary concern may be to alleviate symptoms, as in the pain of an ulcer. Simultaneously, the inner ecology must be addressed. The benefit of medicinal herbs vs. pharmaceutical drugs is demonstrated in how allopathic medicine views the stress of an ulcer. A well known drug for ulcers is considered, in the lingo of the pharmaceutical industry, a perfect drug because not only is it expensive, it also has a high relapse rate (92%). Thus, the patient develops dependency because there is a high probability of the ulcer’s recurrence without the drug.

The herbalist will help one look at food intake as well as therapeutic plants to alleviate pain, soothe, nourish and heal the digestive tract without risk of side effect.

Gentle enough for children

Parents interested in protocols for cold/flu prevention, bronchitis and chronic ear infections find a wealth of information in the herbalist’s teachings. Gentle, non-toxic botanicals may be used to stimulate the immune system, soothe a sore throat, expectorate lungs, decongest. Food avoidance may be addressed as certain foods are mucus-producing and congesting to bodily functions. Given a medical diagnosis, an educated parent is empowered to take charge of the child’s wellness in a way that harmonizes the vital processes of the body. A parent’s herbal ministerings can even soothe a youngster’s dis-ease until he or she is seen by the pediatrician.

Taking the best of all worlds

Integrated medicine, taking the best of both worlds, is a sensible approach. Combining medical diagnostic techniques with the synergistic, biochemical benefits of plant formulas can effectively strengthen an ailing body. When allopathic medicine is deemed necessary, herbs can support the system and cleanse residual toxins post-therapy. Herbs may be used to address emotional as well as physical healing of the body, further supporting the concept of body/mind/spirit holism. Upon visiting a Master Herbalist, you will begin creating your own personal healing manual, stocking an herbal medicine chest and may forever change your outlook towards noxious weeds.

©Andrea Candee

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