Plant Medicine

Plants can heal people. You can learn how to select plants and use them therapeutically. You can heal yourself with plants.

There are, of course, caveats. Not all plants can heal people. Some plants can kill people. Some conditions cannot be healed by plants. Your study of medicinal plants must include an open mind, a willingness for dialog with plants, and good manners (please and thank you at the very least).

Plants have been healing people for many thousands of years. Some people will tell you the only good medicine is a pharmaceutical drug prescribed by them for a price. MDs are taught this in medical school and their professional organization, the AMA, uses this argument as a way to promote themselves and protect their business, their turf. This argument is false.

Any path that leads you to a consideration of using plant medicines is good. My impetus for writing this article is to encourage and empower my friends who are turning to plants because drugs have failed them.

The simplest way to begin studying plant medicines is to read a few good books. As medicinal plants are traditionally called "herbs," books about them are often called "herbals." Plan to acquire, over time, a library of books, as no single book can be enough.

You will need books that

The books I turn to most frequently are:

Essential oils are substances, usually liquid, that are found in some plants and that have their own distinct therapeutic properties and methods of application. Generally they are easier to use than herbs and are more effective than herbs at treating some conditions.

Flower essences are a third form of plant medicine. They too are distinct in their effects and uses.

Give yourself time and permission to follow your heart into the world of plant medicine. If you believe plants are inanimate, you owe it to yourself to read The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird (1973).

Created: 6-1-2010.