Ancient Botanical Wisdom

I'm not doing so well today, but thought I would make the effort to post something new. Luckily I had written this some years ago, so was able to make a few edits and then copy and paste it here.

Today in modern times of “civilized” societies, many people have returned to using herbs as medicines and general health tonics. Some find them to be highly effective while other notice very little at best, or even detrimental results at worst. Of course the FDA will not place a label of acceptance on any herb that cannot be regulated and profited upon by pharmaceutical corporations. Most doctors that are believers in botanicals working as medicines understand their effects are random and unpredictable, but only have the general understand as to why.

Most doctors I’ve met who utilize botanicals for certain patients realize that the herbs sometimes work and other times don’t. They realize that herbs, being wild or even farm grown, cannot be standardized, and forced into a certain potency profile like an isolated chemical derived in a laboratory. Herbs grown in your garden will have more potency one year or season than another, and it is partly dependent upon the weather conditions. Of course the potency of botanicals also has to do with soil nutrients, which types of insects, fungi, and chemicals in rain supplies they are in contact with, and other natural factors beyond simple weather conditions.

Unlike aspirin you buy in a store, that was artificially created in a lab with strict regulations in place, the potency of salicylic acid (the original all natural base of aspirin) will vary from one strip of cottonwood bark to another, and from tree to tree. I’m allergic to Aspirin, but not to the tea made from the inner bark of the aspen, cottonwood and scrapings from the willows, which contain natural salicylic acid as opposed to the chemical derived form found in standard Aspirin.

Native pre-technological cultures knew this, however. They understood very well the subtleties that give life and potency to certain plants in the realm of healing. It is something lost to most modern botanical “goers”. Western medical doctors who suggest the use of botanicals to patients have no concept of the old wisdoms. Labs cannot draw numbers and charts from testing done on botanicals in reference to these old wisdoms, so to them the actual reality of it doesn’t exist. And if they cannot control it, they cannot profit from it, and therefore it is of no use to them. Medicine and healthcare today as a whole isn’t about healing and helping people, it’s about the bottom line of money and economic profit, and even fame.

Take China and Japan for instance. Traditional Chinese Medicine and Japanese Medicines have the same root. However, today they are very different. Prior to Chinese Communism, Chinese acupuncture and Japanese acupuncture were very similar. Their use of herbs was also similar. However, once communism moved into China, their acupuncture became standardized, and so on a whole is less effective that Japanese acupuncture today. Japanese acupuncturist still resort to the old texts for information, knowledge and answers to complex cases. Chinese acupuncture on a whole does not utilize those olden texts, only the modern standardized formats, including fixed points, as if the body isn’t a fluid organism. However, Japan standardized all herbs, but China did not. So Chinese herbs are far superior to Japanese herbs, because one is standardized and the other isn’t.

All Chinese acupuncturists I’ve used relied more on the Chinese herbs than the acupuncture to bring about results. All Japanese acupuncturists I’ve worked with used the acupuncture to make the differences. If they utilized herbs, they were Chinese herbs.

Well I could go on forever about that!!!!!!!!! So let me get back to the botanicals.

Why would it be that eastern hemlock tree bark tea would work to cure upset stomach and diarrhea in one person, and do very little for another? This example is very generally speaking keep in mind. Hemlock Tree inner bark and fresh/new twigs can be used successfully to treat just that aliment, but there are specifics that need to be understood, and natural rules to follow in order that the medicine be the right kind and potency to work.

A plant is part of this world, like you and I. Therefore it is affected by everything, just like we are. People living in an African jungle are very different in composition than humans living in Siberia. The environment we live in determines a large part in how we are made. Our bodies are not the same from season to season. In winter our systems are very different than in summer. Your body is different during a full moon as opposed to a new moon because the moon controls water and gravitational forces in everything upon this planet, in every cell. Botanicals are the same.

We cannot just randomly grow and pick botanicals and expect they will all give us the same results no matter when, where and how they are grown and harvested. Even if it is the same plant, the medicinal results will be very different if it was grown in the north or the south, during late spring or late summer, harvested under a full moon or first quarter, during the night or day, in rain or dry conditions, from the east side or west side of the plant, the age of the plant, and by metal knife, bare fingers, stone, bone, wood, shell or other object.

You might very well say that is incredibly complicated! Well yes at first, like many things, it is challenging and a lot to study and remember. But once you get a feel for it, the logistics are very common sense and easy to remember, because they go right along with the natural ways of this world. And we are all part of that, intricately, even if so many have forgotten that indisputable fact.

Back to the Hemlock Tree.

In general hemlock trees growing high on dry ridges are extremely potent and intense in their energy and medicine. A little goes a long way! The older the tree, the more powerful its gifts. If the hemlock is growing near a running water source down lower in elevation, its medicine offering is much more gentle and soothing in nature.

If say there is a young person who is very weak due to diarrhea and dehydration, it would be much more beneficial to use a young hemlock tree growing low down near a running water source, like a stream or bubbling spring. Even better if the tree’s roots were directly feeding from the running water! Using the inner bark and twigs harvested from the east side of the tree during a rain spell under a waxing moon (between first quarter and full) in late spring would be ideal for that medical situation.

The young tree has vibrancy an older tree does not. Its energy is shooting upward with vigor. The low lying tree near running water is growing from feeding on soft, soothing environmental energies supplied by the valley, water and rich soil. The east side of the tree holds the energy of the rising sun, the new day, birth, promise and hope; perfect to support a young person. While raining, the tree is soft and subtle as it drinks deeply of the life giving gift from the sky, and is literally bathed in it. And while the moon is between first quarter and full, the water and electrical energy of the body is heightened and being drawn upward through the system, which is good for invigorating and growing energy as opposed to deepening and rooting qualities.

If you were to harvest hemlock medicine for that child from an older tree, growing high on a hillside, the medicine energy could very well be far too intense for them. In that case the medicine, rather than helping their body heal, rehydrate and strengthen, could weaken them further; much like giving an adult dose of strong medicine to a baby.

If the bark was harvested from a high growing hemlock, from the south side, under a hot sun during a dry period, the energy could be highly detrimental to that child!

Again, in general because the depth and scope is too detailed to relay accurately in a letter:

  • Plants high on ridges and in dry zones = more intensity, stronger, raw and aged

  • Plants low in moist valleys are more subtle and soothing

  • Ones near running water and very rejuvenating

  • Ones by stationary water are deeper and slower acting

  • Plants halfway between high and low, wet and dry are of course a mix of both

  • East side’s contain fresh, fast moving rejuvenating soft energy

  • South side’s possess aggressive, fast, surface, driving energy

  • West side’s produce deep inward strong, rooted, solid and core energies

  • North side’s give an energy that helps bring connection between inner and outer, high and low

Also generally speaking:
  • Under waxing moon the energies are building

  • Under a waning moon they destroy

  • New moon reaches the core

  • Full moon spreads on the surface

  • First light brings slow, calm energy

  • Mid morning is fresh and vibrant energy

  • Mid day is hot and rising

  • Mid afternoon is fast and aggressive

  • Evening is going inward and blanketing

  • Night is at the core

And seasons:
  • Spring is youthful, fertile, fresh, soft, soothing – feminine

  • Summer is hot, fiery, fertile, aggressive – masculine

  • Autumn is dry, inward and drawing

  • Winter is dry, deep at the core and slow moving

Age:
  • Young plants/trees are typically softer, moister energies that move quickly

  • Old ones are tend to be drier (but not always!) and slower moving

Parts:
  • Roots are the strongest most intense energies

  • Inner bark is next to that strength and intensity, many times the same as the roots

  • Twigs are less potent

  • Leaves are the least potent and very mild compared to the roots and bark

  • Buds have more potency than leaves and sometimes more dynamic than twigs

  • Flowers tend to be light like leaves

  • Fruit can be the lightest or one of the most potent sources of the plants energy

In the olden days, and even today in regions that sill host people living the ancient traditions of their ancestors, such practices are still utilized and understood by the medicine people. They don’t heal for money; they do it because it is their purpose and a necessity of life, because we all fall ill and get injured. Life is not all warm and fuzzy like many New Age folk like to think. Our immune systems are constantly under attack and thus always at war trying to keep us healthy and alive. The world is a naturally harsh place for our bodies to exist. I think you are all experienced enough, and may even have read enough of others works or have dine your own studies to understand that if you get lazy and let your guard down, life will eat your body alive and leave you with no physical body in-which to dwell. And even if you seem to everything properly, life can still throw you for a loop. Just look at many people here in this community!

The old healers do it as a way of life, a sacred path they walk, not for profit. Since money, profit and fame are not involved; the natural and ancient process is not tainted, not strewn into some fast-paced standardized procedure.

The old cultures understood that everything and everyone is unique, with unique needs. One herb used to help one may be very wrong for another, even if they have the same condition! Just because we are all human doesn’t mean we are all the same, as it is thought by western medicine. This goes for all botanicals as well, all mountains, all rivers and so on. A white ash tree growing on the east side of a ridge may look so similar to the one growing on the west side, but energetically they are unique unto themselves, though similar because they are both ash.

This wisdom took a backseat and eventually was stuffed in a closet and forgotten by modern cultures. Why? The reason is simple actually. People are lazy creatures. Taking the time to learn the old ways is a life investment. It works, but it isn’t fast. There is no 2 or 4 year degree program where one can sit in a classroom with a controlled environment sipping coffee. The modern system is prone to greediness. What is easier and more profitably guaranteed than taking advantage of the needy, the suffering?

So standardizing medicine, slapping a price tag on it and reserving it for only those who can financially afford it became the norm. Eventually people forget the old wisdom and become dependent upon the fast-paced materialistic garbage presented to them, forcefully. Over time more harmful “healing” methods were designed, the price tags became beyond insane and people on a whole are weaker and sicker than ever before. New diseases are ravaging countries around the world, immune to standardized medicines, and they are mutating faster than ever in response to the modern day medicines designed to combat them, while at the same time weakening the human body.

I’ve said it so many times before; the further people get away from the natural world and order, the more we as a species suffer.

But the old ways and wisdoms of medicine are not gone. The potency of natural medicines is not lost to time; it exists in the world we all live. The only thing missing for most is the connection to the natural world, and the understanding and wisdom that brings to one’s life, a society, a culture and a species.

It’s none of our faults. We were born into modern times by people who had long lost those connections, and into a society that continues to run headlong away from the natural world and the natural orders of this planet. But we do have a choice to learn or ignore. Though I certainly do not downplay the difficulties our modern way of life places upon most. The more advanced the modern social system becomes, the harder and longer everyone must work, the more stress people are under and the more challenging it is for families and friends to remain connected, genuinely so.

There is no easy way back for us as a modern people on a whole. But as individuals we can choose to embrace more natural ways of doing things. Overtime we then can naturally open up to new ways of thinking, feeling and experiencing this world; as a part of it, not separate of it.

Modern medicine has its place, but that place isn’t all encompassing, as much of the western medical world would have us think.

My original study of herbs was under my Native American mentor in childhood. I will present a true story in another blog entry describing one such lesson.

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Comments

I look forward to reading this- I can only read a few sentences at a time...and have been without my laptop, in for repairs.

I encountered an unusual healer in my early 20s, decades ago He used many techniques gleaned from any number of protocols. Old school chiropractor, acupuncture...electrodes. I did not do the herbs then.

He went to china to train the chinese. That is what he said. I was a bit suspicious. But what is this photo? Three hundred chinese men in black robes are standing around this guy, in his white robe. He brought back a wife.

He could fix everything wrong with me, (except he refused to treat my horrific morning sickness, as soon as your pregnant, they won't touch you) usually via chiropractic and acupressure adjustments and considerable work on the feet, using methods I saw done to Anthony Bourdain, on his show in Malaysia.
 
Very good information. Thank you for sharing. In the years right before i became very ill, i was holding classes in our community and working to educate others on how to empower themselves again by means of using natures plants to help their own families. I taught people how to make their own laundry detergent (which coincidentally i called sunshine) and antibiotic salves without petroleum and many many other things. My daughter had a strange eye condition as a baby that was going to require surgery and i healed it with plants...to her drs astonishment and so on and on. I wanted to show people that we've barely tapped into possibilities. But, my journey has since shifted, ha! Its a passion of mine though. The main thing i found was most people, although intimidated were really curious how to get in touch with this again.

Sometimes, it feels like getting in touch with our inner intuition again is how we make it through these coming days and years on Gaia. Because each of our bodies really are so different.

A silver lining, is this illness has made me realize i can communicate with my body and know certain dosages and other things...when i listen and am not in a state of fear. I do have bloodwork that seems to indicate i have been listening correctly to some things. I am going to write about this more soon. If only i didn't wait so many years to let the outer voices of everyones opnions crash my body...when i should have listened within. Its within all of us. Just waiting to be rediscovered :)

Thanks for sharing.
 
But what is this photo?
The mushroom seen in the photo attached to this blog entry is the Maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa) - also called “hen of the woods”. But Maitake mushroom means “Dancing Mushroom”.

Not to be confused with (Laetiporus cincinnatus & L. sulphureus), chicken of the woods

They are all lovers of oaks here in New England.

The Maitake mushroom has a wonderful rich taste and smell to it. I typically find it growing on oak trees, though it can be found on other hardwoods. This mushroom has high Vitamin D content. They have a lot of bioactive polysaccharides and beta glucan. It is well know as a treatment to boost the immune system, treat various forms of tumorous cancer, lower LDL cholesterol, help control blood sugar. It can be eaten raw, but is better when cooked. The mushroom is dense and has a very meaty texture to it. Excellent in soups, stir-fries, grilled, sautéed in coconut oil… you can even make tea out of it.
I found this in early October growing at the base of a white oak planted in the mid 1800's.

Sounds like an interesting person you had met all those years ago. I know a Japanese acupuncturist who works with women all the way through pregnancy, and is willing to be present at the birth to assist with the labor is requested. But yes, many people have odd customs about that...
 
Sometimes, it feels like getting in touch with our inner intuition again is how we make it through these coming days and years on Gaia. Because each of our bodies really are so different.
Nice to hear Sunshine! Glad you got to do that... and perhaps one day you will be doing it again for people :)
 
I LOOOOOVE THIS POST, AND THE CONSIDERABLE INFORMATION YOU'VE CONVEYED IN IT ..... THANK YOU !!!

I'm baffled by why the "Quote" mechanism only works sporadically for me on blog sites.

Another cyber mystery that I wont be spending a lot of tme on.

But it explains why I have to do copy-and-paste for responses ....

Of course the FDA will not place a label of acceptance on any herb
that cannot be regulated and profited upon by pharmaceutical corporations.

A sentiment that Ive expressed over and over again on this site's threads. The degree to which BigPharm controls our healthcare system is so deeply ingrained and so intense that it's hard to figure out how they got their mortmain, Mafia-like hold on the medical system, but it's there, and it's almost undefeatable.

the potency of salicylic acid (the original all natural base of aspirin)
I think that you're referring to acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) ..... salicylic acid is another substance altogether, tho derived in many instances from the same source. It's used primarily in the cosmetic industry, and is an alphahydroxyl acid, useful for gently dissolving and removing dead skin cells. Taken internally, it probably wouldn't be a good thing ....

More later .... tired and brain foggy ...
 
I think that you're referring to acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) ..... salicylic acid is another substance altogether, tho derived in many instances from the same source. It's used primarily in the cosmetic industry, and is an alphahydroxyl acid, useful for gently dissolving and removing dead skin cells. Taken internally, it probably wouldn't be a good thing ....
Actually I'm referring to Salicin (should have stated that), found in the bark of willows, aspen and cottonwood trees. Salicin is what Salicylic acid is derived from, and a precursor to the drug acetylsalicylic acid, or Aspirin.
I'm baffled by why the "Quote" mechanism only works sporadically for me on blog sites.
Odd, it seems to work OK for me. But one of my old web designers years ago always told me, "Most digital technology we have today doesn't work, so it should amaze us that any works for us at all."
 
Odd, it seems to work OK for me.
I know. Baffling.

For instance, it's working for me right now, whereas before nothing could make it kick in ..... not C+Shft+Win+B, not the do-all Cont+Alt+Delete, not refreshing the page .... nada.

I takes my blessings where I finds 'em .....
 
Actually I'm referring to Salicin (should have stated that), found in the bark of willows, aspen and cottonwood trees. Salicin is what Salicylic acid is derived from, and a precursor to the drug acetylsalicylic acid, or Aspirin.
True.

Originally, the salicylaldehyde derivative came from meadowsweet, not willow bark, isolated by scientists at Bayer in the very late 1800's. It's been argued that the belief that white willow bark was in constant use by early man may be a myth, since the extremely bitter, quinine-like taste as well as some of the side effects might have been discouraging. But who knows?
 
Really enjoyed reading thru this, and have had similar experiences and viewpoints regarding plant based medicine.

I was struck by the PR thread in which somebody Trade Marked a hydroponic form of ginseng. And then its reported by Teitlebaum to have a high ME self reported feel better rate.

Ginseng not in the forest, the root not held in the earth. The morning light not arriving, to light up the sky and speak to this being, this being called Ginseng.

I'll be avoiding that stuff.

My joints responded quickly to the Tibetan wind diet. An energetic diet, intended to ground those of us wafting about. My friend consuming her kale salads, wearing away her tooth enamel and everything aching.

"all my joints are much better, I stopped eating salads"...that comment doesn't compute for most folks. Sold on salad.

A story we used to tell, was about the Yew tree, in the Pacific Northwest. A valuable tree to the indigenous, trash to us. We clear cut the old growth, and the yew is tossed into piles, and burned.

turned out its bark produces Taxol. And Taxol was found to be a major breast cancer cure. And out in the forest, when a particular tree was sampled, it had 400 times the taxol concentrations.

wow, thats an example of what we have in wild plant populations: gene factories, diversity and alleles which might safe our lives.

And when its gone its gone.
 
It's been argued that the belief that white willow bark was in constant use by early man may be a myth, since the extremely bitter, quinine-like taste as well as some of the side effects might have been discouraging. But who knows?
There are a few things to consider when pondering that statement.

My teacher taught me the following in reference to the poplar family, and herbs in general:

1- The bark of the poplar family (willow, cottonwood, aspen and the like) are all very bitter - yes, however, the most bitter bark comes from the tree trunks, and so in medicine was typically avoided unless of dire circumstance. The bark harvested for tea and poultice was/is taken from the small branches and twigs, where it is far less bitter than the main bark.

2- As plants grow throughout the ecosystems in relationships, their medicine is also best used in relationships as opposed to solo. The bark of he poplar family wasn’t typically used alone, but rather combined with other herbs. The combining of herbs employs the special relations within the plant kingdom, which brings the supporting, balancing and enhancement of energy and medicine each contains.

3- For fever, pain and headaches in the east of America, other plants such as birch, yarrow, wintergreen, acorns, rose, mints, and many others were used, generally speaking.

When I was taught about the poplar family as medicine, the bark was usually mixed with twigs or leaves of the paper birch (to warm and stimulate, since the poplar family is cooling), or the acorn to help it get through to the blood faster; mixing willow with rose can help smooth its energy so it can travel through the liver with greater ease… and much more.

To most pre-technologic cultures around the world, the earth was and is fully alive and existing in complex relationships with everything here. Medicine is a living breathing spirit, and so when approaching the subject it is vital to gain the understanding of such life and relationships within the medicinal makeup. Who (plants are living creatures) is involved, not what. That is one of western medicines greatest faults in studying medicines of old cultures; they lack that understanding.
 
Really enjoyed reading thru this, and have had similar experiences and viewpoints regarding plant based medicine.
I would love to hear some of your stories if you ever care to share :)
I'll be avoiding that stuff.
Me as well!
My joints responded quickly to the Tibetan wind diet.
That is great! Yes many people with internal wind issues, and resulting pain, benefit from such methods. Glad you found that.
"all my joints are much better, I stopped eating salads"...that comment doesn't compute for most folks. Sold on salad.
Ha, ha... yes salads in many people, especially those with either deficiencies or those with a cool damp constitution will find all that raw food to be toxic to their systems. Even those with dry hot constitutions and excess should only partake in raw foods moderately in the warm season.
wow, thats an example of what we have in wild plant populations: gene factories, diversity and alleles which might safe our lives.

And when its gone its gone.
Modern science has many limitations, and though does do some good, it can destroy far too much in its drive for absolute provable fact.
 

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