Symptoms and Causes
It is fair to assume that when a patient presents, they have come to get rid of their symptoms. It is also likely that they have little idea of the true nature of their complaint. This is something we must also confront in ourselves. However clever our diagnosis and labelling may be, have we understood the origin and meaning of what we see?
Disturbance of the seven centres, or chakras, is the cause of almost all chronic conditions. If we can correct this disturbance, we can then target major symptoms and boost vitality. We can then expect great results. ( In serious cases, or elderly, or very weakened patients, we may only achieve partial improvement. But we, and the patient, may consider this a success if life quality is bettered).
This massive energy centre is right over the stomach. More than any other it is our driving force. Why is this? Our overriding emotion is desire. Without it there would be no motivation to do anything. This ranges from the desire for food and warmth, to the subtlest or most extravagant urges.
In order to fulfil our desires and needs, we need a certain amount of willpower – it is a competitive world. Our needs on the emotional level, are the motivating force behind the corresponding force in the physical body – in this case, Confidence and Willpower. When these are lacking or excessive, an array of problems can occur in the physical body.
The solar plexus drives digestion. This includes absorption, transport of nutrients, muscle building, and elimination. If we can clearly see the sequence of Confidence being the motive power driving digestion, then we can understand the various emotional states affecting the free flow of this energy.
The reason we use Cleavers to treat the solar plexus is because it works from a level of mind, beyond the emotional. It therefore has a blanket effect on every aspect of that centre. We sometimes also use Yellow Flag, for a more dynamic thust.
This is a smaller vortex above the pubic bone. It is responsible for Urino-genital systems and the strength of the low back and legs. It controls the Adrenal glands and is therefore essential in treating Arthritis and Asthma. It is the source of our fundamental animal vitality – that of survival.
This Centre underpins so much of our health, some of which may not be obvious. This is why we use Sage and Lady’s Mantle in many of our Prescriptions.
A small vortex at the perineum. It carries our genetic blueprint and is therefore involved in all Congenital defects. It is indicated for knees, feet, and some lumbar conditions.
This centre can be inhibited by the heart or sacral centres, leading to poor vitality and immunity.
The heart centre regulates our ability to give and receive Love, which in turn regulates the power of our Heart to pump blood and heat around the body. This strength can be depleted by a weak Sacral centre.
It is the source of much anxiety, insomnia, skin disease (all overheating), and Loneliness.
In itself, this is by far the least affected centre. Emotionally, it is the out pouring of self expression – imagine a shout of joy or a voice in full song. This centre energises the Throat, Thyroid, and Lungs.
Problems with this centre are nearly always caused by its Depletion by either the Brow, Solar Plexus, or Sacral centres. They must always be treated.
This very active centre regulates the nervous system. When overactive it can cause tightness anywhere in the body. This in turn causes spine and joint problems, high blood pressure, migraines, bowel disease, – the list is endless, depending on which other centres it affects. It also regulates ears and sinus.
Its spiritual function is to regulate soul input from the crown. We could picture it as the diaphragm of a camera lens, opening and closing to regulate the amount of light passing. Any symptom it causes indicates that the emotional or spiritual life needs attention. Treatment will often release the flow and the patient must adjust their life.
The seat of the soul. The meaning of our own particular life unfolds from here. Physically it regulates the eyes and neck.
Why do we get sick? We must accept a fundamental principle in order to understand this. We live this particular life to gain experience. We take this with us when we move on. What is it that drives us on to the next experience? If we were able, we would glide effortlessly through the sequence and be happy all the time. Why don’t we?
In order for us to gain experience, various centres become emotionally active at different times. Sometimes one may dominate an entire life. As a given centre energises us, there is a natural resistance in the physical body – inertia. If we are driving our life in the right direction, we go with the flow – we are exhilarated. Most often we resist change to some degree.
This results in frustration which in turn is exhausting. In time this will exhaust the whole system. Frustration is the wrong use of energy. To truly heal, it is at this level we must effect a change. If we have used plant spirits correctly this is inevitable, as is change in the patient’s life.
Are we therefore trying to play God ? ! When we reach a level of practice where we can use such medicine, we are resonating within humanity to an extent, that those who need us will find their way when they are ready. This may not be when symptoms first appear. Karma is a profound issue. It is not the place to go into it here, other than to point out that we often need to suffer or endure adversity to learn or gain strength. It may not be our job to completely relieve a situation, but to help someone along.
In Terminal conditions, our job is to ease the journey, if we are assured we cannot cure. Yew/Valerian mix, then Agrimony, bestow Peace.
If our goal is to use own plant spirits in our practice, where do we get our medicine? We either grow it, or gather it wild. Either way, it is important we source some of it ourselves, to maintain a connection with nature. They must become more than a remote product provided by someone else. Even if we have no garden we can grow some of them in pots on a balcony.
Realistically, someone must grow them in quantity. Even if we get someone else to grow some for us, we must still harvest and prepare them ourselves.
Meaning of a Plant Spirit
Let’s look more closely at this phenomenon, and define a spirit. A spirit is a unit of intelligence, with its own separate identity. As humans we are all individual spirits, living in physical bodies. In the rest of nature, one spirit enlivens a whole species. In the plant world, each species is enlivened by an intelligence which is an expression of a particular idea, or thought, within the Great spirit.
Put the other way round, the great intelligence that is this planet, expresses itself in the plant kingdom, as a stream of thoughts, each embodied by a plant species.
Because of this, some plants resonate with the various thoughts and emotions of humans . Because this resonance is pure, it corrects the disturbances within ourselves.
Those plants that resonate to each of our entire centres, are the foundation of plant spirit medicine. Those that resonate to a specific organ or process, speed or enable the physical body to heal. This recovery is limited only by the state of degeneration in the body, due to age or severity.
Being a Herbalist
As we become adept with plant spirits the full meaning of our calling opens up. We are dealing with consciousness. The purpose of anyone’s life on earth is to evolve. This means that we have to deal with a changing agenda throughout our lives.
In most cases, patients present when they are stuck. This might be temporary – a recent syndrome, or in the over-riding direction of their lives. Our role as herbalists is to ease the journey. To achieve this, we must match the fundamental cause with the complete remedy.
We must view symptoms as a guide towards that cause, and we have indicated herbs which can remedy it.
To understand, means to make a connection with the true nature of a phenomenon. To fully understand the calling of herbal medicine, we must develop our heart and solar plexus – we have covered this at length. Behind herbal medicine is an idea which impels it. This is true of any endeavour. The impulse of herbal medicine is to Nurture, its arena is the plant kingdom. To touch this, rather than just read the word, is our goal.
We would do well to realise that the present medical situation is impossible to sustain. Imagine a boat tethered to its mooring, but the line slipping, the boat drifting into ever rougher water. Aboard the boat are a fair percentage of the nation’s chronic patients.
As technology advances, more get on the boat, which is itself becoming more expensive to maintain. Obviously, the only solution is to end the need for most of these people to get on the boat in the first place.
We have sought to show that however serious a disturbance may be, the origin can usually be straight forward to understand – and treat. As with any treatment, the earlier the better. At this moment in time, our job is simply to get results. In time, they will speak louder than words.
Opening an Account
We may have gathered our herbs, and treated a few patients, but where do we go from here? Although we will get better results, and so hope that more patients find their way to us, things may not be that simple.
To gather and prescribe at this level shows a greater connection to spirit has been attained. This is truly an achievement. But we are now an instrument within a greater scheme, rather than an individual trying to make a living. We must open our account.
This means that we must consciously ask for the patients who need us, to find their way to us. It is a one-off act, when we feel we can really heal with plant spirits. Without this connection, there is no flow, work will be sporadic, even if we were hitherto successful. We have been given a great gift, we only need to ask to use it.
Working for the Future
How far can modern medicine go? We have reached the point where, with the aid of very expensive treatment, we keep more and more of us alive for longer and longer. Economically there is a tipping point where this is unsustainable. Practically, there is a point where we can prolong suffering instead of life.
Modern medicine is a juggernaut encumbered by many things – principally a massive bureaucracy, and the need to prove results statistically. We have witnessed an explosive rise in alternative medicine, not always for the right reasons, but mainly because the good ones work to some extent.
The use of plant spirit medicine will never satisfy a scientific explanation, it is useless to try. The only thing that matters is results. Success leads to confidence, and confidence doesn’t need to justify itself.
The cost of this medicine is minimal, treatment is affordable to all if we are not greedy. There is little argument for state subsidy of any kind, with the accompanying burden of bureaucracy and control. Ultimately, anyone can go and pick this medicine for themselves or others – it will always be beyond the clutch of commercial or professional monopoly.