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Medicine in the Natural World

Writing has been a reliable and steady way to stay connected during the pandemic, whether it’s pen to paper, email or text. I find myself leaning into these ways of sharing, more so than I would have envisioned a year ago. I’ve always appreciated the practice of writing. My formative years were the days of postal pen pals and passing scribbled notes to friends at school. As a kid who moved around a lot while growing up, writing to and receiving letters from friends to whom you said goodbye, was a gift to my spirit. It linked me to my people no matter how far geography separated us. Starting this blog strikes a similar chord, creating a link to keep us connected and to grow our connections. You’ve all come to Red Root & Co for various reasons--learning more about plant medicine, crafting delicious foods and beverages, building your kitchen apothecary. I’m sure there is a resonance within, a thread that weaves us together, and I’m so glad you are here. May we grow in knowledge and heart and be inspired by plants, herbal cookery and botanical medicine.

The natural world has been a steadfast presence in human lives since the beginning of time. We co-evolved with plants and we could not have grown without nature’s generosity and wisdom. It’s quite a journey that humans have had with plants and our natural surroundings.  The relevance may at times get lost or be a second thought in the 21st century, but it is very much a forethought because it is the source of sustenance and growth for all human beings. The story of plants and people is as old as any tale can be.

herbalist gathering herbs in nature

On a physical level, plants are a source of deep nutrition with minerals, vitamins, plant proteins, carbohydrates, and fibers that give us vitality and health. Used in concentrations, some plants bring antidotes that bring our bodies back to balance during dis-ease, or keep us closer to balance with plant constituents in our daily tonics. Plants go beyond supporting the physical body. They also have an effect on the mind, emotions and our spirit.

Each of our senses interacts with the plant world. The scent of Pine needles grounds us when we are out of balance. Chewing on a fresh root of Dandelion or taking a tincture of Dandelion, the bitter flavor connects to our primal mind and helps us relax. Gazing at a Cherry tree in full bloom, our spirit is lifted and eased. Rubbing a fuzzy Mullein leaf between our fingers soothes and comforts the mind. The gift of plants to the sense of hearing may be the most unfamiliar initially, but after you start listening, you’ll hear the call of a Rose to open your heart and spread love.

Our natural surroundings are daily medicines. Often when we think of the word medicine, it conjures visions of capsules or a funky pink antibiotic of our childhood, but medicine is not just something we take when we are ill.  Another concept of medicine is a daily practice or experience that sustains us. Medicine is the plant that connects to our senses and tends our physical, emotional and mental body. As you bring more plants into your health practices, grow seedlings, make botanically inspired drinks for your friends, work in a community garden, cook weeknight dinners for your family, or however you embrace natural goodness into your life, may you recall and connect with the age old relationship you have with these plants.