Around the world, plants are being used as medicine. Many countries have been practicing plant medicine for thousands of years. Different combinations of plants are used together to combat a variety of ailments. Herbal treatments have a rich tradition and history that predate the growth of Western medicine. Plant medicine forms the basis of many conventional medications which have since been synthesized by drug manufacturers.
Soul Quest Ayahuasca Church of Mother Earth examines the different uses of plant medicine throughout the world, continuing to the present day.
One of the earliest written traditions of plant medicine comes from China. Chinese traditional medicine is in extensive use today due to its effectiveness. In the Chinese culture, ailments and remedies are divided into categories by temperature. Hot and warm herbs are used to treat cold ailments, while cold herbs are used to treat hot and warm ailments. This is believed to restore the body to a state of balance.
Some of the most commonly used plant products in Chinese medicine include ginseng and turmeric. Ginseng is used to bolster immunity and lower blood pressure, as well as to treat anemia and impotence. Turmeric is used against jaundice, arthritis, and menstrual problems. The active ingredients in each of these plant medicines are potent disease fighters which have been vouched for in several scientific studies.
Ayurvedic medicine was developed in India over 3,000 years ago. It works on the premise that the body and spirit need to be balanced according to the elements of nature. Each person has one of three doshas or life energies. Ayurvedic practitioners believe that an unbalanced mind, body, and spirit lead to chronic health problems and diseases. Ayurveda seeks to remedy this imbalance by using certain potent plant medicines.
In Ayurveda, plants naturally found in India are used to create custom healing therapies. Arjuna works to relax the blood vessels, combating high blood pressure and angina. Holy basil is taken as a tea to remedy the flu and the common cold. Triphala, a combination of three herbs, works on digestion and regularity.
European Plant Medicine
While Eastern plant remedies are well known, there is also a strong European tradition of natural medicine. These traditions were built throughout history with skilled herbalists applying their skills to the ailments of their patients. Today, many people in Europe still prefer herbal remedies over their conventional counterparts. Many of the herbal supplements used in the United States today are products of the European plant medicine tradition.
Red raspberry leaf for menstrual problems, St. John’s Wort for depression, arnica for inflammation, and chamomile for anxiety and sleeplessness are only a few examples. Many of these plant medicines have been synthesized into prescription remedies.
Native American Plant Medicines
Similar to the Indian and Chinese medical traditions, Native American medicine works on a principle of restoring balance to a person’s spirit. Every aspect of life is taken into account, from a person’s digestion and respiration to their social lives and inner beliefs. The system of medicine has never been standardized, and each healer treats each case individually.
Yarrow is used to stemming the excess bleeding and to soothe upset stomachs. Sumac is used for eye problems. It is also useful for combating the irritation caused by poison ivy. Rosemary is used as a natural pain reliever for arthritis. It also helps the immune system.
Translating Tradition into Modern Medicine
Plant medicine systems of today are the result of thousands of years of practical experience. The expertise of traditional herbalists and healers should be respected by doctors and patients alike. Western medical practitioners are beginning to recognize the benefits of traditional plant medicine. When both systems of medicine work together, the benefits of both can be experienced.
Soul Quest Ayahuasca, along with other holistic practitioners, combines the natural wisdom of the indigenous American tradition with a modern sensibility. Soul Quest Ayahuasca Church of Mother Earth can help people who are seeking a natural path to good health come closer to their goals.