Living Medicines Vs Pharmaceuticals, part 2: Healing Herbs

“When you use a living medicine and get well, you feel that the world is alive and aware and wants to help you. People often talk about saving the Earth, but how many times have you experienced the Earth saving you?”

Healing Herbs
Stephen BuhnerI find it interesting that toxic plants often move into damaged landscapes. Some specimens are harmful to cattle or sheep who graze the land. Others interfere with industrial agriculture or threaten people. They all have the same purpose: stopping the source of the damage so that the landscape can regenerate itself. —Stephen Buhner

My Chorale PicTo heal means to make whole again that which has been fractured or fragmented. What Stephen Buhner describes above about “toxic plants” moving in where landscapes have been damaged speaks to the intelligence of healing herbs. These botanical plants have a living, functioning intelligence. As part of our Mother Earth from which our physical bodies arise, their energetic fields are connected to our energetic fields by way of which they speak to us. When we give them our attention, ask them the right questions, and then listen to their answers — which may come in the form of an attraction toward them, or even an aversion — they reach out to help us with their healing essences.

We’ve all had the experience, when out in Nature, of being attracted toward certain plants and flowers. Could that attraction and repelling be telling us something about the gift of healing being offered to us by the plants and flowers?  Of course, some plants warn us to stay away from them, such as poison ivy or poison oak, if we have an allergic condition.

I love the way Stephen Buhner goes about introducing his clients to herbs in this interview by Akshay Ahuja in the December, 2014 issue of The SUN magazine.

Ahuja: How do you go about treating patients as an herbalist? 

Buhner: It’s a relationship, not a technique. My clients often feel lost and alone in their suffering. They need human companionship and also a sense of companionship with the living world. If I can, I’ll take them into the woods and introduce them to the plant that will be helping them. 

In my book “The Lost Language of Plants” I tell the story of a twenty-eight-year-old woman who was going through a messy divorce. Her periods were extremely irregular, with heavy cramping and bleeding, and her hands were always cold. I could see that her whole body was closed off, curled in on itself. Her fingernails were chewed back deeply, as if she were eating herself alive. 

I told her there was a plant I thought she should meet. We went for a walk through a pine forest, and when she saw the plant at the edge of a stream, a kind of force drew the woman and the plant together. The plant was Angelica, which has been used for thousands of years to help treat menstrual cramping. She spent a long time with it, then said a prayer and asked for help, and then we went to look for just the right Angelica. When we found it, she dug up the root, which has a beautiful smell. On the walk back she held it close to her. She was already carrying herself differently. The healing had started. 

She took a tincture made from the root, and within a month her period had normalized.

HERBS GROW WHERE THEY ARE MOST NEEDED

We are more connected to our immediate environment than we may be aware. I am convinced that many of the viruses and bacterial infections we encounter are an integral part of our local habitat — unless they are transported by travelers from other parts of the world, as was the case with the Ebola virus.  It’s common knowledge as well that for every disease and ailment there’s a plant remedy in the botanical world. I would be curious to know what kind of herbs are growing in that part of Africa where the Ebola virus erupted. I am equally as curious to know what kind of herbs grow abundantly in my neck of the woods. Buhner addresses this subject in the interview:

Ahuja: Many of the plants in Herbal Antibiotics aren’t native to North America, Do you think people should look first to the plants around them for medicine?

Buhner: The book was written to offer alternatives to people who might die of a resistant infection, so I wanted to list anything they could reliably use in that circumstance. Still, many natural antibiotics do grow in the United States. I live in the Southwestern desert, and Bidens grows all around our house. It’s invasive. Sida grows along the Gulf Coast, and some Sida species grow in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. They’re all considered invasive. In fact, the most potent medicines for emerging infections tend to be invasive botanicals that people are busy trying to eradicate.

These invasive plants don’t move into a region for no reason. Take, for example, the berberine-containing plant Phellodendron. Berberine-containing plants are used to treat parasites and infections from yeast, fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Goldenseal was probably the most potent berberine plant in the U.S. until it was harvested to near extinction in the late 1800s. Phellodendron, which is a massive tree,is invasive in exactly the same range that goldenseal was removed from. And if you cut just one branch, you’ve got enough berberine
plant to last a year.

I’ve found that if people are ill, the plants they need are almost always growing in their vicinity. I’ve watched plant populations change around me in places I’ve lived for thirty-some years, and they seem to shift in response to changes in my own disease complexes. This sounds airy-fairy to the Western reductive mind-set, but people have been commenting on it since Hippocrates. Plant populations rise and fall according to the needs of the ecosystem in which they grow, and that includes the animal life there, which includes us.

Ahuja: Yet we act to remove invasive plants from ecosystems.

Buhner: Yes, these plants are seen as alien invaders…. Its not understood that dandelion and burdock and a host of other common plants are non-natives that moved in and established a balance with local ecosystems, or that many of the plants targeted for eradication happen to be effective against the exact diseases that local people are contracting. Japanese knotweed is invasive all up and down the East Coast, and its root is the most specific medicine there is for the treatment of Lyme disease. Theres a Lonicera species a honeysuckle that reduces mosquito egglaying wherever it grows. The mosquitoes that it discourages happen to carry dengue fever and a number of other viruses that cause encephalitis – inflammation of the brain. And it turns out that the plant is also a treatment for inflammation in the central nervous system.When plants move into an ecosystem, they do so because the ecosystem has been disrupted. The problem is that people dont ask, Why is this plant here?

Buhner offers suggestions on treating specific health conditions which I thought my readers would find helpful.

Aruja: My father is around sixty. I dont think he could imagine being without his daily blood-pressure pills. What are some alternative treatments for his condition? 

Buhner: Regular fasting will lower blood pressure and keep it low. Certain kinds of simple, focused meditation will lower it. And many herbs, such as hawthorn and garlic, will do the same.

Ahuja: Have you worked much with cancer? 

Buhner: I havent. The only type I have regularly treated is skin cancer, usually on the face. I learned the use of a traditional herb for it from a Mexican curandera many years ago. The root of Swertia radiata also known as monument plant or green gentian – is finely powdered, then mixed with Vaseline (nothing else will do) and applied to the cancer. Its left covered for three days. Once the bandage is removed, the cancer generally comes with it or lifts off with minimal effort. I have never had that treatment fail. It is easy, efficient, and noninvasive. . . . 

I apologize for the lengthy excerpts, but I wanted to share with you the spirit and energy of the interview as well as the content, which sometimes direct quotes best convey.  We will explore some of the more specific uses of healing herbs in the next post. Until then, here’s to your health and haling . . . naturally!

Anthony Palombo, DC

Visit my HealingTones.org blog for inspiring articles on various topics. Current theme is “Golden Age and Golden Race.”

Also visit Laurence Layne’s Herb Shop online at HerbShop.HealingWatersClinic.com for great information about herbs along with easy ordering of products.

Credits: The picture above is by Roger Davies and is used in the article in The SUN which I am referencing.

CAUTION: Herbs are powerful natural medicines and should not be used indiscriminately. None of the above information should be construed to diagnose or treat any disease nor to preclude sensible medical care and professional supervision. Medi-Herb and Standard Process products are only available through licensed physicians and certified healthcare professionals and should only be used under the supervision of an certified herbalist or healthcare practitioner.

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Don’t Trade Perfect Love For Ebola Fear

My Chorale PicPardon me for turning to Sacred Scripture for inspiration during our current health crisis. But we definitely live under a fear-based governance promoted by the news media.  If it isn’t the “threat” of ISIS — which has taken second place to Ebola in the media’s more current entertainment agenda — then it’s the scare of an Ebola pandemic.  But don’t you let your guard — and your immune system — down.  Perfect love not only casts out fear but it keeps what you are being led to fear at bay. Remember what Job cried out in his troubles: “…that which I was afraid of is come unto me.” Actually, that entire scene of chapter three is a perfect meditation piece to dwell upon for the length of this post.

 Job was utterly depressed to the point of despair.  Have you ever been there and cried out like Job: “I wish I had never been born!”

(Vs 3-5)    Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived. Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it. Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it.

Wow! He was in a very, very low state of mind and spirit. Job goes on with a tirade of words condemning the day he was born. I wonder if those who have contracted the death-dealing plague of the day feel as Job did as they face certain death. Apparently, Job’s boils and great loss of family and wealth appeared  to him to be harder to bear than had he been born dead — “. . . as infants which never saw light….[where]…the wicked cease from troubling; and…the weary be at rest.”  Then he says something very interesting a few verses down at the end of this chapter:

(Vs 23-26) Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in?  For my sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters.  For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.  I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.

Job was not an individual but was a representation of the body of Humanity on earth at that time. Job was a people, in other words; a collective body of humanity — like the Lemurians or the Atlantians —  “whom God hath hedged in.”  Hedged in, protected from harm, and immune to disease. But by what?  What would hedge us in so that we would be immune to the Ebola virus, or to any and all forms of pestilence and plagues?

Well, Job named the conditions that broke down his hedge of immunity: “I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet.”  Hmm. Not in safety — exposed, in other words. Had no rest — tired and worn out.  Was not quiet — busy doing to keep from being worried about the future and the consequences of living out of one’s integrity.  

Safety can be seen as doing the right things for our bodies, minds and hearts. Such as eating healthful foods and exercising regularly. Supplementing with wholefood nutrients where healthy foods are not readily available, and where one is eating on the run — which is not very safe healthwise — and dosing daily with immune system modulating herbs like Echinacea and antioxidants. It can also be seen as pertaining to living in the moment, the only place that is safe and real, and where life is.  That has to do with conscious living, doesn’t it. You’re not safe if you’re mind is not present while driving your car or carving the turkey, just to name a couple of activities that put us in harm’s way if we’re not mindful of what we are doing. It also pertains to our hearts and emotions, our spiritual life, in other words.

Rest speaks for itself. The body needs rest as much as activity. Balance needs to be maintained between work, play and rest.  Play can be a rest from work. Rest, of course, is essential to the revitalization, repair and growth of cells in the body. Six to eight hours of sleep are generally recommended for adults. Children need as much as nine hours simply because they are in a growth cycle and expend a lot of energy playing hard.  Rest also pertains to presence of mind and a heart that is at ease with what is, not judging things and wishing they were different. Accepting what is simply as what is.

Quiet, of course, is what most are not these days.  A “noisome pestilence” invades our space every moment of the day, and even into the night in some big cities.  The traffic, the television chatter, the daily newspaper and national and local news hours — the “daily crime report” is what I call our local evening news.  But the real noise is not out there. It’s inside the hearts and minds for most. That’s why they need noise around them: to balance and drown out the noise inside. The so-called “music” of our young generation is a sad example.  Even commercials have noisome background sound tracks to get the attention of potential buyers away from their inner troubled thoughts.  Sometimes the commercials are more “entertaining” than the program. 

A friend wrote a poem with this verse in it:

Busy thought and troubled feeling Trespass not in virtue’s wise serenity Where firm control and awful power eternally abide.  Here earth’s pains are healed And cruel chaos of mind’s spawning Is called again to order and to beauty.

Meditation is an essential spiritual practice for one who wishes to be in a place of safety, rest and quietness of mind and heart. Just five or ten minutes of quietness and solitude — like the revitalizing “catnap” we older folks take — can give one a recharge of energy and an opportunity to gather one’s substance together in one place: the eternal Now.  One’s substance can get spread out pretty thin at times, and that’s asking for trouble.  Your substance is your hedge, especially strong and impenetrable when charged with the energy of love and joy.  “Perfect love casts out fear.”  Fear dissipates your hedge and opens your body temple to defilement by the noisome pestilence, and to viruses like Ebola.

Just as a side note: it’s interesting that the flu kills over fifty-three-thousand people every year and yet doesn’t engender nearly as much fear as the Ebola virus has in just a few weeks. Notice the “Get Your Flu  Shot” signs in front of drug stores. Even while shopping at the super market the music coming over the speakers is interrupted by messages about shingles. “If you’ve had the chicken pocks, then you have the shingles virus in your body.” Fear drives our healthcare delivery system.  Little wonder we are so weak and susceptible to diseases.  Ebola has given the medical world a new reason to rev up the fear mode.

I will close this post with my favorite Psalm 91 as a meditative piece to secure our sense of safety, rest and quiet.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.  

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Thou shall not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Thou shalt tread upon the lion and the adler:  the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

Who are “the wicked” that are receiving their reward in the wars and plagues of today?  I will answer with the The Teacher’s response to a similar situation: “Let he that is without sin cast the first stone.” We as a race of human-doings are the wicked, and we are reaping our reward in the Middle East with ISIS and in Africa with Ebola. The Earth is fighting back to rid Herself of the parasitic plague we have become.

And what is the “snare of the fowler” from which we need deliverance?  The bird-catcher.  Birds are like thoughts that fly in and out of the belfry towers up in our heads. The mind snares thoughts that fly through it every moment of the day and blows them up into issues we should all be afraid of and fight over. Does your mind snare unwanted thoughts, crows and vultures sometimes?

“Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him in trouble.” What have I set my love upon? My life, perhaps?  “He that loveth his life shall lose it.”  

What we fear about Ebola is the loss of our life. Death seems inevitable without proper medicine.  The only way through that fear is to love death itself as the perfect outworking for one’s life, given all the factors at play.   It’s the only way back Home these days.  By embracing the worst case scenario — death in this case — we take it within our hearts — in the “secret place of the Most High” that is within us, where the “shadow of the Almighty” prepares a place of safety where death has no sting. Death, even death, cannot come nigh me, for I cannot die. I am life and I am alive forever more.  

Don’t let fear of Ebola overshadow your love for the Lord, who is perfect — your love for that which is perfect in yourself: life and truth, peace and tranquility, thankfulness and appreciation, honesty and integrity.  Then get on with your life and LIVE! Be safe, and don’t let your heart be troubled by the troubles of the world. 

Here’s to your health and to Life!

Anthony Palombo, DC

Visit my Healing Tones blog for more inspiring reading. The current theme is “The Hero’s Journey.” Comments on my blogs are always welcome and I look forward to them every day. So, share your thoughts.

Here’s a great song about being brave and fearless. Enjoy!