"WE discover ourselves through our relationships with others."
I have discovered myself in a twelve step room. I began to know the man I wanted to be. I began to realize that I am a good person. Somewhere between medical school and finishing my cardiology fellowship, I became jaded. I know why! I lost my self respect and self esteem. Today through my relationship with the G.O.D. of my understanding, Rick, my children, my family and some close friends, I have come to know "ME" This is the real ME.
I have in me to journey where shamans journey. I have to get to know the regenerative power of nature and the healing virtues of plants. My friends do not understand this, and I find it hard to relate how I am feeling to them. Rick gets me--thank goodness!! Last night while making Holiday Easter cards, I began to clearly see the role of Mother Nature as I watched the tree on the terrace blow with the wind. I could hear the howling of the wind. Maybe I am a young aspirant searching for more and more knowledge of medicine--the natural way. I cannot explain this but 'things' about plants just come to me. I instinctly know what plant mixture will work for some people, and not for others. I dream about combinations of plants. I observe animals in a different way. This is difficult to relate so I suggest reading Plant Spirit Medicine by Elliot Cowan. When I walk among nature, I breathe in nature and all its glory.
While studying with 7song in Ithaca, our class made a great herbal compound. I cannot remember exactly what we put in it. I must go back to by notes. I feel like a student saying this- but in reality I am a student in the world of plants. I do know that Rick and I use it for pimples, dry callous on feet and cuts/bruises. I did remember one 'bad' smelling herb called Chapparal (Larrea tridentata). It is native to the Southwest desert so I must pull it out of the shelves labled The Herbs of the Southwest. The Chaparral resin has many powerful inflammation- modulating components. It is well established for the COX inhibiting effects. This is too technical but part of the immune system to fight off inflammation.
There are great studies on Curcuma longa (Curcurmin). The NIH ( National Institute of Health) is currently studying high dose curcuma for inflammation.
What I love about herbs is the diverse nature of their actions. We all associate Chamomile (Matricaria recutia) with calmness and an aid to sleep. It is much more than that. It is involved in multiple pathways of inflammation. It is an extremely safe herb. In addition to the anti inflammatory effects, it is also an antioxidant, mildly antimicrobial and a spasmodic.
I think it is wonderful that so many individuals know individual herbs for their well known effects (such as Chamomile) but plants are diverse in nature, so understand plants are diverse in their actions.
After extensive reading I do believe that anti inflammatory herbs have a different effect on the body than the many anti inflammatory conventional drugs . Some other common herbs with anti inflammatory action include St. Johns Wort, Wild Yam and Devil's Claw. You may know these respectively for depression, female issues and arthritis, but the extent of their actions goes well beyond those mentioned.
I have to thank the many herbalists/mentors who have made it possible for me to truly see plants/herbs/trees in a different way.
Photographs: All Chaparral