In the herbeginning……
By Anna Curtis
There were plants and there were women (and men but mainly women) who knew how to use these plants. They were the midwives and nurses of their time and people used them until one day society said ‘Hold on! This gives them power and knowledge. We don’t want the peasants (let alone the women) to have any of that, they might try to get above themselves, we must find a way to stop them.’ and they did! They screamed witchcraft and they burned those women, drowned and tortured them in the name of advancement, Christianity, social acceptance or whatever other reason you choose to accept as the truth.
Except it wasn’t!
Many of those woman had kept some kind of record, passed down their information or survived by keeping their heads down and the witches……………..
Well the witches they survived because they knew how to keep their secrets, keep themselves and their family safe. They survived and learnt.
So, back in the days when magic and science were both still sorcery and had not been split into genres there were the herbalists. What people don’t realise is that, even in this day and age, herbalism, magic and science are not always as far removed from each other as we may think. In magical herb books you will find lists of herbs used, for example, in youth spells, these herbs are also known to contain extracts which have been used within herbalism for years for healing etc, which have then been transferred into the beauty industry as ‘scientifically proven’ ingredients in products. We all know about Foxgloves, which were used for years by herbalists to help patients with heart problems, so much so that the active compounds were scientifically broken down and turned into digitalis, sold on the market today by pharmaceutical companies. And the list goes on, quinine for malaria from the cinchona tree, aspirin from willow trees (I bet you didn’t know that one), borage oil for circulation and blood disorders, hemp for fatty acids and omega 3! These are just a few of the plants which are grown by farmers for the pharmaceutical, neutraceutical and cosmeceutical industries in this country alone.
Anyway enough with the specialist science stuff lets get down to the nitty gritty. Plants! Fascinating life forms each genus different to the last and yet similar. Producing so many beneficial side effects if you know how to use them or potentially harmful ones if you don’t. So the simple advice is, if there is a warning or dosage with a herbal remedy heed it, the same as you would for any medicine. As herbalists your health is vital to us, the whole point of our existence is to help you treat what ails you and if we can help you achieve that we are satisfied and our work is done.
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from Suzanne who’s mother has breast cancer