Nauseated and delirious with fever, I waited wearily under piles of blankets with an ice pack on my throbbing head while my wife steeped an herbal brew in the kitchen. I had been unable to keep anything down for hours and I felt as if my body had been pummelled in a violent boxing match. One of the only things I remember saying was that I would take care of her once I was better. She simply took it as that if she were ever to fall ill, I would return the favour. I actually thought that I was on my last leg and that she was about to become my sole beneficiary!
I felt a surge of hope and renewal as soon as I sipped the first of two brews that she lovingly made for my healing. In this feverish, pained state I was able to see clearly what my body was desperately trying to communicate to me and what imbalances the herbs were correcting. It was as if these aromatic and colourful flora had undergone a baptism in the holiest of waters and were ready to wash me clean of my impurities and resurrect me to new life. Mostly everything about that night is such a blur but it’s the plants that remain with me. The restorative powers that these precious solar-powered allies hold is nothing short of a microcosmic miracle. That night I yielded to their power, their wisdom. Plants rule this earth with such a wild audacity that no one can tame. Surging through concrete crevices of modern cities and scaling ruins of once bustling ancient metropolises, plants are here to stay and teach us what can only be realised once we open up to them and embrace them as counsellors and collaborators of our total health.
That fateful night was a turning point in my life; a very real and transformative experience that has shown me over and over again that plants, roots, herbs and all of nature is intricately tied to our survival and that cultivating an intimacy with them is the only way our species will ever thrive again. Our disconnection from nature has led to illnesses not just in body but in mind and spirit. By ingesting plant material, even just one to start (and many times the plant chooses you) a new world can open up. This has been my experience with one of the Caribbean plants in my practice, guinea hen weed. More accurately, it works with and for the patient.
Traditionally this plant is used for a wide variety of ailments ranging from arthritis to virus elimination. Even with all the reported benefits, I have witnessed the plant adapting to the individual and seeking out the malady, diligently working to restore the body to harmony. This is just one way that plants continue to amaze not only myself but also those who seek their restoration.
The question I am most often asked is “Where should I begin when it comes to plants and herbs?” There is no shortage of herbs, roots and plants with whom someone can begin to establish a synergistic relationship. My suggestion is to start with something native to your area. It can be as simple as the dandelion, yet it is one of the most amazing and healing plants to ever colourfully grace the planet. Allow your natural surroundings to guide you with all of their innate acumen that has been here for millennia and you will find that healing is always within your reach.