Healing with herbs is much more than simply mixing up a cup of tea or taking a tincture. Sure, it is about those things; but it is also about becoming intuitive to the needs of you or your loved one's health. Intuition is not just something for tree hugging hippies. Intuition is not magic, although someone who is in touch with their own intuition, can certainly seem that way. Being or becoming intuitive, means knowing how the world around you works and feeling that something is right or wrong based on this inner knowledge. Too much? Let me put it into real life terms:
Knowing Something Is WrongA mother is cleaning up after breakfast, and suddenly has a bad feeling pass over her. She runs to the playroom, where her toddler has become wedged under the bed. Does she have a 6th sense? Did she have a psychic moment? Perhaps, but more than likely she always hears the background noise of her child clanking toys, and making sounds. They may not even register while she is hearing them, but they certainly register when she hears quiet, instead of the normal sounds her child makes.
What Is Herbal IntuitionWhen learning the usefulness of herbs, intuition plays a large part. As you learn about plants, what they are used for, the growing conditions, all this information forms a reference in your mind about each herb. There may never come a time that you will need to create an herbal remedy with a particular type of herb, but just knowing it's characteristics will strengthen the relationship you have with the plants themselves.
This is why herbal study is so much more than the Latin names and medical framework that herbal healing falls under. It is seeing the life of an herb, as it grows from a seed, the type of leaves it has, the stem, roots and blooms. All these facets brought together in your collective thoughts, you start to put the pieces together between the herbs and the remedies they offer. The more you study the plants, the more you see how they help the illness. This is herbal intuition.
I'm Not An HerbalistMaybe not in the sense that you don't see patients and have no interest to do so. This does not take away from the need we all should cultivate, to know the plants around us. KNOWING the herbs in your container garden not only taste great in your meal, the very same resinous quality that tastes so wonderful on the tongue, also helps relieve that tight, dry cough you get in the winter.
Growing herbs just for the sake of growing them, also requires intuition. Do you know when your plants need water, before they even show obvious signs? You sense that the leaves are standing a bit straighter, almost straining towards the sky as if seeking precious moisture. You think to yourself "My herbs need watering", and get to the task. This intuitive sense, not only makes you a wonderful gardener, it also reduces the stress on your herbs, rewarding you with a more bountiful harvest.
Becoming More IntuitiveBecoming more intuitive is not possible by simply reading a book. It does help, to read about the history and growing needs of herbs, but the very idea of intuition is that it comes from your subconscious thought. Think of a book as part of the knowledge puzzle of herbs. You read as much as you can, but you also see herbs in the wild. Walk along your familiar paths and actually look at what grows there. Learn each herb (ok, some say weed), and watch as the seasons change and the plant changes along with it. Soon, you see the strange phenomenon where wild herbs are going to seed months early, or blooming before the bees are out. You think that a particular herb looks almost recognizable, as it grows after being damaged by chemicals. These things are not taught in books. They are learned by watching and growing to know how nature works. The same thing applies to your cultivated herbs. They germinate, grow, go to seed and die, according to the care they receive from you. An experienced gardener will look at a garden, and see that it needs water, or more light, or fertilizer-even if it is not their own.
How Does This Work For Herbal Healing?For myself, herbal intuition comes from hands on experience growing (and accidentally killing) herbs over my lifetime. I also see someone who says they feel X and yet the root of the problem is Y, and they don't even know it.
Putting together the puzzle of health in a person (or for me, even an animal) is not so cut and dried as listing symptoms. I have grown to know the sight and sounds of my children when they are healthy, so my intuition tells me when they are becoming sick, or stressed, or need something, before the actual symptom shows itself. I am sure parents everywhere can tell when something is off about their child. They may shrug it off as worrying, or they may offer that cup of herbal tea before bed, and gather the things they need for the upset stomach they just *know* their child is going to have soon.
Herbal intuition comes with time. It still startles me when I look at someone I don't even know, and feel that they need a bone broth from the pallor of their skin or dullness of their hair. I know some people who could benefit from some allergy support before allergy season, and they didn't tell me they have allergies. All of this comes from just studying people in all stages of health.
Believe me, I am not doctor. I do not pretend to be one, and appreciate the Western doctor we have for our family. I do however, know what health looks like for my family. It is the reason I grow extra medicinal herbs for this or that remedy that will inevitably be the exact thing I need later in the year. My herbal intuition is humming along just nicely. It is a beautiful thing.