Herbal Walk in East London

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The recent herbal walk in East London on 26th November 2016 was a very worthwhile endeavour.  Prior to the walk, the tea meditation was helpful in focusing and being in the present.  Taking into account that we were in the winter season and it was a cold day, I was appreciative of the warmth derived from the tea.  I was also appreciative of the spiritual and medicinal benefits of drinking the peppermint tea that I drank. Tea meditation entails mindfulness of the present moment in each step taken; from the preparatory process, sitting and drinking the tea.

Drinking one cup of tea could take almost an hour, while paying attention to your breathing and being mindful of each action including swallowing.  Expression of thanks is pertinent to the tea meditation process. The relaxation, alertness and calmness derived from the tea meditation can help with stress and anxiety relief, while having a focused mind.  The nexus of the steps in the meditation process from start to finish can facilitate a sense of gratitude for divine providence.

During the herbal walk several reminders resurfaced.  There was acknowledgement that the herbs we were harvesting were helpful to us with regard to their medicinal and spiritual benefits, and the oxygen derived from them.  Plants derive carbon dioxide from humans, a good example of the interdependency of living things in the ecosystem.   Other living organisms derive benefit from the herbs we use, hence the need to share.  There was also a reminder that when harvesting, uprooting the whole plant prevents re-grown coupled with deprivation of other creatures from benefiting from the herb.

Giving thanks or expression of gratitude immediately after harvests is a good gesture of appreciation.  The herbal harvesting etiquette reminded me of the Sustainable Development Goals, premised on conservation and restoration. During the walk, a range of known herbs were identified; including Nettle, Yarrow, Hawthorne and many more.  I was privileged to drink an infusion of Ginger, Apple and Hawthorne tea for the first time, and to derive benefits from that combination.  My thanks to Rabiah Abdullah; the organizer, lead person and founder of the Herbal Blessing Clinic.

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Learning the Language of Plants

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Several years ago, during one of my travels to Africa doing research about herbs and herbal medicine, one of my teachers and mentors said to me: “do you understand the language of plants?  We shall spend this afternoon communicating with plants and getting some herbs”.  My initial reaction was one of shock, wondering how this could be possible.

It was the first time that I had come across the concept of the language of plants. I then said that I looked forward to that.  We went on a trek into the wilderness, where I could not spot another human being or a dwelling of any sort in the area, just plants; my lesson started.

The lead person in the group said me “look at this tree, it is not a common tree, its leaves have got good medicinal properties”.  He explained in detail what the menial properties were and what they treat.  He then gave me instructions, before plucking or cutting any part of a tree or plant, always request the tree that you can have some of its leaves/part for medicinal purposes, do not just cut or pluck, trees have a type of consciousness.

When you harvest, do not forget to thank the plant that you harvested from.  He then went on to say that the herbs work better when they are harvested this way.  The addition to my learning curve was that there are ethics in harvesting herbs, and that his knowledge had been learnt by these individuals spiritually, not through formal institutional education.  During my formal learning I also learnt a similar thing but from a different source: being ethical with regard to sourcing of herbs.

Several years later, through research text, I came across the concept of The Doctrine of Signatures.  The Doctrine of Signatures[1] means that a plant that looks like a disease, organ or person can heal.  For example, Equisetum arvensis (Horsetail) looks like horse hair, so it is good for hair.  A further example is that snake medicine looks snake-like, the long flower Raceme looks like the spine of a snake.

A sweet potato looks like a pancreas, sweet potatoes[2]help to balance blood sugar.  The cells of our bodies look like onions; onions are good for removing toxic waste from the body.

A walnut looks like a human brain, walnuts a helpful in brain function[3]; Kidney beans look like human kidneys, they heal and help kidney function.

References:

[1]  http://www.naturasophia.com/Signatures.html

[2]  http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/laura-knowles/doctrine-of-signatures-ve_b_1622844.html

[3]   http://www.jcrows.com/signatures.html

Honouring the Two Gifts: Intuition and Ration

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Albert Einstein said that: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift”.

When you honour the sacred gift and faithful servant, the resultant life experience can be blissful, rich and fulfilling.  The life choices you make can be arrived at intuitively, and within that, ration is a very useful analytical tool.   Furthermore, there will be a cessation of the life of regrets you might have lead in the past.

When you reflect on what I have written in this paragraph, you may arrive at the inference that honouring the two gifts can be a reliable mechanism for avoiding a good number of adverse states of being.  States like, situational: stress, pain, and environments that do not facilitate or foster your growth and well-being.  The situations mentioned here can impede the achievement of one’s goals due to his/her prolonged preoccupation with remedial measures or rectification of the disadvantage he/she incurred.

Very often, the pre-cursors to extricating ourselves from unwelcome and uncomfortable situations and environments lies in making use of the intuitive mind and the rational mind, which complement each other and should not mutually exclusive.

I watched a professor giving a public speech at a foreign conference.  The professor upbraided a particular category of officials who were thought to be contextually honest, and the professor seemed to suggest remedial steps that needed to be taken.

I could not judge the officials in question neither did I know their circumstances.  However, from my perspective as a healer and one who is into spirituality, this left me thinking that in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, the use of intuition is very helpful and a sacred gift indeed.

 May any failures incurred be a source of inspiration to do better; despair should not be an option.

26_10_2016