One of the things I love about herbalism is that most schools of thought focus not only on herbs, but on full body health. This includes lifestyle, which is a piece that is so often missed in our culture. We live at breakneck speed and often don’t have time for anything more than popping a pill to mask our symptoms so we can continue on our merry way. By doing this we are destroying our bodies.
In a lecture for one of my classes, Paul Bergner explained that people often feel physical symptoms. These symptoms tell us something is wrong. If the underlying cause is not treated, we begin to see mental and emotional symptoms, and if the cause is still not addressed, our spirits begin to wither and often depression and hopelessness creep in.
Let’s say you have a headache. It could be caused by stress, lack of sleep, dehydration, hunger, or a host of other possibilities. For discussion’s sake we will choose stress. In this case, your headache is telling you slow down, take a break. Get some fresh air and relax.
If you ignore your body’s signals, pop an asprin, carrying on your merry way, you fail to address the true need. If you continue on this path you may begin to see other physical symptoms like upset stomach. This effects your life in a way that only adds to the stress, increasing the problems. However, there is no time to rest, so you keep pushing through. You take Pepto Busmal, which brings relief, and you keep going. Yet you notice a change in your performance at work or home. Your memory starts to decline, your moods begin to swing and things start feeling out of control. Still you don’t rest. You don’t take the time you need to rejuvenate. Over time, you get discouraged. It eventually becomes a challenge to get out of bed in the morning and life becomes too much. The joy you once had is gone and you can’t figure out where it went.
Obviously this is a hypothetical situation. It’s also important to note that this is not a mock against medication, people can try to use herbal remedies in much the same way. The problem lies in covering up the symptoms and not really giving your body what it needs to thrive. And, keep in mind your body is more than just a car your brain gets into to drive. I think in this technical age we forget that our bodies are not machines we can push to the limit with a little oil here and a new battery every 100 miles while the other one charges. Our bodies are way more sophisticated and therefore, require more sophisticated care. If your body isn’t working properly it affects all of you.
I look forward to learning more of this wholistic approach and understanding how to use herbs to aid the body and help it get what it needs. For instance, in the example above, you may finally decide to block off a full weekend to rest and figure out how to nourish your body but you are so stressed, overwhelmed and burnt out that you can’t settle down. In this case, a nervine herbal tea may be helpful to help you get to a point of relaxation. Also, a good dose of nature and a break from technology might be in order.
I am excited to explore the importance of NEW START and the affects this acronym has on my own body as an intrugal part of wholistic health. I hope to share the journey with you!
- N – nutrition
- E – exercise
- W – water
- S – sunlight
- T – temperance
- A – air, fresh
- R – rest/sleep
- T – trust in God