HERBS - SPIRIT & HEALING
`In focus´ this month follows on from last months `Herbs at Home´ going deeper into herb lore, looking at the healing and spiritual side of herbs.
Before we dive in lets take a brief look at the history of herbs.
THE HISTORY OF HERBS.
The history of herbs is as old as mankind.. hundreds of thousands of years old.
Around the world in different climate´s different plants grow, for us living in Europe its not so necessary today to assess herbs of India or South Africa. Although its worth a look towards Greece, a land that is rich in herbs and the history of herbs...
Ancient Greek herbal medicine is actually the foundation of our modern western medicine. The Ancient Greeks had amazing extensive knowledge of herbs and their healing properties. We have a lot to thank the Ancient Greeks for, and there was a certain gentleman from Classical Greek (Age of Pericles) who really knew what was going on...
460 - 370 BC
The Hippocratic theory is rather interesting.. Hippocrates was the first person to believe that diseases were caused naturally (not from superstitions, gods or demons afflicted upon humans as some kind of penance).
The medicine of Hippocrates was humble and passive.. based upon the healing power of nature.. herbs!. Hippocratic medicine was kind to the patient as if the spirit of the plant was doing its good work.
Hippocrates once said that "to eat when you are sick is to feed your illness",
His treatments as well as herbs also included fasting and apple cider vinegar.
Of course when the scientists of our modern age looked through the Hippocrates theory.. they thought "Great, we can close and lock the door on the otherworld and say all illnesses come from diet, environmental and other natural factors"
As is usually the case with the scientific view.. its either this or that. What Hippocrates was more likely to have said 2400 years ago was "Dis-ease comes from a number of factors - pathological factors, environmental factors, the diet and lifestyle"
Think about this.. every place or zone has a collective spirit of that place, known as the jinn.. or genius of place.. if the spirit of that place is sick its more than likely people in and around that area will have dis-ease. So if a sickness is due to environment it can be traced back to the collective spirit of the place being unhealthy!
2400 years is long enough to twist things around for pharmaceutical purposes, `don't bother doing any meditation - simply take these valium tablets´!.
The truth of the matter is Hippocrates most likely knew about the spirit of the plant, the being in the hintergrund, the mind of the plant.. the plants astral double.. whatever one wants to call it, each plant has a life energy.. plants have a consciousness.. which can do more than help us.. plants can transform and completely heal us!.
If anyone has ever travelled to any of the Greek Islands especially the Islands in the South East, the fragrance in the air should never be forgotten.. the rich fragrances of sage, oregano, rosemary, thyme and basil, leaves almost everyone a longing to return as soon as possible. Forget the holy land if healing is what anyones looking for.. take a trip to Rhodes or Karpathos or Crete.. take a little tour away from the tourist areas and spend some time in the countryside.
The herbs in some areas grow as a magic carpet, whole areas, of mountainside, forest and scrubland totally covered with herbs!.
In our opinion the herbs grown in South East Greece are the brightest in the world, really are excellent quality reflecting the Islands long periods of sunshine.
Although everyone can enjoy herbs without taking a few weeks off to head for some remote scrubland near Lindos!.
Below we do a little herb de-mystification.. or it could be seen as a beginners guide to herb lore..
* herbs as medicines
* herbs for spiritual cleaning, purifying
the air (incense, oils, resins)
* to ward off unwanted spirits
* in rituals
* in cooking to flavour food
* as a source of food
* as a perfume
* for bathing (ritual baths)
* as a source of unique subtle energy
* Steeped in freshly boiled water for tea(few leaves per cup needed)
10 of the best!
Many volumes have been written in the past on the subject of herbs.. here we narrow things down a little to some all time favourites..
The name itself originates from Ancient Greece.. oros (mountain) and gano (joy).. i.e.. `joy of the mountain´ as said earlier, anyone who visits greece and has had a whiff of its fantastic aroma in the mountain air will certainly agree with this name.
Generally used for culinary purposes, (great on Pizza and Pasta, or mixed in Olive oil as a dip) it also was given to newly wedded couples to promote happiness. Keep a few plants in the garden to dispell any negative energy.
There is two main types of sage that how in Europe, usual garden sage, and Greek mountain sage. The Greek variety has strong camphor or sometimes goaty over-tones.. in greece however many of these plants smell similar although just slightly different from each other.. just as if each plant has its own individual character!
A full website could be written on this one.. narrowing things down.. for thousands of years its been burned in temples to purify and cleanse the space.
The Greeks and Romans both documented that the smoke from this plant imparted wisdom and mental acuity, and at the least a long and healthy life! (no need for any of them expensive eastern incense sticks).
Basil actually belongs to the mint family of herbs.
In Europe the Genovese variety is all to common. The Genovese variety also called (sweet basil) is from Genoa (Italy).. is very easy to grow and it is great in the kitchen, but certainly has a different energy to its older Greek cousins..
In Greece there are many different varieties still in there native form, be sure to collect some seeds from some dry flower heads next time visiting Greece.
Basil is great for keeping mosquitos and flies away from its growing area.. Not only do the greeks believe it keeps away mosquitos, they also believe that if a basil plant is growing outside there house or taverna it will keep away evil spirits.
Basil really enjoys being grown in pots.. making it a great herb for growing on the kitchen window ledge.
there is more than 24 different types of upright rosemary and 12 types of creeping varieties. This plant increases one`s memory and has a long history of use in all manner of spiritual and religious rites. Rosemary tea is said to act as a stimulant for study and concentration, and is great in the kitchen.
Chives are a great powerhouse of
such a small thin plant gives us such a big boost..
Chives contain thio sufinites which convert to allicin when its leaves are crushed.. Lab studies show that allicin reduces cholesterol production by inhibiting the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme in the liver cells. It also has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. Chives also contain much more vit A than any other allium(onion) family member.. protecting the body from lung and mouth cancers. Chives also contain large amounts of vit C and vit K.. (vit K is for bone health - strengthening and formation). The thin magic leaves are also packed with other B-complex vitamins as well as essential minerals such as copper, iron, manganese, zinc and calcium.
Lemon balm is usually used in the healing of people with nervous disorders. A tea made with the leaves brings stability and calmness of the mind.. making it a great tea of anyone studying. Lemon Balm leaves may also be scattered into the bath water to create an ambient bath. The usage and respect of lemon balm opens one up to the divine love of the goddess, and is also believed to add energy to one's being.
These often neglected wonderful herbs are associated with the ability to dispel unconsciousness.
the young leaves taken as a tea are not only good for the body but also good for the spirit. There has recently been a revival in nettle seeds.. but they have been known to pack to much of a punch, a few young leaves are usually adequate.
Nettle leaves are full of iron and help with formation of red blood cells. The leaves drunk as a tee or boiled and eaten.. decrease the risk of skin disorders and are also healing for asthma sufferers.
Thyme tee can help with headaches and inflammatory pain, but its best use is for relieving flu symptoms and colds, even some intestinal problems can be overcome by drinking a cup of thyme tee in the morning and evening. Some would also say that.. growing thyme in the garden, will encourage the garden spirits to be more lively.. there is much spiritual energy to be found in the gardens where thyme thrives.
Lavender has always been a herb associated with bringing calmness and serenity to the inner self, it reduces stress, banishes depression, purifies the air, gives an altogether good feeling all around. This herb grown below roses will 100% keep greenfly and other pests of the roses!. It is also possible to take the old dried lavender flowers.. sprinkle them on the carpet or rug jump around on them a bit, leave them for 10 minutes to impart there scent, then vacuum them or shake the rug out.. the carpet or rug is left with a wonderful natural lavender aroma!
There are 3 main varieties of mint.. peppermint, spearmint, and water mint.
Care should be taken when planting as the different mint plants can cross pollinate and quickly produce plants that look like mint but don't have any aroma anymore, so its best to stick with one variety in the garden, another word of notice is that mint is rather an aggressive plant which produces tuber shooting roots that can take over a small veg patch or herb garden if left unchecked.. the easy way around this is to plant mint in pots and then embed the pot into the herb garden creating a barrier to stop the running roots! Peppermint makes a great tee for digestive purposes also the tee drunk at bedtime will also improve the mystical nature of a dream.
& Finally... what makes a herb a herb?
Many say a herb is a herbaceous plant (a plant which dies back to the ground each year). So where does that leave plants like thyme and sage which can live for many years?
Earth Spirits definition of a herb is any plant that has been recognised to have either a medicinal or spiritual value.. that can include anything from garlic to a mighty oak tree!
Herbs have an ability to heal and better our lives when used with respect,
enjoy a nice herbal tea party.