July 28, 2023
“Are the herbs working?”
“I took the herbs but didn’t feel anything.”
“How long does it take for the herbs to work?”
“I’ve tried so many things with little to no success, will herbs work?”
“Herbs don't work for everybody”
Do you hear all the doubt?
When we’re in discomfort or pain…
When we’ve used medications that force the body into a response…
When we receive a sudden diagnosis…(even though it’s been brewing for a long time undetected)
We want whatever’s “wrong” to be made “right” immediately. We want the pain to go away now so that we can get back to life. We want to know when it’ll be over?
If you ask these questions, you may think, “ugh I know I’m just being impatient.” But the undercurrent of impatience and doubt are lack of trust.
When we feel like we don’t have control or don’t know what’s going on we have a hard time trusting the process and believing that we’re making progress on the journey from illness to wellness.
So my response to your lack of trust in herbal medicine is this:
Herbal medicine works for everyone. It’s the medicine that is most compatible with our bodies. But you have to stop analyzing herbal medicine through a pharmaceutical lens.
When do most people turn to medicine? When they are in pain. Through our medical model we have been conditioned to reach for a substance that turns the pain off quickly. This is sometimes very necessary.
We reach for relief and there’s no problem with that. But a problem does arise when you are transitioning to herbal medicine and you expect the same rapid results you experienced from pills.
Now don’t get me wrong, some plants can elicit an immediate and forceful response from the body just like drugs. But in most cases, those aren’t the plants you’re starting with.
So you’re taking something like Red Raspberry for painful periods and expecting it to work like Motrin. 😵💫 And since it won’t work like that…well the problem must be with the plants, right? Wrong.
You have to understand herbalism as practice, a modality, and a health care system that stands on its own and is fundamentally different from our modern medical model.
Plants are highly sophisticated and herbal medicine is extremely nuanced. The healing possibilities are vast and different than what we experience with drugs. Look up the word trophorestorative, an activity that’s wholly unique to herbal medicine that you will never find associated with drugs because they can’t do it.
You also have to check if your expectations of immediate relief are congruent with what you’re experiencing.
You feel the expectorant activity of horehound because you start coughing.
The carminative activity of fennel got you smelling up the room because it’s helping you release gas.
Senna as a laxative sends you to the toilet.
Lavender, as a relaxant lulls you to sleep.
A wound visibly heals right before your eyes when you put a salve of calendula, plantain, or comfrey on it.
These are instances when we “know” the medicine is working because we feel and see the physical shifts with our eyes.
But this doesn’t easily apply to systemic inflammation, gut dysbiosis, diabetes, brain fog, hormonal imbalances, high cholesterol or something else that’s metabolic. These certainly, have and will present with physical symptoms at some point, but think about it…
You didn’t feel it building until there was a physical sensation, so you’re not going to feel it correcting until it has quieted enough for there to be no more physical symptoms.
And the longer you have been experiencing something and it’s worsening, the more you are moving closer to depletion, exhaustion, and burnout. It’s going to take longer to return to a balanced state where the body is regulating itself as it is designed to do.
Next time you’re inclined to question if the herbal medicine is working, think about the shift you desire and ask yourself, when (not if) is it reasonable for me to expect to feel the results? Acute conditions - a few days maybe a couple of weeks. Chronic conditions - weeks to months, depending how far away you are from your balanced state.
Today’s herbal ally for The Path of Possibility is Eyebright. If you struggle with believing in the power of herbal medicine and trusting our body’s ability to heal, then I encourage you to invite eyebright into your experience (available here). It looks delicate, but don’t dare question its might. Not only is it an excellent herb for eyesight, eye infections and inflammation (see my recent conjunctivitis video), it’s superb at clearing upper respiratory congestion too.
I remember when Niles first started daycare and as you can expect with so much exposure to the world, he came home snotty-nosed immediately! Eyebright was my go-do decongestant. Eyebright surprises people in how effective it is. One cup and they can suddenly breathe again. I love it when herbs exceed people’s, albeit very low, expectations. It’s like you can literally feel truth that they’ve always known unlock in their brains. Eyebright helps you trust what you can’t always see with your physical eyes.
See you tomorrow! We're nearing the of The Path of Possibility 🥺 I hope you've been enjoying these messages.
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