While I was doing some reading at the weekend as research for my blog posts (oh, yeah, I do research! This blog isn’t just thrown together you know!) I came across an article which began by listing the three healing traditions in the world. I thought it was an interesting topic for the blog, and a nice way to start the week.
The three traditions are the Scientific, the Heroic and the Wise Woman. I am okay with the first one, but the other two names seem a little “hippy dippy” to me, but I will use them for ease. Effectively, these three names are the filters through which herbal medicine can be seen and used.
So, the scientific tradition sees herbs and other plants as the source of drugs. In this day and age, they are generally whipped into a laboratory and synthesised into usable medicines, usually with unpronounceable names, and then patented so that the Chemical company can make a heap of money from them. Seeing as you can’t patent a naturally occurring substance, synthesis is paramount. I would like to point out that I am not trying to wag a finger at the Capitalist economic model and nor do I think that chemical medicines inspired by herbs and naturally occurring substances are a bad thing. Capitalism may not be perfect, but it is the best we have at the moment, and as for chemical medicines, I am all for them in the right place. I am on strong antibiotics myself at the moment, and they are dealing with the issue I had. Herbal cures just weren’t cutting it. They reduced the issue, but I needed the chemical help to really kick it into touch.
Next category is Heroic. This type of healer believes that herbs are safe drugs and generally these people are highly trained therapists who know how to use combinations of herbs, usually in the forms of pills or capsules and who make little distinction between herbal supplements and synthetic nutrient supplements. These therapists tend to have really strict rules about eating with a focus on balance and being clean. I suspect it is this type of healer that the course I am following is trying to create. Personally speaking, I think eating clean is a great idea – but practically impossible to do correctly, all the time. I am also happy to use herbal supplements, but I feel a bit uncomfortable about the synthetic nutrition supplements. I like to make sure my food gives me the nutrients I need, without using supplements if I can avoid it.
The final category, and the one that feels like a good fit to me, is the Wise Woman one. You can think Shaman, or Old Crone living on her own in a cottage in a wood with a cat. In Scotland, they call them a Spey Wife. In Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, they are Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg. They might have been called witches in the past. I am happy with Herbalist. (Actually, when I am old and grey, if I get called Granny Weatherwax, I will have achieved everything I have ever wanted to! She is AWESOME!) These types of healers, use the natural herbs – fresh or dried – to support and nourish well being.
If I was going to get all hippy and crunchy I would mutter something about all living things being connected and supporting each other through the cycle of life, but that is just waffle. I prefer to use the herbs I grow or can obtain fresh. Just because I know they haven’t been monkeyed about with. One of my aims this year is to grow my own herbs and make some of my own remedies from the stuff that comes from my garden. I can’t tell you how cool that is going to be!