Sunday, January 21, 2007

Winter wonderings...sedentism, vitalism and nutrition

It's snowing again. Not a blizzard by any means, but enough that I dont want to venture outside. I'd forgotten in my years in arizona how sedantary winter makes you want to be. It's cold, it's hard to travel about ( even on foot, the ice has been rather treacherous).

I did get out for a mini hike before the snow hit this week and found some other wonderful plants to keep my eyes on when spring comes. There are wild roses up on the hill, and they have very bright and tasty (though a bit soggy now) rosehips still. I haven't narrowed it down to species yet, but it is a very small rose...maybe only 6-8 inches tall. There's horehound up there, not that I'm suprised, weedy as horehound is. Not a favorite plant, but still good medicine. It tastes very very bad though.
And there is Sumach, Rhus trilobata I think, by the look of the berries and dried leaves I found still clinging to the bush. I know there is some grindelia out there too, and still lots of things I dont know yet. I almost wish spring would hurry up and come so I can go play with plants.

School is fabulous so far. I'm learning SO much, just in two weeks of classes! I'm studying the Vitalist tradition, which has roots in Chinese Herbalism, Ayurveda, 4 Humors and Physiomedicalism. We've spent time going over all the above traditions, and finding the common threads between all of them, including the primacy of nutrition and digestion as the basis for good health. You are what you eat, and if you can't digest what you eat, you will inevitably see wide ranging health effects. No herb or medication for that matter, will truly heal, unless it is supported by a base of a good, nourishing food and a healthy digestive system. Everyone is different, and herbs and foods are all different. It is important to look at the qualities of food, herb and person as a whole, so much more than "Take this herb for that condition" that is so prevelant today in herbalism and commercial dietary aids/supplements.

This is changing the way I see herbalism, and healing...and I have a LONG way to go, but it is extremely exciting, and I'm enjoying every minute of it!

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"The mother of us all, the oldest of us all, Hard, splendid as rock, Let the beauty you love, be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth"~ Rumi ~