There are all kinds of herbalism. That’s what this post is about today. Let’s get started!
Do you want to study herbal medicine? There are many different kinds. At Rockwell we teach all of the following kinds of herbalism.
This is a general term for using astrology from all cultural perspectives. For example, a planetary herbologist may know a little or a lot about herbs and how they are used from many different cultures across the globe, including but not limited to TCM, Ayurveda, and Western Herbalism.
At first, some people think that ‘planetary’ may mean astrological, but that is not the case. However, Astrololgical Herbalism is a thing where the astrologist works with herbs for each of the individual signs and prescribes them based on one’s natal chart like The Root Circle discusses here.
This one is easy and perhaps self-explanatory to many. It simply means the practice of herbalism in a clinical setting. Clinical herbalist may open pop-up shops or do large gathering type events where people come in with an issue and boom, the herbalist prescribes/suggest an herb what ails you. They may get a quick basic history and ask if you’ve had a transplant or surgery recently, if you are on blood pressure meds or have HIV/AIDS before giving you an herb. However, they don’t get into the long intakes that a functional integrative medicine doctor would or a traditional naturopathy does. Such herbalists are quick on their feet, meaning they know their herbs pretty well inside and out due to their extensive experience working with the public such as Herbalists without Borders
TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine Herbalism:
So TCM is a complex array of holistic health options, some controversial, like exploiting animals in certain cases. However, the herbalism side of Chinese Medicine is well-loved and teaches properties of herbs, such as when we say ‘energetic’ meaning the properties of the herbs mostly native to China and Eurasia.
Like TCM, Ayurveda is a complex system of healing and comprises more than just herbalism. Ayurvedic herbalism takes into account the whole concept of health and wellbeing that is Ayurveda and focuses on herbs native to India and Asia such as taught by K.P. Khalsa who has some very interesting teachings.
Native American Herbalism:
So you are probably beginning to see the pattern that a lot of herbalism is cultural based on native plants to a geographical area. Obviously Native American Herbalism focuses on plants found in and native to North America that the American Indians used in healing such as slippery elm bark.
Poor Western Herbalism. It doesn’t get any perks, like capitalized pronouns, etc. I just capitalized it to be polite! But it doesn’t get the same respect as older forms like TCM and Ayurveda do. Western Herbalism, IMHO means the last 100-years or so of herbalism in the west, ie., the Americas, or North America to be more specific, and possibly Europe. It’s very general, but most herbalists in the USA in this century can be classified as western herbalists, although some associate more with the people’s medicine and/or folk herbalism. Stephen Harrod Buhner would def be a modern Western Herbalist, and a lot of the work that comes out of the authors of Plant Healer would be considered western herbalism, but folk herbalism as well.
The former, Stephen, is a pioneer in Lyme Disease Herbalism. There’s a funny little story about Stephen I will share. I wrote him to ask a quick question and he auto replies to all inquiries referring out work as he is now retired. And he sends a long a little optional story about his travels and work in herbalism. It’s a wonderful chance to get to know more about this world renowned herbalist. I literally laughed out loud it was so funny and relatable!
We pretty much covered it up there. You may find some people talk about Appalachian herbalism too, this is in the same vein IMHO as folk medicine.
AKA Herbal Energetics is working with the concepts of energies and properties within the herb perhaps taking clinical herbalism a step further, a spiritual step further? Rather than prescribing only based on the physical, herbal energetics takes the patient’s/client’s energy and the energy of the plant and chooses the right one accordingly to their knowledge and experience of the plants and people in question. You can read more here and here vabout how some practitioner’s are combining clinical herbalism with plant (or herbal) energetics here.
The People’s Medicine:
Perhaps aptly so, we skipped this accidentally and it ended up at the bottom, but perhaps that’s the perfect place for it. Here’s why. The People’s Medicine is a concept often referred to by old-school pioneering herbalists, but specifically, Susun Weed. She always says that herbal medicine is the people’s medicine on her radio show, famous for her herbal infusions from common weeds. She also wrote many books that we still use in our programs! So The People’s Medicine encompasses the power of people to help themselves with the power of herbs! Pretty simple, eh?
What about you? What kind of herbalism do you practice and/or love the most!?!? Please share.
At Rockwell students learn all the various forms of herbalism to some degree or another. TCM and Ayurveda are specialties on their own, therefore, we just dabble in them enough to make the practitioner aware and learn a few important things. However we go in depth on the people’s medicine and western herbalism.
How about you? What kind of herbal medicine to you practice?