We are part of nature, not separate from it. We are nature. It is in us and around us. Our immune system is part of a much bigger eco system. However today we are becoming increasingly separate from nature. We are destroying nature through pollution, excess waste, harvesting trees and the fish of the sea like there is no future. Anti-biotics are being used like smarties thus damaging our collective immune system.

So when you consider herbal medicine we need to realize that its the oldest form of medicine. Something that has been around as long as herbal medicine, must have a wisdom that is beyond the narrow paradigm of what is referred to as evidence based medicine. Surely thousands of years is evidence in and of itself.

Records dating from ancient Babylon (Iraq) show that plants were cultivated as medicines 60,000 years ago. Written manuscripts of medicinal herbs go back approximately 5,000 years in India, China and Egypt and at least 2,500 years in Greece and Asia Minor. Twenty-five hundred years ago, Hippocrates (the father of medical literature), stated as part of his oath: “I will give no deadly medicine to anyone.” Hippocrates used only food and herbs and is best known for the sayings:

“Let your food be your medicine and let medicine be your food”

“Sickness is caused by the body’s inability to digest its environment”

Herbalism was initially outlawed by early allopathic doctors, largely through professional jealousy. However, the church played a large part in its belief that healing could only be accomplished by God or his ministers; only monks were allowed to grow, or use, herbs for healing. Other herbalists were often burned as witches. The Irish singer Christy Moore has a great song about this part of our history.

American herbalist, Samuel Thompson, was born in 1769. He was a farmer who experimented successfully with local herbs, such as comfrey and lobelia (both now restricted). He was one of the forerunners of a herbal medicine revival, but like early English herbalists of the 15th and 16th centuries, he was persecuted and imprisoned.

The work of Culpepper, Gerard and Thompson, together with more recent herbalists, Hoxsey, Kloss, Treben, Christopher and Tierra, have maintained a tenuous link with the earlier work of Hippocrates. Herbalists are no longer burned at the stake, but their freedom to practice is constantly threatened by EU regulations, government policies and the ‘new religion’ of science.

What I like about herbal medicine is it was patented by nature! But watch as herbal medicine becomes the choice of more and more people, the pharmaceutical companies are already buying up the health stores.  I wonder why? Show me the money (Gerry McGuire) and you will find politicians and power hungry elites.

Call to action: Boost your immune system and avoid anti-biotics as much as possible. Think of herbal medicine as future proofing your health. Study herbal medicine or maybe the next time instead of going to see the doctor for €50 per 10 min consultation max, see a herbalist for €70 for one hour and take control of your healing and wellbeing.

Tom