Monday, October 20, 2014

My Approach To Herbalism

Erin OK
Training & Approach

After achieving a BA in English, working as a performing songwriter, entering motherhood & studying energy healing, my herbal work has brought together academic research & creative skills, with a nurturing concern for life. . . Tuning In for creative wellness.

Having dabbled with herbal tea blends for many years, and developing a working relationship with a handful of medicinal herbs, in 2013 I did an 8-month Herbal Apprenticeship with Dragonfly Herbals

This program gave me a systematic approach to health in addition to a broad knowledge of herbs and preparation methods. 

This shifted my perspective from a simplistic symptom-herb correlation, to assessing the needs of individuals based on their personal constitution, and focusing on building up the body's strength, with attention to the specific systems in need. 

This approach is based on herbalist Michael Moore's constitutional assessment method, which uses the principles of western physiology to identify states of excess or deficiency in the major body systems. This is similar to the ancient eastern approaches of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, in that it identifies holistic health types, but rather than using symbolic & "element"-based systems, it uses western science. 

Using this method has given me a basis for deeper study into how the human body works, and I've spent much of the last year deeply researching specific body systems, to understand HOW certain herbs support them. This is my approach when someone inquires about herbs for a specific condition. I may think of a few associated herbs off the top of my head (or a quick reference check), but it's in considering the systemic deficiencies & excesses associated with the condition (and particular to the individual) that an individually appropriate herb presents itself. 

I combine this constitutional approach with an energetic approach largely informed by my experience with energy work. As I began practicing Reiki in 2011 (also with Dragonfly Herbals & Reiki), I was deeply drawn to working with plants & the natural world, developing personal relationships with plants and attuning to their subtle energies. This aspect of working with herbs is intuitive and sense-based. That applies to my working method as I grow, harvest and blend herbs, as well as encouraging clients to: 
use their intuition in selecting remedies 
listen closely to their body's response
develop a relationship with the plants they use
tune in to their personal energies to guide the healing process

To a large extent, herbs work by restoring the body's natural ability to heal itself. This is a totally different objective than drug therapy, which tends to work by eradicating symptoms, often leaving the root of the problem unaddressed. While many of my herbal blends aim to treat problematic symptoms, they do so by supporting the body's natural processes rather than suppressing them. This is a gentler process. Results may be subtle, as true healing requires time. 

I aim to assist my customers in using herbs with conscious intention, to support their personal healing and ongoing health. Not as a miracle cure, but as a natural aid to restoring and maintaining balance.