What is Plant Medicine?

Plant medicine. You’ve probably heard the term thrown around a lot in recent years. From the sky-rocketing popularity of essential oils, to the shamanic other-worldly experiences of ayahuasca, and everything in between.

One thing’s for sure, the resurgence of natural and plant based medicine is undeniable.

For something that encompasses so many seemingly different things, one might be left wondering… what exactly is plant medicine?

Well my dear, let me break it down for you. Plant medicine is a broad and general term used to define any plant related product or experience that we can receive medicine from. When I refer to medicine in this way, I am referring to it in the broader sense of the word, meaning anything that has the ability to heal us mind, body, and spirit.

The spectrum of plant medicine spans from the most concentrated, physically potent forms of plant matter such as essential oils, all the way to medicine containing little to no plant matter at all, as in the case of flower essences or plant spirit medicine. Other plant medicine such as herbal tinctures and teas, fall somewhere in between on the middle of the spectrum.

Now don’t be fooled into thinking the more concentrated a plant medicine is, the better it is at healing. The level of plant matter contained within the medicine does not determine its healing potency, rather it is an indication of how the medicine should be used.

Take essential oils for example. Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts that are incredibly useful in working with acute conditions, whether physical, mental, or emotional. They are effective at working quickly which is often incredibly beneficial. However on the flip side, the high concentration of plant material can at times cause adverse reactions or be toxic if ingested and used in excess.

Herbal remedies, such as tinctures and teas, are wonderful at healing more chronic health conditions, they can often be taken frequently over longer periods with little to no side effects. Generally speaking the more chronic a condition is, the longer it takes to heal. These remedies are often ingested and work internally on a deep level, slowly helping to restore health and create balance within the body systems.

Flower essence therapy is one of the most subtle forms of plant medicine. Because of their gentle, energetic nature, they are very rarely used to treat physical symptoms. Instead flower essences excel at creating harmony within the energy field, addressing the underlying mental, emotional, and spiritual imbalances and blocks that often manifest as illness and disease. They are most effective when used consistently over a period of two to three weeks, however can provide in the moment comfort and healing support especially when shock or trauma is involved.

Above are just a few examples of plant medicine. If you decide to dive down this particular rabbit hole as I have, you’ll start to notice the variety and versatility of plants, especially when it comes to healing.

So what exactly is it about plants that helps us heal?

Sure we could dive into the science of it all, discussing plant properties and the affect that certain active constituents have on the body. However, focusing on the science is only one aspect of how plant medicine works its magic. It’s often a very limited perspective, breaking down and analysing separate parts of the plant and completely ignoring how the plant works as a whole. Most importantly it doesn’t account for the emotional and spiritual healing many people receive while working with plants.

I believe there is a much simpler, more holistic answer.

The word ‘heal’ originates from ‘whole’. To heal is to make whole, and this is exactly why I believe plants are such incredible healing allies.

Connecting with plant medicine has the profound ability to reconnect us with a divine sense of wholeness.

Our modern culture individuates and isolates, it makes us believe we are separate from everything that appears to be outside ourselves. It is this disconnect from nature, other beings, and ourselves, that causes dis-ease on the deepest energetic level.

As a living being our natural state is one of unity and wholeness, not just within ourselves but also within the greater web of life.

While the path to disease and disharmony can be varied, ultimately the medicine is always the same.

Reconnection. We need to reconnect with our true nature.

This is why spending time in nature is so beneficial to our health and wellbeing. Plants don’t question their purpose or place, there are no opportunities to isolate or separate. They are the pure embodiment of life force energy and by simply existing, reflect the truth of our whole and complete essence back at us.

As vibrational beings we can’t help but be moved by the powerful life-affirming energy plants transmit.

Plants are not only supreme healers but also our greatest teachers. Reflecting the wisdom of what it means to be alive, while offering a blueprint of how we too can thrive as members of the interconnected eco-system of all living beings.

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