"The land is the real teacher. All we need as students is mindfulness. The land knows you, even when you are lost"
- Robin Wall Kimmerer.
let me share some beauty straight from the earth.
Our earth, the sun and plants have a symbiotic relationship, meaning they depend on each other to function in beautiful harmony. Our Earth provides water to our plants, the plants produce the sweet, satiating oxygen that exists all around us, and sunlight feeds the plants to become strong, immune and thriving. And let's not forget the light source and warmth gifted to us by our solar star, as well as the hormonal regulation that goes hand in hand with exposure to the sun.
To begin, let me just share this quote by Richard Louv. He’s an American nonfiction author and journalist. He is best known for his seventh book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, which investigates the relationship of children and the natural world in current and historical contexts.
"Nature is more than just a nice place to be. Imagine if your liver developed the notion that your body is just a nice hangout spot, from which it could close itself off if it pleased.
This absurd idea parallels the way in which we separate ourselves from the natural world. We dichotomise humanity and nature, seeing the latter as a set of objects offered up for our use and amusement. We forget that the Earth is a container and context within which we are wholly embedded.
And more importantly, we forget that the Earth is a living, unified super-intelligence—a hyper-dimensional Mind, the thoughts of which form the basis of our biological existence."
Ummmm. YES. SO. MUCH. YES.
Reading this book left me with one question in mind:
Where is this ethos still alive and thriving today?
Native American cultures.
The medicine of Native Americans was a combination of practices gathered from more than 500 nations that were in the Americas over the centuries, and has been documented back to at least 2000BC (with a lot of claims that it dates back 10,000 years). It is documented that in native american tribal lore, man is far from being dominant over nature, man is seen as interdependent with other living beings and physical forces, and as such, an association called NAH was developed - Native American Healing, which uses tools from the earth to thrive and heal.
Middle and Near East – 3000 BC in the ancient Mesopotamian period. In Egypt, 1995, younger generations were failing to learn about the medicinal plants and treatments of their ancestors, and the Middle-Eastern Medicinal Plant Project was started to collect information and also to research the medical legacy.
The Maori culture in New Zealand.
Traditional Maori healing, still in use in the country today and passed down by medical practitioners through generations, takes a holistic approach. Mauri (spark or life force), wairua (spirit), and tapu (natural law) along with Whakapapaor, or genealogy, was part of healing.
Traditional Chinese medicine is thousands of years old, and it is holistic in the true sense of incorporating both alternative medical treatments with herbal medicines and also various mind and body practices like acupuncture and tai chi.
Ayurvedic medicine, as the traditional medicine practiced in India is termed, is about the same age as the tablets from Mesopotamia. At 3,000 years old, the practice is one of the oldest medical systems in the world.
When Aboriginal people did fall sick, they used plants in a variety of ways to quell their ills. Some plants, like goat’s foot, were crushed, heated and applied to the skin. Others were boiled and inhaled, and occasionally drunk. There were also saps which were directly smeared on the skin, and barks that were smoked or burned.
Professor Joanne Jamie, a medicinal chemist from Macquarie University, in Sydney has compiled a database on Aboriginal plants. Many of those plants, she found, contained anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory compound that are known to western medicine. “When plants are used in a customary way, there is a far greater success rate in them having biological activity,” she says. Indigenous Australians favour a couple of natively grown health tools:
1. Tea tree oil
Bundjalung Aboriginal people from the coast of New South Wales crushed tea-tree (or paper bark) leaves and applied the paste to wounds as well as brewing it to a kind of tea for throat ailments. In the 1920s, scientific experiments proved that the tea-tree oil’s antiseptic potency was far stronger than the commonly used antiseptic of the time. Since then, the oil has been used to treat everything from fungal infections of the toenails to acne.
2. Eucalyptus oil
Eucalyptus leaves can be infused for body pains and fevers and chills. Today the oil is used commercially in mouthwash, throat lozenges and cough suppressants.
THE COMMONALITIES BETWEEN THESE CULTURES IS THEIr USE AND LOVE of earth treasures (including ESSENTIAL OILS), AND THEIR RECIPROCAL RELATIONSHIP WITH and reverence for mother earth.
I love that this is still alive and thriving in many cultures today, and how I can see a resurgence of this traditional earth wisdom rising in society now - I’m absolutely in awe of cultures steeped in tradition and history and earth magic. I love learning from history and bringing in the gifts of today - technology (such a gift to us now) to share the beauty in this.
My goal is to ignite remembrance of this way of living. The old way, made new. I bring these old ways back into the spotlight so women everywhere can have access to the greatest form of healthcare, purpose-built for human beings; nature.