There are many approaches to herbalism including vitalist, eastern, western and more. All of them have their benefits of course and I love learning from each, drawing from them the perspectives that resonate. Herbalists in general take into account diet, lifestyle, health history, stress and nervous system states. From there, the approaches can differ by taking into account astrology, ancestry, bio-regional herbs, herbal folklore and magic, chakras or meridians and more.
In Metaphysical Herbalism we look at the issues trapped in the tissues, focussing on the emotions and traumas that may be stuck in the body causing dis-ease or preventing healing. There are many emotional patterns in dis-ease, we see this most recently in the work of Gabor Mate who identified the common traumas and emotional responses underpinning specific illness. His work digs into the genetic ‘switches’ or predispositions we all have and how childhood traumas can lead to stress responses that can ‘turn on’ those switches.
We also see this in the work of oncologist, Dr. Hammer who identified common traumas among cancer types. After the sudden and tragic death of his son, Dr. Hammer developed testicular cancer. He wondered if there was any link and began asking his testicular cancer patients about their lives and recent traumas, all of which had recently suffered sudden and tragic loss. He continued asking questions of all his patients and discovered an irrefutable correlation between stress, or what he called ‘conflict’ and specific cancer types.
Louise Hay in her book Heal Your Body and along with other intuitives have identified emotions held in specific areas of the body. For example, issues with the knees and ankles can often be attributed to a fear of moving forward in life, where as the lower back can be attributed to financial insecurity or not feeling supported in your life.
Unpreventable genetic mutations can definitely occur, but that is a small percentage of the population (5% according to Hammer). But what about injury? Can that be linked to emotions, conflicts or stress? After injury, tissues should really heal within six months, so anything beyond that would suggest there’s something deeper. Avid followers of German New Medicine (Dr. Hammer) would suggest that the stress/conflict lead to a weakening of those tissues which made for easy injury. And while there is definitely a point to be made for that argument, I don’t believe it’s always the case.
In Evette Rose’s work as an intuitive, she highlights that an injury can hold the emotions felt in the lead up to, or in the moments around the injury, suggesting that those specific fears or stress are trapped in the damaged tissue, preventing true and deep healing.
And let’s talk for a moment about toxins. Sometimes, and more so in recent years, toxins can play a huge role in the development of cancers, hormone imbalances and other disruptions or diseases. Specific toxins can have very specific implications; take for example the huge class action lawsuit by golfers who’ve developed lymphoma due to pesticides used on sprawling green lawns. My father-in-law himself, an avid golfer, passed due to lymphoma in 2021. Agricultural chemicals including herbicides and pesticides are doing a huge number on our health as well; for example Glyphosate (a herbicide and desiccant) has direct implications on both the gut lining (leaky gut) and the blood brain barrier (Dementia/Alzheimer’s). Hormonal birth control can have direct and long-term impact on the hormones of not only the women using them but the those drinking the water these pharmaceuticals are leaking into. And xenoestrogens which are found in plastics, fragrances, beauty products, food storage containers and more have a direct impact on hormone regulation, often leading to estrogen dominance and all the symptoms that accompany that.
And that’s just the tip of the toxic iceberg.
So, where is the line between emotions, traumas, toxins and genetics? And what has Metaphysical Herbalism have to do with it?
I like to think of health as multi-layered with many contributing factors; some thin and papery, others thick and oily. When our bodies are all undeniably inundated with toxins (which a healthy body should be able to process to a certain degree), our nervous system becomes dis-regulated and conflict/stress is less likely to be fully expressed and worked through in the healthy way that Gabor Mate encourages in his book, When the Body Says No.
Metaphysical Herbalism takes into account the emotional contributing factors. It also takes into account the believes held in the tissues and that while a strictly herbal approach to the physical body has it’s benefits and are very appropriate in specific cases, it neglects a large aspect of the system.. the emotional/energetic and spiritual bodies. Through visualizations, we’re able to not only access deep emotions stored in the tissues and find the patterns in the body, but also open and release them. Using Neurolinguistic Programming techniques, we’re able to bring those emotions forward in a gentle and abstract way, soften the edges, find the learnings and set those learnings firmly in new pathways and new patterns.
In support of these new learnings and energetic shifts, we use earth essences (flower, tree, root) and other frequency medicine to address the specific of the individual. These essences can re-pattern frequencies on a deep cellular level and allow those new learnings to take hold, while sloughing off old ways of being. This can be in softening thorns and allowing more space to love and express, or it can be to support stronger boundaries while letting go of guilt and shame. They can also help to shift core beliefs that may be preventing healing or keeping someone in a pattern of repeated injury or inflammation.
And finally, we use herbs to address the tissues themselves; ease inflammation, cool the system, relax or make tight, soothe or stimulate, moisten or and so much more. Sometimes this is in the form of a topical salve or poultice or an internal blend including teas, tinctures and oxymels. Although herbalism is the core of this work, herbs used for the specific tissues are only one part. The star of the show is how emotional work entwined with herbs for the tissues and the subtler earth essences together make body, mind and spirit medicine.
To find out more, check out our session options and let us begin pulling back those layers together.