Being a ‘thinker’ and an animist, I have meditated deeply on my relationship with herbs and their relationship with me. Scientifically, all things have two things in common with everything else; matter and energy. A person is matter and energy. A plant is matter and energy. The whole cosmos, seen and yet to be seen, is matter and energy. This can relate to the cosmological tenant of the ancient Milesian Celts, from whose tribe I am a descendant, of birth, death and rebirth. What feeds the herb? Dead stuff, of which I will be in time. What feeds me? Dead stuff. The herb and I are a part of each other’s cycle of life. That herb is a part of me and I am a part of that herb. I keep this in mind every time I work with herbs and it helps me to relate to the spirit of the herb. A majority of the herbs I use are not from my yard but that does not lessen in any way the connection between their spirit and mine. Our spirits are interconnected and the herb and I are a better herb and person because of that.
Most people understand the holistic aspect of herbs as being their impact on balancing the human system. The true holistic aspect of herbs, for me, is their ability to heal the body, balance the mind and expand the spirit. Maybe we should consider that herbal medicine goes beyond the chemical constituents and physiological impact they have on body systems. Therapy is a part of the mundane medical umbrella and now there are careers in botanical therapy, working with plants to help heal and balance similar to animal therapy. Perhaps an herbs ability to heal is just in being.