Herb Lore: (Herbalism).

Hippocrates – ” Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

For the purpose of this article, herbs are loosely referred to as the category of edible plants which can also be used for Medicinal, Spiritual or Magical purposes.

It seems that on every part of the globe where humans have lived, there has developed a body of herbal knowledge, something which has led to a special relationship developing between herbs and people. The foundation for this relationship is the fact that apart from herbs being acknowledged for their nutritional value, there has been a longstanding recognition that they also possess a variety of curative properties, being amongst the most important tools used by Shamen, Medicine men, Witch doctors, and healers in general the world over. Indeed, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80 percent of the population of some Asian and African countries presently use herbal medicine for some aspect of primary health care.

In addition to their culinary and Medicinal uses, certain herbs have also adopted a reputation for having spiritual and magical qualities. This tradition can be traced back in various forms through the traditions and practices of Shamanism, Witchcraft, and the Ayurvedic system of the east. Their importance in the ‘journey within’ is not just a symbolic one as apart from having recognised cleansing qualities on the human body, several herbs are known to be mind-altering, producing a range of altered states, including hallucinations. It has been proposed by several authors that experiencing such altered states, may have played a substantial role in the development of the primitive human imagination. The role of herbs in the religious/spiritual journey is still widely visible today in the act of incensing (smudging), an almost insignificant tradition which prevails in all the major religions, yet one with roots to the dawn of human consciousness.

Sadly, the arguments in favour of natural herbal medicines are becoming blurred today. As we gradually lose touch with the intimate knowledge and philosophy underpinning the use of herbs by our ancestors, the benefits of herbalism have become replaced by the price, availability, controlled dosage and regulation of ingredients in manufactured drugs. In addition, the use of herbs in an internal (spiritual) capacity is generally frowned upon, even illegal in many cases, effectively ’emasculating’ the ancient art of herbalism.

   The History of Herbalism:

It is perhaps first worth noting that there are numerous examples in the literature regarding other animals known to use a variety of plants and minerals ‘medicinally’ in nature, and it is a reasonable inference that humans always shared a similar basic relationship with the minerals and plants around them.  Observations of the comparative health of animals in captivity and in the wild suggest that wild animals are able to do things to keep themselves healthy that captive animals cannot. In 1632, a European doctor visiting Peru observed a Puma with a fever chewing the bark of the Chinchona tree. Two hundred years later, Louis Pasteur discovered that the bark contained Quinine, a natural compound with antipyretic (fever-reducing) properties. There are several reports in the literature of mammals that are commonly known to eating indigestible plants and grasses in order to relieve them from internal parasites.

Article: The Economist. 2002.

‘Chimpanzees suffering from intestinal worms in Tanzania dose themselves with the pith of a plant called Vernonia. This plant produces poisonous chemicals called terpenes. Its pith contains a strong enough concentration to kill gut parasites, but not so strong as to kill chimps (nor people, for that matter; locals use the pith for the same purpose)’. 

In recognition to the first pioneering experimental herbalists, and to all those who passed on the great lore of herbs across time it must be said that many herbs are toxic, and will kill a person as soon as heal them. For example, Foxglove contains the compound Digitalis, which is commonly used in heart conditions, but the prescribed dosage is close to the lethal dosage. The accumulation of such information into a workable art would have required much testing and tasting, leading to much upset along the way, and the continuous transfer of knowledge from one generation to another over such a long distances of time is a similarly remarkable feat. Regardless of any modern arguments against herbal medicine, the 85% of traditional medicine involving the use of plant extracts (18) is a direct result of our ancestors relationship with herbs.

The deliberate use of herbs by humans can be traced back at least 50, 000 years. Researchers from different countries did a morphological analysis of plant microfossils to identify material trapped in dental calculus from five Neanderthals from the north Spanish site of El Sidrón. Discovered in 1994, El Sidrón contained around 2,000 skeletal remains of at least 13 individuals dating back c. 50,000 BP. It seems that the new data substantiate earlier assumptions about the use of medicinal plants by Neanderthals. “The varied use of plants we identified suggests that the Neanderthal occupants of El Sidrón had a sophisticated knowledge of their natural surroundings which included the ability to select and use certain plants for their nutritional value and for self-medication“. The presence of chamazulene in the sample is notable since the compound occurs in yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and in chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla). These herbs, widely used in self-medication in preindustrial Europe have moderate antioxidant and antimicrobial activities, and a significant antiplatelet activity in vitro.

Although there isn’t enough archaeological evidence to prove that all Palaeolithic people were commonly aware of the medicinal properties of herbs, our presence today suggests they were, and there is little doubt that our Palaeolithic ancestors were at least extremely familiar with the edible plants which grew around them. It is now said that the ‘Hallmark’ of the Palaeolithic diet is the ‘Huge number of diversity of plants in their diet’,  (8) with estimates of 20 to 25 different vegetables a day being commonplace. Something which at least leaves little doubt as to their culinary knowledge. The specific details of the origins of the  application of herbs as medicinal plants are, of course, lost to us, but there is no doubt that it has been occurring for a great length of time and in every corner of the world as the following examples demonstrate:

Discoveries on the Isle of Coll in Scotland have led to suggestions of Mesolithic deliberate use of herbs (either for culinary or medicinal use), through the discovery of ‘charred tubers and ‘bulbils’ (small swellings at the intersection of the stem and leaves) of lesser celandine, a member of the buttercup family (Ranunculus filaria). The frequency of the lesser celandine suggests that this plant had been deliberately gathered rather than entering the deposit accidentally’. Starr Carr in Scotland was used though the Mesolithic era for over a thousand years. Studies of the flora there have shown us that the inhabitants had a sophisticated knowledge of the uses of the plant-life surrounding them. (10) Amongst the discoveries were several plants which are recognised today as classic examples of herbs, being both edible and medicinal including the following:

Hemp nettle (Galeopsis tetrahit) medicinal uses but poisonous, Yellow water lily (Nuphar later) food (after boiling) some medicinal uses, Redleg (Polygonum persicaria) medicine (stomach) yellow dye, Dock (Rumex sp.) food and medicine but bitter.
One of the most cited (but now ironically contested) prehistoric cases is the Neanderthal Grave in Shanidar cave, Iraq, which ‘Contained pollen traces of eight different types of flower, presumably part of a wreath (Soleki, 1971; Leroi-Gourham, 1968). The flowers were mainly small, brightly-coloured varieties, possibly woven into the branches of a shrub. Solecki has pointed out that most of the flowers are known to have herbal properties and are used by the people today’. However, not everyone has agreed with the hypothesis that the placement of the flowering plant offerings at the burial site was a conscious choice of the Neanderthals. The original report described the existence of animal holes around the burial along with the fossil remains of the “Persian jird” (Meriones precious). This rodent species lives in large colonies and is known to store a large amount of seeds and flowers in its burrows. Indeed, excavators identified numerous jird, burrows near the burial, and 70% of all the rodent bone recovered from Shanidar Cave was from this jird species. Analysis of jird burrows has also revealed the remains of many of the same flowers that were found in Shanidar IV. Thus, it is argued, the presence of flower pollen around the skeleton may not have been the result of ritualistic activity, but simply the establishment of jird burrows following the burial (Sommer 1998).

At the 6,500-year-old site of Bökeberg in Sweden, a piece of Birch bark gum has been found with the tooth impressions of a 30-40-year-old with a cavity in one tooth. By chewing the gum, it is suggested that he or she was treating their ailment. Birch bark tar contains compounds which could serve as disinfectants, and these can be slowly released during chewing. There are historical records referring to the use of birch bark tar to relieve sore throats. It could also be that chewing birch bark tar was an early form of dental hygiene. It is common knowledge today that chewing gum between meals helps to reduce the build-up of plaque.

A pottery cauldron containing boiled medicinal herbs unearthed in 2001 at Kuahuqiao in Xiaoshan County, Zhejiang Province indicates that Neolithic people had realized some natural herbal medicine use as early as 8,000 BP.

Herbs have long been used as the basis of traditional Chinese herbal medicine. The oldest known list of medicinal herbs is Shénnóng (神农, lit. “Divine Farmer”), a mythical god-like Emperor figure, who is believed to have lived c. 3,000 BC (2) He allegedly tasted hundreds of herbs and imparted his knowledge of medicinal and poisonous plants to farmers. His Shénnóng Běn Cao Jīng (神农本草经, Shennong’s Materia Medica) is considered as the oldest book on Chinese herbal medicine, being a compilation of over 300 Chinese herbs that probably originates from an even older oral tradition. (1)   There are roughly 13,000 medicinals used in China and over 100,000 medicinal recipes recorded in the ancient literature. Plant elements and extracts are by far the most common elements used. In the classic Handbook of Traditional Drugs from 1941, 517 drugs were listed – out of these, only 45 were animal parts, and 30 were minerals. For many plants used as medicinals, detailed instructions have been handed down not only regarding the locations and areas where they grow best but also regarding the best timing of planting and harvesting them.

In the written record, the study of herbs dates back over 5,000 years to the Sumerians, who created clay tablets with lists of hundreds of medicinal plants. The largest surviving such medical treatise from ancient Mesopotamia is known as “Treatise of Medical Diagnosis and Prognoses.” The text of this treatise consists of 40 tablets collected and studied by the French scholar R. Labat. Although the oldest surviving copy of this treatise dates to around 1,600 BC, the information contained in the text is an amalgamation of several centuries of Mesopotamian medical knowledge. It has been shown that the plants used in treatment were generally used to treat the symptoms of the disease, and were not the sorts of things generally given for magical purposes. The same plants were used then as are today.  At the same time in Egypt, (c. 1,500 BC), the Ancient Egyptians wrote the Ebers Papyrus (right) which contains information on over 850 plant medicines, including garlic, juniper, cannabis, aloe, and mandrake.

In the America’s, herb lore is known to have played an important part in the lives of the North American Indians who incorporated into their mythology. Among Woodland peoples, the spirits of animals were often considered the source of illness, with specific plants being created with the power to cure such animal illnesses, a belief that was confirmed with the arrival of Europeans who brought with them a variety of diseases including the introduction of the ailments of contemporary life, such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease since the medicine of their ancestors did not have to cope with these ailments. The ancient Aztec Emperors encouraged their people to learn about all varieties of the region’s plants. When Cortez and the conquistadors invaded Mexico in the 1500’s, they found the Aztecs quite learned in herbal knowledge and lore. Fortunately, some of this knowledge survived the destruction of the Aztec civilisation. King Phillip II of Spain sent some of his personal physicians to catalogue and describe the Aztec plants. Francisco Hernandez wrote down this information, which was to serve as the basic text on the plants of Mexico for years to come.

Working with ‘maticeuac’, a small herb ‘required as a cure by one who has the nose-bleed, who cannot stop it.’ Florentine Codex, Book XI.

In India, Ayurveda medicine has used many herbs such as turmeric possibly as early as 1,900 BC. (16)Sanskrit writings from around 1,500 B.C., such as the Rig Veda, are some of the earliest available documents detailing the medical knowledge that formed the basis of the Ayurveda system. Many other herbs and minerals used in Ayurveda were later described by ancient Indian herbalists such as Charaka and Sushruta during the 1st millennium BC. The Sushruta Samhita attributed to Sushruta in the 6th century BC describes 700 medicinal plants, 64 preparations from mineral sources, and 57 preparations based on animal sources.

The ancient Greeks and Romans were also renowned herbalists. Surgeons travelling with the Roman army spread their herbal expertise throughout the Roman empire, in Spain, Germany, France, and England. Dioscorides (c. 40- c. 90) and Galen (131-200 AD.), both Greek surgeons in the Roman army, compiled herbals that remained the definitive materia medica texts for 1500 years.

As a result of the Islamic conquest of North Africa in the seventh and eighth centuries, Arabic scholars acquired many Greek and Roman medical texts. Iranian physician Ibn Sina, also known as Avicenna (980-1037 AD.), combined the herbal traditions of Dioscorides and Galen with the ancient practices of his own people in The Canon of Medicine (al-Qanun fi at-tibb). One of the most influential medical texts were ever written, Avicenna’s Canon spread through Europe during the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

   Medicinal Herbs:

Having seen the illustrious history of herbs, and knowing their potential for healing to humans and generally improving the quality of life, it is a wonder that they are not promoted more into modern life. This is of course, in part due to the rise of international pharmaceutical companies. The gradual proliferation of readily available medication over the counter has led to a decline in the knowledge of the plants that surround us.

There are many herbs in traditional medicine that may be recognized and recommended by herbalists and advocates of alternative treatment modalities to cleanse the body. These herbs act to stimulate the elimination of waste products and toxins from the gastrointestinal tract and other systems of the body. Body cleansing is the process of removing toxins from the body. Toxins accumulate in metabolism, the environment, the use of drugs or exposure to hazardous substances. Body organs and systems working together in cleansing and detoxifying the body are the liver and gallbladder, the lungs, lymphatic system and the kidneys along with the colon and skin. Herbs may be used alone or in combination to help the body in removing waste and toxins from these organs (14)

The ability of herbs to be utilised for Infusions, Tinctures, Ointments, and Compounds meant that they were the natural primary source of medicinal remedy for many ancient cultures. The fact that so many plants have healing properties beneficial to humans led to a form of reverence in Native American Indians who incorporated them into their mythology. The Native American Indians adopted two different philosophies towards their healing practices: The first is seen primarily amongst the Plains groups, where healing power was a characteristic that individuals obtained through personal ‘shamanic’ experiences, such as in encounters with animal spirit helpers. The well-known “vision quest” is a manifestation of this principle. The success of a healer in this context is based in large part, on personal power obtained through direct encounters with sacred powers. In contrast, Woodlands groups associate power, including the ability to heal, with possession of esoteric knowledge that exists outside the experience of the individual.

These differences are illustrated by the fact that animals are the source of healing power on the Plains, where healers were often identified on the basis of their animal helpers, for instance, as an “eagle doctor.” By contrast, among Woodland peoples, the spirits of animals were often considered the source of illness, with specific plants being created with the power to cure such animal illnesses, a belief that was confirmed with the arrival of Europeans who brought with them a variety of diseases including the introduction of the ailments of contemporary life, such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease since the medicine of their ancestors did not have to cope with these ailments.

In their training, Woodland healers were taught how to diagnose illness and which plants to use to counter them. These healers also learnt procedures, rituals, and songs that activated the curing power of plants. Woodland medicine and the knowledge to use it was not discovered anew by spiritually powerful practitioners but was considered to have been provided to tribal ancestors by the Creator in the ancient past and subsequently handed down across the generations.

Herbs as Cleansers:

The disinfectant qualities of certain plants would have been of great importance to humans, and may have been one of the triggers for a recognition of the other medicinal uses of plants. A large number of ancient cultures used herbs and plants in the cleansing rituals and preparation of the dead. Throughout history, the burning of natural substances has been used for cleansing, healing and in spiritual ceremonies and rituals.

Smudging: Shamanic smudging or just ‘smudging’ is an age-old tribal tradition which has been used for centuries for cleansing and to creates harmony and peace. There are many different shamanic smudging ceremonies, and different tribes use a variety of herbs for smudging.  Smudging was used for centuries by the native people of both North and South America, Europe, the Middle-east, Africa, Asia and the Siberian shamans to open the doors of the soul to the spirit world. In all cultures, the burning of certain herbs and incense was seen as a way of gaining access to the soul and power of the plants for cleansing, purification, protection spiritual, ceremonial and magical use, the banishment of negative energies and creation of sacred space. In modern use, incensing is still used as a symbol of purification and sanctification.

One of the earliest recorded uses of smudging can be traced to ancient Egypt where herbs were burned in religious ceremonies, being mentioned on an inscribed tablet from Giza, Egypt, c. 1,500 BC. The Babylonians also regularly used smudge/incense extensively while offering prayers or divining oracles. It was imported to Israel in the 5th century BC to be used in religious offerings. It spread from there to Greece, Rome and India, where both Hindus and Buddhists still burn it in their rituals and at festivals. The smudging tradition dates back millennia and connects all traditional cultures, from the Native Americans to the Druids, from the Zulus to the Maoris, from Aboriginals to the Mayans, from the Chinese to the Balinese, which has age-old forms of cleansing and blessing rituals. Smudge (Incense) is widely used in Oriental religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Taoism) and in the ceremonies of the Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox churches. Smudging can, therefore, be seen as a universal spiritual component that runs through and connects all the world’s great cultures and religions throughout time.

Modern Medicine Vs Traditional Medicine.

‘Approximately 119 pure chemical substances extracted from higher plants are used in medicine throughout the world’ (Farnsworth et al., 1985).

There are several reasons why pharmacology abandoned whole plant extracts in favour of isolated active ingredients. The amount of active ingredient in a plant can vary with factors like the variety, the geographic location, the weather, the season, the time of harvest, soil conditions, storage conditions, and the method of preparation. All skills which the traditional herbal healer would have known and from which it could be therefore argued, that because the production of synthetic compounds bypasses much of this process, potentially lessens the other, unquantifiable ‘spiritual’ qualities of the herbs.

Modern experiments have shown that the healing process is a complex one, with factors involved which have nothing to do with medicine. The classic example of the placebo effect is one which raises a variety of questions which go beyond the use of medication. While it is true that the unsolicited use of herbs can be potentially harmful, the fact remains that they are the backbone of modern medicine, and represent an unlimited source of discovery still to come (if we begin to nurture ecosystems again, instead of ‘harvesting’ them to death). When combined with the medicinal qualities of herbs, the research into faith healing opens the debate further, as experiments into the apparent ‘communication’ between people’s unconscious nervous systems show that people are able to experience a connectivity that one could argue, may well play a part in the healer – patient relationship.

   Sacred Herbs:

The idea that a plant could be ‘sacred’ is not a concept promoted in the modern western mind, but it doesn’t take long or far before the lack of such an attitude becomes a matter of ignorance. The mind-altering effects of many plants have long been known and used in the ‘journey within’ by cultures around the ancient world, and still are to this day. They are a part of the human experience, so much so that they have been proposed by McKenna and others to have played a substantial role in the evolution our imaginations. Such a journey cannot be possible without a reverence for the plants that provide entry through the doors of perception, so it is reasonable to understand on that level, how such plants could adopt a ‘spiritual’ quality. The echoes of our spiritual relationship with herbs are still seen in religious ceremonies around the world but the ‘worship’ of plants, or the effects they offer, are considered ‘pagan’ and frowned upon by both church and establishment in general, such that today, for example, we find that the use of ‘sacred’ plants such as the poppy, once revered by the Minoans and Greeks for thousands of years for its prophetic qualities, is now completely illegal.

Shamanism: The Shamanic tradition has prevailed in humans for tens of thousands of years in cultures from all over the ancient world. As well as having a knowledge of the medicinal qualities of plants, other roles of the Shaman required them on occasion to communicate with the otherworld. Inducing the trance-state is one of the recognised traits of shamanic practices, and the use of mind-altering plants are one of the many ways in which such states are induced.

The idea of spiritual healers can be seen as recently as Middle-age Europe with monks also commonly operating as healers. Today the idea has been integrated into the Christian church, who also operate a system of ‘spiritual healing’, something which has been shown in an experiment to be successful whether or not the recipient is aware of the sender’s wishes. Herbs are still used in many religions. For example, myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) and frankincense (Boswelliaspp) in Christianity, the Nine Herbs Charm in Anglo-Saxon paganism, the neem tree (Azadirachta indica) by the Tamils, holy basil or tulsi (Ocimum tentiform) which is worshipped as a goddess by Hindus while many Rastafarians consider cannabis (Cannabis sp) to be a holy plant. Siberian Shamans also used herbs to induce spiritual experiences. An example of this are the shamans in Siberia who used herbs and fungi such as the fly agaric mushroom (Amanita muscaria).Herbs were also considered sacred in European pagan beliefs.

 

In the early Christian era, folk legend stated that Common Vervain (V. Officinalis) was used to staunch Jesus’ wounds after his removal from the cross. It was consequently called “Holy Herb” or (e.g. in Wales) “Devil’s bane”. Verbena or Vervain has long been associated with divine and other supernatural forces. It was called “tears of Isis” in Ancient Egypt, and later on “Juno’s tears”. In Ancient Greece, it was dedicated to Eos Ergine. Other European examples of sacred herbs include Yarrow and Mugwort.

The European mistletoe, Viscum album, figured prominently in Greek mythology and is believed to be The Golden Bough of Aeneas, ancestor of the Romans. The Norse god Baldr was killed by mistletoe. Mistletoe bears fruit at the time of the Winter Solstice, the birth of the new year, and may have been used in solstice rites in Druidic Britain as a symbol of immortality. In Celtic mythology and in druid rituals, it was considered a remedy for barrenness in animals and an antidote to poison, although the fruits of many mistletoes are actually poisonous if ingested as they contain viscotoxins.

 

Native American Medicine: The North American Indians are known to have believed that there was an intimate connection with plants and the medicine wheel. They believe that plants were given by the creator in order to heal people. Plants were used to induce spiritual experiences for rites of passage, such as vision quests in some Native American cultures. The four sacred herbs (of the four directions) are Cedar, Sage, Tobacco, and Sweetgrass. These herbs are used for smudging, cleansing, and for prayers. They each have their own medicine. Some of their uses are listed below:

Tobacco is the sacred herb of the East, the direction of Grandfather Sun, Eagle, and the Creator. We send our prayers up in its smoke, and Eagle takes them to the Creator. Thus, Tobacco also honors Eagle. Cedar is the sacred herb of the South; it purifies as well as pulls positive energy into your sacred space with its smoke. Sage is the sacred herb of the West, used in smudging to purify, and to send prayers to the Creator. Sweet grass is the sacred herb of the North, a purifying herb used to cleanse the mind, body, and spirit. These herbs are also used in Ceremonies, for various purification purposes‘.

The best known sacred herb used in Asia in ancient times was the inebriant ‘Soma’, mentioned often in the Vedas. The active ingredient of Soma is presumed by some to be ephedrine, an alkaloid with stimulant and entheogenic properties derived from the soma plant, tentatively identified as Ephedra pachycaul. In both Vedic and Zoroastrian tradition, the name of the drink and the plant are the same. The Rig-Veda calls the plant “God for Gods” seemingly giving him precedence above Indra and the other Gods (RV 9.42). The ritual of Somayajna is still held with unbroken continuity in South India. The Somalatha (Sanskrit: Soma creeper) which is procured in small quantities from the Himalayan region is used to prepare Soma rasam or Soma juice. It is also used in these areas in Ayurveda and Siddha medicine streams since time immemorial. Ayurveda is an ancient Hindu medicine system at least 2000 years old. It stresses the use of plant-based medicines and treatments including the “treatment of mental diseases supposed to be produced by demoniacal influence”.

   Magical Herbs:

In ancient times, herbalism was a mixture of medicine and magic. Magic being anything that could not be explained within the margins of known science. Herbs have been used in ‘magical’ rituals for millennia and are one of the main tools of magicians.

It was the belief of the ancients that all things were connected with nature and the universe and comprised of the four elements (fire, earth, air and water) and the dual energies (masculine and feminine/yin and yang). It was also believed that all things were influenced by a particular planet and influenced by its respective qualities. The human body was seen as a miniature replica of our solar system with each body part and system symbolically representing a sign and planet. Hence, the planetary correspondences and elemental natures were established by observing what condition a plant was effective for and this was detailed within the pages of “The Doctrine of Signatures”  or “Signatura Rerum” as one aspect of herbal medicine.

The Doctrine of Signatures is a philosophy shared by herbalists from the time of Dioscorides (c. 40 – 90 AD), that contends that every plant has a pattern which resembles a body organ or physiological function and that these patterns act as a signal or sign as to the benefit the plant provides. Paracelsus (1491–1541) developed the concept and published it in his writings. The writings of Jakob Böhme (1575–1624) spread the doctrine of signatures – Böhme suggested that God marked objects with a sign, or “signature”, for their purpose.  A plant bearing parts that resembled human body parts, animals, or other objects were thought to have useful relevance to those parts, animals or objects. The “signature” may also be identified in the environments or specific sites in which plants grew. Well known examples include the following:

  • Kidney Beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function—and they look exactly like human kidneys:
  • Walnuts look like little brains, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or folds on the nut are just like the neo-cortex. We now know walnuts help develop brain function:
  • The cross section of a Carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like the human eye. Science now shows carrots greatly enhance blood flow to the eyes and aid in the general function of the eyes:
  • Celery looks just like bones. Celery specifically targets bone strength. Bones are 23 percent sodium and these foods are 23 percent sodium. If you don’t have enough sodium in your diet, the body pulls it from the bones, thus making them weak. Foods like celery replenish the skeletal needs of the body:
  • Avocadoes target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female—they look just like these organs. Avocados help women balance hormones, shed unwanted birth weight, and deter cervical cancers. It takes exactly nine months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit:
  • Figs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Figs increase the mobility of male sperm and increase the numbers of Sperm as well to overcome male sterility:
  • Slice a Mushroom in half and it resembles a human ear. Mushrooms have been found to improve hearing, as mushrooms are one of the few foods that contain vitamin D. This particular vitamin is important for healthy bones, even the tiny ones in the ear that transmit sound to the brain:
  • Ginger, commonly sold in supermarkets, often looks just like the stomach. So it is interesting that one of its biggest benefits is aiding digestion. The Chinese have been using it for over 2,000 years to calm the stomach and cure nausea while it is also a popular remedy for motion sickness:
  • Sweet Potatoes look like the pancreas and actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics:

 

Herbs and Astrology.

The connection between the celestial skies above and the growth cycles of plants and vegetation below has long been understood and honoured through planting and harvesting rituals. An association with astrology and herbs can be traced back through the writings of the Greeks, such as the herbalists Hippocrates, Galen, and Avicenna, who regarded those as ‘homicides’ who were ignorant of Astrology. Paracelsus, indeed, went further, he declared, a Physician should be predestinated to the cure of his patient and the horoscope should be inspected, the plants gathered at the critical moment. Nicholas Culpeper, author of Culpeper’s Complete Herbal (1653) remains the most well known of these Herbalist/Astrologers today.

Herbs and Their Ruling Planets (1653)

The following herbs and their ruling planets were extracted from: ‘Culpeper’s Complete Herbal’, (1653).

  • Venus: Peppermint, Rose, Thyme, Burdock, Catnip, Colt’s Foot, Lady’s Mantle, Motherwort, Mugwort, Penny Royal, Raspberry, Yarrow, Elder, Feverfew, Mallow, Tansy, Plantain.
  • Mars: Aloe, Basil, black Pepper, Pine, Blessed Thistle, hops, Nettle, Cayenne Pepper, Garlic, Self-Heal, Hawthorn, Broom, Wormwood, Barberry, Tarragon, All-Heal, Nettle.
  • Sun: Chamomile, Celery, Juniper, Rosemary, Angelica, Lovage, Rue, St. johns Wort, Bay Laurel, Eyebright, Butterbur, Mistletoe
  • Moon: Clary Sage, White Willow, Chickweed, Cleavers
  • Jupiter: Jasmine, Lemon Balm, Sage, Borage, Chervil, Dandelion, Hyssop, Meadowsweet, Bilberry, Agrimony, Costmary, Melissa.
  • Saturn: Comfrey, Shepherd’s Purse, Mullein, Hemp/Cannabis.
  • Mercury: Caraway, Dill, Fennel, Lavender, Marjoram, Myrtle, Oregano, Liquorice, Parsley, Valerian, Horehound, Flax, Carrot, Sweet Marjoram.
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