If you read my recent post on nurturing the senses, you’ll know about the release of the updated version of Herb Energetics, the multi-media course I created with John Gallagher of learningherbs.com teaching my take on the essential elements of sense-based herbalism. The course details have now been released and signup is open over at the Herb Energetics site.
In case you missed that post but are interested in the course, here’s a quick definition of energetics from my perspective:
Herbal energetics are generally defined as a framework of understandings of how to best match herbs to the individual and/or situation. Spectrums (such as cool/warm) and properties (such as astringent) are associated with herbs based on our observation of their effect on the body. For example, when we choose the moistening, mucilaginous root of Althaea to treat a dry, hacking cough where there is a burning pain in the chest, we’re using basic herbal energetics.
I consider this topic fundamental to the skillful and effective practice of herbalism, whether we’re just trying our immediate family and friends or working in a full time clinical practice. Learning the subtle (and not so subtle) nuances of how a plant can tend to work in the human body can greatly enhance our existing studies or understandings of herbalism.
Systems of herbalism such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, Unani tibb, and Ayurveda can offer an existing and well-developed approach to herbal energetics but for some of us, the concepts may seem out of context or difficult to understand if we weren’t raised in those traditions. Herb Energetics is my attempt to pare energetics down to an easily understood system with familiar terms and concepts that give us the ability to deepen our intimacy with the plants as well as giving us tools to better understand human constitutions and patterns of pathology.
To me, herbal energetics are all about recognizing the the wisdom of our bodies and our ancient relationship with plants as medicines as well as food, poison and beyond, in a way that allows us to have a greater understanding of how to help each other through hands on experience – through tasting the plant, understanding what it does organoleptically, with our sensorial bodies – and then directly applying that knowledge. This isn’t just head knowledge, it’s whole body knowledge that results in an ever more whole and effective approach to healing and herbalism.