I'm studying a foundational herbal course with Heartwood Education.
Here, i am documenting my study.
Benefits of Herbal medicine
Herbal medicine is the medicine of the people, and can be used in situations that modern pharmaceuticals cannot. For example in pregnancy or for very young children.
We are not just working with cause and effect, a symptom that is remedied by one drug. Effectively someone comes with a few landmarks, and herbalists will have to create the map from those landmarks, to work out the territory we are on. Piecing together different clues and parts of that persons health, diet etc. We are looking at the whole person, not just the ailment, and ask why has this particular person got this particular ailment?
Pharmaceutics drugs are mono chemicals - one active constituent concentrated into a known dose.
Plants have a massive variety of compounds, so pharmaceutical drugs and plants will work in the body in very different ways. It is common for pharmaceuticals have side effects but herbs often don't. Plant complexities can benefit us without the negative effects of high doses of one solitary compound.
Activity: research Types
Research the difference between qualitative and quantitative research, and provide an example:
Qualitative research is based in experience and observation.
We can gather information that helps us to understand a person and their experience, especially information that is difficult to quantify. This information is in-depth and focused around open ended questions and conversation.
Types of research: interviews, open questions, discussions, case studies, questionnaires.
Advantages: person centered and considers the whole, explores why questions, in depth, adaptable to human differences, allows for greater understanding
Disadvantages: difficult to prove anything, time consuming, can be hard to compare and generalise results
What do you think about the taste of Hawthorn berries?
Example answers from 3 participants:
1. I don’t think they really taste of anything, and i don’t like how big the stone is as you don’t get much fruit.
2. I love them! I think they are delicious and i love making hawthorn ketchup, it’s my favourite thing to make when autumn arrives.
3. I think they taste quite nice, I know they are very good for me so maybe that be influencing my answer.
Quantitative research uses data that can be easily translated into numerical statistics.
This can then be applied and measured. We collect human behaviour etc, in a controlled way and turn this into numbers, which can be easily analysed. This data can be used to test theories.
Types of research: polls, closed question surveys, observation recorded as numbers, experiments.
Advantages: time efficient, clear and simple, explores how much/ how many, removes human bias and personal judgement, easy to compare
Disadvantages: misses the bigger picture, assumes a fixed reality, not in depth, removes the human element, simplifies complexity.
How much do you like the taste of hawthorn berries?
Please answer from 1-5 (1: I don’t like the taste at all 5: i love the taste of them)
Example answers from 6 participants:
1, 5, 4, 2, 4, 2
Safety in Herbal Medicine
Some adverse effects reported by those taking herbs are often not to do with the direct actions of the herbs themselves, but beneficial responses in the body. For example excess mucous being produced which may support removing unwanted debris from the body.
People can also experience what is called a ‘healing crisis.’ As the body begins to heal the immune system kicks in and can create adverse effects before starting to improve.
Some herbal medicines have been known to be contaminated, which can be the cause of adverse side effects, for example St Johns Wort being contaminated with Ragwort.
Using the wrong part of a plant is also something that can cause adverse side effects.
Placebo: responding positively to a medicine that is inactive
Focusing on eradicating the placebo effect is an exercise of modern medicine, and once again prevents the 'whole picture' approach. Healing can take place on many levels, biological, psychological, cultural, relational etc.
A meaning response (Daniel Moerman) takes place on a psychological and cultural level. Both receiving a medicine and the relationship between patient and herbalist can impact the outcome of healing just as much as a biological response.
The medical obsession with eradicating placebo therefore attempts to remove a potentially powerful part of any healing journey.
This is especially important to consider in herbal and alternative medicines when people criticise herbal medicine saying that it only works due to placebo effect (all medicine has placebo effect - even modern medicine). Placebo effect has been given a bad name, when actually it can be a crucial part of healing too.
Nocebo: responding negatively to a medicine that is inactive
Nocebo effect has been reported in 'measurable physiological signs such as altered blood test results, not just in reported symptoms’ - our minds and belief systems are powerful and real and impact our health and healing.
Activity: beliefs about drugs:
Take a moment here to think about what we ‘know’ about drugs and how they work. If you were trying to sell a particular drug what things would you take into consideration? List two or three more beliefs that people have about drugs.
I'm studying a foundational herbal course with Heartwood Education.
Here, i am documenting my study.
What is herbal medicine?
Using plants, to support health, well-being & healing.
Phytotherapy: curing with plants
Herbal medicine treats the whole person/system aiming for balance, and this in turn supports any specific issues that may be outcomes of that system being out of balance. Herbalism is holistic. Plants support resilience in the body.
Different plants contain different compounds e.g vitamins, mucilage. They also contain compounds that are medicinally active - which might not be present in food - which is why using herbal plants is different from eating a balanced diet.
ACTIVITY: Herbal Actions
Identifying herbal actions and analysing a herbal prescription.
So firstly what are "Herbal actions"? They are the ways in which herbs work on the body.
I felt confused about the best places to find this information, but i managed to find some good resources, which all had varying information, so i had to piece a lot of it together....
I also had to be careful to find information for the right part of the plant, as only the hull of Black Walnut was used, and not the leaves and bark (which have different actions).
What is a medical herbalist?
a medical herbalist is an assesor of:
Past * Present * Future
Evidence based medicine likes to take things apart and study them as individualised components, discounting a whole system. There are a lot of problems with this approach most obviously its disparity with the complexities of real life (which works as a whole system).
Empirical knowledge relys on practical observation and experimentation of a situation, which seems more fitting to herbalism.
How the compounds of a plant work together, with their own compounds, or in combination with other plants is known as synergy, antagonism is also possible, where plants work against each other.
it is important to be able to monitor how herbs are working for someone.
The Core principles of western herbal practice:
Heartwood FC unit 1, book 3.
ACTIVITY: WEll known figures in Herbal medicine
Hildegard of Bingen
I chose to research Hildegard of Bingen from the suggested list because she was a mystic, creative, visionary and a nun (and I seem to have an affinity with nuns).
To me, these images from Scivias speak of the wholeness, healing and cyclical nature that is necessary for the life, growth and maintenance of any living being or system, I wonder how these visions inspired her work on herbal medicine.
Hildegard Von Bingen's Herbal: Natural Healing Through Plants from the Medieval Classic Physics
Healthy Hildegard: https://www.healthyhildegard.com
Images, videos, recordings, drawings, and text by:
Lauren Goodey & Chloe Lund
Art residency @ Y Nyth (The Nest) 20-25 Feb 2020
Cricieth: the Children's garden where we stayed, and Y Nyth (The Nest), who hosted this creative residency. In the MEMORIES video we discuss: Foraging for self heal, keeping in touch with people, sleeping bag cleanliness, wanting to different things and practicing convergent decision making, and finding The Nest.
This recording captures some of the times we had INBETWEEN the walk and now: Community vs autonomy, existential depression, the usefulness of convergent decision making and non-violent communication (NVC), Hana’s bamboo cutlery set.
Late summer 2019: Chloë, Lauren & Hana walk the coast path stretching between Porthmadog and Pwhelli (North Wales)
Early spring 2020: Chloë and Lauren visit again TO DO A CRETIVE RESIDENCY IN CRICIETH AT **Y NYTH**
Art residency: The Process
We wanted this residency to be an opportunity to reflect and experiment with our creativity. Instead of setting strict outcomes for the residency and falling into a production mentality, we decided to prioritise:
Revisiting the places felt like a exploration across space and time. Standing together in these significant locations, memories came back with a particular vividness, a level of detail which we had previously forgotten.
It had been a whole winter since we lived together while walking the Welsh Coast Path, and we also wanted to find out how our winters had been whilst we had been apart; how they might have been informed by the moments we shared along this stretch of the Welsh Coast Path in the summer? And where were we now, at the dawn of a new spring.
In Part 1,2 & 3 of this blog post, we share some of these reflections.
In the videos: we share our memories from key sites.
In the audio recordings: we extend these discussions to include our winters.
In the collages: we merge our memories of the places from late summer with photographs as they are now.
Next: Part 2 - Borth-Y-Gest
went forward into the future
sat bya fire in the cold cold woods
step by step
fell back into the past
plan by plan
now am in the future, lost
but am more or less,
where i was
when i was in the future in the past
In the future in the past: notes
At the end of sustaining resistance we took part in a future ritual:
I was surprised working through these pieces of paper, how many of them had clearly been a part of my experience over the last 3 years. Some feel like they have been part of my experience and now feel very far away. Others feel like they have fully integrated into my life. Some i feel confident at at times, and not at all at others. (They are also not particularly SMART goals - more intentions.)
IN EXISTENCE / have happened /
to continue working with...?
I am earning more than enough money
(I am earning enough but not much)
my self confidence is strong.
(I dont feel this at all at the moment - currently studying work around the inner critic and complex PTSD to work towards this)
I spent a year studying at the wilderness awareness school.
(this feels irrelevant)
Integration is full of ease
(Im not sure what this means but i dont feel it right now)
My life is full of inner stillness and Joy (sometimes but not right now)
I am meeting many of my own needs
(i dont think I want to be doing this)
I feel emotionally authentic and stable
(i don't feel particularly emotionally stable at the moment, but have done over the past 3 years, am definitely more authentic)
THE NEXT FUTURE....
Although I don't have the energy or strength to commit to this now,
my intention is set.
Sleep has often met my need for rest, but last year,
i found myself burnt out.
I found that it didn’t matter how much i slept, i was still exhausted.
What i didn’t realise was that being part of a project where i cannot step back from responsibility is an incredibly exhausting thing for me, and no matter how much i slept, what i really needed was to be irresponsible, to spend time away, where i could fully focus on my self and what i needed.
So i decided to take some time off to recover.
Just as I was making this decision, I found a post on Instagram
"Nine types of rest" which is based on Enneagram types.
It helped me to question some of my assumptions about rest.
It helped me to understand that the reason I was so exhausted was not because i hadn’t been sleeping enough, but because I hadn't been taking care of all of the different types of rest i needed.
Tiredness walked along my eyes
- I needed to be irresponsible.
- I needed to be alone.
- I needed space from relationships I was struggling with, to be able to work out what was going on for me.
- I needed time away.
- I needed to be away from spaces that exacerbated my trauma responses.
- I needed space to process my emotions.
RETREATS (specifically silent meditation retreats) offer me many types of rest: time away from talking and being sociable. A lot of space to process emotions and build awareness of emotional patterns. A break from the internet, phone, computers, work, shopping, cooking, making decisions, etc. A place to build internal resource and connection, a link into my spirituality
I need to do this every other month, whether its a short solo retreat or a longer teacher led one.
SOLITUDE being alone, not having to think about anybody else, not having to respond, not having to do anything i don’t want to do for fear/guilt/expectation of anything.
I need this pretty much every day, even if its for a few hours. I also really appreciate solitary retreats, they can be challenging but rewarding to find out who i am when i am not constantly navigating the world of relationship.
NATURE is a relief, to be outside, in a landscape, connecting to the earth, the beings who live on earth and the sky, whether it’s sleeping out under the stars, an afternoon slumber in the forest, a long wild walk in the wind, alone or with others, it can recharge, refresh, enliven, nature is rest.
I need this every day, even in small doses, even if its just sitting in the garden to say hi to the birds and the moon or going for a small walk.
SLEEP & NAPS ????? are so important, and so good. I love letting everything go for the day and getting lost in the night. Naps can be the best, for pure pleasure, or for catching up on sleep.
I need this EVERYDAY! Sleep at least, and I love to nap too, generally i need around 8-9 hours of sleep a night, I can thrive of off 7 1/2 hours in the summer, with naps.
SPACE TO PROCESS EMOTIONS is vital, when i don’t get to process emotions, work out whats going on and find ways to untangle the messiness that triggers and reactions and trauma can build, i don’t function in ways that express how i want to show up in the world. Even just being aware of how I am can help. Meditation and retreats are my main way to do this, so are check ins, with others and my self. Journalling and creating art are amazing ways to do this. And finding support from a friend who is willing to listen.
I need this every day, in different ways, sometimes I need a lot of this and sometimes less.
BEING AWAY FROM TRIGGERS While i want to be able to appreciate people in their differences, I seem to hold an internal belief that i ‘should' be able to hang out with whoever, whenever for an unlimited amount of time. I can’t do this. I end up having to avoid people as i don’t have the emotional capacity to be around them any more. When I am well resources i can spend time with anyone, and am able to share how their actions impact me. I cannot be well resourced if i spend a lot of time around people who trigger me, especially when there is trauma involved. I find this to be true especially amongst people who have privilege. And especially around men who are unaware of the effect their actions can have.
I need to be reflecting on my relationships often, how they are serving me, where i need space, having clear boundaries and limiting time with some people.
ESTABLISHING BOUNDARIES to be clear about and communicate: what i need; when something is not ok for me and i’m not willing to do it; how long i can be around people until i need space etc.
This is an ongoing process, Some boundaries are strong and lasting, some seem to come and go like waves.
NOT WORKING: taking time off, a day, a week, a month, a year?!?! Time to relax, rest, to be ill, to have a breakdown, to get creative, to question, to learn something else, to ask whats next.
TIME AWAY from anything can be so helpful to reflect on what i love about something and what i don't, where i need to make changes and establish boundaries. It can be hard to reflect in these ways in the midst of something, especially if it involves difficult emotions and relationships.
This is relevant in certain situations, and it can be hard to remember to do this.
MEDITATION is a way to create space, to drop into my body and to move away from avoidance of emotions, a way to build my capacity to support myself and others, it creates a bit more space in my day to be able to respond to things rather than react.
I need to do this every day.
BODY CONTACT can be so deeply restful, to have safe body contact, to cuddle, to be close to people. Sometimes my body asks for this, craves it: whether its snuggling up to a friend whilst watching a film, linking arms whilst walking down the street, spending the night sleeping close with a friend or lover, cuddles with cats, it’s rest.
I need to have regular safe body contact that comes from different people.
DISTRACTION can be so helpful if its done skilfully. Like watching TV when i feel like shit and just need a break, its great way to rest, as long as its part whole system that is also focused on processing emotions. (Sometimes i go to distraction for too long, it becomes avoidance and my series watching addiction kicks in, this is not so fun. and much more stressful than restful.)
I need this sometimes, maybe on average once a week, with an awareness of addictive patterns.
HAVING NO RESPONSIBILITIES like no cooking, people to look after, things to have to think about, “permission to be not helpful”. Working in a job = going home and not having to do anything related to that job. At home = letting everyone know I am not doing anything today, asking for support in this.
This is relevant when I am holding a lot of responsibilities,
- What types of rest do you need?
- How often do you need them?
- How do you build these things into your life?
- What things do you believe about yourself when you make space to rest?
- How do you start to unbind the narrative that you "should' be doing things all the time to prove your worth?
If i slow down,
Working with the Inner Critic
Step 1: recognise the message | what is the inner critic saying | who does the voice belong to |
Step 2: how does it FEEL to hear this message | how to you FEEL | what is the impact |
Step 3: find the place that believe this message is TRUE | how is it to be in touch with this place? | allow this place to feel any pain |
Step 4: how do I feel about receiving this message | allow yourself to feel the response |
Herbal study 1: History, Scope and Philosophy (Part 2)
Herbal study 1: History, Scope and Philosophy (Part 1)
Cricieth: Walking, the in-between & Now (Part 4)
Penychain & Aberech Sands: Walking, the in-between & Now (Part 3)
Borth-Y-Gest: Walking, the in-between & Now (Part 2)
WALKING, THE IN-BETWEEN & NOW
NOW AM IN THE FUTURE
EXploring Rest & Recovery
Instructions on posture in meditation
Stop! in the name of love
AWAKENING JOY: gratitude
Awakening joy: Mindfulness
Awakening Joy: Intention
Land in curiosity: Meet Emergent Strategy
Walking home, Walking alone.
Trying to make Barista oatmilk (part 2: Defeat)
Trying to make Barista Oatmilk (part one: Hope)
Land in Curiosity: Sweden 2017
Sustaining Resistance: Regenerative Activism.
Creating Regenerative Communities: exploring the elder archetype with Elderventure
South West Waste & Recycling Forum: Presentation
An Employee's Journey
Land in Curiosity - Two Moors Way
Classroom Alive Boot camp
The Frome Times - my first ever press release!
Of Hermits and Lovers; The Alchemy of Desire
Restorative Justice Level 1 training
Path of the imaginal home study
Spiderweb leadership programme
Sensual Mastery - Weekend 3
A month on silent retreat at Gaia House
Art of mentoring weekend
Embodiment learning for coaches @ The Salt House
Sensual Mastery - Weekend Two
Dragon Dreaming @ Edventure:Frome
Sensual Mastery - Weekend One
Coiled basket making
Spiderweb Programme for Inspiring leadership - Taster workshop at the saltbox
Fostering peace in regenerative times: a weekend with Jon Young @ Schumacher college
Young persons meditation group - June 2016
Beyond right and wrong - with Jo Berry
Art as ritual with John Harrigan from Foolish People
Group Dynamics - Workshop @ Edventure
Meeting the wild - Ecodharma May 2016
Jamie Catto - Transforming Shadows
Camino de Santiago 2016
Catalyst Course Back rowing April 2016
Frome Young Persons
Meditation Group March
Understanding Power Workshop @ Edventure
Frome Young Persons
Meditation Group Feb