Different Approaches to Herbal Practice
Updated: Mar 24, 2019
I am hearing a lot of buzz lately, including from herbal medicine students, about how you can only go so far "treating symptoms" (although treating symptoms within context will remain helpful)
and need to move into more holistic assessment and evaluation to help people on deeper levels.
OK THAT IS TRUE. But what is NOT TRUE is that there is just one way, or a best way, to do it. And people are hearing teachers at symposiums and what not, infer that there is "one way". This is what I am hearing from others, from conference attendees, from students. And one method being strongly supported by a small cadre of speakers- is, selecting herbs, primarily, in relation to "energetics". It is important to say that other voices are not being heard.
If the "who is damp, who is dry; which herbs are damp or dry or hot" method doesn't resonate with you, as it doesn't much with me after being in the game very long term - take heart- holistic work with herbs has been around for decades, and the very classical, traditional model of naturopathy HAS ALWAYS encompassed holistic assessment and treatment. Utilized it. Applied it. As we move through life learning about herbal practice, "take the best and bypass the rest". Our energies can change daily and with seasons and with life. I don't want to teach my students or my clients that there are very limited ways to use an herb, such, as - Oh- blue vervain- due to personality characteristics that I might be projecting onto someone , or might be there, or might not. I seek an even more expansive way to understand herb use, and then do my best to make a decision. I have not had the trouble with "results" that I hear tell of.
On this site we share blog posts which may help those of you who are not inclined to work your worry beads about "who is damp" and "what hot presents like" and select herbs accordingly.... check out the EIGHT PILLARS MODEL as it interfaces with PEMS, PEMS being another adjunct model that helps us assess factors of Physical , Emotional, Mental and Subtle Energy or Spiritual aspects affecting a person , and key word /key concept here "at any given time". We have posts appearing on this site to give insight into that holistic pathway of evaluation and treatment.
I recognize that herbal practice is at a crossroads- we are at a juncture wherein scrutiny is increasing, as interest and success is increasing. So the invitation here is to be open to continuing to learn and open yourself to useful ways of thinking and evaluating. There is a lot to learn and it won't be fully learnt in one symposium, one class, one celebrity, one program- it is really a journey, one where you will be discerning and also honoring your own insight along the way.