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Walking the Plant Path with Guido Masé

 Guido Masé walking the plant path.
Guido Masé walking the plant path.

There is no doubt in my mind that the plant world holds a magical spell for us. Plants are medicine, just by being what they are: plants. Accessing this medicine does not necessarily require ingesting it in capsules, tincture or even tea.  Simply the act of connecting with plants can ignite the healing process.  I know this intuitively from my own experience with plants, but I’ve never been able to explain why.  

Guido Masé at the 2017 Florida Herbal Conference spoke on this very topic. The world of medicinal plants, he says, “holds a secret that can change lives, change communities, and change culture.”  In his studies on bioflavonoids, ubiquitous in berries, but also found in most medicinal plants, he has found evidence for this powerful connection between plants and humans.  

While we’ve talked for a long time about their potential as antioxidants, recent research is finding that this isn’t really what they’re up to in our physiology. When we consume blueberries, or hawthorn, we aren’t engaging in a war with free radicals. On the contrary: we are tapping in to some of our most basic physiologic processes, we are interfacing with the expression of our genes. A complex and beautiful dance, one that rivals misty sunrises, egrets and fish, live oaks and palm trees, is taking place in our every cell as DNA is methodically turned into proteins that become our physical shape on a moment-to-moment basis. By inserting themselves into this dance, bioflavonoids regulate inflammation, increase cellular resilience, and prevent cancer. They ensure that our genes express a smooth, efficient incarnation. They take care of us (or, rather, without them we get lonely and our physical expression becomes sad and less resilient). When I first put this together, I couldn’t help thinking that this was real, tangible evidence that plants love us. Which of course they do.

— Guido Masé

 Plants and humans, he points out are,  “locked in a co-evolutionary dance that is very difficult to disentangle and understand by looking at…isolated components. We have to watch the living system at work to really get what’s going on…. Bioflavonoids set the stage in the heart, and in the endothelial lining of our blood vessels, for a physiologic expression that (reduces) high blood pressure.

But there are many other consequences beyond that: our emotional hearts open and we become more flexible, and fall into love more easily. Our circulation opens too, and we feel more warm and comfortable, less cold and withdrawn. Our cells begin to think that cancer isn’t necessary, and they settle in to a more loving rhythm of their own. This resonates across our entire being.

— Guido Masé

“Modern science is just beginning to discover this level of medicine – and as of today, there are no approved drugs that work this way. Modern science also just discovered, in the last decade, that we have bitter taste receptors on our heart that help coordinate the smooth shifting of blood flow necessary after a meal. Imagine that! Another mechanism for addressing blood pressure hiding in plain sight.”

Imagine that indeed!  Guido’s extraordinary perception of the interface between plant and human fills my science-loving mind with the thrill of catching a glimpse at the inner workings of what seems to be mystery and magic.

Guido takes his enlightened perspective as well as his scientific mind into all facets of his life.  When he travels to Tanzania he trains Wassa hospital staff to use usnea and honey for wound care and ginger compresses for swelling and pain. He has worked on a catalogue of local medicinal plants there in three languages. And he shares wisdom with Sangau, a local traditional Maasai healer and herbalist. I wonder at his energy and tireless inquisitiveness, and yet know that he draws this from the plants themselves, the ultimate teachers of medicine, of service, life and yes, even of love.

Meet Guido Masé in person at Allies for Plants and People, June 9-10, Upper Black Eddy, PA.

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