I clearly remember the first time I intentionally used a plant as medicine. During the late 80s I was a first year teacher in a small elementary school. Regularly assaulted in the classroom by germs of every shape and size, spewed by the little darlings I called students, I was sick. Not sick a little. Sick a lot. Wretched sore throats spilled down into my chest, leading to debilitating attacks of bronchitis. A visit to the family doc, another prescription for an antibiotic, and the entire cycle would repeat. Frustrated, I sensed there had to be a better way.
My mother, teacher in the same noxious elementary school, sagely suggested that I visit a chiropractor. “It’s not my back!” I sneered, as young females often do to their devoted mothers. Nevertheless, the promise of a little back rub enticed me, so I went. Soon after I was experiencing the tongue-numbing sensation of Echinacea tincture with its earthy, bitter-sweet flavors. Curious and dubious at the same time I meticulously downed the “witch’s” brew until the miracle began to happen. Not only did my current infection abate a full week before its usual antibiotic-assisted routine, but soon I became infection-free for years.
In the aftermath of this initial brave venture into the world of natural healing I quit my job, packed up my little VW Fox and drove to Texas. There, I began training for my new career as a chiropractor and natural healer. This decision has brought me immeasurable gifts and as I write and reflect on them, I am truly wowed by how many I can trace back to that first draft of Echinacea. Of course I also credit my mother with steering me in the right direction and the snog-nosed kids for knocking me out of my comfort zone. Life is full of intersecting trajectories.
The moral of the story? Take your herbs. Listen to your Mom. And most of all walk your path with an open heart. “Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.” William Wordsworth