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Energetic Herbalism: The ancient practice that superpowers plants

Kat Maier and I have been “scheming” for over a year – we’re excited to offer The Power of Energetic and Intuitive Herbalism on Saturday, January 21.

In a recent phone conversation with Kat, I asked about her “Aha!” moment – what convinced her of the potency of energetic plant medicine?

“I have so many stories from my clinical work that prove how potent energetics are,” she says, “…combined with intuition, I find that energetic herbalism enhances my work with the plants exponentially.”

She points to an experience she had with the herb Motherwort…

I can still picture her. My client was hovering on the edge of her seat, face flushed and foot tapping incessantly. My efforts to calm this client had seemed only to aggravate her. I excused myself and went to my apothecary to recruit help. Returning, I asked my client, I’ll call her Maria, if she felt comfortable taking an herb so we could better assess her needs. She agreed, and I gave her 10 drops of motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) tincture.

After a few minutes, Maria visibly relaxed.

She sat back, loosening her jaw a bit, and made a joke about how anxious she was and asked, could she have another sip? After the second sip, she shifted position, planted both feet on the floor, and then tears welled up in her eyes.

“I knew I had come to the right place,” she said.

That magic elixir, motherwort, is a common garden plant. In fact, as a member of the mint family, it can be a bit intrusive in the garden. The profound effect Maria experienced was not elicited by some rare and exotic plant from the Amazon or Tibet. It was a common garden plant, motherwort, that allowed this client to experience profound changes.

Maria presented with heat and tension that had been present for so long she was barely aware of her fidgeting and spastic movements.

My client had recounted her many visits to practitioners, which brought her little to no relief. A few symptoms had improved at times, but truth be told, she was getting worse. Maria described her cracking joints and stiffness, cold hands and feet, sluggish bowels, and dry skin and eyes. Her most distressing symptom, she said, was the insomnia.

And by the way, what was that herb that she had just taken, and could she have another sip?

The energy of motherwort directly affected the energy of Maria. As a bitter herb, motherwort is cooling, so it chilled the heat from her anxiety. As a bitter relaxant motherwort allowed Maria to settle into herself with a little more ease. Cracking of the joints can signify dryness, and when tension relaxes for extended periods of time, fluids flow easier to lubricate tendons and bowels. Pretty magical that this wild and weedy plant could have such a profound effect on Maria’s energy, physical being, and even state of mind!

Maria’s immediate ability to relax allowed her to self-correct and thereby better access her senses, emotions, and, ultimately, her true nature.

This is energetic herbalism.

Its elegance lies in its simplicity and its sensuality: reading patterns of the person and matching the patterns to those found in plants. Maria’s pattern of long-term tension led to a pattern of dryness, which in turn possibly led to a pattern that energetic practitioners call wind, or internal, changing patterns. Obviously, treating the needs of clients—and even ourselves—is not always so simple and clear cut. But I can say I have helped a multitude of “Marias” to reach greater health through the lens of energetics.”

~ from Energetic Herbalism by Kat Maier

Kat always considers the constitution of the person she is treating and matches it with the energy of the plant. “Energetic herbalism matches the properties of an herb – warming, cooling, moving, and sedating – to imbalances in the body, like tension, stagnation, and dryness… gently nudging the body back into balance.”

The big sign that someone is in balance? They are relaxed.

And what do we mean by that? Someone who is relaxed has optimized their healing forces – they feel calm, sleep well, digest their food, and express optimism and peace…

Do you see where I’m going? When your body is in a state of relaxation, your vital resources open, and your innate ability to regenerate and heal kicks into gear.

This means, as herbalists, we are looking beyond “use this plant for this condition.”  We are looking at the terrain of the body – its landscape – cultivating, tilling, weeding, and nourishing our inner healing power.

This brings nuance to herbal medicine––elevating the potency of the plants and activating the deepest level of healing possible.

This is why I’m excited to host Kat in our upcoming workshop, The Power of Energetic and Intuitive Herbalism. In three hours, she will guide us through the steps that unlock the mystery of working with plants energetically and give us practical tools that even a beginning herbalist can use.

This workshop will be presented live on Zoom Saturday, January 21, 10 AM -1 PM ET. Is there a recording? Yes! All participants will have access to the recording and class materials for as long as needed. Yay!

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