Wow, plants mean so many different things to me I cannot pinpoint one that got me started. Plants have been my ally in so many ways. My stinging nettle post is a good example, as well as my musings about going and collecting plants with my family. I remember as a child when things first started to get really stressful in my home with my family, my mom would bring me chamomile tea at night to sooth my nervous stomach and help me sleep, I used to call it "pee tea" because of it's yellow color (give me a break I was only about 5 lol) This gave me comfort, even if it was only for a little while. Behind my house was a woods where I would spend hours getting to know the plants and eating wild foods. When I was around 8 the book The Clan Of the Cave Bear came out by Jean M Auel (you can read about some of the herbs used in the book here), this book is what really got me more interested in herbs for healing purposes, and I knew this is what I wanted to do. Herbs were used in my family, but sometimes things are taken for granted, and this book really helped me put it all together, got me excited about herbs and healing. I could relate to the book because Ayla the main character, was a strong girl and an outsider that others did not understand. The medicine woman took her under her wing to spite what the others in the clan thought, this very much reminded me of my own life and my Grandmother. I had a lot of problems and dysfunction in my immediate family, I was lucky to have my Grandmother to go to for support & healing. My Grandmother was spiritual, loved to cook, garden, quilt, sew, write poetry and tell stories around the table. She was born in 1905 up in the mountains of Arkansas, she attended school in a one room school house, she lived miles away from any hospital or paved road, there were no doctors, the doctors were the "granny women" ( this is what they called women home herbalists/midwives in Arkansas) . This was a simple time when people still used horse and buggy to get around, used herbs for medicine, & the houses had no electricity or indoor pluming. I used to love to hear her stories about her times in Arkansas. After she got married, she left Arkansas, her and my Grandpa traveled and worked the fields for a living with their children in tow, not only was a doctor financially impossible, but impractical (they lived in berry shacks temporarily as they traveled from crop to crop). She took the lessons she learned from her mother and the mountains of Arkansas and applied them to her own family. She had many children and grandchildren, she acted as the family "traveling nurse" (her education? Good old fashioned mountain medicine) she would be there to assist anyone after surgery or childbirth( she herself gave birth to 10 children at home) She was the spiritual adviser, nurse, teacher and mother for the whole family. She would make me toys that she had sewn herself and her quilts still keep me warm at night. I remember standing on a stool in the kitchen helping her cook using fresh vegetables out of the garden, drinking tea, and helping her tend to her flower garden. She loved to write so we would often play word games. She would send me loving and inspiring hand written letters & poems that would always arrive just at the right time when I needed healing medicine~ I received countless letters, one I pulled out of the stack I have reads- Sept 9- 1985: " I don't get to see you nearly enough but I love you just the way you are and that is the way God loves us too. Stay sweet and be true to yourself" Great advice for someone entering the 8th grade in a new school. In my crazy teens, days would go by and I would not go see my Grandmother, when I did finally make it over, it was as if I never left, she welcomed me with open arms, an open ear, and something warm and soothing to eat and drink. She has a quiet strength about her that was her medicine she gave to me. I knew I was safe, loved and understood. She was the ultimate medicine woman. So I guess what I am trying to say is it was not only the plants that got me started in wanting to be a "medicine woman" it was my Grandmother. Her quite patience & wisdom, her practice of old ways instilled in me, taught me to take the time and see the plants & learn from them & her qualities as a healer showed me what medicine was really about. My Grandma had a lot of grandchildren and great grandchildren, she chose me to take under her wing and pass on this wonder domestic art, I plan to pass this on to my own daughter, and hopefully someday she in turn will pass it on as well.
Women healed the sick by ministering to their souls as well as their bodies. They mobilized patients’ hopes and restored their confidence; their role was psychological, spiritual, and physical. While none of their techniques could match the power of today’s antibiotics and other tools of modern medicine, domestic medicine was more effective than it has been given credit for. At a time when little else was available, women maintained the health of their families and neighbors with home remedies, prayer, ritual, and love. That was no small achievement.
Quoted from the above article http://beckerexhibits.wustl.edu/mowihsp/articles/Ozarks.htm :
View the blog party at Gaia's Gifts!