5 ETHICS FOR OPTIMAL HEALTH & WELLNESS
Our modern environment contains many harsh pollutants and harmful pesticides that become trapped in our bodies. Since our internal organs work together to help eliminate these trapped toxins, these systems must remain operating at peak performance to maintain a healthy body. The liver, kidneys, colon, lungs, skin, and lymphatic system are especially useful and essential for cleansing the body of toxins.
An unhealthy buildup of toxins in the body is extremely dangerous. These excess toxins can cause physical and mental health issues like chronic fatigue, headaches, insomnia, along with countless unhealthy symptoms. Many of these toxins come from things we use or consume daily, like food, water, beauty products, and our environment (both indoors and outdoors.) It’s never too late to cleanse and detoxify your body and start to renew your essential bodily systems.
Herbs are legendary to restore, heal, and rejuvenate every system of the body. They support emotional and behavioral states and overall well-being. Herbs are also used in many traditions as a preventative action to boost immune function and promote general well-being before any dis-ease occurs. Herbalism is the art of using nature and plants to treat the underlying causes of dis-ease. Instead of looking at the signs and symptoms and then treating the dis-ease, herbalists look at the whole picture—from lifestyle to physical stressors—to prescribe the right treatment. Once an herbalist discovers the cause of a condition, they prescribe herbs to restore the body’s natural balance. Herbalism understands how different herbs support the entire body to regain its natural state of balance and health.
Western herbalism dates back to ancient Egypt, where records of garlic and juniper used for medicinal purposes date back to 1700 BC. By 100 BC, the Greeks had developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine that related different herbs to different temperaments, seasons, and elements such as earth, air, fire, and water. The Romans took the Greek theories of medicine and added to them, creating a wealth of medical practices still used in modern medicine to this day. Eastern herbalism mainly comes from the traditions of Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). These two medicinal systems use herbs to bring the body back in balance to heal itself. In TCM, this means restoring Chi, or “life energy,” and balancing the yin forces with the yang forces. Both traditions incorporate knowledge of the elements, the seasons, and parts of the body into their herbal treatments.
Other cultures, such as Native Americans from North and South America, have used herbs for health and wellness. Many of their traditions incorporate rituals and magic into their practices using a shaman, or medicine man.
In Shamanic cultures, plant medicine is highly respected, with sacred medicine at the center of their rituals for thousands of years. The various herbs and plants used in Shamanic practice have helped set the tone and guide their ceremonies, as the shaman explains where the medicine came from and how it works in supporting the body and mind.
Using plant medicine to open the heart and the mind aligns us with who we truly are. This activation within the body can create a transformation that enables us to hear our true selves, work through blockages, and dissolve negative energy. Herbal medicine awakens and clears our energy centers and connects us to our primal source. It allows for deeper healing of the body, mind, and spirit. Using herbs is also a wonderful time to give ourselves mental and physical space and peace. It helps us learn more about ourselves and clarify where we are on life's path.
Your body (including your immune system) runs on the fuel you put into it. That’s why eating well, along with several other good-for-you behaviors, is so important. It’s your immune system’s job to defend your body against illness and dis-ease. When working the way it should, this complex system of cells (in your skin, blood, bone marrow, tissues, and organs) will protect your body against harmful pathogens (like bacteria and viruses), and limit damage from noninfectious agents (like sunburn or cancer).
Think of your immune system as an orchestra. For the best performance, you want every musician to perform at their best. You don’t necessarily want one musician playing double-speed, while another instrument produces a sound twice its usual volume. You want every component of that orchestra to perform exactly according to plan. The same goes for your immune system. To protect your body from harm, every component of your immune system must perform according to plan. The best way you can ensure that happens is to practice the good-for-you behaviors that your immune system runs on every day.
Herbal medicine is a distinct system that skillfully combines natural therapeutic traditions with modern practices to restore and optimize health. An herbal tonic is a mild approach used to strengthen a body system or promote optimal health and well-being. I like to compare herbal tonics to plant foods. We eat various fruits and vegetables to supply us with the nutrients we need for basic healthy function.
An herbal tonic is comprised of a single herb or a combination of gentle and nourishing herbs that support either the whole body or a specific organ or system. It is best to use mild herbs to promote a tonic action, often spread over many weeks or months to restore or support general health. These herbal tonics can bring balance to chronic conditions or support general wellness and the prevention of dis-ease. It is best to take herbal tonics periodically, rotating through different formulas for different systems, while focusing on a different body system every month or season.