Plant Medicine

 

The term "Plant Medicine" has only gained popularity over the last couple of decades for most modern civilizations, but ancient cultures saw the powers of plant medicine as a necessary healing practice for their communities.

ūüćɬ†When you hear it, what do you think of? Herbalism? Cottage core girls with olde English-styled gardens and light witchcraft? Pharmacognosy? Hamilton's Pharmacopeia? Juicing?

There’s actually no wrong answer to what is considered Plant Medicine. All of the above are technically right. It identifies a tried and true method for any form of plant to be used as medicine. So when you think about it, most plants can be considered a medicinal plant. 

Plants and plant care have always been an essential piece of human civilization. Whether it is ingested like in a tea or pressed powder/pill, or applied topically like with an ointment, there are many roles that plants play in treating communities for good. It's astonishing, really, how much our understanding of plants and the natural word has impacted what we consider to be medicine. To this day, it remains essential to pharmaceuticals and the entire pharmaceutical industry to be able to source these herbs fairly often. Imagine if we, one day for whatever reason, were unable to source the proper Salix in order to match the world's demand for Aspirin? Salix is found in the bark of a specific kind of willow tree, so... What happens when there are no more willows?

This is the problem that many regionally indigenous populations are facing with their local medicines. It is impossible to talk about all this goodness and progress without also identifying the very real issues that come along with it. There are many red flags surrounding plant medicine trends and ethically-sourced products, and though that is an additional blog scheduled for another day, we'll touch on them lightly here.

 

So, how old is plant medicine really?

To give some perspective, the oldest plant mankind has ever recorded for medicine, Ginkgo Biloba, goes back to 200 million years ago. It was found in ancient Chinese and Japanese civilizations but has been used in medicines for more than 3,500 years. This special plant has amazing benefits that help with blood flow, anxiety, memory, and brain coordination. Currently it is being used to treat patients with memory disorders like Dementia and Alzheimer's and said to be a preventative when taken consistently throughout an at-risk individual's life. Though it is not a cure for any of these neurological conditions, the plant itself has helped many people ease symptoms of these disorders because of its ability to clear neurological pathways.

And that's just one example! Plant medicine has been found in cultures around the world, including right here at home. The closest cases being in our own backyard..

In coastal indigenous communities of Southern California and Northern Baja, people have tended to White Sage for thousands of generations. They use this plant for many things, including smudging- made very popular by brands like The Nice Plant and even direct online sales from platforms like Etsy and Amazon. This is a huge issue! Poachers are responsible for illegally clearing over 20,000 pounds of White Sage in the last 7 or 8 years. It's harvested in huge quantities for e-commerce in other parts of the world, much like other plants and plant medicines - but not all plants are as sacred as White Sage- and this plant is only grown on these indigenous lands.

Note: We had a discussion last week with an individual indigenous to Southern California who taught us a lot about these issues, passing us resources to learn more, and there is indeed more to learn. To say we didn't know before being called out would be ignorant. Our new friend, Siobhán- the individual we connected with on Instagram, is helping us to write a more in-depth exposé on White Sage and indigenous cultures, and we hope to do them justice (or, some justice) by sharing information that needs to be shared. We also are committed to cleaning out our inventory of what we previously thought was ethically-sourced White Sage, and have plans to donate these medicines back to our friends at the Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous Peoples. We'd like to apologize for not doing it sooner. Please stay tuned for our next collaborative blog post with Siobhán.

That being said, we have a deep love for plant medicine here at The Nice Plant, and we hope that the following information does some of these nifty plants and herbs justice, and we are always welcome to open and honest conversations about - well, anything!

Contact us here.

 

 

Black Woman smiling with a flower in her lips. 

Plants for healing: 

There are so many plants we'd like to shout out. We could sincerely go on and on about most of their healing properties. So instead of boring everyone, here are a few plant supplements you can find at most local spots. But we do suggest hitting those farmer's markets and taking those "organic" labels seriously when it comes to each and every one of these!

 

Turmeric 

  • Amazing treatment for inflammatory diseases
  • Improves heart conditions¬†
  • Helps prevent Alzheimer's¬†

 

Peppercorn 

  • Improves gut health¬†¬†
  • Controls blood sugar levels and cholesterol¬†
  • Decrease menstrual pain¬†

 

Eucalyptus 

  • Can heal your skin‚Äôs dryness, wounds, and burns
  • Lower blood sugar levels
  • Reduce pain and increase relaxation

 

Rosemary 

  • Boosts your immune system to fight infections¬†
  • Improves blood circulation¬†
  • Reduces anxiety and depression¬†

 

Tea Tree

  • Can treat acne, dermatitis, and head lice¬†
  • Fights germs and prevents infections¬†
  • Promotes hair growth

 

Agave 

  • Boosts your metabolism¬†
  • Has fast healing properties¬†
  • Can help with depression with its mood-boosting properties

 

Lavender 

  • Lower blood pressure¬†
  • Mood enhancer
  • Reduce pain‚Äď especially headaches¬†¬†

 

Gingko 

  • Brain-boosting
  • Helps bones heal
  • Good for treating anxiety

 

Primrose 

  • Helps treat skin conditions
  • Regulates hormones and insulin sensitivity for PCOS patients
  • Anti-inflammatory properties

 

Echinacea 

  • Shortens symptoms of the common cold
  • Boosts immune system
  • Can help with upper respiratory infections and bronchitis

 

Ashwagandha 

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Mood enhancer, reduces anxiety
  • Boosts immune system

 

Ginger 

  • Helps with acute nausea and vomiting
  • Relieves cold and flu symptoms
  • Reduce pain‚Äď especially headaches¬†¬†

 

Garlic 

  • Combats colds and sinus congestion
  • A potent antimicrobial
  • Can help gradually lower blood pressure

 

Hops

  • Sleeping aid
  • Ease tension, restlessness, anxiety
  • Reduces hot flashes during menopause

 

Cannabis 

  • Managing chronic pain¬†
  • Mood enhancer- reduce anxiety and depression
  • Strong sleeping aid in some forms

 

 

 

If my plants provide lots of health benefits for me, could they potentially treat my other plants? 

Yes and no.

Each plant is special in its own way. Some plants need lots of maintenance and some just want to be left alone. Providing them supplements like an organic tea fertilizer can either enhance or damage their health depending on their needs and necessities.

If you are thinking of implementing a tea fertilizer your plant bae, here are a few tips and tricks: 

  • Be considerate of your plant‚Äôs ph level. Before you pour a fresh brew, be cautious about your choice of tea. It‚Äôs a no-brainer that many teas are not organic as they are labeled. Most teas in the market are processed with sugar, too much nitrogen, and other harmful chemicals for plant care. The type of tea whether it's black, green, or herbal can still be pressed with unwanted chemicals. Though herbal teas are full of healthy nutrients to help hydrate and flourish, they can overwhelm your plant.¬†
  • Loose leaf tea bags are excellent for compost and natural fertilizer
  • Make sure the tea is at room temperature. If the tea is hot, it can internally burn the plant and its roots.¬†

 

For other organic fertilizers and how to properly read the packaging before you buy, check this blog post from last week!

 

Black man with some visible acne, with a purple orchid against his skin.

It’s no shock to anyone that plants are good for you.

We hope that this helps you orient yourself in the world of plant medicine. We know that many listed on this page are controversial, and we thank you for sticking with us as we adjust to this new world. Indigenous people and indigenous plant medicines have always been here, there is nothing new about that - but best practices in business? An era of elevated consciousness and ethically charging our community? We want to make that shit trend!!

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