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Finding The Right Herbs For You

Updated: Feb 21

herbs in a cup
Photo by Mina Halladay (@mina.inspired)

Finding The Right Herbs For You

One of the most fascinating things about being an herbalist (at least for me), is the process of picking the right herbs for the right person. While many may think that choosing herbs is as simple as googling symptoms and finding matches or looking at research articles, finding the right herbs for you is a little more nuanced than that. When applying traditional methods, picking the right herbs for a person is a beautiful process that marries individuality with balance and plant chemistry. How do you find the right herbs for you? See how I work through my own process when I choose herbs for my clients, and myself.

Three Main Questions

When I'm picking herbs for a client, there are three main questions that I ask myself.

  1. What symptoms are occurring?

  2. What deeper imbalances are happening?

  3. What herbs are a good fit for this person's unique constitution?

Once these questions are answered, then, and only then, do I start running through my mind and comparing my answers to the phytochemical properties and actions that each herb holds. By marrying these two processes I end up with herbal formulations that are both traditional yet modern, and encompass herbalism the way it was meant to be approached - with honor to the lineages and stories that each herb holds. An extra bonus is always given if we can also find herbs to help catalyze internal and energetic change in a person's healing path.

Pros and Cons of Modern Herbalism

While modern science is a beautiful thing, as soon as mainstream health got a hold of herbalism it started doing what it always does - reducing everything to it's most basal components and then putting it into boxes. While it is truly incredible to have the ability to run clinical research trials on the uses of an herb (which hopefully then goes on to be peer reviewed), when this is our sole method for picking herbs for an individual we miss so many nuances that the great herbalists who came before us took into account.

The Sweet Spot: Traditional Methods + Modern Applications

Having access to modern research has been an incredible advantage on so many levels, but if you ask me, the true power comes from integrating these modern tools with our own historical knowledge. When we take into account the traditional ways of administering, assessing, and selecting the right herbs for the job, we see herbal formulations that are more effective, more balanced, and more complex. By looking at a person's unique constitution (and health situation) and then look at the unique properties plants that would be best suited for this situation - we find an herb that is perfectly right for this moment in time. Not every symptom has the same root and not every person experiences an illness in the same way and as a result, the herbs we choose should also be a reflection of every person's unique individuality.

Last But Not Least, Your Own Inner Wisdom

All that to say, I'm continuously amazed by people's incredible inner wisdom in my clinic when it comes to working with herbs, and this too comes into play at the end of the decision making process. So many times I see one-on-one clients (and students) drawn to herbs that truly would serve them in that moment. When we're drawn to an herb for it's energetic or phytochemical properties (don't worry, I'll write more on that later), there's usually a reason why. We often see this phenomenon in pregnancy, when pregnant people will crave certain foods that are rich in certain nutrients that they may be lacking. When I work with clients I always strive to meet them where they are, and take into account their own inner wisdom and knowledge as well.

At the end of the day, picking the right herbs is about so much more then chemicals. It's about the balance of it all, and the individuality of the person and the case. This is the way of the old, and I really believe that the future lies in the marrying of the two.

Have you ever picked the right herb? It's almost like magic when you do. Ready to see what herbs are out there just for you? Come see in the office for an herbal assessment or immerse yourself in a three-month healing exploration, all about combining the traditional and modern methods of herbalism for greater healing and health.

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