Jars of an herbal remedy I recently prepared.
Our indigenous ancestors developed a deep knowledge of the relationship between plants and humans. They understood the physical interaction between a wide range of plant substances and the human body, and also recognized a spiritual aspect of plants capable of interacting with people on a psychological level. What is more, many plant medicines recognized anciently are now supported by modern scientific research.
Much of the traditional plant knowledge from the Spokane area has been lost, but I've had the good fortune to inherit a few fragments of information from my family and community. And as I deepen my understanding, the plants show their wisdom in greater detail. I've already witnessed several impressive cures from minor family illnesses, including fevers and various stomach ailments.
If nothing else, the plants change the way I experience the world. They cause me to stop and notice the small details of nature, like the snowberries or the rose hips that recently caught my attention during a morning walk near my house. Where I once saw a mass of undergrowth and nameless weeds, I'm beginning to see communities of plant teachers like yarrow, Oregon grape, kinnick kinnick, and others. And as I begin to name the plants, they become more "real" and meaningful to my life.
It's the beginning of a relationship, to be sure.