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Plant Medicine for Soul Healing

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What Is Plant Medicine?

If you missed the first article, I explored what herbal medicine is and how it works, how it differs from Western medicine, and easy recipes and resources to get started. Here’s a quick overview:

Herbal medicine is the use of plants for healing. Different parts of the plant such as flowers, fruits. leaves, bark, and roots, are used to make herbal preparations. Examples include teas, decoctions, vinegars, oxymels, syrups, salves, tinctures,  compresses, and baths. Using cooking herbs as seasoning is the most commonly used preparation of herbal medicine.

What is Plant Spirit Medicine?

Plant spirit medicine is a little different and there are many creative ways to work with it. It’s less about the physical matter or chemical constituents in the plant, and more about the spiritual relationship one has with a plant. Author of Plant Spirit Medicine and expert Eliot Cowan defines it as “a spiritual relationship to the plants as living, highly-aware, intelligent beings.” 

Author of Plant Spirit Healing and teacher Pam Montgomery is a proponent of working with plants’ whole beings, not just their chemical properties. “This is one aspect of plants, but it is not their entire uniquely complex, and true nature. Similarly, our physical bodies are only one aspect of our diverse nature….I am suggesting working with all of the plant–the trinity of heart, soul, and spirit–to access healing for the heart, soul, and spirit of people.”

Dr. and Master Zhi Gang Sha is a world-renowned healer and teacher. In his book, Tao I: The Way of All Life, he describes plant spirit medicine this way: “Every herb has a soul. To boil herbs to make tea or to eat raw herbs is to use the matter and energy of the herbs to heal. To chant the names of herbs is to use the souls of the herbs to heal. The souls of herbs have power beyond words.” His one-sentence secret is: “To invoke the souls of herbs and chant them is to apply ling yao (soul herbs) for healing.”

Dr. Edward Bach was a visionary healer in England in the 1930’s. He connected with plant spirit medicine through flowers. Trained in Western medicine, he left his successful practice to create a system of 38 Bach flower essences to help the human soul overcome despair, isolation, fear, and more, during a time when the Great Depression and world war was causing great suffering. He said, “Disease of the body is nothing but the result of disharmony between soul and mind.” Finding the right flower essence to match the negative emotion helps you transform it and realign with your soul’s wisdom.

Each of these healers uses plant spirit medicine in different ways–there are so many ways that you can do this. Finding your way with plant spirit medicine is all about developing your unique connection to the plant world; I’ll give you some possibilities to explore below.

What Is Soul Healing?

soul healing with treesYour soul or spirit is the highest aspect of you–above the level of your personality– your true essence. When you receive healing at this highest level of your soul, blockages can be cleared in your soul, heart, mind, and body in a powerful way.

Dr. and Master Sha says “the soul is the boss”, and if you “heal the soul first, then the mind and body will follow.” 

This is why soul healing can be so effective. By healing the soul, you are then able to align your soul, heart, mind, and body to move forward in a positive way in any area of your life–health, relationships, finances, career, and more.

You can read more about how to heal your soul here.

How To Use Plant Medicine for Soul Healing

There are so many rich traditions of using plant spirit medicine throughout the world. I’ll explore how to use plant spirit medicine to honor the land; how to begin connecting with the soul or spirit of a plant; how to work with flowers for emotional balance; and how to use the soul of herbs, along with principles of Chinese medicine, to heal the physical body.

healing with the ancestors

Land Acknowledgment

For our ancestors, this interconnection with the natural and spiritual worlds wasn’t separate from other kinds of healing, and awareness and appreciation for this forgotten wisdom is becoming increasingly popular.

Two ways we can honor this wisdom of interconnection is with land acknowledment of both the Indigenous people who were stewards of the place where you live now, and the land itself.

Native Land Digital created a searchable world-wide map–you can enter where you currently live.

I live on Munsee Lenape, Wappinger, and Mohican lands and honor them and other Indigenous caretakers of these lands and waters–the elders who lived here before, the Indigenous today, and the generations to come. 

Tara Muenz aquatic scientist and conservation educatorTara Muenz, a conservation ecologist, also offers this beautiful way to honor the land itself. Here is her example:

“I appreciate and honor the 1000s of nature flora and fauna, water, air, soils, and more of this area, of the original inhabitants of what is called the ‘River of Humans,’ the Delaware River Watershed.” 

In her description of working with students at Drexel University, she offers more detail on ways you can do this.

 

Your Relationship with Plants

Tara shares a wonderful and simple way to nurture your relationship with plants through appreciation and pause:

“As you start your journey in connecting to the soul of plants, the first place I start is not in learning the scientific name or medicine, their leaf structure, fluorescence or natural history, or anything humans have told us about this plant in a book or website.

I start by opening my heart, lessening judgements, and simply offering my time being with the plant, communing and acknowledging its life. I call this taking a ‘pause with the planet’ and I encourage you to do this as often as you can with any being in nature (including yourself).  

What does this look like? In this communing you can offer deep appreciation or gratitude for this plant, that it exists on the planet, resting in peace together, fully present in the here and now. How amazing is that when you really think of it?

healing benefits of plant medicine

Plants offer so many benefits to our lives and we simply would not exist without them.  From the oxygen they provide, benefits to air and water quality, food, medicines, clothing, furniture, beauty and so much more.

As you start to feel appreciation or gratitude and align with the presence of a plant, your heart space will open and expand. This simple gesture of your time will nurture your relationship not just with that plant, but with all of nature, including your own being. And it doesn’t take a lot of time.

This summer I frequented a local business every few weeks and in that parking lot were sections of plants (roses) that people would walk by going to and from the business.  I couldn’t help but take time to ‘smell the roses,’ smile at them, say how much I appreciated them for their presence, for being such a beautiful gift to my day. The following weeks of visits to that business were full of joy as I would always stop now to say hello to these roses, express my love, and I really felt I received it in return. A feeling of oneness.

As I engage in this exchange with a plant, I often feel a peaceful energy in my heart area, joy, and have a deeper reverence for life, a friendship with the plant. Additionally, I noticed that I was naturally inspired to make more earth-friendly decisions such as growing my own food, purchasing clothing produced without toxic chemicals, using less non-renewable plant resources, and taking these pauses with nature. Begin by doing this practice a few minutes a week or more and see what shifts in your life!”

Flower Essences

wild rose bach flower essenceDr. Bach created a simple and powerful way to connect with the spirit and vibration of different flowers.

Flower essences are made by picking flowers in full bloom, placing them in a bowl of water. The heat from the sun, over the course of several hours, imprints the memory of the flower in the water. When you take a particular flower essence it floods the soul with the positive vibration of the flower, and in this way helps you balance the negative emotions you’re experiencing. Traditionally, they are taken orally, a few drops in the mouth or in a small glass of water several times a day for a month or so.

You can read more about how flower essences work, how to figure out which flower essences you need, how long they take to work, where to purchase, if they can be used with pets, and more.

How to Use Soul Herbs for Healing

Here is a simplified version from Master Sha to use Soul Herbs for self-healing, using his 4 power techniques:

He chooses the liver as an example. In Chinese medicine, the liver is related to the Wood Element. When it’s out of balance, we may be frustrated, impatient, or angry. To balance the liver and the Wood Element, Master Sha uses the herb Peppermint, or Bo He in Mandarin:

using herbal medicine for soul healing

Body Power:
Sit up straight. Put the tip of the tongue close to the roof of the mouth.
Place one hand over the liver (right side of your torso by the waist line) and the other hand over the lower abdomen.

Soul Power:
Say hello: “Dear soul mind body of Peppermint (Bo He), I love you. You have the power to heal my liver, to heal my anger. Please do a good job. Thank you.”

Mind Power:
Visualize beautiful green light (green is the color related to the Wood Element in Chinese medicine) radiating from the soul of Peppermint to your liver. Imagine your liver filled with green light.

Sound Power:
Chant silently or out loud:
Bo He heals my liver. Thank you.
Peppermint heals my liver. Thank you.
Bo He heals my liver. Thank you.
Peppermint heals my liver. Thank you.
Bo He heals my liver. Thank you.
Peppermint heals my liver. Thank you.

Do this for 3-5 minutes. If you have a chronic anger or liver issue, work up to doing this practice daily, 30 minutes or more.

For more information on Soul Herbs and additional practices, read Tao I: The Way of All Life.

Soul Healing Messages From The Plants

Plant Spirit Medicine

You can receive soul healing messages directly from the plants. Many people can do this automatically without trying, often starting in childhood. You can also learn how to do this–I offer the names of teachers who offer trainings on plant spirit medicine in the resources section below.

I learned how to do soul communication from Master Sha and love his techniques and approach. You can learn more in his book, Soul Communication, or take one of his powerful trainings.

Here are two flows I received below–one is from Mugwort, the plant ally I chose to work with during my herbal medicine training, and the other is from He Xian Gu, one of the 8 immortal saints in Taoism. Portrayed as a young girl, she is known for her work with healing herbs.

Message from Plant Ally, Mugwort:mugwort

I am often misunderstood, but have many gifts to share throughout the world with my tenacity and abundant growth. So many of you have trouble connecting to dreamtime, to being outside time and dimension, and I have long helped humans with this. This is very different than my healing gifts being used in Chinese medicine and moxibustion in acupuncture.

You don’t even need to have me in physical form to be able to connect with me. Call me in when you go to sleep, ask me to support you in connecting with the etheric worlds beyond this physical one, and we will ride together into a beautiful and powerful dreamscape. My flower essence form is another beautiful way to do this. This is all for now.

Message from He Xian Gu:

The spirit of play and whimsy is so helpful when connecting with plants, nature, and the earth. Watch the way the butterflies do it, they flit from here to there. Perhaps you learned how to skip as a child, to frolic, to dance and play among the trees and the flowers. Maybe you can imagine singing with the birds or simply lay on the ground and look at the clouds dancing and moving over you.

Let the movement and play in nature attune your soul, heart, mind, and body. Being in nature without worrying about doing anything, without trying to connect with plants, this is the best and easiest way to do it. Whenever you connect with your soul or spirit the rest will come. I am supporting you in this!

 

 

Plant Spirit Medicine Resources

best books on plant medicine

Here are some additional resources on Plant Spirit Medicine:

Additional Reading:

Herbal Remedies & Medicine for Beginners: Getting Started

Using Herbal Medicine for Self-Care & Herbalism for Earth Care

Self Care Meets Earth Care

Tara Muenz: Nurturing with Nature in Mind

Book Recommendations:

Best Books on Plant Spirit Medicine

Best Books on Herbal Medicine

Best Books on Shamanic Magic

Plant Spirit & Flower Essence Trainings:

Ruth Toledo Altschuler at Essence Mentoring: She also offers free monthly online live circle gatherings focused on different flower essences–maybe I’ll see you there!

Sara Artemisia at Multidimensional Nature

Karen Rose (She also has Sacred Vibes Apothecary in Brooklyn. I’ve been wanting to go check it out. I also loved her book, The Art & Practice of Spiritual Herbalism.)

Pam Montgomery at Wake Up To Nature

Robin Rose Bennett

woman connecting with plant spirits

Plant Spirit & Flower Essence Podcast Recommendations:

The Flower Essence Podcast
All Things Enchanted with Isha Lerner
Plant Spirit Podcast

Conclusion

I hope this gives you some creative possibilities as you explore plant spirit medicine and experience its soul healing benefits.

Want to experience Soul Healing for yourself?

Check out my upcoming virtual Soul Healing Events or use Soul Healing Recordings for a range of common issues.

You can book here if you’re ready to experience a Distance Reiki, Tao Hands, or Online Hypnosis session for yourself (no matter where you live in the world!).

P.S. And just ask if you’d like me to include Bach flower essence recommendations as part of your session.

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Burned out by an all-consuming job, Deborah Flanagan found balance and peace through the healing arts — and now she's helping others do the same.

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