Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Wisdom of Sage

Since giving birth to Cassander, Shekhinah has followed in her mother's hoof prints (Tahoe, was my first horse as well as a rescue) and failed to stop producing milk after Cassander was weaned. Honestly, I never thought much of it since Tahoe had the same issue and I have known several other mares over the years who had the same condition. Then Shekhinah got mastitis and after that I realized that this is a problem and started looking into herbal solutions. It was suggested to me to try Sage for Shekhinah.

We didn't have the money in the budget at the time to purchase the herb, but we did have this one little Sage plant in the yard that appeared to have seen better days. As I have mentioned before, I am not much of a gardener, but I was willing to try anything to help Shekhinah. Every day I would go out with a grateful heart and trim a little off the plant to add to Shekhinah's supplements. Sage has always been a favorite of mine and I would breathe in the way it smelled and wish that I was a better tender of plants so that I could help this Sage be healthier. While harvesting what I needed for Kinah, I noticed that there seemed to be a lot of dead and unhealthy parts to the plant and I thought, well it probably doesn't need that, so I cut those off.

I was deeply concerned at first that by taking from the plant it would struggle more and possibly even die, so I was very careful where I cut and how much. Sometimes I would stop for a few weeks to give it time to grow. And grow it did. That was the wonderful thing about this Sage plant, the more I trimmed off the dead and tended to it, the better it did. I felt the healing energy of the Sage in all I did with it. Not being a gardener, I loved that I could make something grow and become healthy. I babied it. I talked to it. I thanked it. I appreciated and loved it.

In return, Sage taught me that sometimes even though something has been a part of us for a very long time it isn't helping us grow. Sage taught me that to grow and be healthy sometimes the best thing to do is cutting something out of our lives, and by attending to all aspects and parts of ourselves we can cultivate a healthier more alive overall being.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Proactive verses Reactive

I find one of the more difficult things for people, when learning to integrate herbal healing and health into their lives and the lives of their animal companions, is the change needed to one's mindset. Western medicine is based on the idea that we react to what is happening to our bodies. When our head hurts, we choose from a number of pills on the market designed to alleviate pain. When our stomach is upset, once again we choose from numerous products that can be taken to soothe heartburn, indigestion, or a variety of less than pleasant dietary upsets.

A more Eastern or holistic approach would be to look at the problem as a symptom, clue or small piece to a larger health paradigm. What type of headache is it? For example, is the pain dull or stabbing, general or localized? Diet plays an important role in most health conditions, so when people come to me for nutritional consults for their animals the first place I look is diet.

The reason holistic medicine is often referred to as "complimentary medicine" in modern society is that it tends to work over a long term integrative period. While there are many things that can provide immediate relief it is not the same as taking a pill. Frequently, when something is out of balance in a system, a critical key to success of any treatment is identification and changing that which is causing the disharmony in the first place. This requires most of us to take far greater responsibility for our lives, health and the health of our animals then most of us are accustomed to doing.

Long term change takes time and commitment. One of our goals with our Herbal Classes is to find ways to help, teach and support people in this process. Once people are able to get past what can sometimes feel like an overwhelming and impossible amount of information, understanding the needs of our bodies and those of our animals can stop being frustrating and start being fun. The geeky inner mad scientist in me loves discovering and researching new herbs and then going about trying them on myself or the horses to see if I have found better and more effective means of health enhancements. I love having a journal and documenting the changes I find and tracking the data. Perhaps because I am terrible at crosswords puzzles and these are puzzles I can solve that I find them a relaxing and enjoyable way to spend my time. Herbs are powerful and can have extreme side effects, so make certain that if you choose to experiment with them, that you do so from an educated and responsible place.