AUGUST 18, 2022

What Exactly is Herbalism, and Where Does Cannabis Come Into it?

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Cannabis is sometimes referred to as a “magic plant,” but it is far from the only one with purportedly supernatural medical properties.

Herbalism is the oldest kind of medicine in the world, and it is the practice of employing the therapeutic powers of plants.

What is Herbalism?

Herbalism is the application of pharmacognosy: the study of plants and other natural substances for medicinal purposes. Herbalism is the practice of employing plants to promote physical and mental well-being.

Herbalists employ all parts of the plant in their treatments, including the stem, root, stalk, bark, leaves, and flower.

Herbalism’s Brief History

Herbalism is the world’s oldest kind of medicine, with written records reaching back 5,000 years and the practice stretching back even farther. Herbal medicine has been discovered in archeological sites all across the world, from aboriginal tribes in the Americas to Africa and Asia. Herbalism is still practiced in many nations, including the United States.

Herbalism has significant origins in the United States, but not in a pleasant way. The country’s rich history of medical innovation is matched by its long history of refusing care and treatment to specific populations, such as enslaved and indigenous peoples. Indigenous communities have employed herbal remedies for millennia, and these medicines literally saved the lives of enslaved people who were denied even the most basic health treatment.

Today’s Herbalism

Despite evidence of human usage of plant therapy throughout both recorded and unwritten history, the effects of herbalism are widely contested in current medicine. According to a 2015 Australian Government investigation, “the reviewers were unable to make any judgments regarding [herbalism’s] efficacy or possible hazards.”

Because herbal medications do not have the same level of quality control and regulation as pharmaceuticals, there is additional concern about unpleasant effects.

Introducing Cannabis Herbalist Ashley Jelks

Being a herbalist entails more than just finding and ingesting herbs; it also necessitates a close relationship with and respect for nature.

Ashley Jelks, the creator of The High Priestess Herbal Wellness, a Black herbalist-owned cannabis pharmacy, is one such herbalist. She creates herbal mixes using CBD and other plants to assist her customers with menstruation discomfort, sexual wellness, stress, sleep, and other issues.

Jelks was up in an agricultural family with roots in New Orleans, a hub of mysticism and plant medicine in the United States. She began making herbal mixtures for herself and her friends, and she credits the COVID-19 epidemic with providing her the opportunity to start her own company.

Despite being a cannabis consumer, Jelks sees the plant as simply one of many tools in her arsenal (though she admits it holds a special place in her heart.)

“Cannabis, like everything else on my collection, is a plant and a medication.” She stated. “I see a future in which individuals gradually and steadily gravitate toward using plants to promote their wellbeing.”

The Relationship Between Cannabis and Herbalism

Cannabis has been used by humans for thousands of years. Cannabis, despite its many uses, was viewed as a plant like any other in ancient times. The terpenes and phytochemicals that give cannabis most of its “strength” may also be found in many other plants, and cannabis has been used both alone and in combination with other plants. The herb was especially respected for its spiritual properties.

In contrast to Western medicine, which often seeks a “cause and effect” by combining medicines and clinical diagnosis, herbalism attempts to heal not only the body, but also the mind and soul. Cannabis has a long history of spiritual healing, and it is revered in many religious and spiritual traditions.

Even today, many cannabis users will tell you that the herb has made them nicer and more thoughtful. It has essentially aided their morale.

And science is finally demonstrating what herbalists have long suspected: that the plant in herbal form is a potent remedy. Recent study has proven that cannabis usage can actually make you more empathic, which is just one of several science-backed findings.

The possibilities for what the cannabis plant can achieve appear limitless, and there is a fast developing corpus of study on the subject. The more cannabis is recognized and verified by contemporary medicine, the more it can pave the way for a broader acknowledgment of plant medicine’s potency.

Including Herbalism in Your Daily Life

You may already be involved in certain areas of herbalism without even recognizing it. Herbalism is a warm cup of peppermint tea to calm an upset stomach. Adding more garlic to your meal during cold and flu season is also beneficial, as is applying aloe to a sunburn.

Here are a few more suggestions:

  • Make some tea: Tea is one of the most widely used and oldest types of herbal medicine. Soaking herbs in hot water is a quick and easy way to get their therapeutic effects.

  • Increase the amount of herbs in your diet: Herbs, whether fresh or dried, are rich in phytonutrients that promote general health and fitness.

  • Combine your smokable cannabis with herbal concoctions: Not only will it produce better tasty mixes, but you’ll also get the advantages that these plants provide.

  • Make use of aromatherapy: Essential oils are a type of herbal medication that may be breathed rather than ingested orally or topically. They are mostly composed of terpenes. Even the fragrance of flowers or a pine forest is a simple approach to understand how nature impacts us on a daily basis.

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