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Natural Awakenings Tucson

A Year in Review

Nov 03, 2019 01:24PM ● By J Garnett
Over the last 15 months, our Plant Medicine section has seen tremendous growth. Our readers have given the section rave reviews. The educational content, which is needed now more than ever, has been, and will continue to be, a valuable resource for those who are ready to take the leap from pharmaceutical medications to a more natural and gentle way of treatment.

When trying to define the word “plant”, it becomes complex because of the endless variety of vegetation on the planet. Anything that grows naturally on the planet—albeit some crops need to be tended and nurtured by the human hand—can be categorized as vegetation. Although much research is still being conducted on the medicinal value of plants, the process of determining what vegetation is beneficial for combating specific illnesses and disease has been taking place for many millennia.

In the debut issue of the Plant Medicine section, September 2018, the importance of natural medicine was discussed, especially in the midst of this War on Opioids. More Americans are turning to alternative medicine as treatment for countless ailments, minor to life-threatening in nature. Plant medicine has become a go-to alternative solution, and it continues to gain momentum nationwide. Americans are finally standing up for themselves and becoming their own healthcare advocates.

The early articles that were published in the Plant Medicine section focused on the long world history of marijuana as medicinal, and how it was a substantial
national crop here in the U.S. prior to the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.

Dating as far back as 4000 BCE, there is research which outlines the use of nature as remedies. Imagine the human race four millennia ago; it was primitive. The average life span was only 20 years of age and illness and disease were widespread, with limited knowledge of how to treat them. According to research compiled by Shelly Westwood, an English writer, disease and illness were viewed as punishments from the gods. Tribal hierarchy often included a medicine man or woman or even witch doctors, and the sacred title of healer allowed them to perform ceremonies to cast out the disease. Oftentimes, herbs were used as poultices, salves and tea during the healing ritual.

Plants were the predominant ingredient for medicines until the 1800s. According to an article written by John W. Dailey, Pharmaceutical Industry, both public and private companies began to discover, develop and manufacture drugs and medication to sell to the populace. The convenience and ease of obtaining these drugs pushed plant medicine aside. The manufacturing and selling of drugs is still leading healthcare in this country, however plant medicine is slowly working its way back into mainstream medicine.

As an educational resource, the Plant Medicine section highlighted how the stigma of marijuana has started to dissipate. It’s not the illicit drug that many believed it was growing up. There are medicinal qualities to the plant, and through research and development, more of the beneficial aspects of it are becoming known.

Not wanting to solely focus on marijuana as the only plant medicine, many hours of research went into compiling insightful and informative articles for readers. The reasons why fruits and vegetables with bright vibrant colors should be eaten when treating specific ailments has been a focus, and healing from the outside in with information on modern-day topicals made from plants like salves, balms, poultices and oil.

Herbal remedies have remained in use throughout time, and one of the most beneficial methods of using herbs as a medicine is through making tea. In March, The Power of Tea was one of our readers’ favorites. It outlined the history of tea and how it made its way across the globe. Over thousands of years, and through trial and error, the medicinal value of tea is still widely used today in all corners of the planet.

Roots, tubers and flowers have all been highlighted as well. Planting a seed in the ground and watching it grow is an amazing process to witness. The rich nutrients and minerals of the earth are absorbed into these plants, most of which have some medicinal value. The beautiful colors of flowers can even become medicinal simply by looking at them. Chromotherapy, or color therapy, is popularly used to help treat mental health disorders.

Plant medicine would be incomplete if the booming popularity of CBD wasn’t touched upon. The sale of CBD can be seen on almost every street corner. Another reader favorite has been the words of advice about fake products and where to find the highest grade products.

Using plants for wellness could be considered a miracle, a magical spell or just medicine in its most basic form. It is here to stay, and Natural Awakenings will continue to highlight the benefits of Mother Nature and her enormous medicine chest.

J. Garnet, M.A., is an educator and freelance writer. Garnet’s studies have led him to the world of plant medicine and its many benefits. His work is centered on educating the public on alternative medicine. Connect at 520-437-8855 or [email protected].

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