Most herb schools use some traditional basis for their healing approach and to address the basic energetics of the herbs. In America, it seems that most herbal schools use Chinese Medicine, Native American, or theGreekhumors, and with few using Ayurveda, unless one is studying to become an Ayurvedic practitioner. While there are many things in common between these different modalities, they are very different and have different approaches to healing.
Ayurveda means “the science of life” and is a traditional form of medicine that has been used for over 5,000 years. The Ayurvedic approach addresses the diet, lifestyle, and spirit when using herbs. Not only is food important (and therapeutic), but how we prepare it, ingest it and process it is equally important. What a person is doing in their day to day life is also important. All of these things must be considered along with the use of herbs.
The energetics of herbs (and foods) tell the practitioner if it is heating or cooling to the body and how it affects the elements causing our imbalances. With Ayurveda, we apply how the elements are causing the imbalance, and work to bring it into balance.
Knowing the energetics is just as important as knowing the use of an herb. For example, Valerian and California Poppy are both calming, sedating herbs, but an experienced herbalist does not necessarily use them interchangeably. Valerian is a warming herb, so a person that has a lot of excess heat may become more agitated, have disturbing, violent dreams, or even break out into a rash because they are increasing their heat even more with the Valerian. This person would want to use a more cooling herb such as California poppy.
Having an Ayurvedic basis does combine well with a yoga education, but yoga is not necessary to understand herbs. However, the understanding of the need to heal the entire being versus only approaching the physiological actions of the herbs is necessaryto understanding this path.
My personal love of this path is due to that approach of addressing the lifestyle and spirituality (not religion specific) of the patient. I love that Ayurveda addresses both of these while strongly looking at the diet and how it is consumed. In my 17 years of working with herbs, the Ayurvedic component has drastically changed my success rate with helping others to heal. In this class, we not only get to dive into the Ayurvedic approach to herbs but also Ayurvedic medicine making and applications. I truly love respectfully sharing this passion with my students, and love watching them pass the information on into the world.
~* Amy Branum
Integrative Herbalism, a Level 2 course begins June 23. This class requires some herbal knowledge/education and is for those who are ready to get serious about using this medicine. Contact email@example.com with any questions. Or register here to reserve your spot!