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Herbal Secrets from the Green Witch of NY

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by Suzanne Fiore, used with kind permission

Herbalist and educator, Robin Rose Bennett is the author of two newly published books: The Gift of Healing Herbs (2014, North Atlantic Books) as well as Healing Magic- A Green Witch Guidebook to Conscious Living -- 10th Anniversary Edition (2014, North Atlantic Books.) Herself a vibrant product of plant-based healing, she weaves together herbal wisdom, anecdotal stories and spiritual insights. The Gift of Healing Herbs is a remarkable resource with over 550 pages of wisdom that include over 180 recipes to reference--essential for the modern herbalist, but also a great resource for anyone who wants to take greater responsibility for their own wellness.

Newly published titles by Robin Rose Bennett by Robin Rose Bennett

Meryl Ann Butler: Thank you for visiting with us, Robin! I've really enjoyed reading both your books. So many people are afraid of the sound of "herbalist" or "witch," yet those same people are often willing to trust their lives to modern allopathic medicine. I'm not sure of the statistics on "death by herbs," if indeed there are any. But I know that the current statistics on iatrogenic death and illness (ie, caused by the doctor or medical community) is a staggering number one in the US, claiming more than cancer or heart disease.

The physician must be able to tell the antecedents, know the present, and foretell the future - must mediate these things, and have two special objects in view with regard to disease, namely, to do good or to do no harm. The art consists in three things - the disease, the patient, and the physician. The physician is the servant of the art, and the patient must combat the disease along with the physician.

- Hippocratic Corpus

Those statistics imply that we are safer running away from allopathic medicine, rather than toward it, in almost any instance. In this context, natural methods of health care seem quite attractive. I also know that traditionally, the primary wiccan and neo-Pagan guideline is "An it harm none, do what ye will", similar to the well known advice given by Hippocrates in the Latin maxim primum non nocere (first, do no harm).

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Robin and a red-stalked poke plant (Phytolacca americana) a lymphatic stimulant & old time arthritis remedy. Poke salat is a favorite Southern dish, with young plants cooked in 3 changes of water. by Robin Rose Bennett

Robin Rose Bennett: Thanks for this opportunity, Meryl Ann. I'm delighted to have the chance to speak with you and through you, to your readers.

What you say is true: the number of injuries and deaths from modern medicine is absolutely staggering. So what are we to do?

Personally, it is my practice as much as possible to run toward what I do want or am drawn to, rather than running away from something else, mostly because I get clearer results that way. I've learned that when I'm running away from something it tends to find me again and again until I turn and face my fear and learn what it's really about. And though we're usually running away out of fear, fear is not always a "dirty" word. In situation-specific small doses it can be a compelling guide to self-preservation!

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The reason I bring this up at all is because in terms of natural healing I often hear a person saying something like, "I don't want ______ (fill in the blank) surgery, drugs, radiation, chemo, an anti-depressant, and yet they actually still trust in the medical approach of fixing and curing, slashing and burning, and take the same mind-set and just stick it on top of using herbs instead of drugs. This is healing as warfare and its currency is fear no matter what substances we are taking. Its language is militaristic, and it comes out of the belief that healing is about controlling nature and gaining power-over your body rather than entering into partnership with it for your ongoing healing. The result is that we, and the medical system, go to war against our bodies in the name of healing. This approach is transferable to any healing modality. It isn't what you do, but the spirit in which you do it, that generates true change, and in my experience, true healing.

One misperception I'd like to clear up is that conventional western medicine is not traditional medicine. It is modern. The word traditional means something. 'Traditional' medicine means medicine that has withstood the test of time. It is old, even ancient. Herbalism, in its many forms around the world (western, Chinese, Ayurvedic, indigenous, etc) is truly traditional medicine. It is time-tested. We have evolved with plants. In fact, they are our elders. Our bodies recognize the healing nutrients (I call them gifts) in plants and they are bio-assimilable, meaning they match the cellular receptors in our bodies beautifully, and thus we are able to make the most out of the healing gifts (vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, antioxidants, etc.) that plants offer to us.

De Materia Medica (Latin: .On Medical Material.), a pharmacopoeia written in approx. 65 CE by Dioscorides, a Roman Army physician. It was the primary authority on the subject for the next 1000 years. No originals are known but copies remain, such as the by Composite image from Public Domain images via wiki

MAB: Wow, thanks , Robin for reframing the terms "traditional" and "modern" within the larger scope of things, that really makes sense! I guess it's safe to say that the shortcomings of allopathic medicine have inspired many to look elsewhere for illness intervention.

RRB: Right! And what we have, here and now, and what I bring out throughout the Gift of Healing Herbs, is an opportunity to change how we look at and think about what the process of healing actually asks of us, and perhaps more compellingly, what it offers us. The time is ripe, culturally, to examine our deeply held and taught beliefs about our bodies and about what healing is.

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

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