Proven to help nourish and heal, plants have medicinal powers that were seeded long ago. They don’t just look good, they make us feel good too. No matter the location—from NYC, Chicago to LA—the Earth graciously gifted our species with plants to help us cope with essentially any and all pain points. “Plant medicine is grandma’s medicine,” says herbalist Samantha Feld, who focuses on the ancient practice of plant medicine and how to integrate it into our modern lifestyles.
Even in an urban landscape, where there’s a sense of disconnect from nature, we can still awaken a relationship with plants. It doesn’t have to be a jungle. Even a small patch of trees in a local park or one indoor plant can be helpful to our overall health. Not all plants have medicinal properties. However, plants absorb toxins in the air and overall produce more oxygen for our bodies.So, even when we aren’t using plants for medicinal purposes, they are still working in our favor.
Humans encounter stress on a regular basis—at work, in traffic, in relationships. It’s a part of life. Stress helps build resiliency. Recovery from stress is also part of life and an area where plants can be great allies. At the same time, there are so many healing plants to choose from that it can be hard to know where to start.
Sam guides people on their wellness journey by demystifying certain plants and providing context on how and when to use them. She starts with an initial consultation which serves as a diagnostic of your body’s unique makeup (ex. Do you run hot or cold?). From there, she crafts a plan tailored to your needs in conjunction with Verdant LA, plant medicine, for the modern human.
Our on-demand, instant gratification era has spawned a movement called Anarcho-herbalism, which people like Sam resonate deeply with. This approach to health and wellness is old wine in a new bottle. It calls back to earlier eras where the bond between people and plants was treated as something spiritual, a practice that’s still observed by indigenous cultures throughout the world.
There’s around one hundred medicinal herbs and flowers with unique healing properties. Western medicine has taken note of this, and opened its doors to herbal remedies in a field that it still refers to as “alternative,” “functional,” or “holistic” as if being in relationship with plants was something optional.
When asked about an alternative to countless cups of coffee everyday, for an easy entry point into the plant world, Sam steered us to the Schisandra berry. Instead of starting your morning off with caffeine, she recommended the adaptogenic berry that’s known to boost energy and sustain concentration without burnout Schisandra also supports healthy liver function, which reduces signs of stress and aging. Brain fog after a long day? Steep some rosemary into tea and have a glass before bed. These are just two of the many ways that you can welcome plants (back) into your life.
So, how does one cultivate a relationship with plants that are already around us? Sam says it runs deeper than just watering your plants. She recommends sitting with a plant before taking from it. She even practices plant meditation, which can help your mind tune into the healing powers the plant has on your body. When you meditate with a plant, you can notice subtle energy shifts within the body to understand how you’ll react once working with it. Once you establish that intimate connection, the rest comes from the heart. When taking pieces of a plant, be it the root or flower, we can give back with song or prayer. We can sprinkle herbs around the plant and remind it that we are thankful. It’s important to understand not to harm the plant before and when you take from it; treat it as part of the community where we are all healing. This approach will help restore an age old contract: we take care of the plants and the plants take care of us.