Herbalism: The Lost Art of Healing

Mother Earth’s medicine chest is full of healing herbs of incomparable worth” -Robin Rose Bennett

The Civil Rights movement guaranteed access to facets of the larger white society that had previously been denied to us. This included access to Western Modern Medicine in ways our ancestors never had. It is now normal for us to go see doctors and specialists to satisfy our medical needs. This has proven to be both a blessing and a curse. While having access to medical care for a car accident or broken bones is vitally important, we have become overly dependent on the US Healthcare system for chronic diseases, and it has been to our detriment. We now rely on prescription medicines which inadequately address symptoms of dis-ease while ignoring the underlying root cause. The result is that we remain sick, while “they” get rich.

During our years of enslavement, we had to fend for ourselves. There was no white doctor we could go to for assistance, for either minor or major illnesses. We relied solely on the elders in the community who had the knowledge and wisdom of herbalism to create an environment where the body could heal itself at the cellular level. And it worked! For every ailment, illness, ache or pain, there is an herb that will ease, soothe, and heal. For every problem there is an herbal solution.

Herbalism is a practice that is embedded in the ancestral footprint of our DNA. Using herbs and plants for medicinal and healing purposes has been passed down through families and communities since the beginning of time. Famous Black herbalists include the true father of medicine, Imhotep, Queen Nanny of the Maroons, Dr. James Stills, George Washington Carver, and Ms. Emma Dupree. I’m sure you have heard stories or can tell stories about a grandmother or aunt that used roots, herbs, plants or some concoction of each to address an illness. This is herbalism. This is self-determination. This is the art of healing. 

Rosemary Gladstar explains, “As a preventative medicine, herbs are inimitable. They build and strengthen the body’s natural immunity and defense mechanism. They nourish the deep inner ecology of our systems on a cellular level…herbs support our life force…herbs often provide the impetus for lasting change”. Herbs can heal in a way prescription medicine cannot. The creator has imbued plants with healing properties. It is not necessary for you to become an herbalist or an expert on all the different types and kinds of herbs that exist. It is only necessary that you begin to look to the earth when an issue arises. One of the most effective ways to use herbs is by drinking teas. When used consistently, herbal teas ensure gradual but long-term results. As Kwame M. Vaughn explains, “Plant medicine was the first medicine…each herb is a reminder of our divine connection to this planet and to our incredible ancestors”. To learn more about herbal healing and herbal teas visit melaninrichwellness.com

Kathleen is the Owner of Melanin Rich Wellness. She is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, Vaginal Steam Practitioner, Yin Yoga Instructor and Herbalist.