Every meal presents an opportunity to nourish yourself and support your health. Adding more herbs and spices into your diet comes with many benefits.
Herbs 1) strengthen the digestion
2) are high in antioxidants
3) support the immune system
4) support the nervous system
5) are antimicrobial
In herbalism the herbs are matched to you – not to an ailment. In other words, our culture still has the “One Solution Syndrome” mentality. If you have X problem, then use Y herb. You can readily see the mindset reflected in the “miracle” cures circulating on social media and in other unethical marketing practices. “Turmeric Cures Cancer!” “Lemon Balm Kills Viruses” “Echinacea Cures the Common Cold!”
There are doubtless many variations between us. Our age, weight, height, where we live, where we work, fitness levels, food preferences and general life experiences are likely to all be different. Herbs and foods should be selected to match our particular needs according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, and Western Herbalism.
So what is energetics? It is based on the physical sensations that you experience every day. There are four complementary qualities: hot/cold and dry/damp. The goal is energetic balance: if someone is hot then we use cooling herbs, if someone is dry then we use moistening herbs. Every person is born with a unique blend of the four qualities and it is referred to as their constitution………and it’s usually shades of gray rather than black and white. If someone tends to be colder, then they enjoy hot weather. Someone with a lot of dryness may be aggravated by the desert but thrive in a more humid environment. So it’s common to have a recommended supplement affect you completely differently than the friend who recommended it……..again, the One Solution Syndrome.
Plants also have these same four energetic qualities. For example, fresh ginger is considered warm, while dried ginger is considered hot. The observation comes from how the herbs act and feel in the body. Does your body categorize a cucumber as hot or cold? What about a chili pepper? Is watermelon dry or damp?
Illness may cause your personal constitution to shift. For example, you’re usually cool and dry. But you come down with an upper respiratory infection and you develop a fever and dampness in the lungs (mucous congestion). In this case you should address the hot and damp symptoms first.
You can get an idea of your present constitution by completing Quiz A & Quiz B below.