The Human Body: Machine or Ecosystem?

Modern biomedicine tends to view the human body like a machine made up of multiple “gears.” When something goes wrong, we simply need to fix the broken part (or replace it in some instances). This mechanistic view of the body is significantly different from more traditional perspectives on our anatomy and physiology.

Central to the vitalist traditions of herbalism is the perspective that the body is a reflection of the natural world, a microcosm of nature- that it is an ecosystem. The practice of true holistic herbalism is rooted in this perception of ecological physiology, which gives us a lens to directly match the energetics of the plants to the constitution of the person.

People can have similar symptoms, but due to a different underlying ecological state of the tissues. Sometimes they are overly damp or dry, other times they are too hot or cold, tense or relaxed. This understanding gives you a deeper view in to the underlying root of the symptoms, which gets you more precise in your selection of herbal remedies.

This way you aren’t just giving herbs that are “good for” certain symptoms, but help to alleviate the symptoms by adjusting the state of the tissue ecology, bringing it back to its proper homeostasis. This is ultimately treating on a much deeper level of the body.

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