Plant Energetics and Herbalism 101

...with Molly Meehan Brown


Carlos Duran:

Podcasting live from the lush jungles of Costa Rica, this is Vibration Rising Radio with your hosts ...

Carlos Duran:

... And Carlos Duran. Adi, who do we have on today's show?

Adi Shakti :

Today we are so blessed to have Mrs Molly Meehan-Brown. She is passionate about community based herbal and food systems, and specifically building cooperatively to keep the knowledge of our food, herbal medicines, teas, and our healing traditions alive and vital within our communities. She is rooted in the belief that plant medicine is the people's medicine. Everyone of us come from a lineage of plant people and this knowledge is our birth right. As the founder and director of Center Ashé Community Herbal Education Center, Molly coordinates programming at their two herbal centers located on a small herb farm outside of Washington D.C., as well as an herbal center in Manzanillo Costa Rica. Centro Ashé offers apprenticeships, a sliding scale herbal clinic, group trips and workshops, locally grown herbal products in Costa Rica. Molly particularly works with the indigenous traditional and Afro-Costa Rican herbalists in cooperative programming to support keeping this knowledge and their traditions thriving. Molly is most interested in working where plants, people, justice, and sustainability meet. She has a BA in international studies, human rights, as well as a masters in sustainable development and nonprofit management from the School for International Training. The lifelong study of plant medicine is central to Molly's path and heart song. She has studied herbalism at the Self-Heal School for Herbal Medicine in California, with various traditional herbalists in Costa Rica for the last decade, and attended clinical herbal programs at Sacred Plant Traditions. Welcome Molly.

Carlos Duran:

All right, Molly. Welcome.

Molly:

Thank you for having me.

Adi Shakti :

Today is really exciting because we have someone live in our studio today, which it's been awhile since that's happened. She's a local community member here in our southern Caribbean zone so we're very thankful that she's with us today. Welcome, thank you Molly.

Molly:

Thanks for having me.

Carlos Duran:

Molly, why don't you tell us a little bit about what you do when you work with plants as medicine.

Molly:

That really depends on what situation presents itself which really varies day by day. I'm a clinical herbalist. I sometimes have people contact me and fill out a health history form. I get all kinds of information, and then we do a full consultation and we come up with herbal formulas for that person. I tend to formulate for people based on that person. I don't usually use standard formulas. Everybody has their energetics and plants have their own energetics. I've been trained as an energetic herbalist. That's usually the way that sort of scenario goes. Here in Costa Rica, I can give you an example of last Wednesday. The first thing that happened was somebody for the community came shouting, "Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah, so and so got sandbox sap in his eye and he's blind." Then that's more of an emergency, sort of first aid situation. We had somebody have an allergic reaction to jackfruit. Then we had somebody ... Literally, within an hour somebody else wiped out on the street and totally busted their knee. Really different kinds of situations more like first aid ... What's immediately around me? What do I have in my apothecary? What are the plants that I have immediately around me to work with? It depends on the scenarios. Sometimes it's full on consultations and a little more of a sit down situation, and then sometimes it's like emergency.

Carlos Duran:

Let me ask you ... If we have aspirin and we have hospitals and we have modern medicine, why do we still need to go back to these old dirty herbs that are in the dirty and not nearly as advanced as all this great medicine that science has provided for us?

Molly:

Let's use the example you just gave of aspirin. Aspirin we find in nature. We find it in willow bark. We find it in spirea and we find it in meadowsweet. Aspirin is a great example of how modern medicine has extracted one specific phytochemical, one constituent, because we decided, "This is the medicine, so we're going to take that out of its whole context. We're going to isolate it and we're going to take it." It works pretty well. It's great for symptom relief. Aspirin takes away a headache or thins your blood. Then there's all of these side effects that when you take meadowsweet as a whole plant, or you take willow bark as a whole plant, you don't get these side effects. Aspirin by itself on an empty stomach, we know it upsets your stomach. It can cause ulcers, things like that. Meadowsweet on the other hand, if you take the full tea which contains that constituent and everything else that nature put into it, that whole, then it's actually specific for healing ulcers. We're really good in modern life about these ... Being mechanistic. These separate isolated parts. This is the medicine. In tumeric now, "We love curcumin and we're going to get a standardized extract of curcumin." Instead of just taking tumeric or cooking with tumeric, things like that. It's really about stepping back and thinking in systems. Looking at the whole. For me, trusting that there is a divine reason why this plant is the way it is. I work with whole plant medicine.

Carlos Duran:

Are you saying that in nature we find a package ... A solution package or a healing package that's within the DNA code of that plant? What science does is it extracts one particular aspect of that plant and it loses the package, so it's like taking a computer code but you only have a snippet of the code. You don't have the full code so then there's side effects of the result?

Molly:

We can see this in pharmaceutical medicine, but we could be just as mechanistic in herbal medicine and we are.

Carlos Duran:

Really?

Molly:

Absolutely. You could just pop herbal pills all the time and have no connection with that plant. It might still be a whole plants extract, but there's something creating ...

Carlos Duran:

What does that mean, "A connection to the plant?" What does that mean?

Molly:

I think that ... For me, it's really interesting ... As an example, a lot of people were saying that people are throwing their tinctures around here, and just having formula and formula names, but never putting the name of the plant. To me, I usually use simples. I use the plant because I want to create a relationship with that plant. I want to know how that plant interacts with me or interacts with somebody that I'm working with. All of the plants affect us in different ways. I'm not sure if that exactly answered your question.

Adi Shakti :

What is a tincture, Molly?

Molly:

A tea is an extract of herbs in water. A tincture is an extract of herbs in alcohol, usually 40% or above. An herbal oil is an extract of herbs in whatever oil you're using, coconut oil, olive oil. An essential oil is an extract of just the volatile oils of plants, which is a really great example within herbal medicine of us isolating one part and creating this really strong, almost drug-like ... Yeah, it's natural but essential oils are like about as far away from the actual plant as you could get without it not being the plant.

Carlos Duran:

Wow.

Molly:

They're really intense. They're super strong. They're not particularly sustainable. It takes an incredible amount of plant material. It's like a football field worth of lavender to produce a gallon of lavender essential oil. Whereas if you take a couple of lavender leaves and you smell it, you're still getting the volatile oils and that's in a natural ... That's how the plant exists. I use lavender essential oil. I use some other essential oils, but I use them with respect and pretty sparingly.

Adi Shakti :

If I wanted to include tinctures in my daily healthcare routine, how could that look? How might people ... Is it something you use daily or you use it as needed?

Molly:

Totally depends. For example ... I never put dosage on my bottles. Everything is depending on why somebody is taking something. If I'm taking mimosa for my sleep then I'm going to take maybe 30 drops of dormilona about an hour before I go to sleep in a tincture. If I'm having tummy issues and I'm going to be using bitters as a tummy issue, I'm going to take 15 drops about 20 minutes every time before I eat. If I am doing a cleanse ... I might do that for the whole year, I might take bitters every single meal. I might be using sleep medicine very regularly. If I have a particular ... I deal with a lot of staph around here so we might be using topical applications, but internal applications. We're going to maybe using 45 drops, three times a day of a specific blend I come up with for 20 days. Hitting it hard and that's a really specific sort of acute situation. Versus something that might be more chronic where we're taking adaptogens, more tonic herbs and things like that. It totally depends. The same herb could be tonic in one situation and could be used in a higher dose as an acute remedy in a different situation.

Adi Shakti :

I'm really inspired listening to you talk. I'm so blessed and lucky to live in this community. A lot of the different plants that you're referring to and things I'm blessed to know what it is that you're talking about. I can imagine for someone at home that this concept of herbalism is relatively new. It could be a little bit overwhelming, so I'm curious. If someone is wanting to take steps towards integrating more plant medicine, more natural therapies into their life ... Say they're at zero. They know nothing about it. What might be some good first steps for people to start to integrate this healing modality into their life?

Molly:

I think the two steps would be first, to walk out your door and see what's on the ground around you. Literally, no matter where you are ... You could be in New York City and there's plants hanging on the road, there's chicory, there's chickweed in the cracks of New York City. You can find herbal medicine where ever you are, no matter whether you're in a city or a country situation. We all have medicine literally outside of our door. Often the most plentiful weeds are the medicine that serves us the most. If you can't identify what the plants, then get in on a local plant walk so you can see what the medicine is around you. I'd say the entry into herbal medicine ... The heart of herbal medicine is tea. If you somehow were not around any plants then start with some tea bags. Drink and connect with plants that way. Be with the plants in any kind of way. I would also encourage people ... I always tell this to our students, too ... It's vast. It's like a lifelong path. Any of this is a lifelong path and none of us will ever know everything there is to know. Don't ever get overwhelmed. I know some incredible herb teachers that literally focus on one plant for a whole year. You be with that plant and you explore with that plant. You can meditate with that plant. You drink tea. You can tincture it. You can smoke it. You can sleep next to it, put it on your bed table. Whatever, but create a relationship with that plant. I think it's Phyllis Light who is this folk ablation herbalist talked about how it's better to know how to use one plant 40 ways than 100 plants one way. Plants are incredibly vast in their medicine. We tend to say, "Dormilona is for sleeping. Ginger is for motion sickness,"  They're so vast in their medicine. We're really good at pinpointing them, but they're very dynamic in their medicine. Take it slow, one herb at a time. Drink some tea. See what's outside your door. This is everybody's medicine. It's really and truly outside of everybody's door.

Adi Shakti :

Knowing a little bit about you Molly, something that I really find fascinating is that you have this vast knowledge that is herbalism, but you use that as a tool for integrating into the community and for providing opportunities for people within the community. There is a word that is becoming more and more popular, a concept that's becoming more and more popular. This idea of a permaculture. Using permaculture as a way of relating to each other both in how it is that we're developing our homes, but also how we're developing our relationships in our communities. What is permaculture and how does the art of herbalism fit into permaculture? How do you use it? What does it mean to you?

Molly:

Permaculture is a modern articulation of indigenous knowledge. This was Bill Mollison's articulation of system that have been employed by indigenous communities for thousands and thousands of years. It is first and foremost indigenous knowledge. Now it's been created into a science by Bill Mollison, all these different guys now, and ... I haven't heard many indigenous communities using that word, but I think that they embody it. Permaculture at this point is a systems view of life. It's about interrelationships. Sometimes when people are unfamiliar with permaculture, they might think it's about growing food or sustainable energy. It is those things. It's where you get your energy from. It's how you feed yourself.

Carlos Duran:

Permaculture is a blueprint. You can apply this to your home garden. You can apply this to your relationships. You can apply this to your business. Is that more or less?

Molly:

Totally. It's literally about all the interrelationships of everything in your life.

Carlos Duran:

What's the underlying philosophy of permaculture? With the zones, and zone one and zone two ...

Adi Shakti :

There's principles, right?

Carlos Duran:

Principles.

Adi Shakti :

There's principles of permaculture. What are some of those principles?

Molly:

I'm not a practicing permaculturalist so you might want to talk to some. I did a lot of permaculture farms and things like that, but the zones ... The concept around zones is design. It's a design philosophy so you're maximizing ... You're looking at nature as your guide of how you're designing your home space, your work space, your gardens, your farms, whatever. Nature's really smart. Nature is very economic. Nature doesn't do things by mistake. The zones are zone zero through five. The idea would be zero is the home, one might be you've got your chickens right outside your door or your kitchen garden. You can go harvest your kitchen herbs right outside your door. The stuff you have to visit frequently. As you move further and further out, you might have your timber for building your home. Something here, we would have plantains or root vegetables, something that doesn't have to be harvested so often so you don't have to visit those further away from your home space, zone zero. It would be out in zone five. You can always have aspects of zone five into zone one or zone zero.

Carlos Duran:

How do you use this philosophy? This indigenous technology that's now called permaculture, how do you use it in your business? How do you use it in your healing practices?

Adi Shakti :

Can we go back to the community piece? We were talking about how herbalism and her art of herbalism is a tool for her connecting to her community.

Carlos Duran:

Adi, we can do whatever you want.

Adi Shakti :

I want to get to that because I think that kind of got ...

Carlos Duran:

Let's go back to that.

Adi Shakti :

How you use herbalism as a tool for empowering the local community.

Molly:

Herbs are my relations. I feel like incredible relationship with plants as I do with people. I have been blessed to have incredible teachers at the community based level. I have a master degree, I have an undergrad degree. All of my plant knowledge has come from interacting with human beings outside of a university. Outside of any of those sorts of spaces. That's something that has been something I've been grateful for and is what we're doing at Centra Ashé. We want herbs to be accessible at a community level. We want this knowledge to be thriving at a community level. I've lived down here for ... I first got here in 2001 or 2002. I've been back and forth some, but when I got back to the D.C. area ... I went back to the D.C. area in 2010. My dad was sick and I didn't quite have a plan, but I knew I was going to be home and caring. I'm from the Washington D.C. area and one thing I saw was there was this graduate school in herbal medicine. It was like $50,000 or $60,000 a year. I was like, "Cool. What about everybody that doesn't have a college degree or wants to spend $60,000 to get this knowledge? This knowledge should be popularized." It is popularized in certain communities. It's being erased or lost for all kinds of reasons all over the place. That's all we do. There's a lot of community based herb schools around the United States. It's sort of like a lineage type of community, so there's all kinds of herb schools. Like, "Who did you study this with? This person. Who did you study with this person?" That's beautiful and I'm of several lineages. I've had several plant teachers What we do a little bit different at Centro Ashé ... I'm not the teacher at Centro Ashé. In D.C., we have an immense amount of incredible local plant teachers. We're highlighting those people and they knowledge that they bring. I always say, "We don't import superstars, we have the knowledge right here." I really believe that's true for any community anywhere. The same thing here. There's incredible plant knowledge here. Me, one of the things I think about too, is my place of privilege as a white female. I love teaching. It's something that I feel called to do and I have every opportunity available to me to be doing that. My space, the space that I create and spend my energy creating is a space that's largely ignored in the United States and the dominant herbal community, is the voices of people of color. It's the same kinds of thing that can be really had in Costa Rica as well. There are communities that have overrided knowledge that is never attributed to traditional communities, and they are some of our best plant keepers. That's a lot of the work that we do at Centro Ashé.

Carlos Duran:

If somebody in Washington D.C. wanted to come and visit Centro Ashé, how could they? Is there a number they can call? A place they can drive up to?

Molly:

We're located about 20 miles south of the city on the Maryland side of the Potomac River. We have a small herb farm down there. The number is 301-375-6082.

Carlos Duran:

Say it slower so people can ...

Molly:

301-375-6082.

Adi Shakti :

We don't have that much time left.

Molly:

All of our programs ... The best thing to do is to look at our website. All of our Maryland programs are on there and all of our Costa Rica programs are there. We do ...

Carlos Duran:

That website is ...

Molly:

Www.centroashe.org. C-E-N-T-R-O A-S-H-E dot org.

Carlos Duran:

That'll be in the show notes too.

Molly:

Perfect. We do an apprenticeship program there that follows the seasons, so our students get to plant seeds in the spring, and then harvest and put our gardens to bed in the fall. It's one weekend monthly and then we do weekend programs. We have a big herbal gathering, that's popular gathering where we have about 200 people in the fall every year come out to the Chesapeake Herb Gathering. All of our teachers are local teachers. Anyone's welcome to come and teach, but it's really about knowing that all of this knowledge is in our local community. We don't have to import this knowledge from elsewhere. It's not like there's not incredible plant teachers all over the world, I haven't studied with many of them. Knowing we have so much of this knowledge right here.

Carlos Duran:

There's that philosophy that says, "Anything and everything you need in the moment you need it is within your immediate area."

Molly:

100%.

Adi Shakti :

What's the difference between the work that a nutritionist would do versus herbalism? What's the relationship between my regular ...

Carlos Duran:

Food and herbs?

Adi Shakti :

My regular diet versus taking herbs. What does that mean? What is that like?

Molly:

In the United States, there's an actual legal certification that you have to go through to become a licensed nutritionist. In the United States, the practice of herbalism is illegal. There is no licensure and there's no certification. For me ...

Adi Shakti :

It's illegal like you're not allowed to practice it?

Molly:

You're not allowed to practice medicine and you're not allowed to give medical advice. As herbalists, for me I love that. I really hate red tape. I think as soon as we start licensing and regulating it, we standardize it, we say, "This is exactly all the same information everyone's going to receive." Then when you get your certification, we lose all of the traditional healers. We lose all of the beautiful, diverse ways there are to be an herbalist. You can be an herbal farmer. You can be a wild crafter out and sustainably harvesting herbs. You can be a teacher. You can be in a lab testing phytochemicals. You can be an apothecary medicine maker. You can have a little herb shop. You can be a clinician seeing clients. There's so many ways to be herbalists and I hope that it always stays that way. What we see with midwifery, we don't even have midwives in Costa Rica. That's totally outlawed and it's the same kinds of stuff in the United States. Once we totally standardize and licensure ... Nutritionist is a little bit of a different situation, but we eliminate all the traditional practitioners. You eliminate them because it all has to look a specific way. If somebody doesn't practice that way then they're either pushed underground which is something we're used to in herbalism. Nutritionists, there's license process. There's specific schools you have to go to. It's very oriented toward food. Nutrition, obviously a lot of supplements. It's not to say that herbalists don't have a whole lot of knowledge about them, but there isn't a standard way to be an herbalist. In the United States, you could technically practice if you've read one book. An armchair herbalist, they call that. You could have people that have been practicing for like 50 years, have studied with all kinds of incredible masters and gone to clinical herbal programs, stuff like that. In some ways it forces us to take ... Which I think is beautifully empowering about anyone that's approaching their health and taking responsibility for our health ourselves. It forces each person to ask their questions and take the responsibility. You need to know, "Is this person really know what they're talking about? This herbalist could be a total quack."

Carlos Duran:

How can you tell? What are some ways you ...

Molly:

How can you tell? I think it's the same thing when you go to a farmer's market, know where your food comes from. Create a relationship with your farmer or create a relationship with your herbalist. Watch what their practices are. All of these kind of things are really important. The village herbalist, who is there. I think a lot of times as herbalists we're called on that by our community. When I first started practicing herbal medicine it was like ... I was in Punta Mona. I had some basic herbal knowledge and I had been teaching CPR and first aid. Then I worked at an herb farm for like six months in [inaudible 00:23:57]. It was like, "No one knows anything, Molly, so everyone's going to come to you." It was like the community called me to do that. Not everybody has that experience but you hear that a lot.

Carlos Duran:

What's the relationship with food and healing herbs?

Molly:

It's one and the same. Unfortunately I think that herbs have become separate and stigmatized whereas in any traditional culture, they were one in the same. Bush medicine here, everybody drank a bush medicine every morning back in the day. You always start your day with a hot tea. It depends on what's going on what you might drink. It was part of the meal or it was part of your day. They were completely intertwined.

Carlos Duran:

What's the benefit of starting your day with a warm plant tea?

Molly:

It depends on what the tea is for, but of course you're putting that into your belly. A lot of times, especially ... A lot of people love like in a hot environment like here ice water or something like that. Our digestive systems don't quite like ice water, so hot tea in general is keeping your digestive fire going and not putting out that fire before you eat breakfast. What the benefits are probably depend on the tea, but in general drinking something warm is really excellent for the digestive system.

Carlos Duran:

Why start your day with that? The breakfast fire, but really why start your day with that?

Adi Shakti :

There's a ritual behind it as well. Being mindful in preparing it and enjoying it. Knowing that what you're starting day with is elevating your vibration.

Carlos Duran:

Is that part of the process, when you talk about connecting to the plants?

Molly:

100%.

Carlos Duran:

That ritual ...

Molly:

That's the difference between me having a ginger pill ... Which I do have a bag of ginger pills that I'll bring when I have tourists that are getting into a boat and they're going to start throwing up. Useful, I respect it. There is such medicine in just the act of preparing your medicine. There's such healing to look in your pot. That picture I sent you of the medicine I prepared for dad, it's so healing even the process of collecting the plants, of connect ... When you go and collect pants, you ask the plants for their healing and that they are delivered to where they need to be. That they are the healing that they need to be to that person. If you get the feeling that that's not the right plant or if it's a plant that's looking rough, clearly we're not going to go with that plant. If it's being totally destroyed by insects, things like that. Going and collecting that plant, processing that plant, cutting that plant, putting that plant into the tea, looking at your pot ... It's amazing. I receive such healing just from the act of medicine making.

Carlos Duran:

That's beautiful. You said that in the US, it's illegal. You practice a type of herbalism where you practice a form of support for others in the US.

Molly:

Education.

Carlos Duran:

Here, you practice herbalism?

Molly:

Here, I practice education.

Carlos Duran:

Education.

Molly:

It's pretty ... The legality of it here is also from what I understand ... What you basically have to be very careful not to do as an herbalist is to not practice medicine. You can't ... People might come to you with a medical diagnosis, but you can't treat a medical diagnosis. For me, all of that really ... You might come to me with a medical diagnosis and what I look at is energetics. The way I see the human body is I'm looking for energetic patterns and then I'm using plants to match those energetic patterns. Everything in the body is going to be hot, cold. It's going to be tense. It's going be relaxed. It's going to be moist or dry. Fire is going to dry out the body. What are things that are fire in the body? Anything from cardiac issues, that's too much heat. Are we calming, cooling? Here the medicine for cardiac issues or for high blood pressure is hibiscus. What is hibiscus? It's a refrigerant. It's one of the close cooling herbs on earth. That's plant medicine, it's cooling. Another great example of energetics is, I hate to use it, diarrhea. You know about the diarrhea that people have, chronic diarrhea. They're just always have loose stool. That's cold, and that's really different than when somebody has food poisoning and it's hot and it's burning and there's an infection. There's totally different ... There's hot and then there's cold. Same thing with a respiratory issue. In the respiratory we can have a dry, hacking, hot cough. You can have a moist, phlegmy, wet condition. What are you going to give somebody for a cold? What kind of cold do you have? What's going on? What are the energetics of what that is? I'm an herbalist. I'm looking at energetics. I'm not looking at your diagnosis of high ... I'm taking into account, of course, everything that somebody is telling me. I'll get information. I'm not treating medical conditions.

Carlos Duran:

Neither here nor in the States. You practice a form of education.

Molly:

It's a conversation. It's an education. Somebody might go through different sort of formulas that are based on that person. Not everybody works in the same way that I work either. Some people ...

Carlos Duran:

I want to change gears for a second. It's always really important to understand the full scope of the guest that we have on the show. Taking us out of the field of herbs for a moment and going into the field of business and industry, you are a young woman by any definition and you have built a business that has an international platform. You have done it basically through your own will and, of course, the network that we all have that supports us. Talk to us a little bit about your business experience, and how has your communication with plants been able to support you and help you in building your business?

Molly:

I think it's the only reason why I'm here, are the plants. I have zero experience as a business woman. All of my background is in nonprofit management. Making money is ...

Carlos Duran:

Different than raising money.

Molly:

It is. I've never been the development. I've always been on programs. I've been a program manager and things like that. I love coming up with ideas and I love working with people. I've never been interested in the money side. The reason that I don't work as a nonprofit right now is because I left the nonprofit world when I was reporting or chasing to money more than I was actually doing something. I didn't want to do that anymore. I know that there's another way. As a business woman, I'm rooted in the plants and these plants being accessible. We try to put accessible prices. I always think if we keep our prices low enough, the people will be able to show up and they'll have enough. Then we can all make a little bit of a living. That's been up and down. I'll tell you what, business for me is a struggle. That's real. I haven't figured it out yet, but I just know we're going to do this. We'll figure it out along as we go.

Carlos Duran:

You figured out enough to have a herbal farm in the States and to have a center here in Costa Rica. What was your guide for that? What was your motivation? When things got tough, what got you over the hump?

Molly:

It just showed up. Every month that I didn't have a mortgage payment, the day of the mortgage payment or two days before, it has shown up. That has been a faith that has built ...

Carlos Duran:

Where do you place your faith?

Molly:

I have no doubt in the work that we're doing. I know this is ... This has been something that I have known ... You could talk about vision boards when I was like 20. I literally have that name, Centro Ashé. I didn't know what it was going to look like. I knew it was a community center and I knew that there was probably going to be herbs or farming. This was my path and it was always clear.

Adi Shakti :

What does that mean? What does Centro Ashé mean?

Molly:

Centro is Center and Ashé is actually the Yoruba word. Out of Africa traveled into Brazil, traveled into Cuba, traveled into Haiti. It's the energy of creation. It is pure energy in motion. You'll find it within Santeria practice and various practices that have followed people out of Africa. That's what Centro Ashé means.

Carlos Duran:

That was beautiful. Molly, let me ask you ... Normally I ask about two books and two movies that someone would recommend, but in your case I think I'm going to change it a little bit. I want to ask you, if I had a baby and ...

Adi Shakti :

This question, Carlos.

Carlos Duran:

That part alone got me stuck. I was like, "What?" Let's say I was talking about my friend who has a baby. That friend's baby had swollen gums or painful baby teeth. From an educational perspective, what herb should they be looking at that could possibly help with that?

Molly:

You gave me a head's up on this question. If I had access to a health foods for something like this, I love Hylands. They have a homeopathic remedy.

Carlos Duran:

Hylands Homeopathic remedy.

Molly:

That's very specific for teething and it works great. Here, in the jungle, I would use dormilona as a tincture topically on their gums. It's wonderful for toothaches. If there is ... You could also use clove. Some clove essential oil, slightly diluted. It just depends what you got. You got to see what's around you. If you happen to be around some kava kava, kava kava's great because it numbs out that pain. You always want to keep it clean too. You might do a little bit of a mouth wash with clove, which is one of the most antimicrobial plants that are out there. You can dilute some of the essential oil and do a mouth wash with that, it also helps the numb the pain as well. In general, you want to ease the pain of baby so dormilona does that. You want to get out, if there's some sort of infection, then you're working on a different level. It just depends on what you got around you.

Carlos Duran:

What if ... Let's say that, I don't know ...

Molly:

By the way, for here for gripe, for colic for babies, do you know they use [foreign language 00:34:52], which is interesting because for adults it's used differently. It's usually breaking up stones or something like that. Gripe water in the states for colic for babies would be fennel, any sort of carminative herb ... Fennel, basil, any of the culinary herbs. A lot of them are carminative, they're great for digestion. Here [foreign language 00:35:12] is what they call gripe bush ... Afro-Caribbean folks call it gripe bush and they use that for babies for colic.

Carlos Duran:

We also use the milk of the cilantro, the root milk. Not the typical cilantro you find in the States, this is coyote cilantro. It's something you find here. Let's say that I had a friend and this friend had a girlfriend that was half his age. He was really stressed out and he didn't know what to do like, "Oh my God." What was some of the things that he should be looking at to educate himself as far as de-stressing with plants?

Molly:

De-stressing with plants. Stress? I think plants are part of the whole picture, for sure. I think that going a nice walk on the ocean is good. Yoga is incredibly helpful with stress. Meditation is incredibly helpful. I believe in teams ...

Carlos Duran:

This, he wants to drink something.

Molly:

I'm going to get to that. What I'm going to say is, we shouldn't just rely on one thing. I think everything is really holistic. Particularly stress, the way I see people deal with stress best is in teams. You get a whole little team on your side and your life of tools. Stress? Dormilona is also wonderful for stress. If you're in a ... What else here? Manzanillo, you know ...

Carlos Duran:

Noni juice is good for stress.

Molly:

Noni as well, and it's tonifying. Anything that's tonifying, building to your whole self, is going to be help you deal with stress.

Carlos Duran:

An unpasteurized noni juice. A dormilona tea.

Molly:

You're building the gut health is ... If you're going to have a fermented juice, everything that's helping out the gut and your gut health is 100% connected with your brain health, with your mental health.

Carlos Duran:

What about damiana would be good for stress?

Molly:

Damiana, it is good for stress. I think that chamomile is wildly underappreciated.

Carlos Duran:

She is, right?

Molly:

It's an amazing anti-spasmodic for all kind of muscle cramping, the body, women's ... All kinds of tummy cramping. It's so relaxing to the body and it's also antimicrobial so you could use it for a UTI. It is so good.

Carlos Duran:

Chamomile is like this amazing woman that we take for granted because we see her every day, everywhere. We're like, "Ah, yeah." We forget how amazing chamomile really is. Thank you for that.

Molly:

Of course.

Carlos Duran:

The final one is ... Let's say I had this friend and she has this man that ... The dude is just giving her headaches. The dude is not stepping up and she's got to take care of the dude and her life. She's trying to figure out how to either get him on track or get him out the door because she's got to go forward. She's getting this headaches. What can she take for the headaches?

Molly:

Famous plan for headaches is always feverfew. You could do any of the plants that contain aspirin, so willow, meadowsweet ...

Carlos Duran:

Willow, meadowsweet, feverfew ...

Molly:

... Spirea. These are all temperate climate plants that I'm naming right now. You could ... Here, dormilona. The States all use valerian as well for headaches.

Carlos Duran:

Valerian root is great.

Molly:

I like using skullcap for headaches as well.

Carlos Duran:

Skullcap is great. I like skullcap.

Molly:

All those I have in the apothecary here, but I also try to use as many local plants. Depends on where you are.

Carlos Duran:

If we're in the States or we're in Canada or in Europe, I feel really bad for all you guys suffering in the cold. Outside of that, you can go to a Whole Food Market and you can buy these things in bulk. You don't have to buy the pill or an extracted liquid. You can buy the actual plant dried in bulk form. Now you simple make a tea?

Molly:

That's absolutely an option. The Whole Foods or your local food co-op have some bulk herbs. I don't think Whole Foods has the best, most expensive ... First go to your local herb farmer. First grow it yourself, then look around you in your community, who is growing your herbs and go there.

Carlos Duran:

Online in the States, there's plenty of organic ...

Molly:

There's Zack Wood's Herb Farm or there's Mountain Rose Herbs. There's different herb companies where you can buy your bulk and sometimes organic ...

Carlos Duran:

We'll put those two links in the ...

Molly:

... Organic herbs. Those are great sources for herbs as well. Look what's around you. You can grow it yourself, collect it yourself, sustainably and responsibly, or if you can support somebody in your community that's making medicine. Look for your local herbalist. Everywhere has an herbalist, go to your local herbalist and find them. Support them because we're up against a lot.

Adi Shakti :

I would like the book thing because I think ...

Carlos Duran:

All right, let's do it.

Adi Shakti :

I think as a resource because ... Is there some sort of herbalism bible that everyone should have in their ...

Carlos Duran:

Two books and two movies you'd recommend, Molly.

Molly:

Such a hard time with the herbalism bible question because there's so many good ones.

Carlos Duran:

I would like to recommend the lady from Raintree that got shut down by the FDA. You remember the name of her book? Nature ... I'll put that. I'll find that somewhere. Rainforest, I think her name was ... Linda Tailor, I think it was.

Molly:

Not Rosita Arvigo.

Carlos Duran:

No. Linda Tailor, I think it was. Rainforest botanicals. The FDA shut her down two years ago.

Molly:

That's a big reason why you want to support your community herbalist because they just changed the Good Manufacturing Practices, the GMPs, in the States which has made every village herbalist completely unable to adhere to the same standards they're being held to as huge Walmart-esque companies. That's another story and another conversation on another day. Support your local herbalist. As far as books ... Oh, gosh. You just mentioned Rosita Arvigo, she had several books called Rainforest Remedies and stuff like that. Those are kind of good. She works with my communities and beliefs. That just reminded me what you just said as far as rainforest ...

Carlos Duran:

That's one book. What's another book?

Molly:

As far as in the States ... Great books that I love as far as getting to know the plants and growing plants, I recommend with Richo Cech out of Horizon Herbs ... I just changed their name of their company. He's got an herbal medicine making book which is really wonderful for basic remedies or ways to interact with making medicine yourself. James Green also has a really good medicine making book. Those are good practical skills books.I love some of the books ... There's one called The Language of Plants. I can't remember the lady's name, it's Juliette something, and then Stephen Buhner. They do a lot of work with ... Especially in the Language of Plants it's based on the Doctrine of Signatures so it's really this idea that plants, the way they look ... It's not like she came up with the idea. It's across cultures from ancient times. The way plants look, the way they grow, the way they're shaped, the colors that they are, where they grow, sun versus shade, around a lot of rocks ... They're teaching us their medicine. They're communicating with us. Getting to know the Doctrine of Signatures. There's one called The Language of Plants. A lot of plant spirit medicine stuff. Stephen Buhner some does good books on that.

Carlos Duran:

When Nature Speaks from Ted Andrew.

Molly:

Which one is that one?

Carlos Duran:

He has an Animal-Speak and When Nature Speaks.

Molly:

Oh, Animal-Speak. I love Animal-Speak.

Carlos Duran:

He did another one, When Nature Speaks. I thought it was really good. Any movies?

Molly:

Movies on plant medicine?

Carlos Duran:

That's a little more challenging.

Molly:

I like ... What it's called ...

Carlos Duran:

Sean Connery movie.

Molly:

No, there's a beautiful movie called Numen that was released somewhat recently. That's a really well done film with a lot of great herbalists. That's a good one. I think we have a lot of work to do with creating these documentaries that ... It's the same thing in the herbal conferences in the States. They feature a lot of the same elders, which are fantastic, and we really need to create space for new voices. Particularly voices of color in the United States because they are incredible herbalists. They're very much part of the herbal community and quite ignored.

Carlos Duran:

I got something to say, imagine that. One, Molly thank you very much for coming.

Molly:

Thanks for having me.

Carlos Duran:

Your presence on today's show opened a huge door for awareness. I think it's really important that we all understand that we are in a state of degradation. We have lost the things that made man what man could be. In that journey of losing, one of the things that we're losing most of is contact with nature. As a result of that lack of contact, we're losing indigenous knowledge. Why is that so important is because the indigenous have become the final line of gatekeepers in maintaining what the true essence of living in nature means. Not only is it important for us to recognize that modern medicine is a failure in only treating symptoms and only providing profits, but it's also a failure in maintaining our health. It's actually achieved the complete opposite. It's put us in a state of a living hell. Literally, modern medicine is destroying our planet and it's destroying the human being. I think it's really important that we move away from convenience and we move back into nature. No matter if you're sitting in an office or a high rise building, or a pickup truck listening to this. Do what you have to do to become more educated on how powerful and how truly healing homeopathic medicine, natural medicine, and plant medicine are. In any moment that you can, without guilt but with commitment, make an effort at preserving indigenous knowledge. Please make an effort to preserve and repair our planet.

Molly:

Remember ... Sorry ... That all of us come from a lineage of plant peoples. All of us come from some kind of indigenous knowledge somewhere. This is in all of our pasts, whether it's been one generation that forgot it or it's several generations. All of us are plant people, this is all of our knowledge.

Adi Shakti :

I want to make sure that we're not alienating listeners and our fellow man that have been educated, maybe miseducated, on whatever healing modality they are using to support their own health. I think that I would disagree with you Carlos in saying that we are in a state of degradation. I think that the Shakti is rising and even within the last 10, 15 years, I think that the complete landscape of humanity has shifted incredibly.

Carlos Duran:

I agree with you.

Adi Shakti :

I want to say that as far as Western medicine goes, if someone breaks a leg, to have those short fix things I think that there is some benefit to that system. What we need to move more towards is a more wholistic model of understanding not just the symptoms that need to be fixed on the outside, but how we can really begin to move towards addressing the root of the problem on the inside.

Carlos Duran:

There's two things. One, the Shakti is rising but if we do not make a conscious effort to engage that energy ...

Adi Shakti :

I think that that's shifting.

Carlos Duran:

It shifts for us, yeah. I agree with you. What I'm saying is that we need to continue that. We need to engage that fully. I agree with you if we break our leg, it's nice to have a cast although people have been breaking legs for thousands of years, way before hospital. I think the problem with modern medicine is, "I have a horrible car accident. I need to go to a hospital." That's true, but what is the cause of that? What was the energetic sequence that brought my life through, choice and consequence, to that broken leg? To that accident?

Adi Shakti :

We can have that conversation another time. I want to thank you Molly, so much for your time to be here.

Carlos Duran:

Absolutely, thank you so much.

Adi Shakti :

We're so spoiled in our community to have such rich wisdom.

Carlos Duran:

Treasures?

Adi Shakti :

Treasures, phenomenal women in business.

Carlos Duran:

A few phenomenal men.

Adi Shakti :

A few, yeah.

Carlos Duran:

Alex?

Adi Shakti :

I want to thank you, Molly, for all the wisdom to raise your own personal vibrations, to raise the vibration of our personal community. I want to thank our listeners for their commitment, for your commitment to raising your own personal vibration. I'm Adi Shakti.

Carlos Duran:

And I'm Carlos Duran.

Adi Shakti :

This is Vibration Rising Radio.