In a world increasingly obsessed with success, wellness and the quick-fix solution, plant medicine—medicines from plants—is becoming increasingly popular.
It’s been around for centuries, but only now are we starting to notice on a scientific level its ability to benefit our physical and mental health in ways that modern medicine can’t or won’t—something that our ancestors knew all along.
Why? Because it works. And not in the ‘it helped me fall asleep or ‘it seemed to take my headache away’ sense, but in a way that’s much more fundamental and indisputable: plant medicine changes your DNA (for example, Ayahuasca), immersing you in wellness on every level; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
We’ve been using plant medicine for thousands of years. It’s an integral part of our culture and history, and it can be used both preventatively and to treat a wide range of common illnesses.
And while we’re only just starting to recognize its power, plant medicine is becoming increasingly popular, perhaps because we’re finally waking up to what’s possible.
Today it’s not just alternative therapists that are using plant medicine but experts in all fields of wellness and healthcare—and since there’s no risk of interactions with Western medicine, doctors can’t argue. I even believe that it doesn’t need to exclude each other. It all has its pros and cons.
Plant medicine works by affecting our internal balance at a cellular level to promote optimal health. It does this through phytochemicals, which are chemical compounds found in plants that work synergistically with other nutrients to produce an effect on the body.
Most recognized for their antioxidant properties, phytochemicals also play a role in regulating hormones, brain chemistry and blood sugar levels; helping to combat inflammation (a key factor in many diseases); improving cellular energy production; reducing free radical damage, and promoting the release of growth factors to keep you looking and feeling young.
What’s more, research shows that plant medicine works with your body rather than against it, meaning there’s no risk of side effects. If, of course, you use it properly, like with almost everything you take and eat.
The link between plant medicine and health isn’t new. Plant-based medicines have been used for centuries to treat a wide range of conditions, from aches and pains to fever and infection, and while Western medicine hasn’t taken much notice until recently, plant medicine is gaining more recognition all the time. I love it.
In fact, it’s on the rise globally—in 2020, the global market for herbal medicines was valued at around $98.6 billion, on track to rise to $391 billion by 2028.
The biggest-selling products are traditionally the ones associated most closely with plants, like teas and tinctures, but they’re now being joined on the shelves by more modern types of plant medicine, like capsules and superfoods (mmm… cacao), and they’re becoming more accessible than ever before. You can find them in health shops and pharmacies across the country, as well as online (where they’re available for home delivery); while many hospitals now offer plant medicine too.
Since plants are natural, it means there’s no risk of interactions with other medicines you may be taking—or side effects—and because plant medicines affect us at a cellular level, they also promote deep-rooted wellness, rather than just providing symptomatic relief.
But if it’s so effective, why do we need to be reminded of it now?
Well, actually, this is something of a return to form, like with fashion or other things, plant medicine isn’t new at all! It was once the go-to treatment for pretty much everything, but as modern medicine has grown in popularity, plants have fallen by the wayside.
And while many of us are familiar with traditional herbal medicines like echinacea and peppermint, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. According to WHO, there are over 21,000 plant species out there with medicinal properties. Most of the plants are not even identified yet.
What this means is that plant medicine isn’t just the future—it’s the present, too. We just need to be more aware of it and how it can help us achieve optimal wellness on every level.
So what can plant medicine do?
Well, it has a wide range of uses and benefits—and as we’re only just starting to understand how plants work, we’re still finding out!
But there’s evidence that it could be used to help with the following: anxiety and depression; digestion (including bloating and constipation).
Honestly? The list is endless.
If you’re interested in a positive step towards a healthier lifestyle, plant medicine could be for you. And luckily, we are one of those people around the world who are interested in writing about and selling plant medicine.