As people moved into cities and suburbs and embraced modern medicine and industrialized food, they lost their connection to nature, in particular to the plants with which humanity coevolved. These plants are essential components of our physiologies, tangible reminders of cross-kingdom signaling. They are key not only to vibrant physical health and prevention of illness but also to soothing and awakening the troubled spirit.
Blending traditional herbal medicine with history, mythology, clinical practice, and recent findings in physiology and biochemistry, herbalist Guido Masé explores the three classes of plants necessary for the healthy functioning of our bodies and minds: aromatics, bitters, and tonics. He explains how bitter plants ignite digestion, balance blood sugar, buffer toxicity, and improve metabolism; how tonic plants normalize the functions of our cells and nourish the immune system; and how aromatic plants relax tense organs, nerves, and muscles and stimulate sluggish systems, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. He reveals how wild plants regulate our heart variability rate and adjust the way DNA is read by our cells, controlling the self-destructive tendencies that lead to chronic inflammation or cancer.
Offering examples of ancient and modern uses of wild plants in each of the three classes (from aromatic peppermint to bitter dandelion to tonic chocolate), Masé provides easy recipes to integrate them into meals as seasonings and as central ingredients in soups, stocks, salads, and grain dishes, as well as including formulas for teas, spirits, and tinctures. Providing a framework for safe and effective use as well as new insights to enrich the practice of advanced herbalists, he shows how healing “wild plant deficiency syndrome”(that is, adding wild plants back into our diets) is vital not only to our health but also to our spiritual development.