For best results, safest use, and optimal benefits from wild plants it is necessary to familiarize oneself with some basic information. Wild plant foraging can be a pleasant and fun experience that can provide nourishing foods and healing medicines, but as with all other living beings, the Plant Kingdom must be respected and worked with appropriately.
How we understand nature will greatly influence how we interact with nature and how nature interacts with us. Some people hold very negative beliefs about nature, where nature is seen as a hostile, competitive, and selfish landscape focused solely on the survival of the fittest. Others approach nature with a lot of fear and mistrust, along with varying “nature is out to get us” attitudes. As you may imagine, neither of these approaches will provide us with pleasant or beneficial results, or a harmonious relationship with nature.
To have a positively effective relationship with nature, we need to have positively effective beliefs about nature. We come to know and understand something by observing it. We can observe most effectively when we still the chatter of our own mind, which is full of assumptions and pre-conditioned ideas. And at each step of the way, we need to factor in our own experience and intuition. It can be very helpful to consider the wisdom or experience of others, but ultimately we need to stay open to the potential of our own experience.
From this perspective, as I’ve learned myself over the years, the more I opened up to nature, the more nature opened up to me. Each year my relationship with and understanding of wild plants grows. At each step of the way, I stay mindful and bring forth a balance of informed trust, intelligent caution, and heart-centered wisdom. I also like to take a balanced approach that includes both the science and spiritual sides of life, and apply it to anything that I do. In fact I approach all of my work from a space of balance when it comes to focusing on both the details and the big picture. As shared above, I also value the power of personal experience in forming our personal truth. Therefore, the information you will find shared on this site about plants comes mainly from my personal experience, after I have identified a plant using an external guide (book, online, etc.).
Whatever approach you choose to use for your personal wild plant foraging, I encourage each individual to have and always hold a very high sense of reverence and respect for nature. The deeper that one’s connection is with themselves and all life, the more positive, expansive, comprehensive and rewarding their experience will be with any species. Many people who approach wild plant foraging from the perspective of “free food” or “survival” alone, are missing a large dimension of nature’s purpose and potential. It is in these limited interactions that we are most prone to taking some risk or action that may work against us. We should not be ignorant of nature’s multidimensional existence where every living being includes a physical, energetic and spiritual component.
To best understand another living being, we must enter into a mutually harmonious relationship with them. Whether it is wild plants, wild mushrooms or any other aspect of nature, it is not meant to be dominated, controlled, used or abused without highly conscious regard for its sacredness and purpose.
Plant Roles and Benefits
Plants have been used since the beginning of time (as we know it) to provide food and medicine to other living beings.
For enjoy the many benefits of wild plants and avoid any potential harm, it is essential to approach all of nature with a sense of mindfulness, respect, and responsibility.
Below are some words that are commonly used in reference to wild plants. It is valuable to become familiar with these for best understanding of the particular species and their uses.
Astringent: Drying or constricting agent/Having drying or constricting
Tonic: A substance in the form of a drink