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Image by Vino Li

Healing With Plants

Plant medicine shamanism is an ancient healing technique which has been practiced for thousands of years, and remains a central part of tradition in indigenous culture.

Plant medicine healing works by infusing the life force energy of a specific plant into the body: restoring balance and harmony on a physical level, whilst also imparting the inherent wisdom and intelligence of the plant on a psycho-spiritual level.

Because of the high level of intelligence of plants and their subtle vibratory qualities, their ability to communicate and heal is superior to that of any other life form on the planet. If worked with in integrity and respect, plants can become our companions for life serving as powerful healers and guides that can help us to:

  • Identify the energetic origin of problems we may be facing.

 

  • Cleanse the body by releasing stuck emotional blockages e.g. negative thought cycles, unwarranted fears, worn-out beliefs. 

 

  • Access the deeper layers of the subconscious mind.

 

  • Develop self-respect, self-worth and self-love and provide insights to our soul’s growth.

 

  • Bring us into alignment with our true nature, finding balance between our heart and mind.

 

  • Understand our inherent interconnectedness to each other, the Earth, and greater cosmic unity of Life.

 

Working in sacred ways with plants is a gift available for everyone to receive. Through this deep connection to plant intelligence, we can become acutely conscious that our planetary home is alive and sentient. Our contract with Earth is not just about human needs alone, but our obligation to be responsible stewards of the land.

Image by Alexandre Brondino

Cacao

An indigenous myth tells how every time the balance between man and nature is threatened, Cacao leaves the rainforest to open people's hearts and bring the planet back into harmony

I source Ceremonial Cacao used in Ceremony from Made with Ananda - a small company providing organic certified Cacao direct from family run farms and small co-operatives in South America that are working alongside projects to restore and maintain the environment.

What is Cacao?

 

​The Cacao (Theobroma Cacao) tree is a member of Sterculiaceae family of evergreens, native to the deep tropical regions of Mesoamerica. The tree produces large fruits, with each containing an average of 40 seeds or ‘beans’, which are used by humans to make raw Cacao, Cacao butter and chocolate.

 

100% raw, organic Cacao is referred to as ‘ceremonial grade’. These beans are grown by indigenous tribes, harvested and prepared by hand with reverence and love which means it is of the highest quality energetically. When used for ceremonial purposes as a Plant Medicine, Cacao works as a powerful heart opener.

 

The Science 

 

Cacao contains a plethora of potent, medicinal compounds including:

 

Anandamide

Many people experience a release of tension and opening of the heart with Cacao due to the presence of anandamide - a neurotransmitter known as the ‘bliss molecule’ because of its role in positive mood enhancement.

 

Phenylethylamine 

Commonly referred to as the ‘love chemical’, phenylethylamine triggers the release of healing and pleasurable compounds such as serotonin, endorphins and dopamine. It acts as a natural anti-depressant, and is shown to increase in the brain when we experience love and when we orgasm. 

 

Theobromine

A mild, euphoric stimulant and vasodilator - this compound widens the blood vessels, stimulating the heart centre and allowing nutrient rich blood to coarse through the body.  

 

Antioxidants

Cacao beans are the richest known source of antioxidants on Earth providing powerful immune system support and alleviating inflammation in the body.

 

Magnesium 

Cacao is one of the highest plant-based sources of magnesium, sometimes known as the 'sleep mineral'. Magnesium is a natural relaxant that deactivates adrenaline in the body, alleviating nervous energy and sensitivity to pain. 

 

Cacao is also a powerful source of tryptophan, an amino acid that gets turned into the neurotransmitter serotonin and then converted into the hormone melatonin, as well as iron, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, chromium, manganese - all supporting a healthy cardiovascular, nervous, immune system and cognitive functioning. 

 

Ancient & Shamanic Uses 

 

Cacao, translated ‘Food of the Gods’, was a staple in both Mayan and Aztec cultures for centuries, holding a sanctified place in these empires as an elite and ritualistic plant.

 

Aztec mythology states that God created humanity from Maize and Cacao, brought from the ‘Mountains of Sustenance’. In Mayan mythology, Cacao is also known as one of the components used to create humanity, and Mayan Gods are stated to have bled onto Cacao pods, intertwining the plant with their celestial life bloods.

 

Today, indigenous healers work with the spirit of Cacao to enhance shamanic journeys, connect to the subtler energies of the natural world, and to dissolve stale energies and emotions that block an individual’s connection to their inner wisdom and heart centre. 

 

Cacao ceremonies in the west are a response to our growing longing for connection, ritual and ceremony amidst the fast-paced, modern world. They provide a safe, soft and nurturing container to drop social masks, receive healing insights and connect to deeper parts of ourselves and each other in a shared sacred space. 

Image by Esteban Lopez

Cannabidiol, CBD

​I source CBD oil used in Ceremony from Hempen Organics. A pioneer producer of certified organic Hemp and CBD in Oxfordshire, UK - led by values of authenticity, sustainability and ethical production.

 

 

What is Cannabidiol, CBD?

 

CBD is a potent, healing compound extracted from the Cannabis plant, a genus of flowering plants in the family Cannabaceae, indigenous to and originating from Central Asia.

 

 

The Science

 

​​Cannabis is a powerful and complex plant, with approximately 426 chemical components, of which more than 60 are cannabinoid compounds. These comprise a spectrum of chemicals found in the flowers, leaves and stalks of the plant, with Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) of primary interest. 

 

The plant has two main subspecies - Indica and Sativa. Sativa plants has a higher THC content, the psychoactive compound of the plant which stimulates the entheogenic effects. Indica plants have a higher CBD content, the non-psychoactive compound known to interact with and mimic the effects of naturally occurring receptors in the body. 

 

The research into its components has led to discovery of an important neurotransmitter system called the Endocannabinoid system. This system is widely distributed in the brain and body and its receptors are found on essentially every cell type, which helps to explain the miraculous capabilities the plant possesses to heal. The Endocannabinoid system is considered responsible for the healthy regulation of significant cognitive and physiological functions including: mood, appetite, digestion, memory, pain sensitivity, hormones, motivation and sleep. 

 

CBD in the body is anti-inflammatory, highly neuro-protectie, anti-cancer and promotes cardiovascular health. It is being shown to significantly alleviate the symptoms of physical disorders including: chronic pain, epilepsy, arthritis, Alzheimers and diabetes; as well as psychological disorders including: anxiety, panic disorder, depression, addiction and PTSD. 

 

 

​Ancient & Shamanic uses 

 

Over the last few decades, thousands of archaeological and anthropological items have emerged from Egyptian, Mexican, Mayan and Aztec cultures which suggest that Cannabis held a deeply sanctified place amongst these empires as a highly revered plant used in shamanic and religious ritual.

 

Today, the use of the Cannabis plant as an entheogen - a chemical used to induce mystical states - is found in nearly all religious traditions including: Christianity, Sufism, Buddhism, Shintoism as well as among the Bantu, Pygmy, Zulu and Hottentot tribes of Africa. These traditions deem conscious communion with the plant as key to understanding the true nature of the Self and one’s own personal relationship to the Earth and greater cosmic unity of all life.   

 

Hemp

 

Reviving an ancient crop 

 

Cannabis is also known as Hemp, a variety of the Cannabis Sativa plant species grown for the industrial uses of its derived products. It is used in food, medicine, clothes, cosmetics, cleaning products, building materials, biodegradable plastic and as a clean energy source biofuel.

 

Hemp is one of the fastest growing plants on Earth and is able to germinate at temperatures just above freezing, meaning it can grow in many parts of the world using organic methods. It is unmatched in durability, resiliency, anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties making it a powerful renewable replacement for countless current technologies. 

 

Hemp offers extensive environmental benefits including:

  • Carbon sequestration - it is the most powerful plant carbon sink, taking vast quantities of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. 

  • Soil enhancement rather than depletion - the plant’s deep roots break through hard ground and bring nutrients to the surface which improves soil structure, water retention and nutrient availability for future crops.

  • Hemp enhances biodiversity and provides an abundant and rich late season food source for bees. 

  • It is an extremely economical and profitable cash crop for farmers when permitted to utilise the whole plant.

 

​Nutritionally, Hemp is one of the best sources of complete plant-based protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids. The oil from Hemp seeds is higher than fish oils in omegas 3, 6 & 9, in optimal balance for the human body. High in fibre, the Hemp seed shell is also a rare nutritional source of vitamin D for when the sun isn’t shining. The combination of protein and fat that is provided by the seed make it an excellent replacement for meat or dairy products for a more plant-based and ecologically-friendly diet.

 

​The future is Hemp

 

Hemp is no longer in production because of laws written in 1937 by politicians involved in big industry at the time. Cultivation of Hemp posed a direct threat to the petrochemical industry, as well as cotton growers, and paper producers with large timber holdings. The Marijuana Tax Act destroyed the domestic Hemp trade beginning the war on Cannabis. 

 

Today, the miraculous versatility of the Cannabis plant to nourish our spirit, the health of our minds and bodies, as well as the planet offers a change in the course for humanity,  away from exploitation and destruction, towards a peaceful victory over some of today’s biggest challenges.

 

At current, UK Hemp is monitored and licensed by the controlled drugs sector of the Home Office. This is causing serious problems when opening up the many potential uses of this plant to radically improve the health of our communities. Hemp has historically proven itself to be one of the most useful plants at our disposal and with the right policy change, can empower us to rebuild our society in the best way possible. 

Image by Vino Li
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