Updated: Mar 25
Before I get started on how I got into herbalism, I'd like to say that I'm still an amateur, an enthusiast, a newbie in this field. My forte is in energy work. However, we all eat everyday, and put things inside and on ourselves basically a few times a day. Although I don't want to
get obsessed with counting and measuring everything I eat in a day, I do try to keep it on the healthier side. Being Thai, I'm also used to spices and herbs in food. But that's not really got me diving into the world of plants.
A couple of years ago I saw this video: https://www.facebook.com/hospitalitysrilanka/videos/317667575701033/ It's about a famous beach in Thailand being closed from tourists to allow nature to recover. I've been to that place, stunningly beautiful to say the least! Yes, the nature needs a break and people need to be more responsible wherever they go but what really got me was the part about the sunscreen. I know we put a lot of chemicals on our bodies but I guess I never really understood the impact, maybe I was simply ignorant. It turns out a lot of the sunscreens we used are just toxic. So some sunscreen can really harm marine life and there is some type of sunscreen that is 'eco-friendly' (see more about sunscreen's effect on marine life here: https://www.smartertravel.com/what-sunscreen-does-to-the-environment/ ). More over, even if you don't go into the water with your sunscreen on, how safe is your sunscreen? (This doesn't make me feel safe at all: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/15/health/sunscreen-fda-safety-standards-study/index.html) Even when you find one that meets the FDA safety standard, are you completely sure it's safe? I know I freaked out. Although there has been a few reports on the sunscreen being safe and the 'sunscreen causing cancer' is a myth, I still wonder if there's some truth to the myth because everything we put on our skin is absorbed right into our blood vessels! (see, for example, here: https://www.sunislife.com/is-your-sunscreen-causing-cancer/).
I was really horrified. I thought of other things we constantly put on or in our bodies, from cosmetic products to food. I cook my own food most of the time so I know what I put in me, but I rely completely on store-bought products when it comes to cosmetics. I began to wonder if there was more that I could do. So I began to read on essential oils for skincare. I wasn't sure how far I would go with home-made cosmetics because a lot of things are just complicated but I learned about properties of essential oils and began to use them for health benefits and I saw results. I accidentally discovered a few things that are now part of my life.
Just to make it clear, I'm still a human being, that means I do get sick, just that as a healer I happen to know how to help with the recovery process. Besides, since I work more with holistic health, specializing in energy, there were things I couldn't help anyone with. One good example is mosquito bites! No one would go to a healer for a full session when they get a few bug bites here and there. I don't even give myself healing when those blood suckers manage to leave a few marks on me. Unfortunately, I get badly allergic to those bites. Once I just tried to ignore it, it seems many people do that, but guess what? I still saw the black scarring from the bites even a year and a half later. And THAT, my friend, is not good at all.
Just to give you the back story to why I kind of didn't bother to see a doctor. Some years ago, I actually got allergic to medicine that was supposed to help with some allergies and something like that happened to me multiple times before so after that I just don't bother with medicines so much , I only go to the doctors when I need them but I try to do things on my own the best I can. During that time, I didn't know what would help with the bites, and that was when you still needed to 'dial' to connect to the internet... Let's come back to the recent past. Long story short, I tried to avoid and tolerate insect bites for a very long time. Unfortunately, the allergic reactions to the mosquito bites only got worse each year and a couple of years ago I noticed that it had been a year and a half and I still saw the scars from the bites. I needed to do something. And I wanted that something to be 'natural' so I don't put more toxic chemicals on my skin than I did already, unknowingly, unaware.
It was about the same time I became interested in essential oils. I really thought to myself that making cosmetics might not motivate me so much, but making remedies at least for those bites really started the fire in me. So when blending oils for hair and skin didn't do it, I began my plans with remedies. I tried to make insect repellent first but I used a roller bottle which I won't anymore. The formula was good but using a roller bottle also means the coverage is pretty poor and the mosquitoes would find where you didn't put the oil on. I literally watched as I went to sit outside, and put the oil on my arms and watched the mosquitoes flying to me, intending to land on my skin... They avoided the spots with the oil but would hover around, trying to find the 'safe' place to bite. So this year I'll try making spray. However, I also learned that a lot of those oils used in insect repellent are great to soothe the bites as well, so I began to use that oil for 'after bites'. I watched as I applied the oil, that after a couple of weeks, the scarring was almost gone and then I just forgot about the bites. Compared to a year and a half it took to recover before that, I think my blend worked pretty well. Now I use the blend the form of salve instead of oil, easier for me to use.
At some point I was getting sick, had a sore throat and I was on a trip so I didn't have a lot of stuff with me but surprisingly I recovered much more quickly than usual and I realized that I was using facial oil that contains essential oils with very healing properties and I used it daily on both my face and neck and it was what saved me. After that, every time I feel sore throat coming, I would go for that blend, and it really works! And I became a believer! I got more interested in what I could do with those magical oils. Then one thing led to another. It was natural to get into herbalism in general after getting into essential oils. Besides, by this time I already had been using Bach flower remedies so I thought I might as well learn more about medicinal plants as well as more essential oils. Then suddenly I found out that there were herbalists in my family. I knew there were healers, shamans and magic practitioners in my lineage but I didn't know some of them were also herbalists until about a year and a half ago. For the first time I felt the connection with my ancestors, with my roots, so I decided to honor that by trying to learn more about herbs.
Now I'm drinking more herbal tea, macerate oils for both fancy cooking and to use as base oil for my blends and salves. I've made body butter, salt scrub, lip balm and other salves. I know there's still a long way to go and a lot to learn but I can already use my knowledge in my everyday life and I'm happy about it. Energy work will always be my number one love but herbalism will have a special spot in my heart and in my life, too.