Donald A Purves
Is there a difference between herbal medicines derived from trees (tree remedies) and those derived from other plants? What is the character of this difference 1) from an energetic/spiritual perspective 2) from a quantifiable perspective involving the therapeutic qualities of plants?
Human culture and consciousness regards trees differently, in some ways, from other plants. The difference is important in myths of the origin of humanity, in nature religion and, more generally, in the ways in which trees are used. This study attempts to discover whether such a difference in perception between trees and other plants extends to the specific activity of medical herbalism as practised in the UK. It surveys the current extent of use of herbal remedies derived from trees by professional medical herbalists prescribing and dispensing tailor-made herbal medicines after a consultation.
Tree remedies are stronger, more powerful and more sustaining and protective than their therapeutic counterparts from other plants. They are movers of liquid energy and guardians of boundaries. Medical herbalists are more likely to make a distinction between trees and other plant medicine sources if they are already of an ‘intuitive’ bent. Herbalists’ sacred true role as matchmakers between patient and plant is only possible through a process of simultaneous subjective and objective experience of both parties, regaining a resonance with the methods of our ancestors.