Viscum album: an illustration of holistic herbalism from a gaian perspective
The aim of the project was to take one herb, Mistletoe (Viscum album), and relate its study to a Gaian/holistic perspective, viewed as a useful model of holism.
The Contribution of holistic herbalism to an integrated holistic health care system was reviewed and acknowledged while the meaning of the term ‘holistic’, examined. The benefits of the dominant model of reductionist science were also recognised and its use as a benchmark to which herbalists attempt to explain their theory and practice, discussed.
However it is argued that the evolution of holistic herbalism may be constrained by relying solely on reductionist explanations as this essentially dismisses subjective information and wider energetic influences that are valuable to a holistic understanding of nature and central to traditional energetic medicine.
The unusual attributes of Mistletoe suggest that nature cannot always be understood from a purely reductionist scientific viewpoint. Thus the Goethean scientific approach is included ass a tool to developing a truly holistic approach that integrates objective and subjective contributions in its attempt to understand the study of plants (in this case Mistletoe) and the connection between nature and people in general.
The Goethean study group not only confirms much of the documented understanding of the herb but also possibly provides a link to a more profound understanding of and connection with nature. The Goethean method, it is argued, should be developed and utilised as a useful tool for the development of holistic herbalism.