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Its Day 9 of the Plant Spirit Ally Challenge! Today is all about Herbal Energetics.

Discovering Herbal Energetics

What Are Herbal Energetics?

Very simply herbal energetics is the focus of the energy of an herb. You probably study this even when you don’t realize it. When you tasted cayenne for the first time and realized how HOT it was. When you put aloe vera on a burn you realized its COOLING effect.

The 4 main energetics (that do overlap) are Hot, Cool, Drying, and Moistening. This is not necessarily that the herb itself is dry or wet or what temperature the herb is intriduced with. Its how the body reacts to the herb. When we use a dry slippery elm lozenge, it still has a moistening effect. When we apply a wet tumeric fomentation or compress to a boil, it still has a drying effect on the boil despite being wet. Energetics are all about these effects rather than the delivery method.

This method of studying and working the herbs permeates many cultures. We might call the response to the herbs different things but the base is the same. In the Classical Greek methods we see the energetics related to the 4 elements; Fire (hot), Water (moistening), Earth (cool), and Air (drying).

How to Research a Plant Ally’s Energetics

You can find charts and books and articles about herbs and their energetics online. Great search terms include “Herbal Energetics of (herb)” as well as “Herbal Monograph” and “Materia Medica (herb)” as these profiles for the herbs often include their energetics.

The best way I’ve found to discover a plants energy is to use it, safely of course. Make a tea of the herb and soak a cotton rag in it. Place it on your arm and see if there is a reaction. Take note of it. Drink or eat the herb to see what reaction is created in the body. Does it cool or warm? Is it drying or moistening? What element would you associate with the herb?

Resources

Evolutionary Herbalism

Thyme Breaks looks at energetics across cultures

Herbal Energetics Or Not by Melissa Kohl

Commonwealth Herbs Podcast: Herbal Energetics

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