Harmonic Christian Herbalism is a holistic model of herbalism from a Christian worldview. It seeks as much as possible on this earth, to bring all things into harmony with the person. True health isn’t simply about taking herbs, but of building a lifestyle of wellness and health. This lifestyle includes diet, exercise, prayer, purpose, communion with others, and communion with the environment into which God placed us.
The eight pointed star has great significance within ancient Christianity. The star of Bethlehem for example, was always portrayed with eight points. This is because it symbolized the eight days of creation. Never heard that there were eight days? This sometimes comes as a shock to many people the first time they hear it. They usually think of six or seven days. The first six days are the days in which God created, on the seventh day He rested. So what is the eighth day? It is the day in which Jesus was incarnate in the womb of His mother, the Virgin Mary, and began the work of creation once again. The work of re-creation.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come2 Cor. 5.1
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.Rev. 21.5
New Creatures and a New Creation in Christ
God is truly making all things new. The eight day has dawned and will find its culmination when Jesus returns to make the new heaven and the new earth.
But we who are believers in the promise of Christ have access to many of those promises now: transfigured lives, fellowship with the Son, confidence before the Father, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. If you are in Christ, then you are a new creation.
The Eight Points of Harmonic Christian Herbalism
Being an herbalist should be a calling. If you are called to be an herbalist, in particular an herbalist who follows Christ, then the following eight points of Harmonic Christian Herbalism are important points for you to follow.
1. Begin with prayer
As Christian herbalists, it is important that we are always connected to the source from whom all blessings flow. God is the source of both the plants we work with, and the people we serve. Its vital to remember that God is the ultimate creator and healer. He designed the plants to work in specific ways, and He understands them better than we ever could. In fact, everything within the plant, when properly understood, should ultimately lead us back into contemplation and prayer. Countless Scriptures address how nature itself speaks of God and testifies to His glory.
Therefore, when working with a client, we should pray to Him for guidance and healing. We should ask Him to guide our work. We must acknowledge that it is God who works to heal, not us, and not the plants. The plants and the herbalist are just God’s servants. If God brings healing, we must give Him the praise, not our own abilities.
2. Live a life of service
Service to God, to community, and to neighbor are the cornerstone of our calling. We should never make profit nor pride the primary motivating factor in our work. It is fine to take pride in your work, and even to make a living at it, but the root of your work should be a calling to serve others.
There is a class of early Christians called the Holy Unmercanary Healers. These particular Christians were doctors (herbalists), who were true servants. They offered healing to all regardless of the persons ability to pay for services.
The two earliest Christians who fall into this category of saints are Philonella & Zenaida, two sisters who both studied herbalism and healing c. 100 AD. They set up healing houses for the poor, and were pioneers in women’s health and psychological care. They never took fees for their services to the poor.
As modern day Christian herbalists, we must follow their example of service, finding ways to serve our God by serving our neighbors and community, regardless of profit. So if you are called to be an herbalist, then become a servant. Of course, Jesus is our prime example of how a servant functions. He not only became a human for our sake, but He willingly suffered and died that we might live.
3. View each person as a unique individual
Each person is a unique, irrepeatable, and irreplaceable person. God made no two people alike. When you are gone from this earth, no one can replace you. That is how unique and valuable you are.
Therefore, when we look at a person who has come to us for a holistic herbal evaluation, we must see them as a unique person, and a unique case. There are no one size fits all approaches in holistic herbalism. Unlike the biomedical doctor who comes and spends five minutes with you before writing you a prescription, a holistic practitioner needs to sped a long time with a client on order to truly begin to see and understand them as a whole unique person.
Herbal Recommendations should come last. There is no one size fits all herb. Therefore, you should only give a recommendation for herbs after you have explored the whole person — their lifestyle, diet, faith, and medical history.
4. Use whole herbs
Just like we are discovering that whole foods are preferable for lasting health to processed foods, whole herbs are preferable to standardized extracts that isolate a set of chemical constituents from the plant. A 95% Curcumin supplement is only about 5% away from being a pharmaceutical. Its not a whole herb. Standardized extracts and isolated plant chemicals have far more side effects and dangers than whole herbs do. So if you want to use Curcumin, use the actual Turmeric root which contains curcumin in its natural state.
5. Match the herb to the person’s constitution and imbalance
Just because an herbs is good for a particular ailment doesn’t mean that it should be used for every person, at all times. Herbs contain energetic properties that could either exacerbate or balance out a persons constitution and tissue state imbalance. Herbs are warming, drying, cooling, moistening, tightening, and loosening — this is the meaning of energetics.
Therefore, knowing the energetics of an herb will help guide you towards the right herb, or herbs, for the person you are consulting with. You don’t want to give a moistening, cooling, and relaxing herb with someone who is full of phlegm, even if that herb is reported to treat the cough that the person is attempting to remedy.
You have to understand the tissue state and constitution of the person who you are seeking to serve. Remember, we are not treating symptoms, we are addressing deeper underlying imbalances. We always need to seek to work with the intelligence of the body, and with the full action of the plant, not just its biomedical classifications.
6. Use the gentlest herbs first
This is a fairly straight forward principal. We don’t want to use strong, harsh herbs until we have exhausted every other possibility. It should be a rare instance that we resort to the most powerful herbs. The more potent herbal medicines carry more dangers with them, and greater risks of side effects, drug interactions, and negative reactions. So always use the gentlest, safest herbs first.
7. Always address lifestyle factors along with herbs
Our first and primary thought shouldn’t be herbal recommendations. Herbal recommendations should be secondary to lifestyle factors: diet, stress, exercise, relationships, fulfillment, stress, negative thought patterns, spirituality, etc.. Why recommend an herb when a problem can be solved by changing the diet?
In most cases, herbs should be used temporarily, as an adjunct to lifestyle factors. Unlike biomedicine which will often place a person an a pharmaceutical drug for life, often times increasing dosages, or adding more drugs to the daily regimen, holistic herbalism uses herbs to create space for a person to bring their life back into balance so that they can cease taking herbs. Only in rare cases should a person take an herb for life, or even for a long period of time.
We must always remain humble and admit when we are in over our heads. There is no shame in not knowing. Remember, we are dealing with a persons well-being and health here. This is vitally important to remember. If we don’t know something, or can’t help someone, we need to have the humility to say so, and refer that person to someone else.
Along with this attitude of humility is the cultivation of a lifelong student mentality. We should never stop learning. We can never know all there is to know about the field of herbalism and health. We can always learn more, grow in our skills and abilities, and become better at what we do. So always remain a student.
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The information offered in these lectures and on the Christian Herbalism and Harmonic Herbalism websites, handouts, and podcasts is for educational purposes only. Neither Harmonic Christian Herbalism nor Vas Avramidis nor any of its affiliates makes any medical claim, nor intends to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Women who are pregnant or nursing, and persons with known medical conditions, should consult their licensed health care provider before taking any herbal product. Links to external sites are for informational purposes only. Neither Harmonic Christian Herbalism, nor Vas Avramidis, endorses nor is in any way responsible for their content. Listeners and readers must do their own research concerning the safety and usage of any herbs or supplements.