Consent in Plant Medicine
This particular subject has been on my mind a lot recently...for many reasons...but I need to talk about this in the world of plant medicine.
Please note that when I move beyond consent from the plants, that this post is not directed at any one person but is, in fact, a trend I have observed for years...and in many cases dealt with on some level in my own home.
So let us talk about the different areas of consent in plant medicine.
1) Consent from the plants
As someone who wildharvest and grows her own plants, this has become essential to my work. Before harvesting any plant (wild or cultivated), you should ask permission...and wait to hear the answer.
This is impossible to do when you are buying herbs, so it is imperative that you buy from a quality company. This could also look like having a smaller variety of well chosen herbs, you don't need a giant apothecary with 100+ herbs. Herbs are not just for one ailment, they can be used for a wide variety of things...which is why it is important to step away from green allopathy (use this herb for that symptom) and move to a more vitalist approach. This includes learning the energetic properties of plants (is it heating or cooling, drying or moistening?).
2) Consent With Yourself
You have to give yourself permission to heal. I know this sounds odd, but acknowledging that you deserve to be healthy and feeling good can be powerful medicine.
3) Consent with Children
While many people think that children "don't know any better" or that forcing medicine, even plant medicine, on them is "for their own good", the practice of asking for consent teaches them the control they have over their own bodies. Its called body autonomy.
While this has always been something parents do (not all parents, parents as a whole), as my children have grown and my education and experience has deepened...plus with the rise of essential oils from MLMs...it is hitting me harder.
Children as young as 2 (probably younger for some children) can be asked a simple question "would you like to take this plant medicine to help with your cough?" If they say no, you can ask again later. I do this with my 3 year old all the time and yes, she has said no...but then she usually comes up about 20 minutes later and asks on her own.
But what about the little ones who are too young to say anything? Then you should only be using gentle techniques and stop when you can see they aren't liking it.
With essential oils, I see so many people making rollers for everything...which is great, a good essential oil roller is an amazing tool...but your child should still be asked, even given the opportunity to do it themselves before you just apply whatever you want to them.
Children are full human beings.
4) Consent with Spouse/Partner/Parent
Ok, in full honesty here...the trend I have been seeing here is woman to man. I get it. Woman are usually the caretakers in the home, making sure that everyone is taken care of...we take on the emotional labor of everything because we *think* that if we don't do it no one will. In some cases, this may be true...for a while. I did this for a long time in my marriage.
BUT when it comes to plant medicine, never EVER try to do consults for them or sneak plant medicine (to include flower essences) into their food/drink. It is a direct violation of them. Even trying to do a consult for them (which in my practice will NOT happen), I feel, is an energetic violation. *Setting up a consultation for them, with their permission...and with their involvement...is not a violation, in my opinion.
Sure, if you ask if they want to take this flower essence for their emotional heart, many men (because of societal pressures and standards that are put upon them from birth), will say no...even when it could benefit them.
They are their own person and should always make these decisions for themselves. If they are feeling bad, they have the choice of taking something or not.
As a spouse/partner, it is not a statement against you or plant medicine. It is a human being making a decision for themselves about themselves.
If you feel passionate about your plant medicine, then stick with using it on yourself and with your children (if that applies to you), your spouse/partner is observing you, whether you realize it or not.
An example from my personal life, I take flower essences all the time. I have found intense help with my c-PTSD and especially helpful after my sexual assault in early September. I just take them and mention them in passing to Oaken. Near the end of his time in Belgium, he was really struggling. He knew (and saw) that flower essences had really been helping me. So he asked about them for himself. The next thing I know, he purchased a nice variety of flower essences (to include in the travel spray formula mentioned here on the blog) and started seeing the difference for himself.
Our partners are their own people. They can make these decisions for themselves (which does include asking your for help, if they want it).
True wellness isn't just about being physically healthy, is about all the aspect of mind, body, and spirit. Consent is a HUGE role in all 3 of these.
It may not feel like giving someone a tincture of hawthorn for their heart or a few drops of Olive flower essence when they are feeling exhausted, could be a violation of someone....but consent is powerful medicine.