It’s unfortunate that today, the practice of “herbalism” is more often than not intertwined with ungodliness. Herbalism becomes spiritualism and many times crosses lines that God’s Word tells us not to cross.
Like many facets of life, people take something that God made—something He even intended for our good—and they corrupt it with evil. James 1:5 tells us, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
For this blog, I want to focus on the wholesome use of herbs. My personal journey in growing herbs and wholesome use of herbs began in 1998, when my husband and I bought a honey farm in western Oklahoma. I knew absolutely nothing about honeybees or beekeeping, including the fact that I was anaphylactic to bee stings.
Along with the purchase of this property and business came a stack of faded, hand-written papers. These were the recipes that had been used for many years to make the products that were sold in that little farm shop. The instructions, ingredients and processes were all foreign to me, and I quickly realized that I had a lot of learning to do. My husband had a full-time job; we had four children under the age of six and very little time.
If you recall, the Internet was invented in 1983 but wasn’t recognizable as we know it today until around 1991. Rural Oklahoma had not caught up to this cyber world, so even though all of the information that I needed was out there, connectivity with landlines, dial-up modems and expensive service providers made my research difficult. Even with all of the obstacles, I was motivated and passionate about learning, and I was determined that nothing was going to slow me down.
Genesis 1:29 says, “Then God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you.’” Hippocrates, who’s considered to be the father of modern medicine, is reported to have said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” I knew that God had given me a special opportunity—a once in a lifetime opportunity. I needed to learn as much as I could, and I knew that somehow, through that little honey farm, He was going to bless my family and others.
I planted a small garden and began to grow and preserve herbs. I learned that culinary herbs could be used for medicinal purposes as well. I practiced making salves and soaps with beeswax and other natural ingredients. I learned that honey was not only a nutritious food but a powerful medicine. It didn’t take long before I had flowerbeds full of herbs, cabinets full of my own creations and little jars with dried seeds, pods and leaves in them everywhere. Having grown up in the ‘70s and ‘80s when antibiotics were the cure-all, I loved knowing that there were alternatives and that I could grow and make them. I was hooked!
Over the past 20-plus years, I have not lost my passion. I have seen a lot of herb collections. From home apothecaries, little stores and shops to professional compounding pharmacies. Regardless of the complexity, I am always amazed. I love the collection of curious labels and recipe books. I love the endless lines of dried herbs packed in little jars sitting on wooden shelves. As I am looking at it all, I know the amount of work that went into it, and I appreciate the knowledge behind it. Personal and public herb collections contain hundreds of possibilities for formulas and remedies. They hold secrets to hours of trial and error. They speak of families and traditions and of time-proven remedies. They tell stories of sickness and sadness along with hope and healing.
During these days when we find ourselves seeking ways to be healthy and to boost our immune systems, consider trying your hand at wholesome activities such as spending time in Bible study and prayer, gardening and creating your own natural remedies. Be sure to thank God for the amazing plants that He has given and ask Him for wisdom in using them. He’s a great God and will give it abundantly.