Herbs not only have distinct and specific properties, they also act differently depending on where they grow, how they have been nourished by the soil, sun and rain, and how they are gathered. For example, wine grapes are all the same species (Vitis vinifera)- but there are over ten thousand varieties of this little vine. The conditions and landscape where the grape grows affects its chemical constituents, the flavor and taste of the grape. The term used for this is “terroir.”
The same is true for herbs. The geography, soil conditions and climate, as well as the intentions of those who collect herbs all affect the energy, medicinal and spiritual value of an herb. I have collected lowland yarrow growing in the moist weedy patches near my house and I have collected yarrow growing high up on a cliff. Though they were both yarrow, they felt and affected me quite differently. I have also taken the same herb prepared by two different people and the effect was different each time.
When working with herbs, I always urge making a direct connection. If you can’t visit the plant in the field, try to connect with it as a tea or a tincture so that you can access the complex properties and flavors. I also urge buying the best quality herbs where the plants have been lovingly tended, grown free of pesticides and collected by people who have the best intention in collecting these herbs. Quality matters. Medicine made with good quality herbs with great love and intention will be far more effective in transforming your life.
You can also find me at the Facebook group Herbs for Mental Health.