People often ask me why our shop and our brand is called Simples? The short answer is that in traditional folk medicine a “simple” is using one plant at a time in a medicinal way. I call my shop Simples because we serve many a Simple there.
But there is a more important question. Why? Why do we use one plant at a time? Why are we offering Simples and not immediately diving into blends, especially when it seems that the current trend is to nutritionally load every beverage and smoothie?
My goal with Simples is to introduce as many people as possible to plant medicine. Herbal Tonics have been such a healing gift in my life that I am called to share the wealth. Plants, herbal medicine and connection to the natural world are truly transformative and desperately needed in our culture. We are starving for connection. We need healing. We need plants.
But it is a process. Like any relationship, you need to get to know each other and it’s easier one on one.
Most herbal programs or schools I know begin their journey this way. You start with one plant, you study that plant, sit with that plant, taste, make medicine, draw and consume that plant. You build a relationship to fully understand and get to know that plant.
I look at our work at Simples from the same perspective. It’s a bit like herb school for the public. I see my role as gently guiding people down the plant path. When our customers taste one plant at a time, they tend to tune in more, to feel the plant in their body and can instinctively know which tonic or tonics to go home with. They are embarking on a relationship that will bring deep healing, just as it did for me.
There is so much value in this level of connection. There are subtleties. There is a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing that occurs when one fully dives in and explores a single plant. We want to approach plant medicine as a deep immersion in the bounty and layers that the plants offer. Through this exploration we find they offer much more than a cure for symptoms or complaints.
The truth is if you are looking at the plant solely from the perspective of symptom alleviation, you are missing half the medicine. Yes, plants help us with our health and can remove symptoms, but they can also get down into the core, into the heart of the matter, and if we open ourselves, we can feel and heal the roots of what ails us.
This is best achieved by getting to know the plants individually, one at a time. As a simple. Later, we will combine and blend. Sometimes.
The most healing path with plants is the path of connection, respect and intimacy. That’s why at Simples we let each plant have its own brew, its own bottle, its own personality nickname and why we encourage the use of Simples.
I hope you will, if you haven’t already, begin to explore this incredible relationship with plants in your backyard, in the park, in your kitchen, or come by the shop and have a Simple with us.