Where do misconceptions about plants STEM from?! 🌱

(Pun intended!) :seedling: :dizzy:

So, last week I was working on an article about 7 powerful healing plants that also come with a dark side. It’s all very spooky and October-esque, but really it’s just referring to plants that have peculiar adaptations, like ones that are highly toxic before they ripen and become 100% safe to eat.

Or what about similar plant species that have polar-opposite effects within the body? Chinese star-anise and Japanese star-anise, for example - where one will flavour your chai and the other might kill you!

Either way, learning about the plants in the article got me thinking about when exactly the idea first arose that plants are ineffective… :thinking:

With such a long history of therapeutic use, and SO MUCH evidence for their impact on our physical and mental health (for better or for worse), why is it so common to be met with disbelief when considering plants to be one of our greatest assets in maintaining and supporting health?

Hmmm. Methinks it has a lot to do with a lack of awareness regarding the variability and technical action of plants. The fact that there remains so much to be understood.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Mother Nature has answers we don’t yet possess the ability to “hear.” This is why I think establishing a reconnection (both with plants and ourselves) is so important. What do you think?


Lack of awareness can probably be connected to big pharma having a stranglehold over everything wellness. My guess is they’ve paid for natural methods to not appear in textbooks and other teaching materials used in school. So, without taking ownership of yourself (and by extension your household), we aren’t open to learning that there are other options.


Absolutely! These days I believe the vast majority of humans are ignorant and fear the unknown. On top of that, throw in the overwhelm of technological lifestyle and being bombarded with so many other stressors and it becomes too inconvenient and overwhelming to take the time to learn. It’s definitely a systemic prejudice, at least in our capitalist society, to leave our health/self care decisions to western medical doctors, and pills the prescribe… I know for me personally, it’s never knowing enough of the science or the correct plants to use as well as how to properly dose…

When my husband was battling stage 4 renal Cell cancer, it blew my mind that oncologists were prescribing Marinol (synthetic marijuana in pill form!) for cancer patients here in California where [really good] medical marijuana was available :exploding_head:


I love both these answers, and absolutely second them! @BrandNewMe, as you say, without taking ownership on your self/your health, (something that can often require a lot of effort and time - and is definitely not feasible for most as @kaneary pointed out) there’s not even the awareness of other options that may be able to help!

What an injustice! And unfortunately, the onus is largely left up to the individual, as opposed to any sort of institutionalised standard for this type of education.


Witches were herbalist, herbalism has been used throughout the ages. When did thus art, knowledge die out, was it the introduction of penicillin?

I prefer natural over synthetic, the introduction of modern medicine seems to be creating a tolerance to them, its time we went back to the traditional ways. Now we can have a deeper understanding of how they work.

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I have an excerpt from an interview I conducted with ethnobotanist, Dr. Michael Balick on a similar subject (you can also find the whole interview here):

“In 1645, there was a split between the alchemists and the herbalists. Prior to then, you have to think that all medicines were plants, and all doctors were trained botanists - but 1645 saw a major divide. The alchemists were suddenly trying to find the single one compound within the plant that was responsible for its medicinal activity, while the herbalists on the other hand were figuring out the effects of the entire plant; they were focused on synergies and the benefits of combining multiple whole plants.

That split happened in 1645, and it’s maintained until this very day. I would suggest that integrative medicine is working to kind of put it back together again.”

I’m not sure it exactly answers your question but there was definitely a key split that led to the branches of modern (pharmaceutical) versus traditional medicine.


Very interesting quote @alexwalkerjones and interesting to know it all started in 1945!

Definitely time to ‘put it back together again’.