We now largely live as a species set apart from nature. Our clothing, architecture, and technology – everything that we surround ourselves with as humans – is designed to pacify and dull the impact nature can have on our bodies. Nature has become something separate from ourselves: at worst, to be used as a resource and exploited, at best, to be protected and patronised. We are surrounded by black boxes that cannot be unpacked, and that we wouldn't know how to fix if they were broken: from our iPhones to our cars and even our own health. The pills, potions and creams that we use on our bodies are made from ingredients that we very rarely have a close connection to, or would know how to recreate if we needed to.
This knowledge does live on in thriving areas such as Chinese Medicine however, which combines traditional lore with modern efficacy. And it's showing signs of filtering back into our mainstream consumption habits too. The luxury conglomerate LVMH recently launched a new beauty line called Cha Ling that aims to harness the anti-oxidising properties of rare Pu’er tea grown in the forests of Xishuangbanna, working with a single family of local producers and expanding the range into skincare, fragrances and toiletries. Numerous other beauty and health brands are popping up today that make a direct link between specific botanicals and particular effects.
The incredible advancements in human knowledge and technology that we’ve seen in the last century has improved the lives of countless millions of people and that must be celebrated, but it’s also important to take stock of what was lost in this march of progress. The ability to read signatures in nature – not from God perhaps, but from our human ancestors – is a skillset worth recovering.
Chinese Medicinal Herbs at Berkeley Botanical Gardens, California
Make your own all natural Immunity Boost
DIY Sleepy Tea made with your garden's best
All- natural and easy to make Digestive Tea
Photo credits: Flickr
Swallowtail Garden Seeds