While most people see plants for their practicality—food, medicine, and fiber—herbalists will tell you there is more to the green world than meets the eye. Many traditional cultures believe that plants hold symbolic meaning and have their own form of intelligence. Ceremonies often involve sacred plants like sweet grass, white sage, and palo santo to purify and help participants connect with spirit, and herbalists believe in the importance of communicating with plants to hear their healing wisdom.
The depth of plant intelligence is up for debate and discovery, but recent studies are certainly compelling. It turns out that peas can actually calculate risk, and there is building research that suggests plants are capable of vision. No matter what you believe, plants are healers, worthy of our respect and curiosity. Our herbalists provided some of their favorite books on plant consciousness, so we may take a glimpse into their incredible potential. Below are their top recommendations:
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer considers nature synergistically, from the lens of science and indigenous wisdom. As a member of the Potawatomi Nation, Kimmerer emphasizes the importance of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and illustrates the sacred relationship between people and planet through poetic stories of her life, her people, and her deep understanding of ecology.
Plant Spirit Healing: A Guide to Working with Plant Consciousness by Pam Montgomery is an obvious choice when searching for ways to connect deeply with the plant world. Traditional Medicinals’ Chief Formulator, David Hoffmann, calls it, “A blessing of a book. Pam Montgomery’s writing shines with what Dame Hildegard of Bingen called viriditas—the healing power of the Green. It is filled with the wisdom of a real herbalist.”
Plant Spirit Medicine: A Journey Through the Healing Wisdom of Plants by Eliot Cowan is less well known in the main stream but is considered a classic in the world of plant spirit medicine (PSM). Cowan records personal experiences with colleagues, clients, and the plants themselves to demonstrate their power. He includes medicine theories from across the globe, including China, Tibet, India, and West Africa, and weaves them together through the thread of shamanism.
The Lost Language of Plants: The Ecological Importance of Plant Medicines by Stephen Harrod Buhner exposes the tremendous devastation pharmaceutical waste causes, and explains how plants are nature’s original healers. Buhner calls us to action to re-learn communication with plants, so that we may heal ourselves and our planet.
Looking for more plant-based inspiration? Check out our latest articles on Plant Power Journal.