Plants for Healing and Wellness

Plants – herbs, shrubs, trees and their flowers – are nature’s gracious healing messengers. They are a gift to humanity for our enjoyment, comfort, health and well-being. The satisfaction of growing food and natural medicine contributes to a vision of hope in changing times. The beneficent energies of plants can help fire up a renewed and vital connection with the invisible higher order that helps shape life. The mysteries and intelligence of plants often reveal themselves as healing energy in the leaves, roots, flowers and stems. The flowers are the ultimate energetic expression in each plant’s life cycle. The healing wisdom comes from an all-pervasive essence, ubiquitous in all of nature.

The significance of daily ritual and personal use of plants for good health and harmony is universal and honored in many cultures, past and present. My favorite example comes from India. When living in Maharastra, each household I visited featured at least one prominent pot of Tulsi, Holy Basil, either inside the home or next to the entrance to bless the home, the household and the surroundings. The Tulsi might have been growing in a simple clay pot or in a prominent marble basin on an ornate pedestal. The presence of the Tulsi plant itself was potent regardless of the setting.


Tulsi is revered as one of the most sacred plants in Indian culture. The Tulsi goddess, worshipped in the form of the plant, is considered by Hindus to ensure health, wealth, protection and abundant spiritual blessings. Honoring Tulsi is believed to awaken love and devotion, strengthen faith and to bring peace and happiness to family life. The plant is also known to purify the atmosphere. The intention to use Tulsi for personal wellbeing and for the benefit of the surrounding environment is strong and compelling; the presence of the pot of Tulsi is a tradition from nature’s wisdom.


In the West, Tulsi – Holy Basil – is appreciated and grown for its purifying and healing properties, including reducing stress, protecting against stress, and slowing down the aging process. Tulsi leaves, used to make a calming tea, contain strong anti-oxidants, are anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, helpful with stomach and digestive issues, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Leaf extracts may be helpful during chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Any healing application of Tulsi will have personal benefit and will resonate through the planetary energy field as well.


In the larger scheme of planetary wellness, growing food to eat and flowers and herbs for wellness is a way to relate to nature right at home. Our existence depends on nature. To nurture nature is to nurture ourselves. Tending a garden often leads to knowing that where you live and garden is where you can harvest nature’s healing forces. But living in a technology-driven society can provoke feelings of being separate or isolated in the world. Caring for plants – aligning with the beauty, the wisdom and the cycles of nature – can help heal the void of separation with a comforting sense of wholeness and oneness, leaving little room for fear.


With the intention of helping to balance the way humanity lives on our planet, tending plants becomes a source of personal wellness and a visionary gesture of respect, care and gratitude to our beautiful – and tremulous – Mother Earth.