Illness and injury is hard to accept when your life revolves around wellness and healing. This past year I’ve had pneumonia, a severely sprained ankle and the dreaded Coronavirus. I sometimes think that as a holistic healer myself these things happen to me so I can ‘learn on the job’ so to speak – it adds a little dark humour to the situation and somehow gives me the drive to overcome.
Pneumonia is a strange one; it forces you to stay completely still in between excruciating bouts of relentless coughing. You have to sleep sitting up or on your front otherwise, you find yourself gasping for air. Breathing can become laboured and painful.
When I was told that I had the flu, my inner voice was urging otherwise. After an x-ray I ended up with a diagnosis of pneumonia. Pneumonia! How? I was a healthy and active 30 something-year-old, a non-smoker or drinker with a love for healthy eating. Before taking action, I slept, sometimes two or three naps a day and made sure I kept well hydrated with plenty of water and soothing herbal tea.
I asked my body what it needed and listened ~ I had a vision of a golden ginko biloba leaf and knew that this was the plant medicine I needed. I wasn’t even aware of its properties at that point but trusting my vision, reaped the rewards of this incredible plant ally – its potent mix of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and brain-boosting properties ensured my recovery was swift and any brain fog lifted with ease.
When in times of need we turn to or gain sudden interest in certain foods or flavours, we change our usual eating habits and tend to tune into our needs even on an unconscious level.
Our innate intelligence guides us, sometimes leading us to foods or natural medicine through hunches, cravings or ideas.
We turn to fresh ginger and lemon, thyme, oregano, sage or rosemary steeped in warm water, fresh pineapple, blueberries, hearty, easily digestible stews with lots of garlic, turmeric and black pepper. Perhaps we’re even led to abstain from most of the foods we usually eat. We self-treat intuitively.
For me, there were two allies that changed the course of my recoveries; chaga mushrooms and linden blossom. I wholeheartedly recommend them both as wonderfully supportive plant medicines to consider at this challenging time.
Chaga mushrooms are an antioxidant powerhouse, known to boost the immune system, lower inflammation, fight free radicals and clear the lungs of mucus. Stir 1 tsp of powdered chaga through warmed plant milk for a daily boost.
Linden blossom tea is so beautifully soothing, like the kind embrace of a grandmother. Traditionally used for its medicinal properties in Turkey and the Balkans, it fights congestion, gives respite from coughs and sore throats and has a mild sedative effect so is a go-to for those with anxiety. It supports us not only in the throes of illness but with lingering effects too. Linden blossoms smell like heaven; they hail from the linden tree which is also known at the Lime tree (not the fruit-bearing type). A daily cup has become somewhat of a ritual for me, times are strange and her medicine is just the remedy I crave.
When we’re ill, we’re forced to slow down, turn inwards and place faith.
Part of us surrenders; our battles can be silent as we rest and heal. In our stillness perhaps we open a dialogue with our higher selves, our spirit guides and our ancestors as they hold us through it all. I asked mine to carry me in their care when I was ill and turned to both Reiki and sound therapy to accelerate my body’s ability to self-heal.
When in survival mode, our natural intelligence takes over. If we manage to push our fears aside in moments of vulnerability, our intuition leads us to the most fitting natural medicines to remedy our condition. We are all individuals and our physiologies diverse; this is why listening to our inner voice is so important. What might work for one person may not work for another. Have you asked yourself what it is you need? Try it, you might be completely surprised.
With a spiritual foundation, faith in energy medicine and belief in the potency and healing properties of plant allies, we can completely overlook fear! Isn’t that a beautiful thing, to trust, surrender and to know that all will be well?
Now let’s talk prevention.
Did you know that sacred smoke is not just for ritualistic or spiritual purposes? Studies show that burning medicinal herbs like sage or rosemary can rid the home of up to 97% of airborne nasties. The ancients and ancestors certainly knew what they were doing.
Eucalyptus and tea tree also purify the air with their antibacterial properties, use a few drops of (ethically produced) essential oil in a diffuser as extra protection at home and to clear your airways. I sometimes drop some on a tissue and stuff it down my top when I’m on the go. Cut an onion in half and leave it exposed to the air at home, this is also known to purify airborne diseases too. It’s a cheap option but not the most pleasant aroma!
Studies also show that there are potent healing properties in a good chicken bone broth especially for flu-like symptoms so heed to those old wife’s tales, they’re wiser than we give them credit for.
You can get more than enough immune-boosting vitamins and minerals from fruits, vegetables, legumes, organic meat and hedgerow foragings such as elderberry, chickweed, cleavers, yarrow and medicinal mushrooms. We just need to know how to enhance their properties to reap the greatest rewards. For example, when you crush a garlic clove and leave it for half an hour or so, it produces a higher amount of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound, allicin.
Overdosing on artificial supplements like soluble vitamin C can result in a really sore, crampy tummy and a dodgy bowel. Our bodies are about balance, too much of one vitamin or mineral can deplete others we’re also reliant on. Listen to what your body is telling you it needs and work with nature’s offerings, it really is that simple.
We should never ignore medical advice or dismiss medical treatment especially when our lives are at risk, but we must also remember that Mother Nature and her endless life force is generous; when we turn to her she will lovingly support us in times of need.
Alex de Angelis is a London based wellness witch and writer with energy medicine, self-integration and reconnection at the heart of her work. She is a cofounder of The Academy of Healing Arts, London.
She’s a certified Reiki Master/Teacher with both Usui Shiki Ryoho (Western style Reiki) and Usui Reiki Ryoho (Eastern style Reiki) lineage, a co-teacher at the Reiki Academy London and a member of the Reiki Federation. She also offers other holistic healing modalities including Emotional Freedom Technique (emotional alchemy!), Sound Therapy, Past Life Healing and guided therapeutic nature walks in the urban wilds.
Aside from this, Alex runs group healing events, transformational self-development programs, offers intuitive development workshops & guidance readings by casting the runes, an oracle she’s been working with for 22 years. Alex works on a deeply spiritual level; she is following an ancestral calling to practice seidr and galdr, shamanic practices and incantations of the Nordic tradition. She has furthered her psychic and intuitive gifts under the guidance of some of the leading psychic mediums and wisdom keeper in the Europe. She is also a feature writer for Witches Magazine, a contributor towards the Wanderlust GB wellbeing journal and a ceremonialist at the Mandrake Hotel. Her mission is to hold space for others so they feel held, heard, loved and healed on a deep soul level. Using her strong sense of intuition, symbolic sight & healing hands she is able to enhance the lives of others and for that she is eternally grateful.