This evening I was reminded of one of my favorite witty responses of all time, courtesy of friend, herbalist and teacher extraordinaire James Snow. The setting: James’ lecture on something to do with the liver at an American Herbalists Guild conference. The buildup: Annoying attendee repeatedly raising her hand and asking pseudo-questions designed to show off her superior knowledge (“what do you think about using ubiquinone-4-alpha-gamma intravenously in patients with necrotizing liver disease?”). After tactfully dealing with her once or twice, James finally looked her in the eye and said something along the lines of:
In my practice, I use medicines that grow from the earth.
Then he moved on, and Miss Annoyingpants never said another word. I love the beauty and simplicity of this response. Many herbalists dabble in the use of nutraceuticals – single constituent extracts, isolated vitamins and minerals, etc. While there is nothing wrong with this, I believe there is a lot to be said for the simplicity of plant medicine in the traditional sense. In my experience, learning more and more about how things work, constituents and various other minutia is interesting and not at all necessary for healing.