In 2012 when I was struggling with a mysterious illness, I felt completely lost.
My body was breaking down.
I was experiencing deep pain in all of my joints: fingers, wrists, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles. There was an odd ache on the right side of my neck that never seemed to resolve – it was aching from the moment I woke up in the morning until I laid my head back down again at night. My immune system kept crashing. I suffered from three respiratory infections in one winter season (that’s 3 infections in 4 months!). I had no energy. I was having bouts of heart-racing anxiety, and then became deeply depressed and stopped seeing clients for two months.
I didn’t understand what the heck was happening or why.
My diet was clean, organic, and naturally raised. My lifestyle was excellent. But, all of my bodily systems were seemingly failing. It was awful!
A visit with my doctor found nothing alarming about my blood-work. Everything came back normal, except I was a little low on vitamin D. And, yet even after taking the prescribed vitamin D, I could barely get out of bed.
One morning, I was sobbing through my meditation.
When I finished, my husband encouraged me to take a walk in Central Park. He said, “You always find clarity when you are out in nature.”
I took his wise advice and got out of the house, even though my legs felt like lead and I could barely walk.
As I was sitting on a bench in Central Park, an older gentleman sitting next to me began sharing his story with me.
He said, “I’m originally from North Carolina and now I’m traveling the country.”
As he was talking I couldn’t help but notice the very large swollen arthritic-looking joints in both of his hands. His finger joints were round and purple and looked like little doorknobs.
He continued, “Two years ago I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. And, all of my friends were too.” He continued, “Don’t’ ever let the medical profession get their hands on you. They will keep you trapped!”
My ears perked up and I laughed, “You’re preaching to the choir! I agree that the system is broken. It’s a disease-care system, not a healthcare system.”
He continued, “I took one round of their antibiotics and then I got the heck out there, and I’ve been living my life on the go ever since. But, my friends… they’re not so lucky. They stayed and they continued taking more and more antibiotics and lots of other drugs and they are all suffering terribly. They are alive, but not really. You know what I mean?”
An interesting thing happened as this guy was telling me his story. The joint pain in my own hands flared very strongly – stronger than before. Intuitively, I felt that his condition (Lyme disease) was speaking directly to my condition.
Immediately, I remembered an herbal class I took a few years prior with renowned Herbalist Matthew Wood. He talked about a wide variety of herbs during that three-hour class, but the one I specifically remembered on that fateful day sitting in Central Park was an herb called Teasel that was used for Lyme disease.
After I finished my conversation with the older gentleman, I was feeling hopeful and inspired for the first time in almost nine months.
I went home and told my husband that I was going to begin taking Teasel to help my body heal. Pictured below, Teasel is widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a kidney and liver toner.
That was my first dive into using wild herbs as medicine. And, it worked!
Within 24 hours of taking that herb, my joint and bone pain began disappearing.
I also picked up a book called Healing Lyme by Stephen Harrod Buhner and another one by Wolf Storl called Healing Lyme Disease Naturally. I researched the history of Lyme and experimented with the herbal protocols in both of those books and the rest of my symptoms began clearing as well.
My brain came back online, my depression lifted, my anxiety disappeared, my immune system strengthened, and I began feeling like my self again. It took about 8 months of incorporating daily herbal medicine into my regular diet and lifestyle routine to feel renewed and revitalized.
After that, I knew I needed to learn more about these herbal allies and start using them in my practice with my clients. I attended the Arbor Vitae School of Traditional Herbalism and became an herbalist.
To say the least, my illness has been an amazing journey.
Today, I couldn’t imagine my life or my practice without the addition of herbal medicine. It has had a profound impact on my own health and the health of my clients.
I’m a big fan of using natural and alternative medicines that includes diet, lifestyle, consciousness, and herbs, to heal what’s ailing us. And, I will continue sharing that ancient knowledge with the world. Especially now as it’s needed now more than ever!
Get more insight on using food and herbs as medicine in your own life with my Food as Medicine Guide and Online Course.
Your illness no matter what you are suffering with could be the inspiration to take a new path to STOP suffering and start feeling your best.
Andrea Beaman is an internationally renowned Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef, Speaker, Herbalist and best-selling author. Named one of the top 100 Most Influential Health and Fitness Experts, she is also a recipient of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education and a Health Leadership award from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since 1999, Andrea has been teaching people how to harness the body’s own preventative and healing powers using food, herbal remedies and alternative medicine.
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