In 2012 when I was struggling with a mysterious illness, I was feeling completely lost.
My body felt like it 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 with 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 to be alarmed about in my blood-work. Everything came back normal, except I was a little low on vitamin D. And, yet I could barely get out of bed even after taking the prescribed vitamin D.
One morning, I was sobbing in meditation. I felt hopeless and lost.
When I finished, my husband encouraged me to take a walk in Central Park. He said, “You always find clarity when you are in nature.”
I took his wise advice and got out of the house, even though I felt like my legs were lead and I could barely walk.
As I was sitting on a bench in Central Park, an older gentleman sitting next to me began telling me his story.
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 that 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?”
“Yes, I do know what you mean. I’m sorry to hear about your friends.”
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 was speaking to my “mystery” condition.
Immediately, I remembered an herbal class I took two or three 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 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 arrived home and told my husband that I was going to begin taking Teasel to help my body heal.
That was my first dive into using wild herbs as medicine. And, it worked!
Within 24 hours of taking that herb my joint pain began disappearing.
After that, I 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 on line, 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. For the next three years I attended the Arbor Vitae School of Traditional Herbalism and became an herbalist.
To say the least, it 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 (diet, lifestyle, consciousness and herbs) to heal what’s ailing us, and I will continue sharing that ancient knowledge with the world. 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 and get inspired to stop suffering and start feeling your best.
Andrea Beaman is an internationally renowned Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef, Speaker and Herbalist. 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.