I was taking BIO 108, Plants and Society, my last semester at Mesa Community College before transferring to Arizona State University. It was a filler class, and I knew it would be interesting, but had no idea it would ultimately lead to a new lifestyle. It was not the class itself that did this, but a combination of things. Among our final assignments was a report that we had to do on some sort of plant or herb-bearing plant. I did a search on the internet for some herb shops (all fully legal herbs, mind you), and found one in downtown Mesa. This was back when I was more ‘oorah! Let’s go shoot our guns guys!’, and so it happened that my two friends and I stopped into the little cottage shop on our way out to the desert to… yeah you guessed it, shoot off our guns.
So we walk in, and first of all it just smells amazing, and secondly, what are the few people in here so happy about? It was emanating. I tell the guy “I am here to do a project and I just need an herb, any herb, I do not care what you give me as long as it doesn’t cost as much as another herb I was used to buying so frequently at the time”. He says to me I should go ahead and pick one myself, but that he will give me something else. The shelves in the homey little home had hundreds of very large jars filled with myriad varied herbs. Even then, it was admittedly interesting but not too interesting. ‘Catnip’ was the herb I had picked. I wanted to see if it really got felines high like I’d always heard growing up. The man, who I now know as Mike, handed me a complimentary bag. He said something to the effect that the bag’s contents are perfect for us young bucking, strapping early twenty-somethings with a mischievous grin on his face. I gathered he was implying it would stimulate our male sexualities–and hey, I couldn’t argue with that. So I took it, and we headed off to the desert to partake in controlled and mundane explosions. I do not know why we thought that was so fun at the time. It’s really not. I did not return to the store for some time.
About a year later I began experiencing drawbacks in my health, albeit youthful. I hate doctors almost as much as everyone hates dentists. They never did a damn thing for me anyway–whereas a dentist actually does. I went back to the shop so they could at least refer me to a number of herbs which I could experiment with. After all the cannabis I’d ingested over the years, there are bound to be herbs with comparable strength, simply of a different purpose. I sat comfortably thinking on that notion. While I may not feel the effects so overtly like the girl Mary who’s never done me wrong, perhaps I could add a few more ladies to the mix–Rosemary, Chlorella, Anise and Jasmine… and a few others. Or maybe more than a few.
It is time I highlighted Mike for giving me that bag of Peruvian Mace so I could handle all these herbal ladies with some prowess and health. He and his wife Kathy own the shop, and it’s really just dandy–yes, dandy. I have only come across one other such shop in the east valley. These two shops are Southwest Herb in downtown Mesa and Desert Sage Herbs in Northwest Chandler. I love both of these establishments and their various high points. For herbalists, the love of nature and its magical healing powers outweigh the underlying theme of cutthroat capitalizing competition. Since indulging myself in research of herbalism my mind has opened further and body has become healthier. It has led me towards other holistic avenues as well.
Why does it take any sort of convincing for people to believe herbal medicine blows ‘traditional’ medical practice out of the water? I would respond to that with another question: why do students in medical doctor programs in this country receive single digit credit hours towards diet and nutrition, and conversely offer a pill containing who knows what, every time we have a problem? Plants–the actual plants–not synthetics derived from these very plants–have been used for all of documented history. The knowledge of these things is no longer passed down, let alone commonly used in our societies of the ‘modern’ era. Still, the information is out there, and even more comforting, the herbs and plants are out there–at very low prices and in bulk–plants by the hundreds. Multitudes of books have been written on the topic. With this knowledge one does not need insurance, nor a doctor acting like he’s listening to you and then looking at you like you’re an idiot, and you certainly don’t need that pill. Health is about the little things. Add all the little things up: hydration, diet and nutrition, cardiovascular exercise, muscle stress, breathing, flexibility, a smile and some herbs–and you have the only formula you need, a formula not originating from a lab. I realize it’s a foreign idea to many–but technology and synthetics are what’s foreign if you ask me.
In the end, a good general rule of thumb is we are responsible for our own health. Neither Obamacare nor our private M.D.’s are going to do it for us. They’re likely not even doing it for themselves. But there are simple solutions. The argument that ‘it takes too much time’ or ‘it costs too much money’ are invalid in this case–and that reasoning is usually poisonous in most regards anyway. Do yourself a favor, drive a few miles, meet some genuinely good people, learn a few things, feel better and change your life. I’m grateful for the unique and peculiar stumble-upons I’ve made throughout my life. I hope you get around to patronizing these establishments. Nothing happens out of coincidence, only out of necessity. Do enjoy, friends.