Nature’s Networks: Connecting Us All.
The dark nights continue lengthening and the light-filled days continue shortening as nature pursues its journey inwards. We are no longer sheltered by lush, green leaves, but by spindling, sparse branches, stretching outwards. This can perhaps come with mixed emotions, but it’s just that nature is becoming dormant.
Nature is winding down towards sleep (and deservedly so, don’t you think?) and as the leaves fall and energy returns inwards, this means that roots are now at their peak instead.
In herbal medicine it isn’t just the aerial parts (growing above ground) of the plants that are used medicinally, but the roots too and right now is the perfect time to harvest them*.
Here are two examples:
- Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) root is great for simulating the digestive system and supporting the liver
- Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) root is a nervous system relaxant that is used to reduce anxiety and tension and to ease sleep
It’s also mushroom season!
I’m not about to start suggesting you all head out and start collecting wild mushrooms because the identification of fungi can be a tricky business, but certainly add them to your meals.
Their nutty, earthy, wholesomeness is not only utterly glorious, but they’re really good for us as they’re full of antioxidants and B-vitamins.
Not only do mushrooms have a plethora of nutritional and medicinal benefits, but they play important roles in maintaining a balanced ecosystem.
When we imagine mushrooms, we’re actually thinking of the “fruit” of the fungus, however, the majority of the organism exists underground, as a complex and extensive network of mycelium, which interweaves itself amongst tree roots.
Mycelium literally means ‘more than one’ and these tiny threads connect trees, allowing them to share water, carbon, nitrogen and other important nutrients with each other.
This system even allows trees to pick up distress signals from other trees and pass water to them in times of need, all via this network.
I find this collective intelligence remarkable.
This beautifully complicated system enables connection, communication and sharing and is but one example of synergy within our natural world.
The world around us, above, below and within, is inextricably connected and extraordinarily balanced.
Human anatomy is just one other example of how a combined system is so much more than a simple sum of parts and is an incredibly important aspect to consider when supporting our own physical and emotional terrain.
My previous blog talked about nourishing ourselves during this transition from the lighter to the darker period of the year.
I’d like to continue reiterating that it is normal for our mood and energy levels to perhaps feel lower right now. We may find that our thoughts are rushing, as our minds may be more analytical and needing to reflect which can leave a strong sense of restlessness.
As ever, returning your mind and body to nature by recognising natural cycles, can help us with our own, as well as acknowledging and allowing for our need to rest.
Nature is slowing down and our bodies want to slow alongside this natural rhythm, which can create a sense of inner conflict as everything that life entails continues pushing forwards at the same pace.
Without simply repeating words from my previous blog, remember to tune-in to your inner world and take time to be. And as always, pause, observe and listen to nature. We are connected in ways that we don’t even realise.
Words by Heather.
Connecting people to nature.
* All herbal medicines should be taken with care. Please seek advice from a trained medical herbalist and if harvesting your own plants, please do so sustainably and cautiously.