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Herbs and Medicine Foods


Sacred Ground Journal. Thoughts on life.

Herbs and Medicine Foods

Phyllis Bala

As many of you know, my Great Grandmother Tomasa employed foods as medicines and food combining to help people manage illness and diseases.  Human relationship to foods as medicines is ancient practice.  When my mother first told me about "Wella's" art of food combining, I had been ignoring and scoffing at what I kept hearing about food combining in magazine articles.  Thinking it was something "New Age", I laughed it off and tuned it out. I had a long way to go, learning otherwise.

At age 37, the time of my "wake up call", it suddenly became clear about my adult history of dreaming certain foods when I felt a little bit off.  Getting colds and flu had never been a problem for me.  But there were times my throat would begin feeling vaguely scratchy with a sense that i was about to be very sick.

In my dreams I would be shown collards, kale, mustard greens and other asian tender greens.  Upon waking from my dream my body would be absolutely craving their taste, so much so that I would rush out to the grocery store to buy them and cook them up immediately.  It was such a mystery to me why eating them seemed like they were literally life saving plants I craved with such intensity.

In my dreams the plants would always instill a deep feeling of great joy and satisfaction that rooted itself into my being.  They would always leave me with an unshakable sense of them being more like companions, friends and teachers. When I would eat them, a deep sense of peace, satisfaction and healing would be the result.  It was always a pattern and rhythm my health and dreaming would take. Now I realize these "Green Girls" tend to quickly bring the body's ph levels into a more alkaline state.

Back in "the day", most western folks were dutifully eating their iceberg lettuce salads and calling it greens.  When I worked at Rosemary's Garden, an herb store in Sebastopol, California, I taught people about the use of collards, kale & mustard greens as deep green medicine for lymphatic health, blood and bone support and cancer prevention.  In the early 1990's I even taught classes about how to cook these powerful yet modest medicine foods, of which kale is at least now a very popular green that seems quite the rage, thank goodness.

So I want to introduce you to another amazing, yet humble medicine food that is as important and versatile a medicine as I find collards, kale & mustard greens to be.  I'm sharing a link from one of my favorite websites that I think you will love exploring.  Meet Dr. Schar, his beautiful photos, plant essays and of course his wonderful sense of humor.

Many friends & visitors to Sacred Ground in Occidental, have had the opportunity to sit with the prickly pear fruit to meet the spirit of the plant.  It's quite the teacher and taught me for a solid 2 months about the secrets of cerebral-spinal fluids, the vascular system, kidneys, the importance of proper hydration in brain and bone health, blood sugar, liver function and it's effect on the overall health of the female reproductive system.  I drink this a medicine food almost every day.