Farmer Health: A Whole Health Perspective
I’ve asked a few people recently what they see as the most important thing on any farm with respect to animal health and overall productivity and had answers such as the quality of pasture, soil health, parasite control etc. I’ve asked so what is the one single factor that can affect all of these things? Most need some prompting.
Looking at the Whole
As a medical herbalist my training was to look at the Whole person, and as a farmer this translates to looking at the Whole picture.
Without a healthy farmer we don’t have a healthy farm, and all too quickly the little jobs can be put off, observational skills can diminish and things can quickly become overwhelming.
My job as a herbalist is to closely observe, and talk to people building a holistic picture. The pain from a knee injury can lead to low mood and a feeling of frustration from lowered mobility, a
difficult lambing or calving season can lead to feelings of despair, a family crisis, or financial issues to feelings of stress and anxiety which can affect someone’s ability to motivate themselves around everyday jobs.
Healing from a physical or emotional crisis can take time, and many of my patients herbal prescriptions include adaptogens, herbs which help the body adapt to physical and emotional stresses, nervines which help restore emotional balance as well as addressing any physical imbalance. I might advise around diet and lifestyle, small changes that can make a big difference to physical and emotional health.
Some of my favourite herbs include lemon balm, a calming nervine, skullcap, which “keeps your head on“ and helps stop unwanted racing thoughts, rose, a herbal hug, and nettle seed, our very own native British adaptogen. I might prescribe as a tea or as a tincture, an extract of herbs in alcohol, either way a prescription will usually include up to 5 herbs specially selected for the patient.
About the author: I’m Kate, a medical herbalist, and agricultural consultant – with a unique heritage, being descended from generations of herbalists and drovers.