by Liz Koch (Original article published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel 2008)
Chock full of Western and Eastern herbal specimens, Martha’s garden conveys the care of an experienced Eastern-based medical physician. Her sensibility keeps her always focused on what is necessary for restoring balance and enhancing vitality.
Walking through her garden, one is struck by the virility of every plant. Each seems to literally emanate a palatable vibration that speaks of sustenance with glowing health as the end result. One feels stronger just being in the presence of these magnificent creatures.
“I’m concerned with a different type of homeland security,” says Martha who will be speaking to the community at the Way of Life Lecture Series Wednesday evening, February 8th on how to maintain Lung Health – “the kind that keeps your quality of life vital.”
Martha Benedict’s approach is simple: since plants are an essential part of our life, gardening is one way to bring this relationship full circle.
“The way I understand the ancient Chinese system for health, it all begins with the Earth, and translates to our relationship with food; food sources, preparation, and consumption,” she explains.
Given the right conditions, every plant fulfills its essential potential. This approach flows from plants to human beings to herbal medicine. By embracing this wise way of living, Martha recognizes that people and plants have much in common.
Gardening deepens our understanding the use of herbs as both food and medicine. When an herb such as peppermint, for example, is thriving not just surviving, it provides a vital medicine. A cooling herb commonly used for ridding the body of excessive heat, peppermint likes to grow in—you guessed it—a cool moist climate. The quality of the soil directly affects the health and vitality of each plant and will as Martha emphasizes, be reflected in its ability to heal.
Peppermint, as just one example, flourishes when in optimal conditions and in turn provides abundant life force. Thus offering a more powerful home remedy.
Many foods and herbs provide balancing or strengthening energy for keeping lungs, skin, and kidneys vital throughout the winter flu and cold season. Martha blends her years of knowledge and practice as an Oriental Medical Physician, master gardener, and herbal formulator to create herbal products specifically to nourish health at home.
Blending herbs and plants is truly an art in synergy. Whether making soup or an herbal tea blend, proportion is just one of the aspects that make a dynamic relationship between plants, which enhances potency not available in one single plant. Complementary properties are another essential aspect of a synergistic relationship.
If Benedict were an herb, she might well be one of the venerable adaptogens; herbs best known for their rejuvenating capacity and their mysterious ability to respond according to whatever is going on and enhance balance while encouraging harmony in complex situations. She is a local treasure and an extraordinary person to meet and thoroughly enjoy.
NOTE: As with any medical condition, consult a doctor or trained professional for treatment of specific illnesses. This column contains opinion and is not meant as medical advice