What is the role of Diet when approaching Plant Medicine
When we talk about ancestral plant medicine we can’t ignore the importance of diet and preparation, so let’s understand some of the reasons why to prepare before undergoing a plant medicine experience properly.
Ancestral tribes that use plant medicine as a healing tool, are very much aware of the fundamental role that diet and lifestyle play when drinking medicine, not because of mere belief but because of experience-based knowledge. They understand that food alters actively the internal chemistry of the body and how the body’s chemistry affects directly the subtle energetical body, which greatly influences the mind and emotions. Same with lifestyle, with the day-to-day activities we train behaviors, we build up patterns and create emotional habits, wholesome or unwholesome these constitute our psychological and energetical state of being. Different ethnic groups have different food diet specifications but in general, and in common terms what is avoided is meat, intense stimulation, sex, and drugs.
The diet may also vary depending on the objective of the person undergoing a diet. For someone aspiring to be a medicine man or medicine woman, a strict diet may last up to three years, with long periods of solitude and silence.
Diet and Plant Medicine in the Modern World
In our modern world conditions greatly differ from those of the Amazon, the quality of the air we breathe, proximity to nature, diet and lifestyle, mental configuration and the amount of stimulation received. The context in which the practice of using plant medicine developed was a very particular one and it’s been proved to be effective by hundreds of generations of medicine users. That is because nowadays we should try to mimic as much as possible those original conditions, for a wide variety of reasons:
- Safety: There is a list of foods and especially drugs (street drugs and pharmaceutical drugs) that are contraindicated with the use of plant medicine. Making wrong mixes can cause severe psychological and/ or energetical damage.
- Effectiveness of the experience: Preparation is laying the groundwork for the medicine experience. In this way, you show your commitment to the healing process and prepare your body and mind to receive the medicine. A body that followed the dietary requirements will have a much smoother ceremony in terms of physical cleanse, thus giving the chance to focus on different aspects of the journey like emotional healing rather than spending the session cleaning the physical body. Also, some food or drug combinations can counteract the effect of the medicine, making the experience not a very effective one.
- Trust and confidence: Having followed the preparation properly will give you peace of mind, knowing that you are a fit vessel for the experience. You will be confident in your own capacity and will relax more easily into the journey.
- Quality of the session: One may vomit and have diarrhea, or experience fear or sadness, these things are common and are part of the process of healing. Despite this, having had proper preparation will naturally make the healing work unfold more easily, making it even an enjoyable process.
Preparation is Laying the Groundwork
This is why one should approach the medicine work with great respect and take the process with sincerity in one’s own commitment to healing, understanding that the healing process begins much before the actual act of drinking medicine, it starts with the decision to heal, with all the acts big and small that are conducive to that goal. Spending time connecting with nature, nourishing the body with nutritious foods, exercising, avoiding toxic behaviors, and taking care of the mind’s sanity.
It’s good to understand that we actually don’t prepare to drink medicine, we prepare to heal and healing work doesn’t end with drinking a cup of amazonian brew, it continues until one reaches one’s own full potential.