A Woman's Intuition.
A Hymn to Black Seed Oil.
And maca root. And hibiscus. And baobab. Blueberries. Ashwagandha. Basil. Fennel. Valerian. Milk thistle. It's impossible to write about just one plant or herb without starting to sing about all of them. And each plant has its own story, entwined within mine. For instance, I can’t write about black seed oil without starting with the story about turmeric - the first time a herb came intuitively to me. There I was, lying on the cosy floor of Maggie's Cancer Centre during a group mindfulness workshop, I just have to get home and cook with turmeric, I thought. And why turmeric? A little bit of research later, I was hooked.
So if I start there, I would need to tell you that intuition saved my life. I went to the doctor at the end of October 2019 because of a strong intuition. There was no lump to feel in my breast and I had no real reason to suspect I had cancer. Just a clear, urgent voice that said, you need to act quickly. So I did. With no lump to feel, my GP was not going to refer me. But I just sat there. I knew something deep and wise had spoken to me and I honoured it. I didn't move out of the chair until she relented and referred me - not as an emergency though. Two days later the beginning of a 7cm tumour was found at the hospital. I had lobular breast cancer, which took two mammograms, ultra sound and finally an MRi to reveal.
In those raw early days, I was so scared but I was also reeling with gratitude for my intuition. So you see, right from the beginning of my breast cancer journey, my intuition was a gift. So I listened, I thanked her and I paid attention. And as a result, herbs and plants started appearing in my mind when I needed their medicine - some, notably maca root, that I had never even heard of before.
So let's start my story here - in the kitchen, daydreaming out of the window, over the small heads of green bursting basil - and then, suddenly, the word maca. What is maca I thought, and why am I thinking about it? I had no idea. But I knew from the turmeric moment that it was definitely worth researching. So I did. Anti-cancer. Libido enhancing, memory boosting, energy igniter; a Peruvian root vegetable, part of the cruciferous family, given to children in Peru to boost their cognitive powers. Used for fertility and to ease menopausal symptoms. It’s a serious mood booster. I notice it if I don’t have it for a day. Truly.
This magic kept happening. So specific was the intuition, the messages between myself and the world of plants and healing that when I would find myself thinking about a specific herb, I would read about it and it was always a remedy for a particular side effect I was facing at the time. And, believe me, with my medically induced menopause, side effects are my thing.
Every herb or plant I intuit has anti-cancer properties. But let’s rewind now, over a year and a half ago. Let’s go back to black seed oil. It is, after all, what drew me to Shona and Skin Elixir. And why I sat down today to write.
After I was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2019, I stopped doing some things straight away: wearing bras with underwiring and using any type of perfume, deodorant or body lotion. I used olive oil and black seed oil in the shower. Until I discovered Skin Elixir. I needed to implicitly trust the ingredients of anything that was to be rubbed into my skin. Shona and I had bonded over carrots and juicing, so when I found out she creates her own moisturiser - small batch, on her kitchen table - packed with the powerhouse that is black seed oil - well, I was smitten. Now I can rub black seed oil into my skin until my heart’s content!
Listen to yourself, your heart speaks. And so does the Earth.
I am studying Intuitive Plant Medicine with the wonderful Earth Intuition, Asia Suler @asiasuler. Onewillowapothecaries.com.🌿The Skin Elixir blog is in the top 20 UK Skin Care Blogs. https://blog.feedspot.com/uk_skin_care_blogs/