The following is an excerpt from Adaptogens In Medical Herbalism: Elite Herbs and Natural Compounds for Mastering Stress, Aging, and Chronic Disease– by Donald R. Yance, Master Herbalist and Nutritionist. This book is a true bible for anyone working with plant-based medicine.
What I love about these four questions, is that they place the issue of wellness inside a larger container than just say diet or individual protocols, but look at wellbeing in an expanded way. When you think outside your ailments or conditions, and look with a far wider lense, the irony is that you are then able to change or uplevel the energy quite specifically. This is a perspective that deeply resonates with me and approaches towards self-healing.
I hope you enjoy…

“Our Healing Journey Wellness can be defined as an emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual vitality that is supported by engaging in attitudes and behaviours that enhance quality of life. However, a true state of wellness is not merely the condition of the person. Our level of wellness is also influenced by and intertwined with the health of our family, community, and environment. Just as wellness is multifaceted, so is the etiology of disease. Disease manifests on more than one plane, from the most obvious physical levels to the emotional, psychological, and spiritual aspects of being. Ultimately, to be fully well we must give love, receive love, and feel a true sense of belonging.

Healing is not a simple mathematical equation or a rational, self-centered, mechanical model as the prevailing biomedical worldview would have us believe. Healing is any experience that increases communication between the spirit, body, and mind, and allows us to move toward greater levels of self-acceptance, integration, and wholeness.

True healing requires us to go deeper, to the center of our being. This is the first step in the quest for wholeness and health. While on our healing journey it may be helpful to explore the following questions:”

1. Who am I?

“Body type, genetics, constitution The healing traditions of ancient medical systems have much to offer us in understanding some of the most basic ways in which we can support our health. For example, Ayurveda, the ancient medical tradition of India, recognizes three basic constitutional types known as doshas: kapha, pitta, and vata. Each dosha has unique characteristics, and identifying your dosha or combination of doshas helps in understanding which foods and herbs will be most supportive. In a similar way, traditional Chinese medicine identifies five archetypes (earth, fire, metal, water, and wood), each with unique energetic, emotional, and physical qualities that are kept in balance with specific foods, herbs, and lifestyle choices. Knowing your cultural heritage is also helpful. For example, persons of African-American, Asian, or eastern European descent should consider incorporating traditional foods into their diets.”

2. Where am I?

“Geographical location, inner and outer orientation. A person living in a cold northern climate with little sunlight has very different needs than a person living in the tropics. For example, someone who lives in Mexico and moves to Alaska would be wise to consider making dietary changes to align with the new climate, such as eating more warming foods and increasing animal protein. He or she would also want to consider the impact that reduced exposure to sunlight has on his or her body and mood and make appropriate changes, such as increasing his or her intake of vitamin D.”

3. When am I?

“Age, time of the year, lunar rhythms and circadian cycles, what we eat, how much sleep we need, and what we are able to do changes as we age. The same is true during different times of the year. During the cold winter months, we have different nutritional and physiological needs than during the hot summer months. Making appropriate changes supports our ability to adapt to our external environment. For example, eating warm, nourishing foods such as curries, soups, and stews stokes our metabolic furnace to keep us warm during the colder months while eating fruits and salads helps cool and refresh the body during the heat of the summer. What we consume during a specific time of day makes a difference, too. For instance, drinking thirty-two ounces of water early in the day is a health-supportive practice, but doing so just before bedtime is inappropriate because sleep will inevitably be disturbed. Likewise, eating a healthy sweet after a main meal will cause less dramatic shifts in blood sugar and insulin levels than does eating sweets on an empty stomach. Often in prescribing a protocol I specifically direct patients to take certain supplements early in the morning and others only at bedtime. I do this to harmoniously support the natural rhythms of the day.”

4. Why am I?

“Philosophy, values, beliefs In other words, what does my existence really mean to me and to others? Am I working at my job because it pays well or because it allows my essential self to manifest and grow as I experience life? When we live in alignment with our honest answer to the question “Why am I?” we are happier and more fulfilled, our stress level naturally lowers, and our ability to adapt is greater.

I ask myself these important questions daily because they are central to the relationships that make up the fabric of my life. These relationships exist within us, with others, with the universe, and with God. As we endeavour to understand and to live each of these unique relationships, we experience a harmonious balance of heart, mind, and spirit. These three aspects of our being are inextricably intertwined. Underlying it all, we must nourish faith to experience an understanding of our inner potential.”