Last night, over dinner, my husband's old schoolmate asked me about my giving talks on herbs. I was suddenly embarrassed and stammered some stupid answer about it.
Back home, I started wondering why I was embarrassed. Maybe it was a cultural attitude, I'm not sure. I do know I worry about appearing to be overbearing trying to stuff info into peoples' throat (tell me if I'm doing so and I will stop!).
I remembered me and my maternal grandma (Ah Ma) sitting on the grassy lawn at my house, and she educating me on all sorts of edible weeds sticking out between the blades of grasses. I was nine at that time, and Ah Ma didn't tell me she was dying slowly of 2nd hand smoke lung cancer, and she was trying to cramp all her knowledge of herbs into me before she had to pass away. At that time I just thought it was play pretend, you know, like the way we kids have picnics outside in the open air. My Ah Ma would pluck some leaves and flowers and asked me to chew on some of them, and she would explain what they were good for. Meanwhile, I would pretend my dolls and I were having cakes and cookies and tea. If I was just a bit older. If only I paid more attention. If only I knew what she was really trying to impart. I could have learned so much, much more from her.
Plant knowledge and healing are apparently in my genes. I had a great-great-grandfather was a healer who used herbs extensively. We call a guy like him a bomoh over in this neck of the woods. How cool is that! And my paternal grandma has the greenest, green thumb I know. She made me spend hours in the hot sun, carefully wrapping fruits in newspapers to prevent worms from getting to it, made me do lots of gardening, earning rough callouses on my hands and getting bitten by thousands of mozzies! (Oh man! What teenager like to do this, tell me, when they can spend fun time with their friends at the mall). My mum was a nurse. Our fridge was like the neighbourhood pharmacy. What a minute, it still is. We have stacks of pills and liquids of various colors and sizes inside the fridge and in cupboard drawers. We have people calling my mum at all sorts of hours consulting her when someone is sick. Mum made me read medical books like they were story books. No mum, they were not.
I really shouldn't be embarrassed.
This IS knowledge. And boy, if I don't share what I know, share the joy of plants and good health, I'm doing my Ah Ma, of all people, a great disservice.
I treat food with great respect. It wasn't that way when I was a teenager, which resulted in me being fat and saddled with a multitude of health problems (more about that later). Now, I treat my food like medicine. It heals me, keeps my "motor" in good condition. My body is my temple. It's the only one I have! So I better take good care of it.
And by sharing all these information, I hope you too will pass this knowledge to your friends, your family, your future generation.
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