What’s in a Name?

I often get asked why I named my website and holistic ventures ‘Herb and Ether.’ The Herb part is pretty self-explanatory. But what the heck does ‘Ether’ mean??!

I hope this will adequately explain the meaning behind the name ‘Herb and Ether.’

I put A LOT of time, effort, and research into finding a name that perfectly embodied what I was trying to encompass and communicate to people. Herbs represent the health and wholeness of the physical world while Ether represents the health and wholeness of the emotional and spiritual being within us. Because I work with both whole plants AND their isolated essential oils, I needed a name that would cleverly encompass both. Herb and Ether fit the bill.

Quick Note: I do not use the word “herb” as a slang for cannabis. If I intend to refer to cannabis, I will use her proper name: Cannabis.

HERB

As an herbalist, I work primarily with the plant kingdom. So it is appropriate that I would chose “Herb” as part of my name and it is a fairly easy to grasp and visualize word.

Classically defined, an herb is defined as “a flowering plant that is valued for it’s medicinal properties, flavor, scent, or the like.” Herbs go beyond the common culinary plants that we see in the spice sections of our grocery store. Medicinal herbs range from “parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme” to aloe vera, dandelion, Oregon grape root, and ginseng and everything in between. In the medical herbalism world, herbs refer to any medicinally relevant plant or fungus.

There are thousands of plants and fungi worldwide that have been used for time immemorial to remedy animals, humans, insects, and even other plants. In fact, there are exponentially more beneficial plants than there are poisonous or harmful. Some of the earliest texts depict plants that were used for their physical and spiritual properties.

Plants seamlessly incorporate the five elements in their existence. The seed is planted into mineral-rich earth. Water is poured onto it. The seed grows toward the warmth of the sun (fire) and then transforms that sunlight and carbon dioxide into food to help the plant grow. The plant breaths in carbon dioxide and breathes out oxygen (air). The entirety of the plant is a combination of earth [minerals], water, sunlight [fire], and carbon dioxide/ oxygen [air]. Then the plant unfurls and blooms and emits its volatile oils… even essential oils, if you will. Essential oils are the essence of plant spirit [ether].

ETHER

As an aromatherapist, incorporating a word to describe the spirit of the plant was also imperative.

Unlike herbs, ether is a bit harder to define as that is its nature. It wasn’t until I began doing some research into the ancient science of alchemy, that I landed on the word “Ether.” It is in the alchemical paradigm that I define and use the word “Ether.”

In medieval alchemical doctrine, all things are made up of a combination of five elements: Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and Ether. The first four elements have relatively straightforward physical properties. Ether is a bit harder to grasp, which, ironically illustrates its character exactly. Ether is the spirit within things; the bridge between the physical, earthly realm and the spiritual/celestial realms. Spirit resides within the physical but is not a physical entity that can be held or quantified. It is the bridge between the body and the soul. As it is the “fifth element,” it is also called “quintessence.” It is from the name quintessence that we get the root for the word essential; as in Essential Oils.

COMBINING HERB WITH ETHER

We are not only physical beings. We are spiritual beings as well. Plants are also physical and spiritual beings and can tend to our health in wholly physical and spiritual ways. From the beginning to the current era, people and plants have been intimately intertwined.

We CANNOT become truly whole, healthy entities without a healthy balance of body, mind, and spirit. It is my mission to help provide the tools for everyone to be able to take charge of their health so that our lives and subsequently, the world will become a healthier and more beautiful place to live in.

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