The Secret Teachings of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in the Perception of Nature


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By Stephen Harrod Buhner
Trade paperback book
ISBN 9781591430353
315 pages, 6.00 x 9.00″

Mankind cannot survive without the nutritional and medicinal properties of plants. The number of plant species on Earth has been estimated at around 400.000, with many of these species remaining unknown to humans. While only a fraction have been identified and categorized by Western botanists, it is safe to say that many of the plants unknown in the West are known to indigenous people living within the plants’ natural settings.

All ancient and indigenous peoples insist their knowledge of plant medicine comes from the plants themselves and not through trial-and-error experimentation. Less well known is that these plant teachings are at the basis of many of the modern discoveries in both medicine and in plant foods.

Throughout the world there is a tradition of direct perception of nature through the “intelligence of the heart.” Recent discoveries in neuroscience have proven that up to 25 percent of the heart is comprised of neural cells. The heart is, in fact, a brain in its own right. Heart-centered perception can be exceptionally accurate and detailed in its information gathering capabilities, as indigenous and ancient peoples assert.

Stephen Harrod Buhner explores this heart-centered mode of perception in great detail. He includes leading-edge information on the physical mechanisms of heart-based cognition and explores the work of numerous remarkable people who perceived the world with their hearts, including Henry David Thoreau; Luther Burbank, who cultivated the majority of food plants we now take for granted; George Washington Carver; Masanobu Fukuoka, author of The One Straw Revolution; and Great German poet and scientist Goethe, who studied the metamorphosis of plants. Buhner shows us how these great thinkers achieved a direct perception of nature using the cognitive abilities of the heart. He provides the knowledge and techniques necessary to develop heart-based perception, which is our birthright. He teaches us how to learn the medicinal uses of plants directly from the plants themselves and to understand the soul-making process that such deep connection with the world engenders.

About the author:

Stephen Harrod Buhner is an Earth Poet and senior researcher for the Foundation for Gaian Studies. He lectures throughout the United States on herbal medicine, the sacredness of plants, and the intelligence of Nature. He is the author of nine works of nonfiction and one book of poetry, including the award winning The Lost Language of Plants and Sacred Plant Medicine. He lives in Braintree Vermont.

Additional information

Weight 1.00 lbs
Dimensions 8 × 6 × 1 in


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