Food for the Soul: Food as Medicine

First batch of Garlic Honey. Photo ©2017 Loretta McClellan

There’s something truly empowering in addressing and thwarting a health issue yourself, especially with plant medicine, even more so with herbs deemed as readily available food.

A wicked and lengthy summer cold had been taking its turn on many people in my immediate sphere, finding its way into my own household. As soon as I felt the symptoms coming on, I ate my first spoonful of garlic honey, an herbal remedy I made with loving care myself. I continued taking it throughout the day and by the next morning all signs of the impending doom were gone.

Making this batch of garlic honey was my first foray into crafting dietary herbal support for specific needs (as opposed to cooking meals with herbs or topical wellness support, like making salve). The fact that it was simple food made it all the more joyful, mostly because the ingredients are always in my cupboard, and that I finally noticed their much broader purpose!

Food as Medicine is not a new concept, but a mindset that I have grown in appreciation of the more I study Herbalism. Its practical use has made cooking all the more enjoyable.  It has also deepened my connection with nature, as well as with my ancestors.

Maternal ancestors’ home where they sharecropped in Texas

My progenitors were sharecroppers. They farmed another person’s land in Texas. Their parents farmed, and their grandparents did as well.  Generations of my mother’s side of the family were farmers. It was arduous work and in more recent generations was considered a “poor man’s” vocation. That connection to the earth, however, was priceless, as it had roots that ran deep, all the way to me…and beyond. In my mind’s eye I can even smell the richness of the soil they planted and tended.

Growing up in the verdant yet high-tech Silicon Valley in northern California, not far from Gilroy, the Garlic Capital of the World, on those rare days when wind came up from the south, garlic and onions would waft across the breeze. Even today that most-familiar scent graces our presence in the air on occasion, including in my home every time I open up my jar of garlic honey. I’m reminded of that tangible connection between the earth and her gifts, and with each and every being. I’m abundantly aware that as food is harvested in gratitude, that in its holistic purpose it nourishes the body, mind and spirit. The blessing of dual duty in plants as medicine, as well as food, is food for the soul.

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” ―John Muir

Disclaimer: The author is not a medical professional, nutritionist or dietician. Content on this website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for medical treatment or diagnosis and is not monitored or evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration/FDA. Consult your health care provider if you are experiencing any symptoms and before using any herbal product. Any application of the material provided is at the reader’s discretion and is his or her sole responsibility.


The heart of Botaniscape™ and budding Herbalist, Lori McClellan sees the Art of Herbalism as her lifelong connection to Nature and wonder manifested most fully—another exciting medium and source of abundant joy. An Author, Artist and Poet, creating as Loretta Boyer McClellan, her works as a writer of fiction, nonfiction and poetry; conscious PR, brand, graphic design, and communications; and as an Arts instructor, journalist and artist, “sized the canvas,” so to speak, for a fruitful life of expression, connection and inspiration. Author of The Nature of BEing: A Healing Journey, The Misthaven of Maine Series, and Dodging Raindrops: Poems and Prose of Beauty, Peace and Healing, Lori creates from a place of Oneness. Writing, meditating, painting, and her relationship with Nature and all beings, most tangibly through Herbalism, are her connection to the Infinite. 

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