Evolutionary Herbalism: Part 1 – The Fascinating Science, Spirituality & Medicines Of The Plant Kingdom With Sajah Popham.

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Body, Health & Wellness, Lifestyle, Mind-Spirit, Nutrition, Podcast, Podcast-new, Spiritual Growth & Disciplines

When I interviewed Gordon Wilson in the show “Are Christians Destroying The Environment? A Biblical Approach to Environmentalism and the “Dominion Mandate.”, I mentioned a book called The Lost Language of Plants by Stephen Buhner, which describes the innate intelligence built into the plant kingdom, and the loss of natural connectivity we rational, scientific humans have developed when it comes to the plant kingdom.

Since then, I've continued my interest in the, shall we say, more spiritual, medicinal, and little-known aspects of the plant kingdom, including trees, leaves, roots, herbs, flowers, flower essences, essential oils, plant medicines, and beyond. One book I've discovered along the way is Evolutionary Herbalism: Science, Spirituality, and Medicine from the Heart of Nature by today's podcast guest, Sajah Popham.

In Sajah's book, which weaves together herbal and medical traditions from around the world into a singular cohesive model, you're guided from an herbal practitioner's point of view to a comprehensive understanding of the practice and philosophy of healing with herbs.

Sajah presents an innovative approach to herbalism that considers the holistic relationship among plants, humans, and the underlying archetypal patterns in nature. Organized into five parts moving from the microcosmic to the universal, Sajah's work explores a unique integration of clinical herbalism, Ayurveda, medical astrology, spagyric alchemy, and medical and esoteric traditions from across the world in a truly holistic system of plant medicine. A balance of the heart and the mind, the science and spirit of people and plants, Evolutionary Herbalism provides a holistic context for how plants can be used for transformational levels of healing for the body, spirit, and soul. For both the student herbalist and experienced practitioner, Popham's original perspectives guide you to a more intimate, synergistic, and intuitive relationship with the plant kingdom, people, and nature as a whole.

Sajah Popham's mission is to share knowledge, tools, and medicine that promote the healing power of plants —to not just heal our bodies of disease, but to assist in the evolution of human consciousness back into its natural state. His holistic focus is on finding the universal principles and practices across herbal traditions and using plants in a way that not only brings about physical healing and rejuvenation but psychological and emotional health along with spiritual transformation. Sajah holds a degree in Herbal Sciences from Bastyr University and has studied herbal traditions across the world and with some of North America's top clinical practitioners. He lives in the Pacific Northwest forest with his wife Whitney.

Sajah's approach unites traditional models in a way that utilizes the whole plant (chemistry, energetics, and spirit) to heal the whole person (body, spirit, and soul) by getting to the root causes of disease.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-How an evolutionary herbalist describes his “day job”…06:25

  • Sajah was on track to be a neurosurgeon as a child and young man
  • Felt deep connection to nature, the natural world (alternative lifestyle)
  • This led to a study of herbalism, attended Bastyr University
  • Medicinal plants are not just collections of random chemicals
  • Touches the heart, mind, soul—changes who we are on the inside

-The study environment at Bastyr University…10:15

  • Different sciences surrounding plants and people
  • Anatomy of plants
  • Materia medica (plants by family)
  • Formulations of medicines

-How a disconnection between the human and plant kingdom has helped to create some of the chaos we see today…13:00

  • Our ancestors had a much closer connection to the earth and plant kingdom
  • We buy packaged foods, medicines in tiny capsules; you don't see the root or the leaves
  • “Every breath we take is a gift of the plant kingdom”
  • Stress, insomnia, anxiety, depression, etc. is tied to the disconnect
  • Paracelsus: “The art of healing comes from nature, not the physician”

-“Vitalism” and its connection to evolutionary herbalism…17:30

  • Looking at nature/plants/people, understanding innate intelligence within them
  • Work with this vital intelligence, not against
  • Physiological process of a fever
  • Allopathic medicine sees the condition as the enemy, rather than the response to an imbalance
  • “Why is that symptom there” vs. eliminating the symptom
  • Not fighting nature, working with nature
  • Suppressing a symptom such as a fever can elongate it in the long run
  • Qi, energy, are alternate ways of describing vitalism

-Can plants be misused as is often the case with pharmaceuticals?…23:45

  • You can't take herbs blindly and trust all will work out
  • “What is this plant good for?” is the wrong question to ask
  • There are some drugs that are far more efficacious than plants in certain circumstances
  • Plants are more effective for chronic issues than OTC drugs
  • Energetics: visualized by a dry vs. wet cough

-Molecular herbalism contrasted with evolutionary herbalism…28:50

  • Molecular herbalism doesn't place as much of an impact on the vital force of nature
  • Disease is viewed on a molecular level
  • Supplements have their place, but we can't be dependent on them
  • Dr. Thomas Cowan's vegetable powders (use code BEN to save 15%)

-How plants have their own electromagnetic field…36:20

  • The Secret Teaching of Plants by Stephen Buhner
  • A plant is formed by the EMF of its roots
  • Volatile compounds
  • The heart can detect the EMF emanated by plants
  • Ancestors could intuitively know what and how a plant could be used

-How plants have the same senses we do…40:15

  • Display awareness in ways humans can't perceive
  • They're perhaps more intelligent than humans
  • Differences in level of consciousness, but plants have senses just as humans do
  • Plants have a reciprocal relationship with humans (don't feel guilty for picking them out of the ground)
  • Reverential attitude and gratitude toward plants and the plant kingdom

-The “song” of a plant…45:20

  • Deep level of coherence between the heart of a human and the EMF of the plant
  • Synchronization occurs, the boundary begins self and plant begins to dissolve
  • Song of a plant emerges for a person in tune with the EMF of the plant
  • Highest honor, as the plant has shared its essence with the person
  • Different songs: harvesting, medicine-making, etc.

-The Doctrine of Signatures and how Sajah “gets to know” a new plant…49:15

  • Begins with an offering and a prayer with the plant
  • Talk the plant as you would to a person in normal conversation
  • Tobacco is the best offering to make to a plant
  • Doctrine of Signatures—learning to read the language of nature through form
  • Plant looks like the part of the body it treats (avocado, walnut, carrot)
  • Nettle as an example:
    • The environment where it grows (damp, nitrogenous waste)
    • Efficacious for the urinary tract
    • Edges of leaves look sharp (fire element)
    • Blood purifying plant (bad blood syndrome)
    • Full of iron
    • Comparison to planet Mars
  • Use your own senses to get in touch with the plant's EMF
  • Meditate with the plant; bring awareness from the head down to the heart
  • Feelings emerge, memories surface, as the heart comes into a coherent connection with the plant

-What Sajah thinks of AI related to plants…1:03:04

-A sneak preview of what's to come in Part 2 with Sajah…1:07:04

-And much more!…

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

Sajah Popham:

– Podcasts:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

Upcoming Events:

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Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for Sajah Popham or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

Since the original release of this content, Ben has changed many of his thoughts and practices regarding plant medicine. To learn more, please read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

4 thoughts on “Evolutionary Herbalism: Part 1 – The Fascinating Science, Spirituality & Medicines Of The Plant Kingdom With Sajah Popham.

  1. Ann Burks says:

    Do you have a transcript of this interview? I’m hard of hearing and there is some background noise on the audio that makes it almost impossible for me to understand the discussion. :-)

    Thanks –


  2. Trudi says:

    SO happy to hear your advice For instance : I am very curious about how “we”as Christians overstepped our bounds! and there is LOTS more

  3. Patrick L says:


    Have you read or ever heard of the book written by Adolf Just- “Return to nature! The true natural method of healing and living and the true salvation of the soul” ? It was written in Germany in the late 1800s and translated into English in 1903. Everyone wants to credit Earthing/Grounding as a relatively recent phenomenon but his book clearly lays it from over 100 years ago — along with a plant based diet (specifically nut & berry), the spiritual approach to natural living backed up from scriptures in the Bible, and all the benefits of natural air and cold water therapy. Essentially a lot of the natural biohacks you have written about, so I’m very curious if you have come across it…. and, if not, its worth a read!!! (but also hard to find)

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