Herbal Tea with Hildegard

Nov 17, 2023
Posted by: Monique Parker



If you had the chance to meet a historical figure, who would it be?
Julius Caesar? Queen Victoria? Henry the Eighth? Or William Shakespeare?
I’m sure we all have a historical hero or heroine. Wouldn’t it be great to sit down with them and have a chat. Of course, it’ll never happen, but one can but dream. 

For me there is a lady I would really like to meet and have a conversation with over a cup of herbal tea. Her name is Hildegard von Bingen and she lived in the 12th century.

Hildegard was a remarkable German woman who had a very clear vision on the connection between Nature and health. This is the reason I wrote about her in my book ‘Conversations on the Lost Connection with Nature’.

Her whole life Hildegard lived in a green valley near the River Rhine in Germany, and this must have had a significant impact on her, as she saw the greenness of Nature as a metaphor for physical and spiritual health. Hildegard had the view that the human body was like a plant. Plants have the extraordinary ability to regenerate, the ‘greening power’ or ‘Viriditas’. From Hildegard’s point of view the human body has its own ‘Viriditas’. Her concept of ‘Viriditas’, meaning greenness, or the divine force of Nature, is found in all her work.

I wonder what Hildegard would say if I told her that by the year 2023 more than half the global population will be living in urban areas with limited access to Nature. I don’t think she would be able to get her head around that concept!

Besides being a Benedictine abbess, she was also a visionary, writer, mystic, composer, philosopher, and a medical practitioner.

Working in the monastery’s herbal garden, her practical experience with patients, and all the knowledge she had gained from the books in the monastery’s library, made her combine all she had learned, both in theory and practice, in two  publications/major works.

Physica, a series of nine books in which she writes about the medicinal and scientific qualities of about 500 plants, stones, metals, elements and animals used in about 2000 remedies, and Causae et Curae, in which she describes connections between the human body and Nature, and the origin of diseases and their cure.

Hildegard was definitely a formidable lady, whose books have inspired many practitioners throughout time. In Hildegard’s writings it is apparently noticeable that she loved giving practical advice. A woman after my own heart. Imagine being her apprentice!

Hildegard was an early naturopath and nutritionist, so we have something in common.

If you are interested in the history and the life of Hildegard von Bingen, there is a great book by Fiona Maddocks called ‘Hildegard of Bingen – The Woman of Her Age’, and if you're interested in my book 'Conversations on the Lost Connection with Nature', it's available on Amazon (worldwide) or https://www.balboapress.com/en-gb/bookstore/bookdetails/854639-conversations-on-the-lost-connection-with-nature