Four years ago, on one dark, melancholic winter’s eve, I found myself lying on the couch watching Netflix. Sounds familiar, right? The problem was, for me at that time, it felt like the only thing I could master. Yes, I went to work. Yup, I did the dishes and the laundry. I prepared food, showered and walked my dog. But compared to what I used to be able to do and what I longed to do it felt like all I did was lay on the couch, barely processing what I was watching.
My love for wild plants as food and medicine started when I worked as a budeie, or a milk maid, at a sæter (summer pasture) in Hemsedal in the middle of the mountains. There I stayed in a small cabin without any electricity, water or toilet. I would wake up early in the mornings to milk the cows with the owner. We would make heavy cream and sour cream with a hand-powered milk separator and we would repeat the process after dinner.
According to Ayurveda — the world’s oldest, uninterrupted system of medicine — svastha is the healthy, living individual — one who is embodying svasthya. And according to the Charaka Samhita, one of Ayurveda’s foundational, extant compendiums, “An individual is the epitome of the universe, as all the material and spiritual phenomena of the universe are present in the individual, and all those present in the individual are also contained in the universe.