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What Does an Invasive Plant Have in Common with a Chronic Health Condition?

How do you know when to go it alone, and when to seek help? I have a situation in my garden that provides the perfect example.

Several years ago, I realized that my garden was infested with an invasive plant called Pinellia ternata. (Here is my original article about it from 2021). I will refrain from calling it a weed, because well, weeds are awesome! This plant made its way into all but one of my garden beds, because unbeknownst to me, the plant had infested my compost, which I had lovingly applied to most of my garden.

At first, I did not know how the plant reproduced, so I was removing it from my garden like any other unwanted plant. But my technique seemed to actually be making it multiply somehow. It was everywhere! And then I started to see it pop up in other areas of the yard. Just one or two plants, but it was obviously moving on its own, and fast.

At this point, I hired someone to help me regularly in the garden, and with her help we were able to get it under control. We got super familiar with how it was spreading and developed techniques for proper removal and disposal (not in the compost!) It was still everywhere, but slowly we were taking areas back, and we were preventing it from spreading more.

This year, unfortunately, my lovely garden helper is no longer available to work with me. I thought maybe I could keep it under control myself, but as spring has evolved, I have come to my senses. I am ready to admit that I need major help. I am ready to ask for help, and I have. I found an organization that specializes in removal of invasive species, and I have hired a crew to help me.

Does this crew know as much as I do about Pinellia ternata? They do not. I will need to train them on exactly how to successfully remove the plant, and with their help, I have hope of moving in the right direction.

Just like I know my garden better than anyone else, you know your body better than anyone else. And it is important to know when to reach out for help.

When something is a small problem, dealing with it on your own can work. But even then, you need the right information. You need to know what is causing the issue and what techniques will be helpful. You might be able to figure these things out on your own and resolve the issue – hooray! But often with chronic health conditions, figuring out the underlying causes and the proper interventions can be complicated, like my Pinellia infestation. Sometimes seeking help can point you in the right direction.

I hope this serves as a reminder to trust yourself, but also to seek help when you need it. Both are important parts of everyone’s health journey.

Pinellia ternata

Circled areas indicate 4 distinct ways that this plant reproduces from top to bottom: 1) Seed, 2) Bulbil found on the petiole, 3) Bulbil found on the laminal joint, 4) Corm


About me

My name is Jillian Bar-av and I am a Registered Herbalist and Licensed Nutritionist. I specialize in supporting people who have complex urinary tract conditions, such as Interstitial Cystitis, with a comprehensive holistic approach that helps people to increase their quality of life. I’ve seen how healing herbs can be for the urinary system and how much they can help people to feel well again. Working with herbs is not only deeply healing, but part of my philosophy that it takes healthy people to create a healthy planet, and I want to make a difference for both.

If you are interested in learning about my clinical practice, or scheduling an appointment, you can do that here:

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