Welcome to our new series The Herbs of the Enneagram! The Enneagram is a fascinating and insightful way of describing personality patterns. In this blog series Enneagram expert Herb Pearce will explain each of the 9 personality types and a plant that corresponds with each. (And yes, his name is really Herb!)
We are delighted to welcome Herb, a faithful Herbstalk participant, to share his wisdom and insight of the Enneagram and connect it back to some of the beloved plants that we talk about at Herbstalk.
Read on to learn how the patterns of the Enneagram match up with the patterns of various herbs. You will also learn how the plant itself can help to bring balance and harmony within each personality type. Enjoy and stay tuned for more Herbs of the Enneagram each month!
Type 3 in the Enneagram is The Achiever. 3's target achievement as their primary focus in life and the herb Schisandra has a similar winning combination of qualities which support the driven work of a 3.
Achievers focus on goals and action steps and they don’t mind being in the number 1 spotlight. Their focus is on speed and efficiency. Likewise, the color of Schisandra’s bright red berries connotes action and high energy similar to 3's. Shine, glitz and glitter, give it to me! It’s a fountain-of-youth herb that lowers stress hormones, boosts liver function, prevents adrenaline fatigue, lowers inflammation, benefits digestion, and protects skin from sun, wind and allergic reactions. What doesn’t it do?!
Schisandra is a seemingly miraculous remedy; as an adaptogen it helps the body adapt to stress and to exert a normalizing effect upon bodily processes. It also improves mental performance, is a sexual tonic, reverses heavy metal toxicity, soothes coughs and helps the heart. The list goes on and on. Many athletes use Schisandra for optimal performance.
The plant is a vigorously growing vine that can reach up to 30 feet in length. Symbolically a vine represents striving for something higher (reaching for the sun!) and likewise, Type 3's are vigorous achievers, striving for the next goal and climbing the ladder.
Schisandra is a unique berry since it has all five flavors (salty, sweet, sour, bitter and pungent). It comes in any form you want – fresh fruit, dried fruit, mixed in health drinks, capsules, pill, powder, tea, tincture and alcoholic drinks.
Schisandra tastes predominantly sour or pungent to many people so it often needs sweeteners. Similar to 3's who don’t mind hard work, they overcome sour or bitter challenges by the sweet reward that comes with the results. The satisfaction comes with the end goal complete so the hard work is worth it in the end for the Achiever. The process is less important than the results.
For over 4,700 years Schisandra has been a traditional Chinese herb used by the royalty and Daoist Masters, connotating its association with longevity. It grows in bunches of vibrant bright berries, like hanging grapes but with smaller berries. It’s native to -- and particularly cultivated in -- Northeast China and Russia, although it is now being grown in the United States. It’s cultivated in long rows and harvested in late July and August. The berries are mostly dried in the sun. Some are refrigerated for health drinks, particularly sent to Korea. It’s even grown in the progressive state of Massachusetts!
As a flower essence Schisandra berry is said to teach “moderation to those committed to a path of growth who tend to overextend themselves.”
Try working with the intense energy of these unique berries -- you may be surprised at how well they help you cope with challenging or stressful situations. Like Schisandra, you may be inspired to reach for something higher.