“My belief is that it’s the caring of the healer that’s most important, but no one’s going to be able to test for that.”
—Stephen Buhner, Herbalist
“I would never choose a healer according to whether or not they had credentials. I’d find someone through word of mouth.” Rosemary Gladstar- Herbalist
Medicine plants heal more than the physical body.
They help open our hearts, reconnect us with spirit and guide us in developing joyful relationships with the natural world. Deb Soule- Herbalist
“The plants have enough spirit to transform our limited vision.” Rosemary Gladstar - Herbalist
“Shamanic healers don't claim to have the answer or know the answer or be the answer; they remind us that the answer lies within ourselves.” Susan Weed- Herbalist
As I type this, I am sitting in my garden in the warm sunshine looking out over my new flowery mead. This is a place that I love, a place where the healing herbs that I use every day grow as wild as weeds. A simple walk around the garden this morning produced armfuls of rosemary, lavender , sage and thyme, nasturtiums and aloe. A glorious linden tree and the deep pink Apothecary rose and several others have produced so many fragrant petals to create teas for a winters chill and my rugosa roses are heavy with the sweet vitamin C filled rose hips just waiting for the first frost to ripen and be eaten fresh or turned into luscious jars of jam and chutney. The abundance is extraordinary.
Over the last 37 years (OMG) I have known and been fortunate enough to have been trained by many incredible healers; men and women who walked their talk and encouraged me to always use my instincts to learn everything that I could about the healing plants that can be found in the world around us. I am so grateful for the teachers that I have been given. As a young herbalist I drank in the teachings of Hildegard of Bingen, Culpepper and Juliette de Bairacli Levy and I wandered over and over again through herb gardens with my sketchbooks and journals learning, listening and deep in wonder.
The overwhelming lesson from all of my teachers?
Take responsibility and learn everything that you can to become your own healer. Use your instincts and take control of your healing journey because you are accountable and responsible for your health in a way that no one else can be. Don’t rely upon titles, rely upon your instincts to tell you what feels right. If it doesn't FEEL right, don't do it.
I don't care who says so.
I find this to be a really empowering message because I have watched in absolute horror over the years as friends and family members have given over all of their power to a dominant system of allopathic medicine and dangerous and untested pharmaceutical drugs, all too often to their detriment. I’ve got plenty of Doctors in my family and I’m grateful for the expertise of that community when I need it, but always as a last resort, not the first. The best Doctors I've ever worked with ( And I insist that my clients and I work in concert with their physicians) know what they do well. They are brilliant diagnosticians and they allow their patients to be completely responsible for their health choices, guiding and not condemning, allowing their patients to experiment and being there to simply help.
Prevention is key and I think that it’s important to work to promote the creation of health in an organic and sustainable way.
My overwhelming thoughts are always this and they’re definitely not original at all; You are what you eat and your food is your best medicine; this includes the wonderful healing herbs that are growing plentifully all around us. Food DOES matter and so does movement, emotion, relationship, career, spirituality and environment. These are all of the primary food groups that create balance in your life. When one is out of balance, they all begun to topple like dominoes.
It’s a whole new world for alternative healing in 2019 than it was back when I was first learning so very long ago. Reiki and massage are mainstream practices that are universally accepted and the herbs that I used to have to harvest myself are readily available on the shelves of most grocery stores. I think this is a wonderful thing, because it places the responsibility directly on the shoulders of the consumer to learn to take care of themselves.
Please make sure to educate yourselves because that's how you keep this amazing tradition alive, safe and thriving.
It used to be that there was a Community Herbalist in every village and an Herbalist in every home. Every wife and grandmother knew how to make the tinctures and tonics that they needed and the recipes and formulas were passed down through the generations. The herbalists and healers were charged with the prevention of disease and the simple knowledge to help keep the body in a healthy state of balance.
Always use your instincts when choosing someone to work with. Many don't realize this but the titles Herbalist, Certified herbalist or Master herbalist are not regulated by any governing body in the US. We are allowed to educate and give you the information or lifestyle changes that you can then use to make a decision for yourself, but we are not allowed to diagnose nor are we allowed to prescribe. I actually like these constraints a lot. It means that if you are my client that I am charged with empowering and inspiring you to create and become responsible for your health. If I do my job right, in 3 months when our work together is done, you won't need me!
I don’t ever want to see herbalism go the way of the big pharmaceuticals, synthesized and harnessed with regulations, restrictions and fear such that this gentle and effective system for healing becomes a pawn simply to be exploited financially and eventually compromised so that it is no longer recognizable.
Stop giving the responsibility for your health away to a system that has ceased to be a system for healing. Many of my own family members and other doctors I know have stopped practicing medicine because they no longer wanted to be controlled by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. They have told me almost brokenheartedly that they went to medical school to become healers and that now as the system has begun to fail us, that they felt that they were failing their patients.
The sweet thing is that they all have begun learning about traditional herbalism. This cannot help but benefit all of us!
It is my dream to see Traditional Herbalism accepted and promoted once again in a way that teaches everyone to be responsible for their health and well being by learning about directly and using the best quality herbals that they can grow, wild-craft or buy.
To maintain personal standards and relay the degree of learning obtained, herbalists in America typically use the title their schools or teachers gave them, however to be an Herbalist is to realize that you will always be learning, that you will never know everything because we are dealing with a biological science that is constantly shifting and evolving.
Climate change alone has begun to change the way that many of us can grow and harvest our herbs. It requires us to be in complete touch with ourselves and the health of this planet to insure our very survival. It places the onus on real life experience and actual results.
Most of the pioneering herbalists who are responsible for forwarding this movement in the United States do not carry a title and are busy ensuring that this form of the peoples medicine always stays free and accessible to the communities that need it. Always consult your Doctor or pharmacist before using any herbs to make sure that there are no contraindications with any medicines you might be taking, even something as simple as aspirin or Tylenol.
If your Doctor can't advise you, I have discovered over the years that Pharmacists are generally the most well versed in what will be problematic chemical relationships.I have found most of them to be very open-minded and eager to be helpful so don’t be afraid to ask for their advice. Herbs are not risk free and they are powerful natural medicines. Any herb can react differently in any body..the same as any medicine can. Getting this simple and easy to obtain information allows herbal medicine to maintain its credibility and integrity in a way that licensing and over regulation never will.
The good news is that there are many wonderful online courses that are available where you can learn the art of healing and herbalism for yourself from some really great teachers. I would really encourage you to take one of them and learn as much as you can. Practice, open yourself up to the world around you and enjoy yourself. Write your own book of recipes, use them, pass them down, You will be embarking on a healing journey and sharing a tradition that is totally organic and ages old and a life long exploration into being responsible for your own health and wellness that you will truly enjoy.
Here are some of my favorites: