“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
“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 Southern
California in the warm sunshine looking out over my sister’s garden. This is a
place that I love, a state where the healing herbs that I use everyday grow as
wild as weeds. A simple walk around her garden this morning produced armfuls of
rosemary, lavender and sage, pink peppercorns and thyme, nasturtiums and aloe.
A glorious eucalyptus tree and brilliant pink hibiscus have produced many a tea
for a winters chill and the loquat tree is top heavy with the sweet vitamin C
filled fruit just waiting to ripen and be eaten fresh or turned into luscious
jars of jam and chutney. The abundance is extraordinary.
Fresh Jasmine and Green Tea ~ Source Unknown
Being out here makes me grateful for the
teachers that I have been given. I have known and been fortunate 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.
The overwhelming lesson from them all?
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.
I find this to be a really empowering message
because I have watched over the years as friends and family members have given
over all of their power to a dominant system of medicine and “big pharma”
sometimes 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. Prevention is key and I think that it’s important
to work to promote health in an organic and
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 2013 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. It used to be that
there was an 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.
Medieval Text ~ Source Unknown
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 6 months when our work together is
done you don’t need me!
Medieval Mortar & Pestle
I don’t ever want to
see herbalism go the way of the big pharmaceuticals, synthesized and harnessed
with regulations and restrictions so 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. It is my dream to see Folk
Herbalism accepted and promoted once again in a way that teaches everyone to be
responsible for their health and well being by 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 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
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 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. They are generally the most well versed in what will be problematic
chemical relationships and 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. Getting this
simple information allows herbal medicine to maintain its credibility and
integrity in a way that licensing and regulation never will.
Source Unknown~ But Beautiful!
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: