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Picture for a moment, the indomitable will of the Likewise, the very fact of your interest in the proverbial outlaw dandelion, wrestling its way up traditions of western herbalism indicates that you through the cracks in any pavement that ever tries know... know, first of all, that healing is not only to hold it down. It has likewise been an admirable possible but natural. Know that natural healing is struggle for many of you plant people and the best healing – at least in the majority of cases herbalists, in your own ways scrambling like sun where prudent and practical – and that herbalism is fueled woodbine to make your one of the ways you can be effective participation possible most effective. Know that Plant Healers: in what are clearly troubled nature and our own true A Resurgence of the Grass Roots economic times. Many of you natures, so often submerged, are motivated by an insistent can teach us some of the most Spirit in Western Folk Herbalism desire to expand your studies or vital and necessary lessons. increase your teaching Know that we have something By Jesse Wolf Hardin effectiveness, explore new ideas to teach no matter how few and forge alliances of meaning years we’ve studied, and and purpose... and even more likewise, that we’re forever so, in the face of increasing health risks and rising students no matter how many years we may have health care prices, excessive regulation and the taught. You likely know without question, that we pharmaceutical hegemony of our times. That you have a responsibility to give something back to the are reading this journal, most likely means that you natural world that teaches us and provides for us. know folk skills have never been more essential to Know it’s possible that the intrinsically wild and our well beings and self sufficiency than they are caring human heart can be reawakened and stirred, right now, in this challenging modern day and age. fed and restored, and powerfully manifest in our life times... beginning first and foremost with our own. You are both the doubters, and the ones who know. You’ve each come to herbalism, in part, because you And by virtue of your having made this movement, doubt the lies you’ve been told all your lives. Doubt magazine and study a priority, it indicates you that treating symptoms is generally preferable to know that we – each and every one of us – can make preventive medicine, or that we should always leave a friggin’ difference! our destiny and our well being to appointed experts. Doubt the validity of a paradigm that seeks to feed -------------us hormone and chemical laden foods, then tries to sell us on a “cure” of expensive proprietary drugs. My family, and especially my coeditor Kiva and I Doubt the supposed wisdom of prescribing have a lot we’re trying to do, and each day is taken antibiotics for every conceivable condition, and the up in part by the numerous tasks involved with fairness of modern health care costs. being guardians of the wild botanical sanctuary we 5
live on, answering the many dozens of emails that come in everyday with no staff or helpers to assist in their response, administering our Anima herbal and lifeways correspondence courses and tending to our students, plus writing for an assortment of publications as well as our own TWHC Newsletter, Anima and Medicine Woman’s Roots blogs. For several reasons, we never hire anyone to do our projects’ descriptive text or representative logos, posters or brochures. When we need to create or revise a website, it is I who create graphics and Kiva who adds weeks of struggling with difficult software in order to make it happen. And as much as anything else, the annual TWH Conference itself requires tons of our attention, every day, a full twelve months of every year. We work not only to maintain the event, but to continuously make it more effective and powerful, functioning not just as a gathering and classes but as what our friend Paul Bergner described as a “new nexus” for a growing community and proactive movement.
personal rewilding, plant monographs and medicine making, herb gardening and wildcrafting, constitutional approaches and profiles of existing herbal traditions, sense-stirring energetics and essential botany, conservation and activism, ancient traditions and radical new approaches.
Given all that we have going, producing a new online journal of Western Herbalism might seem excessive... until we consider the need a movement and community have for a publication that represents them and gives them voice, as well as informs and empowers them. There are other publications that focus on herbal recipes, are written primarily for advanced herbalists, or whose content is created by and for the academics in this field. Plant Healer Magazine seeks to fill a different niche, being geared for herbalists and plant lovers at every level of study, understanding and experience, and featuring diverse content rooted in folk traditions, specifically on the traditions of the larger “Western world.“ Our mission is to meld the look of a contemporary arts/culture magazine with deep inquiry and the latest researched information, personal story and clinical experience, hands-on tips and diagnostic tools, traditional foodways and
And we know, it’s possible for a publication that is practical and credible to also be striking and beautiful. It is therefore the intention of Kiva and myself that you find these journals sensually and aesthetically pleasing, contributing a sense of physicality to the flow of disembodied words, spirit and tone to what is in a sense a visible and visceral journey. It is with that in mind that I have given so much attention to creating the department headers, and that we are going to such great lengths to find and enlist the collaboration of the most intense artists and illustrators... beginning with the drawing of a traditional Hispanic curandera by Washington state artist Joanna Powell Colbert appearing on the cover of this premier issue. We have in fact decided to feature art on the front every time, as well as to include inside a wide range of artistic as well as representational photographs. You’ll note that this journal is distributed in 300 dpi resolution, and that
Each lengthy quarterly issue will contain articles falling under a number of the fourteen or more magazine departments, written for us by the most renowned and valued teachers and writers of today, but also by a growing number of lesser known herbalists whose wisdom and words deserve to be championed and shared. Submissions are open to everyone, and all will be considered, though the pieces most likely to find their way into these pages will be those that are the most unique and personable, stirring and factual, grounded in experience and generally applicable, challenging and inspiring, stretching as well as enriching the fellow deep thinking, deep feeling herbalists who read them.
it is for the sole purpose of giving you the option of printing out its full color pages.
distress and mending of emotional wounds, and also the herbalist’s long journey of study and practice. In either case, there are many paths, and no final destination... only the perpetual, fast or slow accumulation of knowledge and development of wisdom, the endless series of occasional mistakes or omissions that helpfully make it possible to refigure our conclusions and reevaluate our means, the mounting experience that is in some ways like climbing a mountain where we never reach the top... but where the progressive vantage of each new day means being able to see a little clearer and farther. It is a journey away from that which harms or deludes us, the insubstantial and illusional, imagined powerlessness and self limiting habits, and a journey that is ever taking us back home: home to our true selves, to our abilities and callings, to the natural world we’re an integral part of, to place and to purpose.
Additional art and posters will be just some of the free bonuses for Plant Healer subscribers/members, along with some audio class recordings from the TWH Conference, an increasing number of useful charts, and eventually video as well... all minor elements and benefits of involvement in this dynamic folk herbalism community. Finally, we are not afraid to make Plant Healer an honest representation of our wild and varied community, just a bit edgy, containing in its garden folds not just backwoods hippie vibe but the dark humor of New York free clinic activism and intensity of San Francisco guerilla herbalism, the controversial frontiers of new science and extreme depths of personal experience and resultant reflection, an aesthetic diversity that is not just typical “alternative” but also radical chic and botany geek, cowgirl and punk. A magazine with attitude, as well a magazine that cares.
I personally see the work of the herbalist as that of connectors and activators, helping connect people to their telltale bodies and needs, sense of justice and love... serving as a bridge between them and the plants that can best aid their healing processes, and working to activate the full range of perceptual, dietary and lifestyle changes that can contribute to their health/wholeness, their effectiveness at what they do and the satisfaction they feel. Any substantial healing of the world must begin with valuing and tending our selves, but likewise, the healing of ailments is at its best the beginning of a journey of healing so much more.
We will measure our success not on subscription numbers or even economic viability, but on the degree to which you are affected and stirred, inspired and equipped... and how much better you are able to give – to yourself, your clients, students and this earth – as a result of what Plant Healer is able to give to you. --------------
This column will hope to lead not so much to new paths, as to fresh ways of perceiving the paths we’re on, as well as the patterns and possibilities it continuously reveals. In the process, we will together redefine what it means to heal, to be healed... and to thrive. -------------
Only one voice among many, will be this column of editorial commentary and story, the meanders and explorations that go to make up what we could call the healing journey. This journey is both the years we give to our own awareness and growth, the tending of physical 7
Understand that the name of this journal, “Plant Healer”, refers to a role, either a self-assigned role or impossible-to-ignore calling to work with medicinal plants. Unlike normal careers, it is not something that any parent makes us do under threat of leaving us out of the will, we don’t settle for it because it pays well or leads to acceptance in “normal” society. There is neither insurance, paid vacations nor bonuses that come with it, and the benefits are largely personal or impractical. It is, instead, most often one’s compulsion, one’s passion, one’s dream.
or culture, age or gender, economic class or studied tradition. We can spot the allied and awakened in the way that they slow and then respectfully bend to not only look at but to touch and sniff the green beings that line the wild edges of sedate suburban parking lots, taste the feral volunteers that festoon even the most heavily over-managed of school or office lawns. Their loyalties are evident, in their concern over the health of people they don’t even know, and their caring for the well being of places and species that they may have never actually seen.
When we claim the title of plant healers, we’re asserting that our purpose or work is – at least in part – helping to heal with plants, and not that we are the elite or enlightened New Age source of healing powers. We know that no matter how sensitive or intuitive, gifted or powerful we ever are, it is not we who do the healing but, primarily, that it is the person’s own bodily healing energies that do the vital work, nourished, activated, stimulated or otherwise aided by the actions of the plants we work with.
It is almost always a special pleasure to find ourselves amongst plant people, wherever we come upon them, our sisters and brethren of the green. And this is largely true, whether they be urban gardeners or wilderness foragers, entranced artists of the natural world or wordy-headed botanists, homesteaders or survivalists and primitivists, dedicated conservationists or feral re-wilders, family health care providers tending children and spouse, and herbalists devoted to helping others to heal. Even a wilderness-dwelling, crowd-avoiding individual like myself can feel comfortable among a cluster of wide-eyed plant folk, exposing undiminished childlike sense of wonder, unguarded empathy, and most often sincere humility as well. At the first ever Traditions In Western Herbalism Conference, nearly everyone found it exciting to be around the leading thinkers and doers of the herbal world, the authors and teachers they’ve long studied. And all the more exciting it was, for them to be reminded all the ways that they themselves are already engaged and doing the good work, the ways that they/we are ourselves forces of caring and healing, self empowerment and self authorization, already active agents of a return to bioregionalism and conservation, catalysts for a resurgence of grassroots healing traditions, reviving and fanning the impassioned flames of Western folk herbalism.
We are in many cases marginalized by our interests and practices, even as we are greatly valued by those who allow us to assist them. We may at times feel misunderstood or unrecognized, a minority among all the many health approaches and professions, on the edge of societal credulity, in moments feeling lonely for lack of the kind of supportive tribe that our ancestors long had. And yet, we are never alone, connected as we are at the root to all those who bore this role throughout the countless generations before us, to the future wonderful misfit plant healers who will serve their own times of transition and travail, and to the other women and men who are the deliberate plant accomplices and healing abetters of today, spread across the continents thinly in order to be serving the most areas. We witness the extent as well as diversity of these compatriots when we gather for events like the TWH conference, we sense and connect to each other through venues like this journal, and we create alliances of purpose that lead to us working closer together even if we live far apart.
Thank you from myself, Kiva and our family, for your involvement in and support of Plant Healer Journal. It’s a pleasure to be joined with you on what is in so many ways our shared healing journey.
We often seem to recognize each other, our kind, on the very first meeting... and regardless of ethnicity 9
(Paul stayed up until 2AM to pen this important piece on the very nature and definition of our chosen work. It was originally called “Article that bastard Wolf made me write”, thus you’ll understand our gratitude receiving this revised title. -Editors) _______________
The first flaw in calling herbalism a profession is that in many cases it is not even an occupation at which an individual can make a living. Here I am talking about clinical herbalism, helping to give ease to clients from their ailments using herbs, food, and related therapies. Unfortunately, unless you do a dance with language and Talking with a friend at a disclaimers, diagnosing patients North American Herbalism: recent conference, the question and treating them with herbs is Profession, Occupation, Community, frankly illegal in every state in arose whether herbalism was a Movement, Calling? profession in the U.S. This is the U.S. I can talk to my important both to me and my students about ways they can friend as we both run schools of Some thoughts on standards use their training to make herbalism which students pay a money, but there is no wellby Paul Bergner lot of money to and hope to be defined occupation for them to able to make a living after they step into and make a living fullgraduate. The conversation has burned in my mind time, especially in clinical practice. The second flaw ever since, and here are some further thoughts. is that there is very little formal training in clinical Unlike some other countries, such as the U.K or herbalism in North American schools, and what Australia, it is difficult to define herbalism in North little there is is not consistent between schools. America as a profession or even an occupation. Without a common occupational base, or a common From Wikipedia, a profession is “a vocation founded educational base, we can't say that we have a on specialized educational training . . .” The coherent profession. Perhaps this is why attempts to encyclopedia continues to elaborate that the main form a national association with standards for the milestones which mark an occupation being profession and its schools has met such controversy. identified as a profession are: The lack of a preexisting occupation and educational body of knowledge arising historically results in arbitrariness, pettiness, ugly politics, and 1.! It became a full-time occupation; factionalism in its place. And perhaps most notably, 2.! The first training school was established; the existing national association did not arise as a 3.! The first university school was established; confederation of regional associations, and in its 4.! The first local association was established; inception was not inclusive of the different regional 5.! The first national association was herbal communities or take input from them. established; 6.! The codes of professional ethics were My friend at the conference offered the idea that introduced; North American herbalism is a community rather 7.! State licensing laws were established. than a profession. I like that, because the things that 10
are “flaws” in defining us as a profession are strengths in a community. Communities benefit from diversity, not from homogeneity. Communities don't need standards, they need networking, and nurturing the diverse calling of each member. Then need a generation of elders and a generation of young impassioned herbalists hungry to learn what really works. The treasure of North American Herbalism is just this diversity. We have advances here in regional materia medica, medicine making, clinical applications of herbs, effective treatments for cancer, auto immune disease, insulin resistance, and other diseases and community service in our small community that are not occurring in the countries that have defined herbal professions and standards. I have visited those countries, and I have met the grey-haired elders of those professions, and have heard concern that the standards imposed in the last twenty years have impaired clinical practice and not improved it. One elder British herbalism with 40 years experience stated that the university training of herbalists on the current model and curriculum “effectively disables the student for clinical practice.” Language, terminology, standards, education, and spin to make a profession acceptable to the 'powers that be' may not be an effective language or education to pass a vital body of knowledge on to the next generation.
who talked to plants and heard the plants talk back. There were only perhaps 3 herbal schools in the U.S. at the time. Today there are at least a dozen conferences bigger than that one, thousands of herbalists, and more than 50 herbal schools. More significantly, there were no clinical schools with clinical training at the time, today there are at least six of them. Somethings moving and powerfully so, and rolling into future generations. The current generation is better trained than the last. Movements don't need standards, they need inspiration and rabble-rousers. They need Samuel Thomsons, Nicholas Culpepers, (the women that trained them) and other in-your-face truth speakers about medical abuse and the benefits of herbs and the truth of Life and natural healing. My final thought is that herbalism in North America today is a Calling. Hard to define this but whenever I ask a student about it, they know what I mean. The calling is that thing we are created to do which uses our best abilities, trained into effective talents, a task which we can then do better than any created being, where even in the face of difficulties or exhaustion, we feel expansive, easy, happy, fulfilled, an confident that we are in the right place at the right time. Whether we get paid to do it or not, whether we make a living at it or not. When we do it, the universe conspires to help us, when we evade it out of fear or conventionality, the universe conspires to make us miserable. I'd like to write more about this in a future issue, but for now I'll just say that the Calling can be heard in the voice of Wild Mother Earth, and you might have to become more than a little wild in nature to learn to hear it. Day hikes won't cut it. Oh, yes, and the Calling does not require standards.
The other thing that comes to mind in my pondering is that herbalism here is a movement. I am a child of the radical sixties, and have at various times been eyebrow-deep in movements for civil rights, anti-war, anti-nuclear, bioregionalism, environmentalism, and a few more I'd better not admit in print. I don't see herbalism here on that social scale, but I see the elements of a movement there, except with herbalism I see people not so much going out and trying to convert people or change the government as trying to convert themselves to be more committed to Life, to the Earth, to Healing. And then trying to serve people. But if movement defines a movement, then herbalism is certainly moving. I would say snowballing. In 1986 I went to what was at the time the only herbal conference in North America. Eighty herbalists gathered at Breitenbush Hot Springs in Oregon. The atmosphere was electric, and even disorienting, until I figured out that I was in a room full of people
By the way, for those who like standards, consider this: In medieval Baghdad, the “license” to practice medicine was given as permission to practice in the marketplace. Examination was held, not written examination, but interview, assessment, and direct observation of practice. One of the rules was that an individual would be disqualified from the practice of medicine if they were observed to 'use a strong herb when a mild herb would suffice, used an herb when a food would suffice, or use a food when simple advice about lifestyle would suffice.” Now that's a standard! 11
I live in the Methow Valley in the northeastern Dense roots run deep into the rocky soils, cascades of Washington State. The valley is just over preventing erosion; large leaves provide habitat to 50 miles long and is located a many scurrying animals and the couple hours (as the crow flies) leaves, flowers and seeds from the Canadian border and 4 provide an important food Balsam Root hours from the Pacific Ocean. source to mammals as small as Through The Seasons field mice, to ungulates to The valley boasts of large tracts Text & Photos by Rosalee de la ForĂŞt humans. The resinous roots of wilderness and a variety of have been an important ecological niches, from the medicine for humans for sagebrush steppe to riparian countless eons. This plant rivers, to evergreen forests to grows all over western North alpine peaks. America. The USDA range map shows it growing as far Each season in the Methow is east as the Dakotas, as far distinct with intense south as the US/Mexican variations in temperature and border and throughout plant life. In May, the western Canada as well. otherwise drab hillsides of the sagebrush steppe burst alive Winter with a diversity of wildflowers, the most In the north, winter is a time prominent being the flower of for animals and plants to rest. the valley, Arrowleaf In our valley the ground is Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza covered with many feet of sagitatta). snow blanketing all the plants beneath the soil. Arrowleaf This wild flower of the balsamroot rests in its roots, Asteraceae family covers waiting until spring to bring hillsides from April to June, forth its many gifts once more. peaking in the middle of May. Besides being a visual delight, Above ground we nestle next this plant has played an important role in the to the wood stove and give our thanks for the ecology of the Methow for thousands of years. medicine of arrowleaf balsamroot.
Plant Specifics Common Name: Arrowleaf Balsamroot Scientific Name: Balsamorhiza sagittata Family: Asteraceae
We harvest these sprouts by taking only one or two from each plant we walk by to ensure plenty of new growth for the plant. We’ve eaten them raw or cooked them in stir-fries and soups and we mostly prefer them raw, eating them one by one as we harvest from large stands. The sprouts have a strong resinous taste that is mildly pungent and overall pleasant.
Description: Perennial growing throughout western north America as far east as the Dakotas, as far south as California and throughout western Canada as well. It grows in a variety of habitats, including forested mountains to the sage brush steppe.
We’ve read ethnobotanical reports of the roots from very young plants being eaten. We’ve tried this multiple times, harvesting very small roots - about the diameter of a pencil - and cooking them for extended periods of time without yielding anything more than a hard woody root that’s inedible. As the spring continues on, the sprouts grow into leaves and flower stalks, both of which can be peeled and eaten, again taking precautions not to over harvest from one plant.
The taproot is covered in a hard bark and is fairly resinous. Depending on the growing habits and age of the plant, the root can reach several meters into the ground and weigh over 30 pounds. The leaves can be fairly large, around 20 inches in length and are arrow shaped or triangular. The flower looks like a sunflower with yellow ray flowers. The entire flower head is about the size of a small fist.
In late April the hillsides are turning green, the first flowers are beginning to emerge and the anticipation of yellow hillsides fills the community. Talk at the farmer’s market centers around whether this will be a good flower year or not. Tourists ask, “Tell us please, what are those wild sunflowers on the hills?
The seeds are the size of a grain of rice and are darkly colored ranging from green to brown to black depending on the maturity. Properties: Pungent, warm/dry, stimulating expectorant, stimulating diaphoretic, antimicrobial, anti-fungal, with a strong affinity for the respiratory system.
The leaves are large and arrow shaped, hence the common name. Ethnobotanical reports indicate these large leaves were poulticed and used on burns and wounds.
Recently, someone commented to me that this flower grows like a weed, but I was quick to interject. Although it’s very common in our valley, arrowleaf balsamroot plants take many many years to mature and are difficult to transplant. When we harvest this plant we harvest with respect for each plant, understanding the abundance of this plant is a gift of the valley.
As the snows are receding in the valley, balsam root offers its first gifts of the growing season. Locating last year’s foliage, smashed flat by the heavy snow, we can find the beginning sprouts of this year’s growth. These sprouts are best eaten when they are about an inch in length. As some of the first fresh food to appear, these sprouts are a welcome sign of the turning of the seasons. 13
Most of us heard it from our first ventures into herbal learning, that your plant ally should be studied for an entire year and that, most likely, it would find you.
out the window. It wasn’t until I moved to western Oregon that I entered the land of Teasel and in the best possible way, and it is now my ally plant if ever there was one. It was not entirely my decision. Something was going on between my seeing them everywhere and their seeming Teasel: My Plant Ally to go “Pssst!” a lot. A conversation was going on, and Some allies may come to us in dreams, still is. When that happens, that others only when we’re most in need... is one of the most deliciously by Barbara Hall satisfying connections between human and plant that ever was.
Few of us likely did so, however, in our eagerness to get on with this magnificent adventure, or we may not have been ripe for the experience yet. I know I flirted and dabbled, photographed and planted, hunted and tinctured, yet it wasn’t until I became terribly ill – so ill that life itself was little more than peering into each day through a haze of pain, shaking and a body I couldn’t trust to do much of anything it used to do – that I unknowingly met my ally plant. It was, at the time, encased in a small, brown bottle. Not much of a way to meet a plant, but I wasn’t up for much at that point.
Hundreds of photos and a thousand observations later, I’m only beginning to truly understand all that my Teasel has to teach me. Round and round the seasons we go and still there’s something new to see, to notice, to learn. And I realize that every word I write about them just isn’t the same thing as what I’ve experienced firsthand. " But while I’m so willing and delighted to share what I have learned, I do encourage all of you to find that plant. It doesn’t have to be one that basically saved your life, but let me tell you, that sure helps to get your attention.
As many of you know, I was felled with Ly m e Disease 8 different times over a 15 year period, and only through blissful ignorance did I miss the years of antibiotics, endless protocols and LLMD’s, and to duck the ‘you know you’re going die’ lines that my condition might have have seemed to call for. Whew! Instead, I grabbed a small, brown bottle of Teasel root tincture, took it as Matthew Wood suggested, and the oddest thing happened: I reexperienced the ‘best of’ symptoms of each of the 8 cases in exact reverse order.
Many people say that their ally comes to them in a dream or a meditation. I’m not aware that Teasel did for me. Some decide which plant they will study. That’s still not quite the same thing. Ask yourself, what plant has whispered to you all your life? Seemed to be standing there shining every time you looked down? What plant, when you first met it, just took your breath away even though you had no name for it and not a clue as to what to “use” it for?
At this point, my only exchange with Teasel plants (dipsacus spp.) had been the brief glimpses of stands that grew along the NY Thruway as I waved to them 30
And when you find your ally – a plant in whose presence you are in a state of wonder – don’t pull out the slide rule, just accept the honor of a ‘crossspecies relationship’ and listen. Observe. They’re on a very different time schedule than we are. They respond to the deepest murmurings of the seasons, wait out the climate craziness, know when the time and location is right and then they grow. We should all be so wise. My teasels showed me seedlings that are so impatient to be that they germinate in the Teasel-mom’s head in Oregon winters, usually on the West side of the seed head, but learn to wait until the mild, moist winter softens Momma’s sturdy stalk so that she gracefully lays herself down on the waiting ground. At that point they root through the seed head and discuss amongst themselves who will carry on, as all of them would allow none of them to grow to full size. Come the end of April a silent call goes out. It takes the entire month of May for everyone to decide who will bloom this year and who will sit it out. The brave plants who answer the call to bloom must set seeds or they will die for nothing. Cut them down, they try again. And again. And again. Left alone, they tower 9’ in the air. Cut them repeatedly and they will bloom at mere inches tall, so great is the call to make seeds and carry on. You do not see all of this waving at them from a car speeding down the NY Thruway. You have to be there. This year, and it probably was for an entire year, I heard the faintest whisperings: “My seeds are medicine”. But something stopped me from tincturing those I’d gathered the year before. I needed to wait, to watch, to learn. I’ve been here 5 years now, tincturing roots all the time. Only this year did I so closely observe this year’s seed heads. How they turned beige, but the tendril-spines 31
stayed green. I was not invited to take any seeds yet, but to wait impatiently and asked every day. Not yet, not yet, not yet. Finally, one day, I tapped a seed head against my hand and received a shower of seeds. I foolishly cut the head off, and saw that the seeds in the bottom of the head were still green.
plan on plunging myself further into debt to pay for miserably inaccurate tests. After I got through that (complete with liver pain, a total rage attack and an extremely teary day where I just couldn’t handle anything) I have felt supremely wonderful. There’s not a pain or hesitation anywhere in my nearly 60 year old body. IQ’s right up there where it belongs, I feel invincible. Not bad for someone who could barely walk, couldn’t drive, couldn’t work a laundromat machine, couldn’t think, and would go into ‘personal earthquakes’ with no notice a mere 9 years ago.
If I hadn’t been so impatient, I would have left them to ripen, but our plant siblings are fortunately forgiving. They showered me with seeds for days afterwards. No heads were cut, just tapped into a bag. When the day came to tincture these wonderfully fresh seeds, the magic that happened in the jar was so astonishing that all I could do was watch and photograph. I’ve tinctured plenty of different kinds of seeds in my time, but never seen anything like this. This tincture is so intense, that 10 drops of 2 dayold tincture threw me into the Herx from Hell and I’ve been “well” from Lyme (and probably all the coinfections) for 9 years. What on earth could that possibly mean? The only co-infection I suspect I might still have is Bartonella. I was never tested for any of them and don’t 32
My favorite line about my recovery from Lyme & Co is that “I have a weed to thank.” I have a teacher plant to honor. I have a story to tell, and photos to share, but still, nothing any of us can write or share or teach or photograph will ever replace you having a personal relationship with one of the magnificent healing plants. It’s an honor to share this planet with them.
We walk through the woods. We march across fields. We hike along paths. And pretty much, we watch where we’re going. But it’s not until we stop. Stand very still, settle down, just be there... That we’ll ever see where we really are.
And they’re no doubt glad that so many of us are stopping, and smiling at them, listening to them and learning what they’ve been so willing to share with us all. Bless them for being so patient with us. They have always held the keys to our healing.
Only by walking slowly do you see the herds of grasshoppers fleeing before you. Only by standing very still can you tell the difference in how each tree leaf greets a breeze. Who flutters, who flaps, who shivers, who sways. Not until you just peer at an October grassy field do you know there could ever be that many shades of brown and green and beige and white and yellow. So many textures - buds and flowers and seeds all coming and going at once. Only when you stand still long enough that the birds begin to come close, do you become a member of the meadow. Endless, tiny, flying things are just everywhere. Eventually you come to see the ‘who slept here’ dents in the grasses, The secret pathways and undergrass roadways and sub-soil subways… and it just looked like grass when you began your walk. And it absolutely does not matter if you can name all you see. Doesn’t matter at all. Just being in their presence, observing the community that grew here Is soul-restoring and encouraging and wonderful and sincerely healing. Plant Healing begins with the connection, not the constituents. 33
As a child, forests, savannas and other even Unfortunately, more often than not, I ended up in a vaguely wild places seemed enchanted to me, filled tangle of overlapping common names or with the with myriad and nameless vines wrong plant altogether. Which put and grasses, flowers and mosses me right back at the point of that captured my attention and thinking that plant identification Reading the Leaves: enticed me to look ever closer. was some sort of special acuity that Learning The Names What words I learned for the required either a university degree & Ways of Plants plants around me I clung to and or a Faery lineage to effectively recited to myself: Honeysuckle, utilize. by Kiva Rose Hardin Mangrove, Peppergrass, Live Oak, Palm and Ladyâ€™s Slipper all Teaching myself botany from seemed charmed just by the nature books, I continued to stumble over of their names. Those seemingly rare people I heard impossible to pronounce words, and to work myself of or read about who knew all the names, habits and into frustrated frenzies over the lack of common habitats of the plants of a sense instructions in plain specific place seemed to english about how to possess a very special sort of properly use a dichotomous magic to me. A magic usually key. Equally frustrating to me relegated to the denizens of was that the glossy, well Faery, the interior landscapes illustrated field guides were of Tolkien or the tribal often vague, limited or worst peoples of faraway jungles. of all, simply incorrect. Even now, I still find myself Field guides fascinated me fumbling over terminology early on, but often seemed and frustrated with the written in an impenetrable distinct lack of a reliable flora language for some special for my area, but I know class of the taxonomically enough to walk through a adept. Most often, I asked forest anywhere in my anyone vaguely plantbioregion and name most of oriented about the name of the plants at a genus level, my favorite flowers and always granting me a deep weeds, and then looked the sense of satisfaction and the names up in my guides and sense of being a part of the encyclopedias to see pictures landscape rather than a and descriptions. curious outsider. 35
I have yet to meet a self-proclaimed plant person who isn’t excited – or even downright obsessed – with learning more about every sort of plant they come in contact with. And yet these same people, when I say the word “botany”, suddenly wrinkle up their noses in distaste or shudder before going blank-eyed with intimidation at the mention of anything so scientific and complicated. I’ve also witnessed a tendency in some students and herbalists to stick with farm bought garden-grown herbs in order to avoid the d i f fi c u l t y of p o s i t i v e l y identifying wild plants. And while farms and gardens can certainly be a sustainable and wonderful way of obtaining herbs, it doesn’t remove the importance of learning the basics of differentiating one plant from another and getting to know the i n d i v i d u a l characteristics and traits of each genus and species on a sensory level.
and libraries, but rather, intimacy gained through time spent in the dirt and scrub, meadows and trees. Botany is the language of gardeners, naturalists, wildcrafters, herbalists and all other people engaged in a living relationship with the natural world. Certainly many of the people belonging to the above categories may not use or even recognize the term, but if they have ever spent time noticing similarities and dissimilarities between two different plants in order to know which one they want for food, medicine, shelter or tinder for fire, then they are engaging in some form of plant identification. The human tradition of refining our shared knowledge of plants into a system of information that allows us to share, t e a c h a n d p e r s o n a l l y understand which plant is which and why is not only incredibly useful, but also a portal into the green world. It is through this direct observation and experience that we can come to know the secret habits of Skunk Cabbage flowers as they unfurl from under their casings of late Spring snow. This is how we can walk along a riverbank crowded with Willows and see that there is not just a group of identical generic Willow trees as it may first appear, but actually five different species with unique leaf shapes, flowers, growth habits and even bark colors. So much of what appears as a wall of solid, shapeless green to the casual glance suddenly become discernible as individual and amazingly intricate variations to the watchful, practiced eye.
When I speak here of botany, I primarily mean field botany (the study of plants in their habitat) and especially plant identification. The idea that botany belongs to some special class of overeducated professor types, is actually a very recent stereotype. In the larger timeline of history and prehistory, botany was the territory of everyone wanting to eat, or to treat their ills. The recognizing and naming of plants is inherently a knowledge and activity of all people who are in direct contact with the land they live on. It implies not sterile data obtained in labs 36
Plant identification is an ancient instinct in our kind, frequently witnessed in small children as they curiously peer into flowers, enthusiastically dissect seedpods and run from plant to plant, asking “what’s this?” and “why is it purple?” with great excitement and an insatiable need to know. We are a species very much invested in the naming and classifying of the world around us. Exactly how we utilize this tendency varies a great deal in both
based taxonomy they still provided coherent and dependable ways of learning how to recognize local plants, usually based on observation of notable, similar traits.
benefit and efficacy, but there’s no doubt that the power of the spoken word begins here, at the primal point of recognizing and naming the world around us.
popular example of an indigenous peoples’ relationship with their local flora, they are certainly far from the only one. The Maya, Tohono O’odham, Akimel O’odham and Navajo are just a few examples of peoples whose language and concepts grew in part from the plants themselves. Even the later agrarian peoples have all held detailed knowledge of both wild and domestic plants as necessary knowledge for survival.
The Aztecs had particular symbols for types of plants as well as for specific plants and extensive terminology for describing plant parts. While the Aztecs are probably the most well researched and
Essentially all indigenous and tribal societies have or had some working system of field botany including taxonomy (classification based on similarities or relationship), nomenclature (a system of words used in naming organisms) and ecology (the relationships between organisms and their environment). While certainly not identical to the Linnaean system or the even more recent DNA-
Only with the advent of industrial civilization, do so many of us find ourselves cut off from ancestral and instinctual knowledge, creating a rift between us 37
and our food, our medicine, our very surroundings. Still, biological d i v e r s i t y insistently flourishes even between cracked slabs of pavement and in the neat geometry of s u b u r b a n backyards. We need familiarity a n d understanding of our surroundings, nourishment and medicine just as much now as at any point in our history as a species.
right into its “uses”, but in making such a leap we deprive ourselves of a specific sort of relationship with the plant, in which we understand how a fine dusting of gold can be carried from one flower to another and in that way proliferate life, in which we know how this particular species lures insects to itself and how to recognize when the plant has been pollinated. It’s one kind of magic to see the beauty of a purple daisy-like flower and smell its scent and touch the sticky silk texture of it. It’s yet another, to know that it is recognized the world over by the name Dieteria bigelovii and is from the family Asteraceae, and that you are gazing at not only one flower but many bundled together in a single c o l o r f u l i n fl o r e s c e n c e . And to look around and be able to know which other plants near you are related to it by the form of their flowers. This is more than just labels and categories, it is a tool for seeing further, deeper, more fully.
Science has given us the great gift of not only preserving but perpetuating precious plant information. Even in its most systemized and inaccessible formats, botany offers the herbalist an enormous wealth of knowledge that can be used both as a jumping off point for our own experiential explorations and as a place to come back for clarification in understanding these enormously c o m p l e x organisms we love so well. As herbalists, many of us would like to automatically know what plant is what and dive 38
When I walk through a frost-touched meadow and am able to name each brown and gold stalked wildflower, recognizable to me even long past flowering, I experience a thrill at that potent magic I so longed for as a child, magic now just beneath my seeking fingertips, waiting for my eyes to notice the form of seeds and stems, for my lips to recite a beloved litany of familiar names: Hymenoxys, Rudbecka, Actaea, Aralia, Mertensia… Each time I learn the unique way in which a specific species branches up from the soil or notice the certain twist of a flower’s sepals, it feels like memorizing the lines on a lover’s face or knowing the distinct touch of my daughter’s hand even in the dark. Through the names and ways of the plants I’ve learned to read the leaves, and find myself ever deeper in the forest’s enchantment.
We may resist the foreign twist of tongue required by the Latin and Greek of botanical nomenclature, but these words aren’t simply arbitrary, they provide us with often fascinating and beautiful insights into the nature of the plant itself, whether it has many flowers (multiflora) or is sticky to the touch or what color it might be or simply that it is lovely (amabilis) to look at. Many of these words are intriguing and pleasing in their own right, and from nectary to filament, there is a certain poetry to these words often perceived peculiar to botany, the art and science of flowers and roots, pedicels and rhizomes.
Welcome to Botany For The Herbalist. This Plant cover later in a separate article. I consider it Healer column will combine photographs and text important for herbalists to be able to accurately to help herbalists and other interested individuals identify plants, and hope to encourage you to understand botany basics, further this part of your specifically how to identify education... especially those plants. The goal is to help folks who gather their own plants, Botany for the Herbalist go beyond using basic field since it can be difficult to guides and see the shared traits determine plant identification by 7Song and relationships between from dry materials. plants, which can open up ever more tiers of plant appreciation. And through this The second part of this issue’s Botany For The understanding, learn how to use more technical Herbalist, opens the door on one of the most plant field guides, and increase one’s ability to important aspects of being able to identify plants: identify plants wherever they understanding plant families. I may be. will initially keep it simple, and show photos of some of the I wanted to begin this series plants in various plant families with two parts. First, is why I commonly used by herbalists. I think it is important for suggest taking some time to herbalists to learn how to look carefully at the photos and accurately identify plants. This learn to recognize some of their may sound a bit prejudiced, but salient features. as someone who wildcrafts in many different places, I often I realize what I write below wonder how other herbalists might sound harsh and I don’t know which plant is which. If mean to harangue, but I feel I you stay in the same location would be doing a disservice if I and a knowledgeable person failed to try to help the herbalist points them out, and it’s a understand the intricacies of sustainable place to gather, then botany and plant identification. I you may be able to get by without this skill. also realize the below statements are a bit simplistic, and there could be arguments for each statement. I However, as soon as you venture further, the lookask only that they be considered, and if they nudge alike plants you encounter may be the same species you to spending some time learning a bit of botany, as the ones you already know, but they may not. then I have done my job. This also touches on wildcrafting ethics, which I’ll –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– 40
Reasons for Herbalists to Understand Accurate Plant identification
Part II: Plant Families
1. As plants are the basis of herbal medicine, not
I’m starting this series with photos of some of the common plant families that herbalists employ. In future segments, different aspects of each will be described.
knowing which plant we actually have in hand can throw our treatments off. 2. Plant constituents can vary even with the same species for many reasons (weather, soils, etc) so accurate identification is one of the few aspects we can ensure. 3. Identification allows practitioners to gather their own medicines, thereby making herbal medicine affordable 4. If one does not know how to accurately identify plants, they’ll need to continually go back to the place they originally learned the plant, thereby putting a strain on that population. 5. An understanding of identification allows one to sample different species, thereby taking the pressure off an over-harvested species. While being closely related doesn’t insure shared medicinal qualities, this offers some parameters for experimentation. Some genera that potentially share medicinal virtues include Scutellaria, Arnica, Ganoderma, Spiraea, and Solidago. 6. You might end up gathering plants that are rare, endangered or endemic otherwise. 7. Plant identification sets up an intimate connection with you and the plant. 8. It is relatively inexpensive, interesting and engaging. An excellent adventure! 9. It could lead to a job as a field botanist saving pieces of the environment. 10. You can also name and qualify plants in commerce, by recognizing the traits of dried plant material. 11. It deepens our admiration and enjoyment of a plant’s outrageous complexity and intricacies. 12. It integrates herbalists with botanists, field supervisors and naturalists, demonstrating that we do indeed understand nature’s web of complexity, so that we’re taken more seriously. These folks are our natural allies, and accurate plant identification lends credibility to herbalism. 13. It helps us avoid being poisoned, by being able to positively identify potentially toxic plants.
Learning plant families can initially seem intimidating, but having spent the last 16 years teaching botany to herbalists, I can tell you it’s simply a matter of interest and diligence. Spend some time looking at the photos and accompanying text, and getting a picture in your mind of what the characteristics are. Then take a field guide and when you see a plant in flower, see if you can guess which family it belongs too. Consult your book to see if you are correct, and keep playing with this and studying until you can recognize many of the plant families. Since plant families are based on flowers (reproductive structures), you will need them for this task. We are burdened with having to look at many flowers. One of the difficulties of studying botany is that it is in a state of flux. This is the way of science and of folks continually reassessing information. It can be plenty frustrating, learning something and being told it has changed. But this is just the way of things, eh? This effects me as a teacher, as herbalists tend to hew to what our herbal forebears taught. The reality is that things do change, however, and so I will use the family names that most herbalists know but also note any changes that have occurred which are likely to result in a sustained change. In this this series, I will use the ‘old school’ names’ and also discuss families (such as the Scrophulariaceae) that are in taxonomic (the naming of things) revision. I’ve tried to choose a middle path, to keep things familiar to herbalists as well as bring up newer revisions that may be important for students to know. Plant families are one of the most useful starting points to identify plants, species within them may share obvious traits both botanical (anatomical similarities) and other qualities such as for food or medicine... though as far as these non-anatomical traits, there are often more exceptions of shared qualities than similarities.
For example, the Carrot family (Apiaceae or Umbelliferae) includes many aromatic, flavorful plants (Dill, Fennel, Parsley, Carrot) but also notoriously poisonous plants such as Poison hemlock (Conium) and the more poisonous Water hemlock (Cicuta). Another example is the Liliaceae with edible foods such as garlic, onion and asparagus but also the potentially toxic Veratrum and Lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria). Both of these examples should give novice plant-gathering herbalists ample motivation for taking their plant identification seriously.
Sambucus (Elder) They generally grow as shrubs (woody plants of shorter stature and bushier than a ‘tree’) or vines.
All photos in this series are taken by myself with some not very fancy digital cameras. And I’m a self-taught botanist, proving that our study needn’t be academic to be useful. All that’s required is some simple focused discipline... and a strong desire to learn. Today’s column will feature 4 families, the Caprifoliaceae, Fabaceae, Rosaceae and Malvaceae. As discussed below, I have divided the Caprifoliaceae into 2 families as is now commonly accepted. In the Fabaceae, they are separated into subfamilies, a convention generally used for this large family. There are organizational levels that supersede plant families, such as Angiosperm/ Gymnosperm or Monocotyledon/Dicotyledon. These will be covered at anther time.
Viburnum (above) and Sambucus- These are now in the Adoxaceae. Note that the flowers are regular (symmetrical) and the 5 petals are joined (gamopetalous). The 5 male pollen-producing parts (stamen) also are obvious as they stick out past the petals.
Please note- these are just a small sampling of each family and hence a simplification. There are many exceptions to these, but this is a good beginning to begin looking more closely at flowers and trying to discern family traits. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle Family) This family is currently being separated into a number of families. Of importance to herbalists, Viburnum species (Cramp bark, etc) and Sambucus (Elder) are now in the Adoxaceae. This family has some commonly used medicines, including the antispasmodic actions of Viburnum species (Black haw, Cramp bark) and the antiviral properties of
Lonicera. The flowers are generally obviously irregular (asymmetrical), and often quite showy. In many species the flowers are ‘open’, with the upper and lower petals curving backwards, so that the reproductive structure are obvious. 42
Explorer Hints Exploration and wildcrafting rightly begin at home, in backyards and at the untrimmed edges of nearby parking lots, in the areas we are most intimate with, in relation with, and call home. That said, when we do take our hunt out into the relative wilds, there are a few hints that might help:
roads least travelled in order to discover the least impacted and most fruitful areas 10. Be willing to follow a hunch: if you pass a narrow turnoff and get a feeling that you should have taken it, go back and give it a try 11. Be willing to drive slow, and stop often 12. Get out at every promising location, walk down into any draws or seep to investigate, and then up the nearest ridge, tree trunk or other high vantage point to begin a scan 13.The most effective scanning is not done with tight and forced focused on prominent details, but with a relaxed, soft focus that takes in not only individual form and color but patterns and association 14. Begin your scan of the f o re g ro u n d closest, at the extreme left of the visible field, slowly sweep your eyes across that foreground to the far right edge, then shift your gaze to a swath further out as you swing your eyes back to the far left again (no political reference intended!) 15. Hold in your mind an image of the plants and plant associations you are hoping to see â€“ at the stage of growth indicated by the time of season â€“ while scanning the landscape, watching for matches and near matches 16. And even when out for specific, much needed herbs, donâ€™t allow single-minded visioning prevent you from noticing other useful but unanticipated species 17. Know the laws regarding trespass on private property and harvesting on public lands, be aware of property markers, BLM and USFS borders; be familiar with your personal moral compass and values, and decide beforehand when and why you might either obey or violate, as well as how you intend to respond if challenged
1. Do your research and reading, and talk to other wildcrafters and botanists to determine which plants you most need, and are most likely to actually be able to find 2. Study your maps b e f o re h a n d for possible new areas to check out 3. Determine the water, nutritional and elevational needs of the species sought, which can greatly vary depending on the latitude... then circle terrain on your maps that seems to have the most potential 4. All plants need some water, and hillsides facing south can be some of the driest and least diverse 5. Plants in moister areas like deep shaded draws and close to natural bogs tend to remain viable longest as the Winter approaches, so make special note of such areas 6. Mark out a number of possible tours that cover new and hopeful ground, then set aside the days for those trips so that no other projects interfere 7. Determine beforehand which other kinds of plants tend to cohabitate with the particular ones you are looking for, and then watch for these indicator species, plant combinations and communities 8. Once in a promising area, start your visual scan long before deciding to stop and get out, taking note of the landscape directional orientation and biota, ecotone transitions and any signature species 9. Like Thoreau once recommended in a larger metaphoric way, you will usually want to choose the
Driving Tips Unpaved and unmaintained roads such as many BLM, national forest, logging and ranch roads can be rough, and rougher they are the better chances of finding some really sweet and plant rich areas, but caution is in order:
7. Don’t be either too timid or too proud to back out of even the most twisted-up sections, if you don’t think you can proceed any farther... it’s better to accept you are stopped, put it in reverse and crane your neck out the side window until you can get to a spot to turn around 1. Many such roads 8. Beware of include a thin layer driving up washes of gravel on top, so and gullies, be careful bearing in mind navigating curves, that they were use low gear when usually created by going downhill, flash floods that pump or pad the could wash your brakes and never vehicle away lock them up or 9. Beware of you could skid crossing water dangerously where you can’t see 2. The same road the bottom, be it a may be flat in one creek or large section, extremely puddle... better to washed out or get out, take off bumpy in another, your shoes and so expect the walk it first, if at all unexpected in doubt 3. Watch out for 10. Watch out for rocks that may animals... they have rolled into the have a habit of road, and those running out in “The Beast”- Anima Sanctuary’s plant adventure rig that may stick up front of vehicles, out of the ground while focused too just enough to hang you up, and just like a Titanicintently on the much more sedentary plants crunching iceberg, the majority of their bulk could 11. Avoid driving offroad whenever possible... it’s well be concealed beneath the surface not that you will always do irreparable damage a 4. Most modern vehicles, even trucks and SUVs, are single time driving over plant colonies, but other lower to the ground than they used to be, and it’s drivers will predictably see your tracks and follow best to drive as if you have even less clearance than them you do... just to be sure 12. Enter the area with a full tank of fuel, and either 5. When encountering sections of a road eroded into carry extra gas cans with you, or be sure you are deep parallel channels and ridges, do whatever it headed back out before you top the halfway takes to keep your wheels up on the ridges mark on your gauge 6. If you get into loose sand or mud, use as much power as possible without breaking traction and The drive, no matter how lengthy, difficult or slow, spinning tires; in most cases slow and steady (with is only a piece of the trip of course. The deepest no stops) is ideal, though under some circumstances engagement and real “search and gather” begins gunning it and spinning out is all that will extricate when we put feet to ground: you
Once On Foot 1. Consider taking your GPS or compass with you when walking out of sight of your vehicle 2. Identify landmarks along the way, to aid you finding your way back 3. Stop regularly to scan your environment, when possible turn and scan a full 360 degrees 4. To be a literal “Seer”– to further, sharpen, broaden and deepen perception – experiment with cocking your head or squinting your eyes, bending low for a different perspective, or even lying on the ground to look around 5. Fulling seeing is also sensing through other organs and means... sniff the air and try to identify what you smell, handle and – when prudent – taste plants you are interested in 6. Sense with your intuitive being as well, gradually learning to recognize the difference between actual subliminal awareness of subtle energies and our physical environment, on one hand, and on the other hand wishful thinking, anthropomorphizing, projecting and fantasizing. 7. Scan not just for the forms and colors of desired species, nor just communities of species either, but for evidence of the conditions meeting their specific needs regarding the amount of moisture, shade and solar exposure, the soil type and condition, the terrain preference most likely conducive to their proliferation 8. Journal the plant communities and members you encounter, along with their location and GPS readings when using one, how seemingly plentiful or rare they are 9. Make use of your guidebooks and key out any plants you are unsure about before harvesting or using... intuition works best in combination with good research and common sense
10. Before removing any plants, have already determined just how rare they might be, not just in that particular patch but in the larger general region, and then limit the amount you harvest accordingly 11. Try to harvest only every tenth plant in a patch, and no more than you really need 12. Whenever possible, leave enough of each plant to regrow 13. Only take the whole plant when the roots are needed, otherwise simply break the stems or snap off the leaves, to avoid disrupting the soil 14. It is most advantageous as well as considerate to act as if the plants can feel pain, even if you are uncertain they do, and take plants or parts sensitively and quickly 15. When harvesting plants that have already developed seeds, make it a point to spread some of them in the area you’ve effected 16. Even walking can have a deleterious effect on plant communities, especially if you are wearing boots; wear sandals or go barefoot when you can, stay on trails when possible, and otherwise be conscious of and careful where you step 17. And finally, find some way to demonstrate your gratitude, and to actually (not just symbolically) give back to the land... in order to be worthy of the plants, the wisdom and healing that we are given We wish all of you what we wish and plan for ourselves: an unending series of ultra-aware and eminently fulfilling, eye and heart opening, deeply meaningful and ultimately fruitful plant adventures.
Adelante! (Onward!) 53
Soulful healing asks that while you are healing I’ve often said that our bodies love us enough to get your body with herbs from the earth, you look for sick for us, to draw our attention where it’s needed. the meaning in what is happening within your body I’ve found that bodies speak to us to call us to as it relates to your whole being. greater life, to more aliveness. This is not a whiney or They ask us to love ourselves despairing “Why is this more fully, to open our hearts to Redefining Soulful Healing happening to me?” or a oneourselves. An open heart is not by Robin Rose Bennett size-fits-all New Age always an easy thing to come generalization that you and you by. As difficult as it may sound, Forget whatever fluff-bunny associations alone created your reality. The I see illness as a call from our might arise when you hear the term... question is, “What is the deeper own soul, an invitation to go on for our friend Robin, “soulful” is teaching in this experience?” an inner journey of exploration synonymous with earth-ful and heartful, a “What is here for me?” “How and discovery that leads us to wholistic path of integrity, can I make this experience an realize we are already whole no action and connection ally for my growth and matter what our condition. It is -The Editors transformation?” common to see illness as keeping us from living our lives or walking our true path, but the truth is that no Patterns form invisibly and then descend into form. matter where you are in any given moment, you Life is a web of meaningful patterns. It takes an cannot be off your path, your path is always under active open curiosity and passion to arrive clearly at your feet. your truth. And it must be your truth for it to have any import for you. When you are willing to “go One aspect of soulful healing that is most there” the most magical healings happen. Miracles challenging and therefore most fruitful is the need to happen every day, but they often require the release a part of our story that may be lying courage to look inward. It can be hard work to underneath and behind the illness. Healing requires release limiting patterns of belief that we find, a willingness to re-write our story, the one we tell beliefs that have a part in keeping us ill. Bodies ourselves about what has happened in our lives and always tell the truth. “I’m fine, but I have a why it’s happened. There is often an emotional headache.” I feel fine, but my stomach is upset.” attachment to the pattern that doesn’t allow for easy Really? I don’t think so. Being in a body it is as if we change. It is common to see people who want to want are born with a fierce and loving teacher who is to release patterns, rather than actually wanting to within us and yet also contains us. This body is an release them. We can see this in ourselves more embodiment of our greatest wisdom and obviously when we try to release a physical habit consciousness, and yet a mirror of our greatest such as to smoking. The illusion is that a habit has a unconsciousness as well. hold on us, and it is a potent illusion, but the truth is 55
we hold onto the habit. When we are ready to shift, the way opens up before us. When a person quits again and again, they are going through wanting to want to stop. It can be very frustrating when we don’t realize that this is why we’re not being successful at what we say we want. It can be even more challenging to realize that we often want to want to get better, but there are other things taking priority over that, and the number one thing that they stem from is a story we’ve told ourselves about our illness, a story we’ve become attached to. It could be that we believe we deserve to suffer because of something we’ve done or that it’s impossible to recover from the disease we have, or even that we’ll lose the care and attention we’re receiving if we heal. In my experience we are always trying to be good to ourselves, to be healthy and safe, but we are often doing this in a convoluted way because it’s the best way we know at that moment. As soon as we are ready to open to a healthier way, a path opens up before us. We find that we’ve always been standing on it. And alongside, and over, and underneath our path, are our herbal allies.
“The place that I am in right now is not new; I just never had the knowledge or courage to go there. It really is a life style change, not just an action; I know I will never go back. I am here because of the work you all have done with me. The herbs helped me to get drug-free and moreover to change my attitude about drugs. Doctors only prescribe medications to block symptoms, but never get to the cause of the problems. The greatest thing that I have learned is that pain and sickness not only has its origin in the body; but also is deeply rooted in the soul. Motivating the spirit to roar breaks barriers that nothing else in life could accomplish. I am healing.” Her soulful healing is physical, too. She is in far less pain than she was, has m o re e n e rg y, healthier skin and improved digestive function. It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of the soulful healing that she is engaging in as she heals her body and soul and reclaims her power to live her life and share her considerable gifts to the fullest she can. I’ve found that if I treat a person’s illness, rather than a person, I am going to treat that person as if they are their illness. In doing so, I run the risk of limiting them greatly and helping them to focus in on their illness as if that is all they are. It is so important to treat a person, not a condition. Everyone is different, with unique twists and challenges, so the same herbs are not applied for a “condition”. The herbs chosen are connected to the whole person including their illness, their constitution, their diet, their psychology, their
I received a moving note from a woman who has made tremendous strides in the year she’s been coming to see my herbal apprentices and me in our sliding-scale herbal clinic. She originally came in great despair, because though she was heavily medicated, she was still in constant excruciating pain from her rheumatoid arthritis. She wrote: 56
warming for her." But she said that the herbs I had given her had really made a difference in how she felt and that she was very grateful.
more earnestly addressing systemic inflammation and pain, modulating immune response, provided extensive education on gluten free/dairy free diets and continued to improve digestive function, and nutrient content in the diet with increases in healthy proteins and fats, and reduction in refined foods.
The last time we spoke she was again considering a gluten elimination and rechallenge, continued to remain infection free, eating more, but had not reduced sugar or refined foods. " " " At this point I did not get a chance to see the client again.
This case is an important reminder for practitioners to pay close attention to medications and their interactions and side effects." Many of the symptoms a chronically ill client may present with are purely the result of side effects of pharmaceutical drugs, and are often medicated further w i t h m o r e pharmaceuticals. " " It is important to both educate the client on side effects of their medications, and the importance of making changes while concurrently working with their M.D. and herbalist." In this case the client wanted to remove herself from medications, but wasnâ€™t quite at the point in her healing process that it was manageable." "
Summary: This is clearly a case that needed a long term working relationship, but was unfortunately lost to follow up. " But her primary goals of combating the infection, improving her ability to eat, and m a n a g i n g inflammation were successful." It is very clear from the results measured by her Rheumatologist that i m p r o v i n g inflammation and Evening Primrose Oenothera digestive tissue health, and restoring gut flora made a significant improvement in her overall inflammation in chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease." Her subjective and perceived results also indicated that improving her digestive well-being substantially improved her overall vitality."
It is also important to point out to never underestimate the power of improving basic digestive function and improving nutrient content of the diet even in complicated chronic cases." Good health starts with what you eat, what you digest and what you assimilate." Before tackling pharmaceutical withdrawals or rigorous immune system modulation, work on establishing good nutrition and healthy digestion with gut healing demulcents, astringents, anti-inflammatory, carminatives and bitters.
" I believe that the removal of a primary food allergen, which may have been gluten or dairy, would have dramatically shifted the case as well, and would have allowed her to reduce or remove some of her pharmaceutical medications under the guidance of her Rheumatologist- specifically the NSAID, the Prilosec, and Zyrtec." Had I continued to work with her, at this point I would have begun
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There are still wild places in Southern Californiaâ€” sagebrush, riparian woodlands, and oak forestsâ€” places where it appears that time has stood still. that provided abundant food sources and also a Fragrant native sages line the paths, tiny frogs leap natural medicine chest in the native plants of the and clamber through the bluearea. The vibrant biodiversity eyed grass alongside the creek. was lovingly tended by the Tongva Healer and Heroine Tracks in the mud give away native people who were expert Toypurina that a coyote and deer passed horticulturalists and knew how & the Healing Properties of Native to prune the plants to produce this way to drink along the Plants of Southern California banks lined with shading desired growth and employed sycamores and willows. controlled burns to keep the oak by Deborah Wallin woodlands healthy. Along these same paths, walked the notorious Tongva medicine woman Toypurina collecting native plants for healing in her basket woven of juncus. Daughter of a Tongva chief, she was a healer and a leader, feared and revered. Born in 1761, Toypurina spent her childhood learning the healing plants from the elders. She gathered tokor mamahar2, mulefat, to make an eyewash and to alleviate the pain of toothache. She learned to make an infusion from the elderberry flowers, ku.ut, for a fever or flu.
Toypurina sang healing songs as she administered an infusion of sage for a sore throat or a decoction of kwiash,mugwort, for bronchitis and asthma. She learned where to gather huherhetchut, yerba santa, to make a poultice for poison oak rash and how to make a decoction from the roots of wild heliotrope, yopehashako, for gastric problems. Rich in vitamins and minerals, the native stinging nettle, sachikili, was gathered by the Tongva as an important food source and also for a poultice for sore joints and rheumatic problems. Brewed as a tea, the leaves and stems heal chest colds and clean the Indigenous mural, Los Angeles urinary tract.
The Tongva Gabrielino Indians lived in about 50 villages spread across what is now Orange and Los Angeles Counties. The landscape encompassed diverse and rich ecosystemsâ€”coastal
In the Spring, Toypurina collected mekachaa, California poppy. Mekachaa root, mashed and applied directly to the area, alleviated toothache. A decoction of the flowers applied to the hair cured head lice.
thousands, including Toypurina, who resisted and resented the Spanish takeover of Tongva land. Toypurina and her friend and Nicolas Jose refused to join the mission, because the padres did not allow the native people to sing their songs, dance their dances, perform traditional burial rites, or practice traditional medicine. The padres were given paternal rights over the native people and were allowed to flog Indians who tried to escape the mission. When Indian girls turned 13 years old, the padres arranged marriages for them with soldiers or Christianized natives.
Leaves gathered before the flowering were a food source for her people. In winter Toypurina gathered ashuwet, toyon. The beautiful red berries were boiled and baked. For stomach pains, the leaves of ashuwet were steeped in hot water to make a tea. Infected wounds were treated with an infusion of the leaves and bark.
Many of the native people contracted diseases from the Europeans, i n c l u d i n g smallpox and syphillis. In addition the soldiers who ostensibly g u a rd e d the mission, behaved obscenely toward the native women. The padres were disgusted by the behavior of the Spanish soldiers, who would lasso and rape the native women and kill their husbands who protested. When one Tongva man raised his bow and arrow to protect his wife who was being insulted by a soldier, the soldier shot him dead, cut of his head and put it on a pole.
Pawots, coastal sagebrush, is still one of the most i m p o r t a n t medicinal plants of the Tongva, essential to women's health. Tongva women drink a tea make Basket by Lucy Telles from pawots from the beginning of their first menstruation and throughout their lives. A decoction of the leaves is used to treat asthma and coughs. In 1781, when Toypurina was 9 years old, her world changed forever with the arrival at her village of Spanish padres and soldiers on horseback armed with muskets. The Spanish wasted no time in erecting a mission with the labor of the native people. Some of the native people came to live and work at the mission, By the time Toypurina was 14 years old, there were 198 baptized Indians living at the San Gabriel Mission. However, there were
As Toypurina, now a young woman, gathered willow bark to alleviate the fevers of her people, many of whom were sick with smallpox, a fierce anger smouldered in her heart. At 25 years old, this daughter of a chief could not bear in silence the indignities and the wrongs inflicted upon her people and upon the land that she loved. 71
It has been a sad week. A good friend passed away. minds together as one, thank creation, and think of As you know, when this the future generations when happens, we reflect on the gifts making our choices. When it Following Our that person brought to the thanks creation, it also thanks Original Instructions world. that bird, plant, animal, and so forth for "following its original by John Gallagher Tekaronianeken Jake Swamp instructions." For, as we know, if (www.treeofpeacesociety.info), was they did not, we'd be in trouble. the Wolf Clan Mohawk diplomat, a teacher, chief, Nobel Peace Prize It also reminds us humans to follow our original nominee, husband, a great grandfather to 13, and a instructions. Our original instructions as caretakers founder of Wilderness Awareness School among of this Earth. And within each caretaker (you), lies a many other things. gift that is your original instruction. When I first met him 18 years ago, I was 22 and did not quite understand the significance of this native leader who started working with our school. Of course I knew he was a chief, but it was hard to comprehend the impact he was having on the world with his gentle, quiet way of teaching.
This column, Weaving the Herbal Web, is about grassroots web marketing for herbalists. Whatâ€™s this have to do with marketing? Marketing is just a word. A word that can often seem shady to many in our culture, as we often equate it with advertising, and well, you know the rest. But it really just means bringing yourself, your goods, and your skills to the market. In other words, it's connecting your gifts to the world and to your community.
He shared many teachings of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, including the Peacemaker Story and the Thanksgiving Address. The Thanksgiving Address, which he wrote into a children's book that was a Reading Rainbow selection, honors all elements of creation. It is designed to bring our
That's the place I am coming from when I share information with you in this column. 74
go with 1 day. If it's humid where you're at, try 2-3 days.
the ball aside and pour another batch of simmered rose petals into the same sheet. Continue until you have no rose mass left (you could pour everything at once into a larger square of cloth, but you get out quite a bit more water by squeezing smaller batches).
7) Push some wire through your still-soft beads. I used steel wire, cut into 15-20 cm bits (6-8"). Thicker wire will allow a thicker needle and thicker thread, later on, but thicker wire can make the still-soft beads split. It's easier to add beads to thinner wire -- but make sure that you have small enough sewing needles for adding your hard and dry beads on threads, later on!
6) Start to form small (about 1 cm, or 1/3") balls
8) Let your beads dry on the wire until they're dark, hard, and bone dry. Or put them into a dehydrator on low low heat. It's at the "let sit for days on end until dry" that rose beads can grow mold. Check for that: it shows as white spots on your otherwise dark beads. Try to get your beads to dry faster in any way you can, but don't dry them too hot: that's likely to burn out the exquisite scent of roses.
from your almost dry rose balls. This part can take an hour or more, so take your time. Let your small rose balls dry on another square of cloth, some paper towels, baking paper, or similar for 1-3 days. If you live in very hot and dry weather, 81
The Result: Youâ€™ll get about 1.5-2 m (1.5-2 yards) of dark brown scented rose beads. Don't coat them with anything - that'd cover the scent. I wouldn't try to make them round and smooth either. There's no need to add any type of rose essential oil or otto of roses to the rose beads at any time.
9) Strip the beads off their wires. 10) Try to find a needle which is small enough to fit the holes in your beads, then start to thread the beads onto string. It's better to make a lot of shorter strings rather than one long one. And it's even better to make tiny strings of 20-30 beads each, to give to clients who are in need of roses. 11) Store your rose bead strings in an air-tight container. They'll keep for decades, and they may release some scent if warmed in someoneâ€™s hands a century hence. Your granddaughter, perhaps?
Gotta love that rose!
When you think of cinnamon, what comes to down to the base and stripping the bark off. The mind? Chewing gum? Toothpaste? Breath mints? trees send up side shoots that are then harvested as Cinnamon rolls? Red Hots? This they grow large enough, spicy herb that is found in many generally every 2-3 years. If not food products is more than just harvested, he will grow up to 60 Fun With a favored flavor though! feet tall. Spicy Cinnamon Cinnamon has many medicinal benefits that are especially Cinnamon is one of the oldest Text, Art & Photos useful this time of the year. tonic plants to historically be By Kristine Brown used. It is mentioned in the the There are two types of writings of Pliny, Dioscorides, cinnamon that are easiest to Galen, Herodotus, find, Cinnamomum zeylanicum and C. cassia although Theophrastus and Strebo. In China, uses date back there are several species that can be used at least 5,000 years and in Egypt, India and parts of medicinally including C. Europe, first uses are aromaticum, C. verum and mentioned around 500 C. camphora. C. zeylanicum BCE. is known as true cinnamon Cinnamon is considered and is twice as potent as C. warming and moistening. cassia which is the most This means that he tends to commonly found species warm people up while not available. He is part of the drying them out. For Laurel plant family known people who tend to be hot as Lauraceae. C. zeylanicum all the time and have is native to Sri Lanka and symptoms of moistness C. cassia is native to China (runny noses, oily faces/ and India. Cinnamon now hair, acne, prone to yeast grows in most tropical infections, easily fatigued, regions of the world. doesnâ€™t like to drink a lot of water, bloated bellies, etc.), Cinnamon is the bark of cinnamon could potentially the cinnamon tree and is be aggravating. For those harvested by cutting them who tend to be chilled and
hypoglycemic, perspiration promoting, sedative, uterine stimulant and warming stimulant properties. Phew! Thatâ€™s a lot of actions! Letâ€™s break those down further... As an antimicrobial (meaning he has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-parasitic properties) he is able to kill E. coli, Candida albicans, and Staphylococcus aureus. His oil is used diluted and externally to combat them and should never be used internally as he is very potent. To treat these things internally, an infusion would be used. Using cinnamon both internally and externally at the same time will be even more effective in treating these germs! An infusion of his bark makes a wonderfully flavored tea that is pleasant to drink and at the same time healing! This infusion can be drank whenever
need a jacket or sweater all the time and are dry, cinnamon will be their cup of tea! Consider these properties when offering cinnamon to someone who may benefit from using him medicinally. If they try cinnamon and it only seems to aggravate their symptoms, it may be they are warm and moist and need an herb added to the mix that is cooling and/or drying. Just what can you use cinnamon for? Read on... Cinnamon is known for his analgesic antiseptic, astringent, antispasmodic, antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-nausea, anti-flatulence, anti-diarrheal, carminative,
something we do so that we can spend the rest of our time focusing on things that nourish us, or else finding ways to make the things we love to do produce some or all of our necessary income. The key is giving ourselves permission to think of self nourishment as central and essential to our true well-being.
kitchen feels at all cramped, knock out a wall, and let the kitchen take over the family room or dining room, make them one and the same. Have plenty of counter space for kneading dough, chopping veggies, and plenty of stovetop space for several skillets and pots going at once. Make enough cabinet space for bulk foods stored in buckets and/ or jars, tins, and bottles. Organize and give everything its own space so you know exactly where to find them. Create places to curl up and read a cookbook, and places to paint and draw. Have a special shelf for art supplies and other craftsy project materials, maybe even a sewing or weaving corner, so that the kitchen becomes a haven of many forms of creativity.
A ReWilded Kitchen & Home Life
Where would the kitchen of your dreams look like? Seek to find and created that, no matter how many changes or moves youâ€™ve got to make, but donâ€™t wait till some distant unforeseen day to begin developing the kitchen that fills Connect With The not just your belly Elements but your heart and spirit. Make the Figure out ways to space where you revel in the powers prepare food as of fire, water, earth personal, beautiful and air in your and functional as kitchen, and in you can within the your daily life. scope of your Depending on present reality... where you live, while actively consider installing seeking to a fireplace or manifest the woodstove, and region, house, kitchen and foods Our ReWilded daughter Rhiannon, when she first use it for cooking on and/or came to us 6 yrs ago, just barely turned 4 that will best feed and restore the in. Keep your windows open rewilding being you are. as much as possible and install fans to keep air circulating when the weather is balmy or hot. Wherever you have a gutter, set up Make Space a rainbarrel to catch the water, and use it for your herb garden, or for your tea and hair washing. Make We took out our dining room table and now eat frequent trips to any wild water sources near you outside or on the floor next to the woodstove, to that are clean enough to get in, simply to soak in the make our kitchen twice as big. What a relief it is, to nourishment they can provide. Grow and tend have space for spreading out plants weâ€™re in the houseplants and herbs, and a garden if you can middle of processing, for buckets of fermenting make the room, or join a community garden. Jump sauerkraut and bulk goods, and for three or more of around in the mud when it rains, and act like a little us to chop things at once when need be. If your kid at every opportunity! 92
3 oz. each of peppercorns, gum from Cyrene, gum from Syria, gum of ! poppies; 4 oz. each of saffron, unroasted sulphur, myrrh, and white hyoscyamus seed; 2 oz. of mandragora apples and 1 oz. of cardamoms. Mix well together with honey and "give as much as a chestnut dropped on thy !fi n g e r which hath been dipped in a little vinegar. " 
In his "Cure for the Pestilential Fever", noted in the Renaissance compilation called De Febribus, Avicenna compounded asafoetida with several other gums, resins, roots and herbs such as frankincense, mastic, costus, storax, sandalwood, acorus, juniper, cypress, and laurel.  Such prescriptions were fragrant and most likely antibacterial and antiviral with broad-spectrum activity.
This opiate recipe was antibacterial and sedative. It might well have been lifesaving in a pneumonia. Obviously, most herbalists are not going to be compounding this particular formula due to legal issues with â€œgum of poppyâ€?, (opium), but the following Syriac recipe might be one we could experiment with using the herbs of our time.
In the early middle ages, Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) found use for the plant: Asafoetida (wichwurz) is more cold and moist than hot. A person who has burning fevers should take asafoetida, and twice as much basil and cook this in pure wine. He should allow it to cool, and drink it daily, while fasting, both in the morning and at night when he goes to bed. He should do this until he gets well. 
A medicine which is made of laserpitium, and which is good for cold in the stomach, and for protracted fits of shivering; and for coughs which are due to cold, and for intestinal worms.
Of all the recipes included, this one seems both simple and effective enough for most herbalists to try. For basil, perhaps one could use Ocimum sanctum (Tulsi) and get a truly beneficial remedy.
In equal quantities: juice of silphium, garden nigella, peppercorns, mustard, pepperwort. Pound and work into a paste with honey, and administer as a dose a portion as large as a chestnut. If this medicine is required for cough, make it into tablets, and let the patient hold them under his tongue, if for cold, give it in wine and water, if for worms, give it in an infusion of nigella, ! lupins, and costus, in rain water. This is a well tried remedy and is a sure cure. 
As mentioned, Gerarde (1545-1612) recommended Laserpitium (Angelica) for pestilential diseases.  Asafoetida, he called Magydare or Laserwort, following Dioscorides. (Chap. 391) He claimed in his day that "the best groweth upon the high mountains of Cyrene and Africa, and is of a pleasant smell; in Syria also, Media and Armenia, and Lybia; the liquor of which plant growing in those places is of a most strong and detestable savor."
The art and practice of Medical Herbalism migrated from the Fertile Crescent to the battlefields of the Greeks and Romans. Along with their wars, remedies traveled forth with the Arabs and back again to Europe with the Crusaders. In the 9th century, the Syrian physician Serapion the Elder, compounded asafoetida in his Cure for Quartan Fever along with caraway, pepper, ginger, calaminth, cinnamon, parsley, fennel and honey. 
Gerarde lists among the "Vertues" of these the following: The liquor or gum of Laserpitium, especially the Laser of Cyrene broken and dissolved in water and drunken, taketh away the hoarseness that commethsuddenly: and being supt up with a reare egge, cureth the cough: and taken ! with the same good broth or supping, is good against an old pleurisie.
Rhazes (850-932 CE) and Avicenna (980-1037 CE) were Persians who wrote in Arabic, preserving both their own traditions and those of the Greeks whom they translated. Asafoetida was well known to them and used in febrile illness. While Rhazes was most particularly fond of rose and camphor, Avicenna stated in the Canon that Asafoetida "excelled for the quartan fever." (Tract. II: Cap. liij.) 
It drieth away the shakings and shiverings of agues, being drunke with wine, pepper and white Frankincense. Also there is made an electuarie therof called Antidotus ex succe Cyrenaico, which is a singular medicine against ! fever quartaines.  104
When we do not entirely understand the causes or cures of epidemic diseases, it is a temptation for physicians and herbalists alike to throw everything we've got against them. It may be cautionary to conclude with Culpeper’s electuary recipe and commentary upon what he called the "great antidote" based on the work of the physician and botanist Pietro Mattioli. Mattioli (1501-1577) does list a recipe like this in his Preface to the 6th Book, Commentary of Dioscorides. 
"compound powder of fried asafoetida, ginger, pippli long pepper, black pepper, ajowan, cumin seeds, nigella seeds and rock salt in equal parts. Ten to 20 grains of the powder is taken with the first morsel of rice and clarified butter (ghee) at breakfast. The powder can also be made into pills with lemon juice."  In addition, we can try using it in the digestive cheeses as Columella did or cooked with basil in wine as Hildegard suggested. It is likely that chemists and drug companies will find a way to isolate "the active chemicals" and define their molecular pathways, thereby patenting new and powerful plant-derived drugs. Perhaps sick people may find benefit from this, while those who practice herbal medicine keep using the plants as they are. It is a good time to make use of Asafoetida and other umbels in pleasant tasting combinations with beneficial ingredients, based on long and carefully discerned historical usage.
While Culpeper's praise for this elaborate concoction is exuberant, let us strive for clarity in using these plants. The umbelliferae in this interesting recipe have been highlighted. Culpeper: The title shows you the scope of the author in compiling it. I believe it is excellent for those uses. The dose of this is from a scruple to four scruples, or a dram and an half. It provokes sweating abundantly, and in this or any other sweating medicine, order your body thus: Take it in bed, and cover yourself warm, in your sweating, drink posset-drink as hot as you can, if it be for a fever, boil Sorrel and red Sage in posset-drink, sweat an hour or ! two if your strength will bear it, then the chamber being kept very warm, shift yourself all but your head, about which (your cap which you sweat in ! being kept on) wrap a hot napkin, which will be a means to repel the vapours back. This I hold the best method for sweating in fevers and pestilences, in which this electuary is very good. I am very loth to leave out this medicine, ! which if it were stretched out, and cut in thongs, would reach round the ! world. 
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3.! 4.! 5.!
It is no longer expedient to throw every possible remedy into the pot as Mattioli did. While each plant in the above recipe is worthy of study, modern medicine may find it timely to proceed with careful scientific analysis of the Umbelliferae and the Ferulae in particular. History and science both suggest that asafoetida should find a place in our treatment of flu-like illnesses.
The gum resin seems well suited for use in combination with other herbs and spices. Because the flavor is unfamiliar to most of us, perhaps the best way to start using it is in the combination called Hingashtak as described by Michael Tierra. This is a
Herodotus, R. Waterfield, and C. Dewald, The histories BK 4:169. The World's Classics. 1998, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Theophrastus, Enquiry into plants and minor works on odours and weather signs BK VI:III:1-7. The @Loeb classical library, 70. 1990, Cambridge, Mass. [u.a.: Harvard Univ. Press. Robinson, E.S.G., A Catologue of Greek Coins in the British Museum. Cyrenaica. 29: p. ccliii-ccliv. Gemmill, C.L., Silphium. Bulletin of the history of medicine, 1966. 40(4). Genetic Diversity in Angelica. Available from: http://www.nordgen.org/index.php/en/ content/view/full/1313. Caesalpinus, A.A.C.A.M.c., doctissimq.; atque Philosophi celeberrimi, ac subtilissimi.) De Plantis Libri XVI. (Liber septimus Cap. XLVIII). MDLXXXIII, Florence: Ad serenissimum Franciscum medicum magnum aetruriae ducem Florentiae, apud Georgium Marescottum Orta, G.d., Colloquies on the Simples and Drugs of India : Translated with an introduction and index by Sir Clements Markham. Ed. and annotated by the Conde de Ficalho (7th Colloquy). 1913, London: Sotheran. Gerarde, J., The Herball or Generall historie of plantes / Very much enlarged and amended by Thomas Johnson. 1636, London.
Schneyer, V.S.e.a., Immunochemical appraisal of relationships within the tribe Peucedanae (Apiaceae). Plant Systematics and Evolution, 1995. 198(1-2): p. 1-16. Parziale, E. Angelica. Available from: http:// earthnotes.tripod.com/angelica.htm. Lee, C.L., et al., Influenza A (H~1N~1) Antiviral and Cytotoxic Agents from Ferula assa-foetida. Journal of Natural Products, 2009. 72(9): p. 1568-1572. Duan, H., et al., Polysulfide Derivatives from Ferula foetida. Journal of natural products., 2002. 65(11): p. 1667. Saleem, M., A. Alam, and S. Sultana, Asafoetida inhibits early events of carcinogenesis - A chemopreventive study. Life sciences., 2001. 68(16): p. 1913. Eigner, D. and D. Scholz, Ferula asa-foetida and Curcuma longa in traditional medical treatment and diet in Nepal. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 1999. 67(1): p. 1-6. Khalsa, K.P.S. and M. Tierra, The way of ayurvedic herbs : the most complete guide to natural healing and health with traditional ayurvedic herbalism. 2008, Twin Lakes, Wis.; Enfield: Lotus ; Publishers Group UK [distributor]. Ross, I.A., Medicinal plants of the world : chemical constituents, traditional and modern medicinal uses. 2005, Totowa, N.J.; Oxford: Humana ; Blackwell [distributor], . Teuscher, E., Medicinal spices : a handbook of culinary herbs, spices, spice and mixtures and their essential oils. 2006, Stuttgart: medpharm Scientific Publishers. Kress, H.; Available from: http:// www.henriettesherbal.com/eclectic/usdisp/ ferula-asaf.html. Apicius and J.D. Vehling, Cookery and dining in imperial Rome : a bibliography, critical review, and translation of the ancient book known as Apicius de re coquinaria : now for the first time rendered into English. 1977, New York: Dover Publications. Manniche, L., An ancient Egyptian herbal. 1989, Austin: University of Texas Press. Hippocrates, et al., Hippocrates. The Loeb classical library, <472-473, 482>. 1923, London; New York: Heinemann ; Putnam. Celsus, A.C., De Medicina, ed. L.C. Library. 1938, reprinted 1989, Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Pliny and H. Rackham, Natural history : 10 vol. 1961, London: William Heinemann, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press.
Columella, L.J.M., On Agriculture, De Re Rustica, ed. L.C. Library. 1955, reprinted 1993, Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Wahba, N.M., A.S. Ahmed, and Z.Z. Ebraheim, Antimicrobial effects of pepper, parsley, and dill and their roles in the microbiological quality enhancement of traditional Egyptian Kareish cheese. Foodborne Pathog Dis. 7(4): p. 411-8. Dioscorides, P. and L.Y. Beck, De materia medica. 2005, Hildesheim; New York: Olms-Weidmann. Soranus and O. Temkin, Soranus' gynecology. Publications of the Institute of the History of Medicine / The Johns Hopkins University, 3. 1956, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press. Riddle, J.M., Contraception and abortion from the ancient world to the Renaissance. 1992, Cambridge, Mass.: Havard Univ. Press. Culpeper, N., Culpeper's Complete Herbal, to which is now added upards of one hundred additional bherbs etc. 1819, London: Thomas Kelly. Tierra, M. Asafoetida for digestive Weakness, Food Allergies and Candida. East West School of Planetary Herbology Website. Budge, E.A.W., Syrian Anatomy, Pathology and Therapeutics : or "The Book of Medicines" : the Syriac text, edited from a rare manuscript, with an English translation, etc. 1913, Oxf. De Febribus opus sane aureum. 1576, Venet. Avicenna, Liber canonis; de medicinis cordialibus, et cantica, jam olim quidem a Gerardo Carmonensi ex arabico sermone in latinum conversa, postea vero ab Andrea Alpago Bellunensi, *** nunc autem demum @a Benedicto Rinio Veneto *** Qui et castigationes ab Alpago factas suis quasque locis aptissime inservit. ***. 1555, Venetiis: Junta. Hildegard and P. Throop, Hildegard von Bingen's Physica : the complete English translation of her classic work on health and healing. 1998, Rochester, Vt.: Healing Arts Press. Gerard, J., et al., The herball, or, Generall historie of plantes. 1597, Imprinted at London: By Iohn Norton. Mattioli, P.A., et al., Petri AndreÊ Matthioli Medici Caesarei et Ferdinandi, Archiducis AustriÊ opera quae extant omnia, hoc est, commentarii in VI. libros Pedacii Dioscoridis Anazarbei de medica materia : adjectis in margine variis Graeci textus lectionibus, ex antiquissimis codicibus desumptis, qui Dioscoridis depravatam lectionem restituunt. 1674, Basileae [Basel]: Sumptibus Joannis Kˆnig.
Growing up, I knew that the world was alive.
As I grew older, the fear remained and grew into outrage, but at the same time There was a trail behind our the sense of connection to the Groundwork house, through a swampy forest living world I wanted to save filled with Skunk Cabbage that was fading into a mere by Sean Donahue led to field of tall grass, Crab abstraction. I spent my 20s and Apple, and Sumac that I called early 30s blockading weapons Activism grows strongest not out of our “The Secret Hide Out.” There plants, documenting human justifiable outrage so much as from a was a luminosity to everything rights atrocities, and reading, groundwork of right living, and deep there that I connected with the writing, and scheming about relationship with the natural world we're worlds I read about in books by revolution. But no matter what I moved to protect. -Editors Lloyd Alexander and Susan did it never seemed Cooper and J.R.R. Tolkien. commensurate to the level of suffering and destruction I was I also knew that this world was in danger from witnessing in the world, and so I felt inadequate and people who didn’t kept trying to push understand it was myself further. alive and were willing to destroy it to get Depressed and what they wanted. At confused, and semi9 I could explain the consciously seeking dangers of nuclear an experience that winter and acid rain would break my and was writing world open, I joined poetry about an emergency human endangered species. rights delegation to At ten I took a break Oaxaca (in southern from walking around Mexico) in 2006. A the playground police attack on writing stories in my striking teachers had head to stand by the sparked an uprising, fence holding up and for the better part homemade posterof six months, people board signs about had managed to carve Reagan’s nuclear arms buildup for the passing cars out tenuously liberates zones throughout Oaxaca. In to see. the weeks preceding our trip, the federal police had 108
Sidebar: 5 Consequential Acts To Start With –Laying The Essential Groundwork For a Life of Conscious Activism– sensually. If you can, get them down in the dirt on their hands and knees. People come to love what they truly come to know, and will act to defend what they love.
3) Find a piece of land and dedicate yourself to it, either public land or “undeveloped” private land. Visit it at least once a week and watch how it changes with the seasons. At the same time learn everything you can about the ownership and management of that land. Make yourself the defender and advocate of that land. Inject yourself into every decision made about its future be it by building a relationship with the owners or taking part in conservation board hearings or raising a hue and cry about anything that threatens it.
2) Find ways of incorporating locally abundant wild foods into the meals you serve every guest who comes into your house. Mention what it is, but don’t make a big deal of it, name it as first as you wold name “Carrot” or “Pork Chop.” They will become curious and begin asking questions. That act of asking questions will engage them and make them think more deeply about what they are eating and where it came from and what lives in the places around them.
4) Challenge hidden assumptions about health that undermine people’s sense of autonomy and responsibility be it in conversation with the people in your daily life or in public discussions of issues ranging from flu vaccines to health insurance to rising cancer rates. Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper (the letters are the second most read page of the paper after the obituaries) and call into radio talk shows to offer perspectives on personal and public health that aren’t often heard. 5) Do your work and live your life openly, with complete integrity, and without apology. Just by demonstrating that its possible to live a life that challenges the assumptions the dominant culture makes about our relationships to our bodies, ourselves, and the living world around us we offer people the opportunity to make the same kinds of choices themselves.
The plants are calling you.
penetrating cold I’d ever known. As it turned out, it was the perfect opportunity for They have a rich and diverse me, wrapped in warm woolens Planting The Future vocabulary and speak in many by the woodstove, to study. The tongues. For the scientist the entire landscape was new to me Stewards of Healing Herbs plant may speak in the minute and I was ready to delve into my language of chemicals and botanical references and learn as by Rosemary Gladstar isolates; to the medicine person much as I could about the they speak in the multi-versed neighborhood before the spring language of healing; to the poet, they speak in thaw awoke the plants in the forest. beauty. No matter what language you speak or comprehend the plants will converse in a manner in The eastern deciduous forests were a different world which you can understand, though it may take a from the ancient redwood groves of Northern listening ear and an open heart to hear them. California where I’d grown up. The first thing I Through their color, scent, medicine power, and noticed in the earliest days after my arrival in New beauty they seduce and entice us into the realm of England was that there were few truly old trees in our senses where we hear best the language of the the forest. The surrounding forest, though beautiful, plants. Many people, when they first begin working was young, lacking the craggy bark and towering with plants, don’t recognize the language by which pitch of the old ones. Those elders that had plants speak. They are listening for familiar words. managed to survive past 100, 200 years were all But words are only one method of communication marked by the blessings of imperfections that saved and, as most people discover, is not always the best them from the frenetic logging activities of the past language to convey feelings or thoughts. Ask three hundred years. At the time, I was too new to anyone who has dug their hands deep in the dirt, the language of these particular woods to realize planted seeds, harvested medicine, and taken time fully what the lack of forest elders was stating so simply to get to know plants on their own turf, they surely about the missing under story plants, or to will tell you ~ these people who know and work read the message clearly written in the landscape with plants ~ that the plants communicate in a about the history of these forests. language clearly discernable if we but chose to listen. And the plants are calling us now, asking us For the first couple of years, I wondered through for help. The wild gardens are in trouble and the our woodlands in happy anticipation of the many precious medicines of the earth are being lost. new plants I would encounter and was seldom It was early winter when I moved to the northeast. disappointed. There was an endless variety of new I’d missed the renowned autumn splendor of the greenery to discover as the northern woods slowly Vermont woodlands by only a few weeks. Instead, I revealed their secrets to me. And, of course, I was was greeted by the first cold blasts of winter and the ever on the lookout for those nebulous, but oh so promise of several more months of the most famous eastern woodland medicinals, ginseng, 115
â€œThat Nightâ€? was long ago at Golden Seal Sanctuary in northern tip of the Appalachians. This was really part of a dream that sparked the founding of United Plant Savers. A few years later, this farm became the first UpS Sanctuary dedicated to North American At Risk Medicinal Plants...
I saw it all, I remember little, and what I remember my limited vocabulary can't adequately describe. Unlike those poets who weave feelings into words that others can understand and those brilliant minds that travel into time and come back with word paintings, I can share only that I lived this vision, That Night as I Lay Sleeping That night I laid my understood, felt it grow in sleeping bag next to my being and returned By Rosemary Gladstar Golden Heart Pond and from the journey drifted off to sleep to a transformed. The previous excellent essay appeared in a somewhat cacophony of night sounds different form as the Foreword to the one would expect to hear UnitedPlantSavers book, but Rosemary knew we were What I remember most of in a jungle. The forest here that night, and what actually hoping for a rare or unpublished piece. At a was that alive! The moon loss for what to send us, she was quite surprised when impacted me long after, was full, beaming its occurred towards the end Margi Flint mysteriously returned to her this very luminous light directly on of the journey. Earth was personal piece sheâ€™d once written... and just in time. my bare head, drawing me formed, darkness -Editors into its wonder. Restless intermingled with light, because of the moon's fullness, I didn't sleep well. and life forms were beginning to root. There were Sometime during the night I heard my name called beings, bits of star like energy that roamed this loudly enough that I woke from a newly formed globe, creating and recreating the light sleep. gardens of earth. Some worked with rock, mineral, some with water, some, those of us amongst them, In truth, I was hoping it was the handsome farmer. worked with the living green matter. Millennia Fully immersed in the world of the green, the passed. The gardens were in place. mythological green man personified, my heart was awakened and I was enraptured. But it was not to We are born again and again, renewed by the forces be; he slept deeply, unaware, in his cabin on the hill. of life, each with our own eternal spark. There are It was the moon, she was calling my name. I heard it those who are called fully into the service of the as clearly as one hears the ring of a bell on a clear green, unknowingly following a calling as ancient as dawn morning. She was calling and as I listened, life on earth. These are the caretakers, keepers of the she filled me with story. green, watching over the gardens through millennia. And throughout time, when the gardens are in Calling me back to the beginning of time, before danger, this energy is called home. The plants time, before light. Cosmology unfolding. Into the respond, animals respond, rocks and minerals stars, the air, the darkness, I saw the creation of respond, we respond. light, of green matter, of infinite creatures forming. Millennia passing, exploding in tiny starlight Perhaps this is the real work of herbalists these patterns in the night. How long did I dream? days. Not to argue politics, create standards, or to Birthing from the most primal beginnings. Masses set up regulatory boards for which we one day may swirling, mountains pushing upward from massive be sorry, but rather to listen to the heartbeat of the plates shifting, earth's surface upturned. Minerals plants, to seek to understand the medicine power and crystals forming, breaking up, forming into tiny that streams from it's source, to share that with particles of soil. Organic matter. Witnessing the first others, and, ultimately, to restore the wild gardens forms of life, algae, lichen, miniature ferns ensuring the continuing unfolding, tender, rooting in the tiniest substance of integrity of the plant subsoil. All life as one, I with it, witnessing. Though communities."
“Never in my life had I felt myself so near that porous line where my own body was done with and the roots and the stems and the flowers began.” -Mary Oliver
by the flowers and trees that grew wherever I settled for a Where My Skin Ends while, by Honeysuckle vines & Flowers Begin clambering up island fences, by Pokeweed’s red stems shooting by Kiva Rose Hardin up next to our Midwestern barn door and by the Lavender fields of the Pacific Northwest. Anywhere I’ve ever even briefly passed through, the At the periphery of all my thoughts are leaves and plants in all their myriad colors and shapes have twigs, tangled together and growing along the been companions and markers along my winding boundaries of my imagination and ideas. The path. twining roots of Alder trees knot themselves into the bower between my waking and sleeping worlds, I recently heard Matthew Wood say something like holding me always here – in the mountain forests “I’m in this for the plants first” meaning that it was and river canyons where the plants thrive and his deep love of interacting with the plants multiply, carpeting my world in a verdant profusion themselves that brought him to herbalism originally of color and scent. more than a desire to practice medicine. I smiled when I heard Matt say that because it’s a sentiment I am infatuated with all things wild, from a single I’ve frequently expressed myself. Facilitating health red-pawed fox drinking from the river, to great dark and well-being in people is incredibly fulfilling for clouds of migrating birds or small groups of human me. I experience a distinct and overwhelming children laughing as they gather golden-brown nuts feeling of satisfaction when I’m able to help from underneath towering Oak trees. The diversity someone feel better through my recommendations of the expressions of life on this planet never fail to or assistance. But I won’t lie, if herbs weren’t intrigue and amaze me but it is the leafed and available and the only avenue of medicine was rooted things that most call to me. The trumpetchemical powders and patented pharmaceutical shaped blossoms of Datura and the creeping red and products, then I’d have to find a different way of green glimmer of Purslane serve as a beacon for my helping people. It’s imperative to my own happiness eyes and I often find myself on hands and knees to and effectiveness that my work as a healthcare see them more closely before I’m even aware that practitioner also provide a direct connection back to I’m moving. the natural world for myself. My first memories as a toddler are of plants, of Yarrow and Peppergrass thriving in my front yard. My nomadic history is marked from childhood on
The herbs themselves are a primary part of what draws me to botanical medicine, and what compels me to find ways of matching plant to person in this 124
Awesome Princess Mononoke inspired art (she has a Wolf, too!) by Noukah - go to: www.Noukah.com
complex and ancient dance we call herbalism. Plants are what initially attracted me to this field and they are the nourishment and inspiration that keep me excited and involved in it. Whether intently keying out some new species of wildflower, digging wild ro o t s , formulating medicines for clients or laying flat on my back in a especially sweet patch of Melilotus, I am always searching out direct engagement with the green world that provides me with so much sustenance and solace.
and community through place is of primary importance. We are made more fully ourselves by our relationship to the natural world, including the other animals, bacteria and plants we share our bioregions with. So much of healing is entirely about relationship. Relationship between a person and their body, between person and place, between person and plant. I am endlessly fascinated by all the ways in which humans and plants interact, both historically and in the present moment, across all cultures and geographies. We humans have evolved in every way to live with and be dependent on the plants. The kingdom of Plantae flourished long before our genesis as a species and will likely continue after we recede from the landscapes of this planet. Which only serves to make me that much more grateful for the beauty and breath they bring to our every
A portion of what I attempt to impart to clients and students is a deepened awareness of the natural world, and especially of the ways in which working with the plants can grant us a sense of at-homeness and belonging. In a culture where so many of us feel displaced this reconnection to food, medicine, self 125
moment. Each time I touch the soft weave of a cotton dress, hear the wind roar around the walls of our cozy wooden cabin or take a sip of the tea blended from the wild herbs near my home I am reminded in a visceral, immediate way of how intertwined my life is with these green, sun-eating creatures I so adore.
I gladly give the majority of each and every day to activities that are directly concerned with plants, nearly all related to teaching and practicing of herbal medicine. This magazine is yet another expression of my passion for bringing together plants and people, of sharing my excitement with each of you reading this journal my partner, Wolf, and I have devoted ourselves to. Creating community from a shared love of the earth has become a vital element of our work, and the bringing together of plant people continues to delight me on every level. Every morning I wake up knowing that I couldnâ€™t imagine a better or more fulfilling life than this daily immersion in the diverse world of rooted wild things.
My obsession with all things plant-related extends beyond herbalism into botany, ecology, naturalism, wildcrafting, gardening and just about anything else that bring me closer to the plants, especially living plants in their chosen habitat. Nothing is so likely to fascinate and fully envelope me as crawling through the forest understory, breathing in the scent of life turning to death, turning to life in the shape of leaves falling, rotting only to unfurl from warm soil yet again. Down in the dirt, I look for every tiny flower, for each previously unnoticed tendril or bud. I want to know the texture of every sepal, the scent of flowers through their stages of blooming, the names of not only each plant but every plant part. The need to experience, witness and understand plant life is a driving force in nearly all that I do.
Even at night the plants dominate my thoughts as I dream of vines that wind toward far away stars and luminescent flowers whose form Iâ€™ve never found in any of my many books on botany. I lay my head against the ground and listen to the pulse and mutter of roots all through my long hours of sleep. In the worlds of both slumber and waking, the plants are singing to me. Not so much in words or audible melodies, but in the rhythm of my own blood where it surges toward the surface of my skin when I reach for an unfamiliar spray of leaves, when I breathe in the sun-warmed scent of crushed Juniper berries. Where my skin ends and flowers begin. -Kiva