My Herbs Blog
The first thing you need to 'believe' to be a really effective Herbalist is a love of plants. Maybe I should step back a minute and define what an Herbalist is. Dictionary.com defines an herbalist as 'a person who collects or deals in herbs, especially medicinal herbs.' This definition is ok. It is basic, but I want to expand on what I believe an Herbalist is. An Herbalist is someone who works with plants, and "work" is not a thing you go to and leave at a certain time. When I say work, it is a total life immersion with plants- almost a oneness with them. There is a small word in that definition that I want to concentrate on and that word is 'collects.' An herbalist is someone who collects plants from nature. They know plants, and can identify them. They are familiar with their ways and growing patterns. They wait expectantly for their shoots, flowers, and follow the plants cycles. They also have a deep respect for nature and plants. Let me give you an example of what I mean by "loving plants."
Every time I moved, I took my plants with me. "Oh your potted plants," you say. No- not just my potted plants, but my plants that were rooted in the ground. I always divided them and made baby plants that I could take and replant somewhere else. I was saddened each time to leave my plants, even more than my homes. I would miss a lot of the trees. In fact my children still talk about a certain apple tree we had at a property when they were young. As an Herbalist you will love plants and see plants as your friends. If you tend to see plants as how you can make a profit. If you look at a beautiful forest, or field and only see dollar signs, you are not an Herbalist, you are something else. Not sure what- but something else.
An Herbalist will collect seeds and save the seeds to bring more plants to life. An Herbalist will not over harvest an area. She will take from the gifts of nature, respected the space where plants grow, and allowing the other little creatures to enjoy those gifts as well. An Herbalist will always be growing something. She (or he) will have seeds and pots and little containers of soil, starting more plants, and more trees, encouraging more growth. She will also find little plants alone and in danger of being cut, or mowed, or torn out and transplant them to a safe environment. She will pray for the plants that are suffering in areas where people abuse them.
Another story- where I live there is a home, a property where an older woman lives. I do not know this woman as she really is not willing to communicate with the neighbors. She mows the property daily and weeds whacks back the grass so low, that much of the tree roots are exposed to open air. There are no flowers, or weeds of any sort, or any other growing thing on the property. There is a definite feeling of low energy when we walk by the home. I feel sorry for the woman, and even sorrier for the plants, who cannot move from their spot. We say prayers when we pass her place, and I think of the day when the trees can stretch their roots, and feel the swaying grass and be happy in the sunshine again.
The second 'belief' you need to have to be an Herbalist is the the belief that herbs are nature's way of healing. I am always careful at saying this, and unless you are an herbalist, you probably will be angry or not understand what I mean. I am not saying that I do not appreciate hospitals, or doctors, and am grateful for a system of emergency care. My belief is that God has provided a bounty in nature to feed the souls of mankind, if we only knew how to harvest that gift. Modern medicine is so new, compared to the thousands of years of plant medicine we have in our history. Some people may feel that that was a backward time, and real life only began when modern medicine, and pharmaceuticals began. All I am saying is an herbalist at heart, will be fully committed to plant medicines.
The third belief you must possess is a strong belief in treating nature with respect, and not seeing it as something to strip bare for profit.
“The land is sacred. These words are at the core of your being. The land is our mother, the rivers our blood. Take our land away and we die. That is, the Indian in us dies.” – Mary Brave Bird, Lakota “We learned to be patient observers like the owl.
My question to you is- What do you see when you look at the picture of the forest below? Make a list of the 10 words that come to mind when you see this picture. I would love to share mine, but I do not want to cloud your own thoughts with mine. Share below a few of your descriptions. Ok- I can't help but share one "tranquility."
I hope this article helped someone get a clearer definition of what it means to be an Herbalist. I want to end this article by saying I do belief it is a true calling. If you have been called to work with the plants, you will probably know.
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