What is Herbalism?
It might be an old-timey sounding term, but Herbalism is a simple, enduring practice all about building a deeper connection between people and plants. It starts between a person and a plant and builds like a web uniting like-minded people who are committed to healing themselves and the world. Herbalism is how any person, in any part of the world might look to plants to uphold their health and the health of others. Plants and people can do real work together: help the common cold move up and out of the body, offer strength and guidance to a whole person as they navigate a chronic illness, support each of us as we confront the failing systems in a society we hope to change.
How does Herbalism work?
Every herbal healing system (Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, Western Herbalism, etc) relies on a system of Energetics that helps to unite people and plants to encourage healing. Another old-timey term, all Energetics really means is that sensations and patterns in a plant can help us to understand which plants will make the most impact on which people. That’s right, certain plants are better suited to certain people and our senses help us to detect patterns in ourselves, each other and in the plants. Recurring qualities in a plant help to tell us what impact that plant might have on the human body and mind, especially if someone is experiencing an imbalance. A system of Energetics helps herbalists decide which plants will best support a specific person. Those plants become a formula designed to help support someone as they work to re-establish balance in their self or others.
What is an Herbalist?
There is no rulebook that says who is and who isn’t an herbalist. Broadly speaking an herbalist is anyone who looks to and works with plants for healing purposes. So if you are eating, drinking, growing, identifying, smelling, gathering or making medicine from plants to help uphold your health and the health of others you’re already an herbalist. Lots of people work professionally as herbalists: clinical herbalists help support people often in cooperation with their medical doctors to help resolve chronic health issues, community herbalists help people build lasting, healing relationships with plants by familiarizing them with common plants found in their kitchens, gardens, and public spaces, and medicine makers formulate tinctures, elixirs, salves, powders, pills and more so that people anywhere can access the herbal medicine they need to support balance in their bodies and minds.
What does Herbalism mean?
Herbalism is first and foremost the people’s medicine. It is truly for the people, by the people, with the plants. Herbalism makes space for a dynamic partnership between people and plants to take shape as people move through their healing journeys. Herbalism means that no matter who you are and where you are in the world you have access to a dynamic system of healing because of the fresh and dried plants around you. Herbalism is a gateway to the past, present, and on-going innate healing relationship between people and plants. It is a highly adaptive system that relies on the relationship between people and plants.
Can I use Herbalism everyday?
Yes! Yes, please use herbalism everyday! In fact, that is the best way to use herbalism. You probably already do use herbalism everyday. Maybe you have tea, coffee, or some kind of caffeine-free herbal coffee to start your day - this is herbalism! Because herbalism relies on whole plants and not isolated parts of plants, chances are the plants we use to make tea, or a tincture, or a salve, are way less concentrated than medicines we get from the pharmacist or off the shelf at the drugstore. Plant medicine is designed to work gently overtime, slowly and steadily supporting and promoting health in our bodies and minds.