There is no experience or practice more valuable, empowering, and utterly satisfying than enabling the health and well being of ourselves, our family, friends and community... naturally. And herbs are arguably the most benign, helpful, and therefore central component of natural health. The restrictive modern medical system — with its often harmful emphasis on pharmaceutical drugs — makes learning at least the rudiments of herbal self-care more important now than at any time before. Folk herbalism requires no certification, only our dedicated study and devoted practice, as we take on the work of helping to heal our bodies, communities, and the Earth itself.
As the publishers of Plant Healer Magazine and books, my partner-blogger Kiva Rose and I have given ourselves to making both ancient traditions and the most up-to-date research and skills available to all who are interested — from doting mothers and kitchen medicine makers to neighborhood herbal providers, street medics and professional clinicians. With the following series of exclusive Mother Earth News posts, Kiva and I hope to bring to a wider audience a taste of the aesthetics and joys of herbalism as well as needed practical information such as folk herbal recipes, herb profiles with uses, tips on making assessments, an introduction to understanding personal constitutions and natures, plant energetics made easily understandable, wildcrafting in city and countryside, healthful food, and how to choose an herbal education.
Forget what you may have heard and quiet your fears about whether you are qualified or “good enough” — anyone who ever lovingly uses a plant to ease discomfort or contribute to someone’s health is an herbalist. Time, study, and experience make us more effective, but we are already herbalists by virtue of our alliance with the plants, and our intentions and efforts to contribute to vital healing processes. With this caring and doing, we join a long lineage of healers and caregivers from primeval remedy makers through tribal Medicine Women and southern Root-Doctors, Hispanic Curanderas and even licensed physicians who continued using plant-based medicines into the 20th century. And of all those who ever work with herbs, there will always be those of you who feel called to a deeper relationship with the herbs, who feel a calling or a sense a mission. Discovering and defining one’s role within the field of herbalism is one of the core topics of our most recent book, available now through the M.E.N. bookstore: The Plant Healer’s Path, and for those most interested in becoming an herbalist we’ve provided an extensive excerpt that you can read for free on this site: Walking The Path of Herbalism.
Kiva sends her greetings, and looks forward to writing a useful and fun post for you in a week, so keep checking back. And she and I wish all of you every blessing on your individual paths of service and wellbeing We hope that you’ll make us your lasting allies and aides... in this natural, vital, and truly delightful purpose.
Adventure and savor!
Jesse Wolf Hardin is an inspiriteur, artist, and the author of nearly 1,000 articles and a dozen books including his newest, The Plant Healer’s Path, a collection of in-depth interviews entitled 21st Century Herbalists, and a much acclaimed historical novel of healing and adventure, The Medicine Bear. As Terry Tempest Williams said, his voice “inspires our passion to take us further, seeing the world whole.” Kiva Rose is one of the best known herbalists of this generation, as well as an artist, storyteller and committed culture-shifter, with her Medicine Woman Roots blog well loved. Together they produce Plant Healer Magazine, the leading publication for herbalists and wildcrafters, and the HerbFolk Gathering held in forests near the Grand Canyon each September.