Aug 102015

Free August Issue for Herbalists:


The free August issue of the Plant Healer’s Herbaria Newsletter will be mailed out Monday, Aug 17th.  To be certain of receiving a download link, be sure you subscribe before then

Simply go to our website and fill in your name and email address in the appropriate location on the far left side of the page:

This month’s issue features the following:

Kiva Rose: Growing Our Roots

In hopes of encouraging the folk herbal resurgence in the Southwest and local involvement with our September TWH celebration, Kiva put together a great article about our herbal heritage for New Mexico’s arts and culture magazine “Desert Exposure.”  But it is far too inspiring to only be seen regionally, so I have also included it in your August issue Herbaria.  As Kiva tells us there:

The wisdom of healing runs through every bloodline and our inborn relationship with the plant world informs us at the most cellular level. Every grandmother who tells the little ones at her knee the stories of ‘Seng hunting in the old days and teaches them the magic of rose petals infused in whiskey strengthens the web of our herbcraft just as every little boy singing secret songs to the trees and sharing wildcrafted watercress with his family brings new life to it. We are gathering, not just at the Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference but all around the world, like-hearted Plant Healers and plant celebrants.  We link up as we awaken, from the backwoods of Maine to the back lots of Los Angeles, from the misty Northwest to the peaks of New Mexico… and from the treasured past to the unfolding future.  Our herbalists’ web is homespun and weathered, but it is also strong from the hands of a thousand generations weaving and reweaving, infusing it with wisdom, song, blood, and the wild insistence of weeds.  We are growing and advancing our traditions, together, from their roots.”

roots of trees 72dpi

Introduction to The Upcoming Plant Healer Book: “Wild Medicine, Wild Cuisine”

August 17th is the upcoming release date for our latest book for herb users and practitioners, pulled directly from the pages of early issues of Plant Healer Magazine.  The focus this time is on the contemporary wildcrafting of medicinal and edible plants, 523 pages of information and illustration by many of the leading herbalist teachers of our day.

“More and more people are buying herbs to treat their problems before resorting to seeing an MD for a pharmaceutical prescription.  A large number recognize the degree to which medicinal herbs and natural foods can contribute to our health, well being, and enjoyment of the feast and challenge of life.  And a smaller but growing number of us realize that wild plants can be some of the strongest medicines, as well as contribute to some of the healthiest and tastiest meals.”


Urban HunterGatherers

Wendy Petty: Suburban Zip Code, Wild Heart

Our 1st excerpt from “Wild Medicine, Wild Cuisine” comes from our friend and forager Wendy “Butter” Petty, wherein she makes clear that:

“It is a misconception that one can only be a proper wildcrafter while living deep in secluded wilderness. By night, I lay my head down in the pink glow of the city; by day, I am fanned by urban buzz. I am no less a forager, nor less wild at heart.  My greatest resources in the suburban landscape are the abundant plant species growing in irrigation ditches, the “weeds” that populate vacant lots, the stray greens that set up home in fallow fields, oddball ornamentals, and the fruiting tree limbs that overhang fences. These plants, particularly the native herbs which by necessity of living in a city that views them as pests, are lovely and tough abuelas. And the dry heat of makes for surprisingly sweet fruit and potent plant medicine. These plants are just as special as the ones adorning the slopes of the Rockies, and my relationship to their magic is unchanged. What is wild lies at the core, and is essential to the planet and plants, no matter if a city happens to be sitting atop it. The vital force of Nature is bigger and stronger than buildings and laws; cities are just a change of clothes upon our sweet Earth.”  


Basket of Herbs  72dpi

Traci Picard: Foraging Medicine

Our 2nd excerpt from “Wild Medicine, Wild Cuisine”, herbalist and activist Traci Picard brings us a celebration of foraging and tips for ethical wildcrafting, wherein she makes the point that:

“Foraging is healing. We cultivate gratitude more easily, more deeply when we meet our food in nature, as compared to pulverized, pasteurized, fortified and wrapped up at bigboxmart. The mask is removed. It brings great pleasure and a deep satisfaction, as if hitting the proverbial g-spot of our primal soul. It is like scratching an infinite itch. We climbed out from the primordial ooze and immediately began the pack-bonding hunt for food. No one had to teach us how to look for foods because it is a natural instinct- the fulfillment of which our modern society literally blocks. Foraging stimulates creativity, promotes good circulation and encourages healthy elimination. Maitake hunting keeps our elders’ minds sharper than bingo and crossword puzzles. Learning to find and identify plants in the woods serves our children’s needs better than making endless cut-and-paste pilgrim- turkey tableaus. Foraging provides exercise. Foraging sharpens the mind, sight and memory. Foraging gives us time and space for processing, thinking, forging bonds. We learn to know and trust our instincts. It is a powerful medicine indeed!”


Robin Rose Bennett: Herbal Magic Part II

In Part II, Robin – an herbalist in the Wise Woman tradition – discusses herbal oils and ointments, herbal baths, and tree magic according to various historic practices and contemporary cultures.  In a section on White Pine, for example, she tells us:

“Tree magic, the easiest thing to do is sit or stand with the tree and let your imagination flow. You may not know how to identify trees. I hope this will inspire you to learn their names, or at least to look more closely and appreciatively at those trees that live around you. Listen to what the tree is telling you. Ask it for what you need. You could do some writing or drawing as a form of trance-work, perhaps working with a question like, “What can bring more peace into our home? What is keeping me from feeling at peace? Is there something that I can do to help?” Let the white pine of peace stimulate your inner peace, and help you to be and bring peace into the world around you. The tea is helpful for calm, deep breathing, which is known to help you properly focus and release or direct your anger.”


Toddler Noah Gathering Herbs

Amy Jean Smith: Little Noah’s First Herbal Harvest!

Amy sent us photos of her young son’s excited first herb harvest and medicine making for a 2014 issue of Plant Healer Magazine, and I couldn’t resist sharing these delightful images with our many Herbaria readers as well.  Amy Jean writes:

“Thank you for sharing this magical experience with us.  We hope you are inspired to cultivate and care for plants and create herbal medicine with even the very youngest members of your family.  It’s not every day that a 2 ½ year old gets to grow, harvest and make his or her own plant medicine so I thought I might just share a bit of Montessori knowledge that can be helpful in empowering even the youngest children to care for themselves and the natural world around them. Our joy and delight in the magic of the natural world and the realm of plant medicine is a beautiful inspiration to our little ones and those other little ones around us.  It is deepened and takes root when we slow down and gently and gracefully offer them the gift of helping them learn to care for the pants first and then to make plant medicines themselves.


Elka: Deconstructed Stir-Fry with Wild Fennel Flowers, Parsnips & Lamb’s Quarters

Elka, Plant Healer’s resident food-magician brings you another tasty recipe from her woodstove-hearted kitchen.  As she explains:

“This time I decided to do things differently and cook the parsnips, onions, and fennel in a single pan, simply boil the lamb’s quarters in a pot, and then serve any meat on the side. Wild venison had already been simmered on the woodstove all day, with molasses, mustard, barbecue sauce, onions and cranberries. But a simple dredging of sage or thyme and cornmeal and a quick fry in bacon fat or butter would work great as well, as an accompanying dish, if the cut is tender enough. Or if you’re vegetarian or vegan, just have some eggs or tempeh on the side, any way you like!”


Herbalist Asia Suler

Herbalist Interview #1: Asia Suler & Sean Donahue

We continue with our series of interviews featuring inspiring herbalists, bringing to light their plant medicine knowledge as well as personal stories that can help us navigate our own personal healing paths.  For August we present my conversation with two allied practitioners, both of whom contribute to Plant Healer Magazine and  teach at TWHC:  Sean Donahue and Asia Suler. One of the questions I asked was “What’s the most liberatory, wholistic, beautiful, meaningful, healthful future you can envision for the herbal community? ,” to which Sean replied:

“I see an herbal community where phytochemists and Hoodoo root doctors and Latina curendaras and western herbalists and plant magicians share knowledge and discoveries, recognizing that we are working with the same medicine even if we are using different languages and metaphors and frames. I see people paying careful attention to the health of plant communities, and harvesting only what they need, whether or not a plant is on a list of endangered or threatened species  (though I greatly appreciate what United Plant Savers does to identify the most at risk plants.)   And I see people developing practices grounded in work with the medicine that grows around them.  Plant Healer and the Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference are already doing a tremendous amount to make this vision a reality.    And I think we can each contribute to it by teaching and practicing and living in ways that honor and respond to the living communities, human and ecological, that we are part of.   Connecting with plants reminds me that the world is alive and makes me fall in love with its beauty over and over again.”

Asia tells us:

” [I can envision] an earth community where everybody is an herbalist, because everybody recognizes their innate connection to the green and growing beings around them. I see, and feel, and call into being a community that is no longer defined by species, but celebrated as a diverse and co-creative family. A community that values the mutidimensional healing of all beings and ultimately recognizes that true healing comes from within. Herbalism, like any discipline with a name or definition, is just a bridge back to the truth: the knowledge everything is alive and important and that all we truly need to heal is to remember the truth of our being.”



Jim McDonald 72dpi

Herbalist Interview #2: Jim McDonald

Jim McDonald is a Michigan based herbalist with an excellent mind for the particulars of plant healing, and a gift for communicating it in ways anyone can understand.  It has been our pleasure to promote his work and raise his visibility over the years, increasing the number of herbal students who benefit from his knowledge and insight.  Jim is a featured presenter at this September’s Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference, a Plant Healer Magazine columnist, and instructor both in his home state of Michigan and at selected national events.  Among his other tales and tips, Jim speaks to us in Herbaria about what it means to “qualify” as an herbalist:

Like Plant Healer, I’m pretty populist in my approach to herbalism.  I want all the people who “want to be an herbalist” to just be one.  No one needs to tell you what, that, or who you are.  No one’s blessing is required.  All you need to do it is to connect with the plants and learn how you can use them to responsibly help the people around you.  Do that, and you’re an herbalist.  There’s no need to compare yourself to others, or live up to any standard that’s not your own.  Let it be your life, let it be your art, your expression.  Be honest, be humble, respect your limitations, and honor your strengths.”


Hooker's Evening Primrose, blooming alongside a rewilded San Francisco River, SW New Mexico.

Hooker’s Evening Primrose, blooming alongside a rewilded San Francisco River, SW New Mexico.

Still Spreading Like Weeds

 Herbaria subscriptions are now reaching many thousands readers with its free content.  Unlike with Plant Healer Magazine, which goes out primarily to committed herbal students and practicing herbalists, subscribers to the newsletter and blog include crossover folks just getting into herbalism, or with natural healing as a side interest.  It feels like one way to spread this mission of healing and love – this weedy revolution!

Advertise Inexpensively

Display ads in Herbaria Newsletter are priced low enough to be affordable to folks launching new herbal related projects.  Space in our pages is intended for the common folk, small operations and family businesses… large corporations would need to explain why they deserve to be an exception. 🙂 You can download the combined magazine and newsletter advertising pdf here:

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Share Your Knowledge, Submit Your Stories

You don’t have to be a professional writer in order to have something worthwhile to share with others.  And unlike with PH Magazine, it’s ok f your writings have been printed or posted before, so long as they haven’t been too widely distributed before.  Therapeutics, herb profiles, medicine making recipes, tips for practicing, clinical skills, conservation and gardening.   If you’d be interested, please download the:

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 Wild green blessings to you allKiva & Wolf

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Herbaria Newsletter Banner 72dpi

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