Jan 122012
Nurturing the Senses and Deepening Intimacy With the Plants

“The simple act of nurturing the senses might well do far more for healing of the world than all our programs and inventions.” ~ Cheryl Sanders Being an herbalist is a constant exercise in balance – with so much being given out in the work of helping others we also need the pleasure of finding and settling […]

Feb 132011
Reading the Terrain: Understanding Tissue States

At the core of how I practice herbalism are two elements. The first is my personal relationship with the herbs, and my intense adoration of both plants and fungi (and lichen, I might add). The second is the sensory and common sense approach I take to working with both herbs and humans. I teach herbal […]

Oct 172010
Terms of the Trade: Herbal Energetics

Defining Herbal Energetics Herbal energetics are generally defined as a framework of understandings of how to best match herbs to the individual and/or situation. Spectrums (such as cool/warm) and properties (such as astringent) are associated with herbs based on our observation of their effect on the body. For example, when we choose the moistening, mucilaginous […]

Jan 222010
The Core Nature of Plants

The *Core Nature of Plants by Kiva Rose Our relationship to the plants is an ancient one, and we humans are well designed to engage the magic and medicine of the living earth we are a part of. All we need is right here – the vast and verdant world of the plants that speak […]

Dec 222009
Terms of the Trade: Excess and Deficiency

Herbal energetics and human constitutions are predicated upon specific underlying concepts, including the spectrums of hot/cold, dry/moist, relaxation/stimulation and deficiency/excess. Herbal and dietary therapeutics will vary a great deal depending where the individual currently resides within these spectrums. Deficiency and excess are a primary energetic spectrum and are defined in relation to the flow and […]

Nov 282009
Of the Earth - Original Speech and the Senses

The foundation for experiencing and understanding herbal energetics and human constitutions is to learn to speak with the natural world (including plants and the human body) through our senses (which is what they’re there for, after all). Thus, one of the most important practices of the aspiring or practicing herbalist is to thoroughly awaken, engage […]

Jul 262009
Terms of the Trade: Stimulating & Relaxing

Preamble: The Sensory Continuum in Herbal Energetics Before you can even begin to understand energetic terms like stimulating and relaxing, cooling and heating, moistening and drying, you need to realize that we are not speaking in terms of dichotomous polarities. Rather that viewing different herbs and herbal actions as opposites, realize they are actually dynamic […]

May 152009
Terms of the Trade: An Introduction to Herbal Actions

Herbal actions — it doesn’t sound nearly as exciting or sexy as botanical monographs or the latest cure-all, does it? I’m aware that a fair number of beginning and intermediate herbalists tend to gloss over this particular subject, probably in part because of the typically vague and boring explanations given in many books and classes. […]

Feb 052009
Terms of the Trade: Adaptogen

This is still a fairly controversial term among the herbal community, especially with the more grass-roots practitioners. Not all of us feel that it is useful as an action or category because it artificially lumps together herbs from several other classes in what is essentially a scientifically created box. I don’t personally categorize herbs this […]

Dec 252008

ORIGIN mid 18th cent.: from Latin demulcent– ‘stroking caressingly,’ Demulcents are herbs that contain noticeable amounts of a carbohydrate (a polysaccharide, actually) called mucilage that moistens, cools heat, lessens inflammation and often stimulates local immune response. It was once thought that demulcents could only effect the surfaces they came in contact with, but it is […]

Dec 202008

Aromatics are easy to spot. Their strong signature aromas and tastes are dead giveaways. In fact – technically- aromatic is a taste, not an action. The proper action here should likely be labeled carminative (aromatic digestive herbs, generally). However, this action seems to have gotten pigeon-holed as only those herbs which release gas, and that’s […]