There is no ‘right’ way to connect with plants. There is only the way you do it.
When I first heard about herbal remedies I was intrigued.
Someone had mentioned to me that I might try Vitex for some hormonal issues I was having. What the hell is Vitex I asked her completely unaware of herbal medicine. She briefly explained the benefits and said I could find it at the local health food store.
I don’t remember if I ever got any Vitex, but the idea of herbs and using them to benefit my health was fascinating. I thought whatever this magic is I want to know more about it. (many years later I planted a Vitex tree in my yard)
I was living in Denver at the time and found my way to The Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies an herb school in Boulder, Colorado founded by herbalist Feather Jones. The school is no longer in operation but she is still teaching all these many years later. You can find her at www.canyonspiritventures.com
I enrolled in the evening program post haste and never looked back. I was hooked. I didn’t know a damn thing but little by little the plants started talking to me. At least I think it was the plants 🤔
I tell ya, it’s a heart and soul thing this herbalism stuff.
But, here’s the point. You don’t have to go to herb school. People have been using plants as food and healing forever, without going to school.
I like to say plants don’t read books!
Our ancestors didn’t think of herbs in terms of biochemistry or molecular structures. Dear lord me either! I barely got through botany. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t be an herbalist. It just meant I sucked at Botany. 😆
They were just like you and me. They looked at the plants that grew where they lived. They smelled them, touched them, harvested them, and drank teas made from them. Some of them obviously wrote down some observations and shared their wisdom, luckily for us.
How do you think they decided who was going to be the tester? Hey, Agnes, it’s your turn to taste. Oh, dang she died, looks like that one is a no. Just sayin.
These early wise women learned about each herb’s unique personalities and energies. They noticed how each plant helped with different ailments. A pinch of Peppermint for an upset stomach, a Clove put on a sore tooth to help with inflammation, and how Ginger tended to be warming.
They figured out how some herbs were similar and some different and certain herbs worked for some people but not others.
We are so blessed to be able to use the knowledge from the past to inspire us on our own herbal journeys today.
Working with herbs is like walking through a doorway to a new world.
Each herb has a personality. Each herb has its own unique medicinal properties. It takes time and practice to develop a relationship with them.
But wait, you say, which herbs should I work with? There are so many. This person says this and this person says that. I’m so confused.
My suggestion to you is this- tune out all the noise. Use your intuition and your own internal compass. Get quiet and listen to the plants that are already speaking to you.
Think of those plants that took you down the rabbit hole of plant love, the ones that speak to you still.
🌿Maybe it was an herb that helped you feel better. Like the time you took Elderberry to help with that cold, you had.
🌿What about that time you were out walking and found a flower and fell in love with it?
🌿It could be those herbs that you find yourself going back to again and again.
Do you love the warm taste of GInger or love the way Lavender smells or the tingly way Peppermint lights up your senses? Those are the plants to start with.
Make them as teas, put them in food, make or buy a tincture. Grow an herb garden, wildcraft some Dandelions. Learn about the benefits of the plants you are drawn to, watch a video, or take a class.
But by far the BEST way to cultivate a relationship with herbs is by actually working with them.
They will teach you.