Jun 172015
 

The over 50-pages long June issue of Plant Healer’s Herbaria Newsletter releases Monday afternoon, June 22nd.  To be certain of a copy, sign up for a subscription beforehand, absolutely FREE, at: www.PlantHealer.org

And for now, here follwoing is a little taste of Herbaria’s latest inspiration and information:

Denise Tracy-Cowan, herbal skin care specialist.

Denise Tracy-Cowan, herbal skin care specialist.

Our friend and nearest wilderness neighbor is Denise Tracy Cowan of of Super Salve Co. who joins TWHC teacher Phyllis Hogan in contributing an Herbaria article on the science and sensuality of skin care, providing some herbal skin care recipes, telling us:

“Natural skin care is fun and easy!  Make your own love potion that suits your skin the best.  Go find your favorite vegetable oils that contain antioxidant properties like avocado, almond, apricot, and olive oils.  Then add a few drops of anti-aging essential oils, like neroli (orange blossom flower), rose, lavender, rosemary, sweet orange, lemon, lime, oregano, myrrh, or fennel.  Now you have a wonderful, nutritious, anti-aging oil splash for the entire body!  Herbs such as calendula flower, comfrey leaf, horsetail, coltsfoot, slippery elm, echinacea flower, borage, elder flowers, immortal, and yarrow are just a few herbs that help topically with cellular regeneration.  Age gracefully and fight those cell damaging, free-radicals every inch of the way.  Day by day, you will feel younger and look better.  Your beautiful, healthy vibrant, anti-aging skin depends on the natural skin care methods you use.”

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Jen Stovall

Jen Stovall

We provide two very inspiring interviews with herbalist teachers once again, this time including Jen Stovall of Maypop Community Herb Store and Janet Kent from Medicine County Herbs & Terra Silva School, talking with me about subjects from their favorite medicinal herbs to issues of herbal justice and access.  As Jen writes:

“Herbal Justice represents the idea that health should be shared by everyone, regardless of race, gender, class, etc… and that herbalism can really level the playing field. At a time when the inequities of race are finally showing up in the media, it is really powerful to discuss ways that herbalists can act as emissaries of social justice.“

Janet adds that:

Janet Kent

Janet Kent

We are in the midst of a health crisis on the individual, societal and global level. The injustices of our society are laid bare in the extreme inequity of our wealth-based health care system. Holistic practitioners are especially well suited to identify and address these issues. As healers who draw our wisdom and practice from Nature, we are also perfectly positioned to address the current ecological crisis. Both of these factors inform the concept of herbalism as a tool for social justice.  While many forms of social work and activism can lead to cynicism, disillusionment and burnout, herbalism is more sustainable. The ability to make a real difference on the individual level, whether with a client or a student, is empowering. To see immediate changes in health and perspective replenishes us and strengthens our resolve.”

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For our second interview excerpt, we present the New Mexico-based practitioner/teacher Dara Saville, truly one of the talented rising stars of botanical healing and champion of bioregional herbalism.  She speaks about the herbs of the state, gives us an update on the Yerba Mansa Restoration Project, and provides inspiring advice to herb lovers of all kinds:

There can be many roles for the herbalist to play depending on the circumstances of the local community.  Herbalists have always been there to help people find their paths, whether it is through illness and injury or in more metaphorical ways. I believe that role will always apply.  Today, the herbalists’ role has changed somewhat mainly due to the rise of modern medicine and they way that most people have moved away from their connections to the natural world.  We are no longer the main source of healthcare, but what people come to when they don’t know where else to turn.  While modern medicine has been wonderful at dealing with acute and emergency situations, this industry has not done as well in helping people with the many chronic inflammatory illnesses that are on the rise in recent times.  This dissatisfaction with treatments prescribed by physicians for chronic inflammations or more mysterious ailments has brought many people into my path.  While herbalism was once a way of life for many and a main form of medicine practiced, it has become a system of last-resorts, a place to go to when ‘the standard’ treatments don’t produce meaningful results or people are told there is nothing wrong with them despite their obvious suffering.  In addition to this changing role in providing for peoples’ health, the type of guidance that herbalists impart has also changed with the times.  In so many cases we must shepherd people back into connections with wilderness.  Over the last century the majority of people have migrated away from the natural world in favor of the security, comfort, and convenience of the modern industrialized and urbanized lifeways that seem so standard now.  If we are to help people feel better, we must first help them return to that lost connection of inter-being with plants, the land, and the source of all wellbeing.  I have found my role to be that of a facilitator helping people find their own paths to knowledge, experience, and meaning.  I can help them learn the basics, which provides a firm foundation and some degree of confidence for the rest of the journey.  I can open their minds to the possibility of deeper understanding and fulfillment through relationships with plants and other elements of the natural world.  I can take people into the mountains and Bosque and introduce them to the source of all learning.  That of course, is the source of life, and we can connect with that through plants.  I help people find that connection to something we have no words for.  To impart a combination of concrete learning and information while also cultivating this kind of experience and understanding is what I strive for in my herbal studies program.”

Dara Saville

Dara Saville

The loving Elka provides a wonderful soup recipe with wild Nettle for you to try, writing:

It’s another beautiful day in the canyon! The Cottonwoods have all leafed out, the woods are covered with Nettles, the Strawberry Hedgehog Cactuses are blooming and so are the Yucca stalks! Dear sweet Chamomile has escaped from the garden and makes me want to pet it, and smell it, as I walk by it on the path in front of the kitchen, and the crazy Fennel I planted last summer is now at least 4 feet tall! Rhiannon and I have been very busy getting up to our elbows in Nettles in order to stock the freezer with the best tasting greens money can’t even buy! It’s Stinging Nettle heaven! I haven’t seen so many in years. The rains have been abundant enough this winter, and it’s been raining way more than usual this spring! Which is so great, cause it not only helps reduce the fire danger but makes the Nettles keep sprouting new tops faster than even I can sometimes believe! So far we’ve managed to put at least 50 pounds of boiled Nettles in the freezer, and I can’t tell you how many we’ve eaten, but it’s been a lot of bowls’ worth, that’s for sure! Kiva has been loving my Potato Nettle Soup, of which we’ve been eating countless variations! We’ve also been eating lots of Nettles with Coconut milk and curry spices, with sautéed meat and Onions, with sliced Cucumbers and homemade chutney – yum! And I’ve been drinking endless mugs of vitamin and mineral-rich Nettle decoction – a perfect late Spring tonic!”

Elka harvesting yummy nettles

Elka harvesting yummy nettles

The noted historian and entertainer Gene Fowler contributes a lively piece taken from the Foreword to Plant Healer’s most recent book, The Traveling Medicine Show, now available from the Bookstore page at www.PlantHealer.org.  Gene tell us:

“The “physic operas” were not always the dopey, low-down scams depicted in story and lore. While the med-show underground certainly harbored its share of con artists, there were also many sincere healing thespians hawking respectable remedies who tried their best to deliver an experience of wellness and wonder.  Even in cases where the medicine sold didn’t do all that was promised (as was also sometimes the case with more “mainstream” meds sold in 19th and early 20th century drugstores,  some of which contained dangerous levels of morphine, opium, etc.), the show itself delivered a placebo effect, lifting folks’ spirits and, consequently, helping the body to heal itself. Many med-show elixirs, of course, were derived from plants, drawing on  herbal traditions of Native America, the Old World, and the mystic distant Orient. The mesmerizing orators who ballyhooed their healing powers were alt-med pioneers. Today even the most austere physician will generally concur that some plant-based medicines are efficacious remedies. And few would deny that there is a connection between the mind, the emotions, and the relative well-being of the earthly vessel in which such mysteries are lodged.  All of which encourages a reconsideration of the American medicine show.”

The Traveling Medicine Show banner 72dpi

And I must leave you with a final excerpt from Plant Healer’s upcoming Herbaria issue, voiced by my partner Kiva Rose in her piece “Falling in Love With Flowers”:

“In a culture of deconstruction and fragmentation, it can be hard to re-vision the world through eyes that are able to see the essential wholeness of life and the dance that each participant contributes to that whole. It can be difficult indeed to see what connects us in addition to what separates us. And yet, it is the infinitely satisfying purpose of each of one of us to recognize our innate kinship to our larger self and to nourish it, one intimate relationship at a time. The better we know the food we eat, the trees we rest beneath, the birds that sing to us and the land that sustains us the better we will know ourselves. Likewise, the more attention and nourishment we give our bodies and our whole, authentic selves, the deeper we will be able to know the world around us. The impact ripples in every direction, showing us how very important every decision and action really is, how every note and every pause between notes changes and fills the song. Proving once again, how we really do have the power to effect and change, to heal the whole wide world through every flower we fall in love with and each conscious step we take.”

Kiva Rose with loved Artemesia

Kiva Rose with loved Artemisia

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To read the entire articles, be sure you are subscribed before the June issue of Herbaria releases this Monday, the 22nd.  Simply enter your name and email address at the left side of any page at: www.PlantHealer.org

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