Kiva Rose

Kiva Rose is a practicing herbalist, co-director of the Anima Herbal School and Herbal Resurgence Rendezvous as well as co-editor and publisher of Plant Healer: A Journal of Traditional Western Herbalism.

Dec 172014
 

As the snow falls on the mountains of southwestern New Mexico, I’m writing a few new seasonal blogposts for the Solstice and evergreen herbs for the Cold Moons. Now that I have some time to write again after finding the new conference site I’m looking forward to posting here more again, and some of those new posts will be up later this week and next week! In the meantime, here’s a quick look at the Plant Healer Bookstore selection this holiday season, and especially don’t miss the limited edition printing of the new Plant Healer Magazine Annuals which are already two thirds gone.

Sending you all snowy greetings from the mountains, and every green blessing!

~Kiva

 

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Dec 012014
 

New Conference Website,

Kiva’s new Moss & Mezcal Botanica, an Updated Bookstore

and

Discounted Advance Tickets On Sale For The 2015 Plant Healer Event!

–Discount Ends Jan. 1st–

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Discount Tickets for the 2015 Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference

For the 6th year in a row, Plant Healer presents an incomparable event for the folk herbal tribe, September 17-20th.  Take advantage of the biggest discount of the year – $100 off the on-site price – if you purchase your ticket between Dec. 1st & Jan. 1st.  

The theme will be “Real-World Wisdom & Skills,” featuring an incredible 54 classes taught by over 30 teachers, and held for the first time in a veritable fairie castle high atop the amazing Sky-Island at Cloudcroft, New Mexico… less than a 2 hour drive from the EP airport. 

For more information and pictures, or to purchase your discounted tickets, please check out the totally remade Conference Pages at:

www.PlantHealer.org/intro.html

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The Moss & Mezcal Botanica

Anyone going to the main PlantHealer.org splash page, will be able to click on Kiva’s newly launched botánica and aromatics shop.

Moss & Mezcal replaces the previous Bramble & The Rose shop, and will soon be featuring strictly limited-edition perfumes, elixirs, and other botanical wonders made with Southwestern ingredients, evoking the spirit and magic of New Mexico – the Land of Enchantment.  Each product will be specially packaged with related art or gifts, resulting from a particular Kiva obsession, and reflecting a particular ecosystem and place.  And each will only be available as a limited edition run, that she will hand-number and sign.  You can get a first look at the site now, by going to:

www.MossAndMezcal.com

Bookstore Main Page header 72

The Remade Plant Healer Bookstore

We are slowly decreasing the number of titles that we print and store here at our wilderness sanctuary, as we transition to on-demand printing through CreateSpace and Amazon.com.  We aren’t in favor of big-corporations by any stretch, but working with Amazon means we don’t have to build more sheds to store copies, or transport them over a sometimes flooded river.  Most importantly, our new book titles are reaching outside of the U.S., and to folks far beyond the known herbalist tribe.

Now when you click on any of the books on the main page of the Plant Healer Bookstore, you will be taken either to 1. our own canyon shop for those titles we stock and ship ourselves, or else 2. directly to our CreateSpace printer for easy payment and fast shipping.

Go to:

www.PlantHealer.org/bookstore.html

Nov 112014
 

Announcing The Most Amazing New Conference Site:
A Veritable Fairy Castle Atop a Sky Island Wildland!

In the past few weeks, the two of us have spent over 300 hours painstakingly researching potential conference sites throughout the West.  Finding our required combination of sufficient classrooms, comfy lodging, free camping, wilderness surroundings, and closeness to an airport is amazingly difficult, and needless to say we can’t stand the idea of holding a plant event in a city, stodgy conference center or generic hotel.  There was much to love about our previous venues, but there has never been an herbal conference at a place like our new event site!

Traditions in Western Herbalism

50 Unique Classes! • 1.7 hrs. From Airport! • Dance Concert • Masquerade Ball • Native Plant Walks
Famous Margaritas & S.W. Brews! • Pool, Hot Tub, Natural Wonders! • Youth Village, Kid Classes, & Cooperative Childcare

NEW WEBSITE LAUNCHES & TICKETS GO ON SALE

IN EARLY DECEMBER

 

Trippy Desert   Imagine, for a moment, the way it feels flying or driving into the stark Chihuahua Desert just north of Old Mexico, with otherworldly Yucca emerging triumphant from crimson soil and into an impossibly blue sky. Vast stretches of what looks like snow turn out to be the famed White Sands, reaching for miles into the lava rock formations of the Tularosa Basin.  white sands 3" 72dpiYou barely have time to take in the sight of the desert’s many powerful medicinal plants, before the road veers and begins climbing up the sides of golden cliffs gleaming in the setting sun like some fantastic Tolkein-esque parapets.  Within minutes you have moved into Juniper and Oak story, winding past rustic Apple orchards and then lush green Ponderosa Pines before topping out among giant swaying Spruce, Fir, and white-barked Aspen.

 

Otero Wildflowers 3" 72dpiOne more turn in the road, and the tiny town of Cloudcroft makes its appearance: charming lodges and bread & breakfasts, a saloon and cafes housed in buildings built in the 1800s when a narrow gauge railway brought awestruck tourists to this Southwestern Shangri-La.   Namesake clouds often cling to the peaks of this Sky-Island, a term describing those rare peaks stretching dramatically from desert to alpine.  Looking at your feet, you may be excited about the proliferation of high elevation herbs or the totally unique species of mosses, and gazing out over the tree tops you can’t help but be struck silent by the view of the deserts and hills seemingly so far down and so far away.

 

 

 

The Lodge from up high 3" 72dpiView from Lodge vertical 3" 72dpiFrom this “croft of clouds,” you proceed a final hundred yards up to what can best be described as a fairy castle, a magical looking adobe structure at the apex of this special mountain.  Originally constructed in the 1890s and rebuilt in 1911, the fabled Lodge is awash with history, furnished in original Victorian and Edwardian funk, and once a meeting place for the ballsy revolutionary Pancho Villa as well as 1930s getaway for quirky early movie stars like Clark Gable and Judy Garland. who mischievously carved their names in the wall of the old fashioned observation tower.  Portraits throughout celebrate its most famous lodger, Rebecca, the red headed ghost of a long vanished employee, reported many times to be still wandering the maroon-carpeted halls of this truly incredible building.

Classes will be held in 5 lovely classrooms.  One of these is in the oldest structure in the village, a hardwood floored meeting hall that will also be home to our Friday Masquerade Ball and Saturday night dance concert.  Those fortunate enough to reserve lodging there, will enjoy the aura of earthy vintage elegance, the outdoor pool and hot tub.  Rebecca bass relief 3" 72dpiOthers of you will find plenty of affordable rooms within walking distance in Cloudcroft, along with dozens of gorgeous campgrounds for setting up a tent or RV close by.  Thursday at 3pm we will launch this 2015 event with guided plant identification walks on area trails, and a multi-hued waterfall beckons only a dozen miles away.  Join us – and Rebecca – at another event of a lifetime!

 

“Resurrecting the spirit of Western Herbalism!“ -Paul Bergner

More Amazing Teachers Than Ever!:

Phyllis Light • Guido Mase’ • David Hoffmann • Howie Brounstein • Juliet Blankespoor • 7Song • Kiva Rose • Lisa Ganora • Jim McDonald • Phyllis Hogan • Sean Donahue • Larken Bunce • Kiki Geary • John Slattery • Shana Lipner Grover • Charles “Doc” Garcia • Lori Pino • Wendy Hounsel • Emily Ho • Katja Swift • Ryn Madura • Sam Coffman • Julie Caldwell • Thomas Easley • Julie James • Dara Saville •  Stephany Hoffelt • Julie James • Asia Suler • Rebecca Altman  • Ramona Rubin • Emily Stock • Amanda Mayther • Lauren Stauber • Asa Henderson • Jiling Lin • & Jesse Wolf Hardin

The Information Needed To Be An Herbalist
…Along With The Fun & Celebration An Herbalist Needs!

“I’m feeling so fulfilled, inspired, activated, blessed, and enriched by this radically meaningful weekend with healers and plant medicine workers in the magical forest.  The classes warmed my heart, stimulated my brain, and nourished my soul as well as helped me to articulate, define, and take pride in why I work with plants and see plants as teachers. This was the best weekend of my life!
–Chloe Groom (Rainbow Bliss Botanicals)

 

Wolf at Falls vertical 3" 72dpiMedicine of The People

The 2015 conference will continue Plant Healer’s tradition of serving not only the professionally oriented person seeking to learn new techniques and advanced info, but but also the informal or beginner herbalist, the unaffiliated and the outlier, the street medic and herbal activists who give their time to helping the disadvantaged and the homeless, the teenaged plant enthusiast, and the herbalist who treats only her own family.  Plant Healer events continue to serve as a home even to folks who normally avoid conferences, and as a nexus – drawing together the diverse folk herbal tribe, seeding new networks that can help not only our practice but our planet to thrive.

“An outstanding herbal conference, creating a network across the country that unites us all in this grassroots movement… helping to heal the world in our small and great ways.”
–Rosemary Gladstar

Youth Village, Childcare & Kid Classes

This year we’re welcoming the creation of a Youth Village at the “Pavilion,” featuring cooperative childcare with participating parents, as well as a half dozen classes especially for the young.   If you have school age children, consider taking them out for this fun experience, getting them their start in an herbal education.  And if you’d like to help make the Village happen by networking with other parents beforehand, teaching a kid class, or participating in the childcare program, please email Asa at: asahenderson@gmail.com

“My son has grown up with the Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference, and this year’s event cements for me the vital importance of the conference to his development as a planetary citizen.”
–Asa Henderson

Friday Masquerade Ball,
Saturday Night Dance Concert, & Healer’s Market

There is nothing like evenings of socializing, entertainment, music and dance after full days of classes.  Thursday night is Tribal Tea Time in the Healer’s Market, where you can peruse quality herbal products, speak to the directors of herbal schools, and meet and greet friends old and new at any time.  The nearby historic “Pavilion” cabin serves not only as a classroom but also our concert hall, featuring a Plant Magic AudioVisual Show & Plants & Faeries Masquerade Ball on Friday evening, and our rockin’ annual dance concert Saturday night.

“Definitely the most inspiring herbal conference I’ve been to.  I loved being among herbalists who were talking about magic, intuition, and emotional healing and at the same time speaking to the political and social conditions we’re living under and how we hope herbalism can play a role in changing that.  It really was a transformative experience.”
–Monica Brown

Kiva on bridge by falls 4"-72dpiEvent Updates & Free Herbal Articles

Subscribe to Plant Healer’s totally free Herbaria Newsletter, an average 35 color pages, sent out 10 times per year.  Herbaria includes inspiring info-packed articles by some of your favorite herbalist writers, original new pieces as well as excerpts from past and upcoming issues of the quarterly Plant Healer Magazine, and of course the latest updates and developments regarding the 2015 Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference.  If you haven’t done so already, you can sign up now by going to our website and filling in your name and email address in the column at far left: www.PlantHealer.org

“Truly unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in a conference setting.  If you can only make it to one herb conference next year, this should be the one!  Profound, inspiring, multi-cultural, grass roots, and sooooo much fun!”
-Julie Caldwell, (Humboldt Herbals)

 

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Nov 052014
 

THE ENCHANTED HEALER

A Guidebook for Finding Your True Medicine

Reflections by Melanie Pulla

Portal to Enchantment

Every once in awhile, you come across a book that resonates such truth that it compels you to pause and reevaluate your decisions; and then it inspires you to implement significant yet necessary changes in your life. Let me introduce you to Jesse Hardin’s The Enchanted Healer: treasure map to your soul’s desires, field guide for identifying your authentic self, and handbook for transmitting your message to the world – unadulterated.

When – not if – you read this book, prepare yourself for a journey that may take some time. Jesse Hardin’s The Enchanted Healer will accompany you along a quest that is equal parts educational, inspirational, and transformational. As your guide along this journey, Hardin reacquaints you with the enchanted world that is all around us:  a world that appears mundane if only for our inability or unwillingness to tune into our senses and wake up to the present moment. He offers numerous strategies and practices for excavating the scripts that prevent us from fully embracing our authentic selves. He then helps us follow those breadcrumbs back to our wholeness. This is the truth-telling, paradigm-shifting, honesty-inducing book we’ve all been waiting for.

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Awareness, Sensing, and Feeling

One of the key takeaways from this book is that Hardin reminds us about the importance of embracing the present moment and having a heightened awareness of our surroundings – a philosophy that is endorsed by numerous somatic therapies and spiritual traditions around the world. His application of these practices in the context of healing modalities offers a fresh perspective on why sharpening our sensory awareness is of utmost importance: “It is crucial for healers to not become complacent, inured, or for any reason get in the habit of feeling less and numbing out more. The efficacy of our lives and practices hinges on our sensitivities, our innate and developed senses, our ability to notice, feel and respond” (p. 83).

The Enchanted Healer is truly a guidebook; Hardin illustrates several techniques and practices that modern health practitioners can use to support their journeys back to mindfulness and awareness. These techniques are simple, but not necessarily easy, and Hardin’s teachings have a way of getting to the heart of everything you’ve been avoiding in a refreshingly disarming way. The work is clearly laid out, and the journey awaits; the only way out of the darkness is through the tunnel of transformation.

The Journey to My Enchantment

The Journey to My Enchantment

Healing, Re-patterning, and Conscious Creation

Healing the healer is an ambitious task, but Jesse Hardin’s The Enchanted Healer boldly embraces the challenge, and the result is quite remarkable. Even the seasoned self-help junkie will encounter new tools and techniques for the soulful introspection and mindful exploration of new terrain. These include such things as story, sexuality, totems, and sacred indulgence to name a few. A common thread connecting these various healing modalities is the importance of releasing limiting beliefs and re-patterning the stories we tell ourselves in order to activate meaningful changes in the world: “The effective healer will be the one who not only senses and comprehends who and what they are trying to help, the clients, medicines and the illnesses, but who also knows intimately the extent of their own healing knowledge and skills, the limits of their comprehension or abilities, their habits and filters, feelings and needs, motivations and style.” (p. 111) From this standpoint, anything is possible including the conscious creation of our selves, our communities, and our healing paradigms.

Enchanted Healer by Jesse Wolf Hardin  www.PlantHealer.org

Metamorphosis, Transformation, and Embracing Your Authentic Self

One of the most poignant elements of this book is the soul-shaking contribution of Kiva Rose. Rose brings a raw authenticity as she shares her personal journey through the tunnel of metamorphosis and self-discovery. She notes, “If we are untrue to our own nature, we cheat both ourselves and those we seek to help. While adaptation to new circumstances can be not only necessary but commendable, it must not be at a cost to our integrity as medicine people and allies of the plants.” (p. 255) Her beautiful and moving prose effectively illustrates how going against the grain can be a powerful expression of love and creativity, especially when it reflects the true desires of your deepest self.

The Enchanted Healer is best read with your heart wide open, senses alert, and mind flexible enough to allow for changes to occur. This book invites your authentic self to play a central role in your work as a healer; work that matters because it offers a profound opportunity for you to share your deepest gifts with the world.

I found The Enchanted Healer to be a refreshing rule breaker and paradigm shifter, and arguably one of the most thorough guidebooks for transformation in the contemporary herb world. So consider this: are you ready for change and open to receiving transformation? If so, get your copy of this must-have book and embark upon your own journey towards finding your true medicine.

Now shipping.  Order your copy of The Enchanted Healer through the Bookstore page at:

www.PlantHealer.org

Enchantment PreOrder Poster 72dpi

Mélanie Pulla is a visionary herbalist who studied plant medicine at CSHS and SWSBM, and then earned a BSc in Alternative Medicine from JSC. In 2009, She opened her first business: a health food boutique, apothecary, and juice bar.  She’s a full-time mom who writes awesome articles, including for Plant Healer Magazine (http://www.PlantHealerMagazine.com) and the popular Herb Geek blog.

This review first appeared in Plant Healer’s free monthly Herbaria Newsletter, subscribe at www.PlantHealer.org

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Oct 162014
 

EBOLA
Truth & Claims

————by Jesse Wolf Hardin———

Plant Healer Magazine – www.PlantHealer.org

 

The intense level of misinformation, paranoia and fear mongering in the news and social media leads me to want to rake away at least some of the B.S. that’s fast piling up in the stall.  As usual, it’s not “all good,” as that modern saying goes, and there are definitely things to be concerned about if not prepared for.  This Ebola outbreak is going to be yet another extremely tragic event, but it is not going to be the defining tragedy of our time.  And tragic is the tendency to tell ourselves and others comforting lies, and our sometimes sad ability to believe them.

One group of people wants us to be believe everything will be alright, if we trust in government and the drug companies...

One group of people wants us to be believe everything will be alright, if we trust in government and the drug companies…

The Claim: I hear people saying Ebola isn’t going to be an issue in America because of our amazing health care system, and excellent personal hygiene… what’s the truth?

The Truth:  That claim is nonsense for a number of reasons.  Of course Ebola will become an increasing problem here as it will elsewhere in the world, and there could end up being cases in the hundreds or even thousands in this country before things stabilize.

Note that the United States health system is far less just, accessible, and effective than that of many countries around the world, including the impoverished and demonized nation of Cuba.  The U.S. model has made possible a monopolistic pharmaceutical paradigm where drug reactions and physician error are the leading cause of deaths.  And before we think of Americans as superior for being “cleaner” than the primitive Africans in the affected countries, we should note that it is partly the use of antimicrobial soaps, body products and bathroom cleaners in the homes and hospitals of “developed” countries that has brought about the many evolving new strains of antibiotic and chemical resistant pathogens.

Ebola is dangerous, and we can never be 100% safe from it.  But then, so it is with the cars that nearly everyone here owns and uses.  We are never secure from these multi-ton speeding vestibules or the sometimes entirely oblivious people who pilot them, and yet we regularly drive amongst them at high speeds.  Ideally, we make sure that we’re actively aware and paying as much attention as we are capable of, wear a seat belt (if we can stand the constraint), and make certain that our brakes are in good working order, taking reasonable and prudent steps to improve our odds of avoiding a wreck… but without the reported rates of deadly car accidents and their technicolor horrors making us too obsessed and too afraid to get behind the wheel when needed.

Other people are living in fear of it and what it could mean...

…while some people are living in fear of it and what it could mean.

The Claim: On the other hand, some say that this could be the outbreak that threatens the future survival all of humanity.

The Truth:  Pathogenic microorganisms are indeed the greatest future threat to human civilization, and possibly to the survival of our species as well.  Our exploitation and destruction of the natural environment affects our health and could eventually spell our extinction, but not for a very long time – and not before we have laid waste to the Earth’s ecosystems and killed off most of its complex life forms. Deadly confrontation – including between Moslem and non-Moslem populations – will continue to help define the human experience for so long as we walk this planet, and yet, even the bloodiest wars tend to reduce dangerously high world populations by only a relatively small amount, while being almost always followed by a huge spike in births.

That said, it is unlikely to be untreatable Ebola that impacts the average American’s family and lives, let along that brings down the human colossus.

Microorganisms are indeed a far more likely threat to one of two kinds:
1. Antibiotic resistant “super-bugs” resulting from contemporary dirtless, antiseptic lifestyles; the excessive prescribing of antibiotics for nearly every imaginable symptom; and the standard preventive (not curative) dosing of the farm animals most of us eat.  If Ebola proves untreatable, at least this deadly disease was probably not a direct product of our negligence, stupidity and greed as in the case of the every more dangerous “super bugs” we as a society beget.
(or)
2. Genetically engineered microbes, engineered in labs either to deliberately create weaponized bacteria and viruses for military purposes, or else to study and perhaps predict their behavior, virulence, and possible adaptations.  In either case, there is nothing science fiction about the scenario of a protocol not being followed, leading to a pathogens escape.  Or of someone unleashing it either accidentally or deliberately, in the commission of a criminally or politically motivated act.

At this point, the odds are far more likely that you will die from one of the thousands of other known deadly diseases and conditions found in the doctors’ books, with cigarette and diet related diseases topping the list… not to mention workplace accidents and getting electrocuted in the tub.

The Claim: So if it’s not likely to be a huge threat to most Americans, there is nothing to fear.

The Truth: We don’t need to act out of fear in this life, but the truth is that there is always much to realistically be afraid of!  We often use God, the promises of technology, the distraction of the superficial, or whistling in the dark, to reassure us or take our minds off of that which threatens us.  Rather than walk around in constant (and consequently unhealthy) state of fear, creatures in the real, natural world, exist in a state of awareness, in a condition of constant assessment.  Unlike us humans, they save their flight response for when trouble is nigh.  They appear to have no time to give to distant or extrapolated dangers.

The Claim: But as some critics of modern civilization have said, this outbreak could expand to the point that it brings about the collapse of the established system.

The Truth: Outbreaks initially strengthen the system, as the population seeks to be made safe and secure.

The Claim: What if I say it’s all a hoax, perpetrated by the government?

The Truth: The real hoax is the entrenched idea that our government has our best interest in mind.  As for Ebola, if you don’t believe that the problem is real, you could try volunteering at a rural African field hospital without a protective suit.

The Claim:  Some say Ebola was actually released or spread by some government agency, in order to create conditions that would justify the declaration of martial law.

The Truth:  The reality is that even the most oppressive or nefarious governments are still composed of human beings, who have will likely always prove to be far less effective at ebola cnn 72dpiprovoking and orchestrating events than they are at preparing to exploit events when they happen.  The proponents of increased government supervision and control of the populous did not have to arrange for Al Qaida to bring down the Twin Towers in order to have the pretext they needed to gut the Bill of Rights, they only needed to seize the opportunity when events made Americans most insecure and anxious for security and protection.

Likewise, there is almost no chance that ours or any other government intentionally introduced this disease… but various governments including our own will most certainly take advantage of this situation and our fearful condition to sink its claws further into us.  Quarantines, whether of individuals or an entire infected city, are the ultimate abridgment of civil rights and personal liberties, confinement enforced by either the police or the federal army.  The scariest things about Ebola or any other disastrous epidemic, may be the increased control and oppression that such a situation makes possible and even acceptable.

The Claim:  Then before we’re controlled, we just need to get the disease under control.

The Truth:  In the truest sense, we don’t ever control disease.  At best we avoid it, contain it, manage it, or contend with it and learn from it.

The Claim: I read on a Natural Health site that you won’t catch it, if you regularly eat your fruits and vegetables.

The Truth: Good nutrition is very important to a strong immune system and the overall ability to repel or heal from infections.  Depending on our food to save us from all infections is foolhardy to say the least.

The Claim: There must be herbs that can arrest the progress of Ebola.

The Truth: At this point there is no known plant that can cure or halt Ebola.  And the anxiousness to believe in undemonstrated cures is in itself unhealthy, diverting us from any realistic measures that we might be able to take to lessen the chances of contracting it, and distracting us from both our important tasks/roles and the enjoyment of each lived moment.

It’s also unreasonable to expect plants to literally “cure” of “fix” what’s wrong with us.  The way herbs work is by aiding the bodies own attempts at self regulation and balance, through stimulation, relaxation, modulation, etc.  Even when herbs are able to work visible wonders, they do so by initiating adjustments of our various bodily and healing processes, not by “battling” disease.  The responsibility for our health should be borne on our own shoulders, and not be laid upon the slender shoulders of the plants.  Herbs are allies that we can wisely involve in the work of helping our bodies to heal themselves, just one of many ways that we can tend ourselves as we assume/resume responsibility and make make the necessary efforts to take care of ourselves.

The Claim: What about the common assertion that no good can come from an outbreak like this, no matter what its cause?

The Truth: No disease, challenge or travail is without potential benefits.  Whether or not we learn to treat or contain Ebola, it could be instrumental in eebola virusxposing the lies of officials, exposing the lie that technology and science have the quick fix for all that ails us and our society.  We can damn sure learn from it to reconsider the often harmful modern medical system, to question authority, be vigilant against this or any other outbreak being used to justify policies and laws that decrease our liberties and foster greater government monitoring and control of its citizens.  We can – by understanding there are things outside of our control – reclaim some of the humility that enabled our ancient ancestors to function in this world without doing quite so much damage to it.  Thanks to the issues the emergence of Ebola has raised, we have an opportunity to take further responsibility for our own health and well being, change how we look at the world and how we behave, alter our lifestyles and habits to better serve our fullest and wholest living.

And yes, Ebola – like any mortal threat – can be a valuable reminder of the finite nature of existence, or the preciousness of every second, and the value of our using those vital seconds to good things, beautiful things, loving things.

 

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Oct 132014
 
Mojepe & Margaret at Plant Healer's Plants & Faeries Ball

Mojepe & Margaret at Plant Healer’s Plants & Faeries Ball

Download The October Herbaria Newsletter

Special Issue – Over 80 Pages Long!

The latest issue of Plant Healer’s Herbaria Newsletter is a rather crazy 82 pages long, almost triple the size of most monthly issues.  Part of the reason for that is the bonus section featuring attendees’ stories of their experience at this year’s HerbFolk Gathering, a ton of colorful photos and tales to bring back memories for you who attended, and to share the good feelings with any readers who were unable to make it.   The classes were life changing, we are told, and the Masquerade Ball enchanting, see for yourself….

The other reason for this issue’s unusual length, is that we promised to publish Rosemary Gladstar’s detailed updates on the fire cider issue, in support of the movement to protect our folk traditions and terms from being appropriated and monopolized by ambitious, self-serving companies.  And the fact that we couldn’t stop from adding Juliet’s enticing article about making her special kind of fire cider, and then Melanie Pulla’s piece on The Enchantment blew us away and had to be included, then it seemed important to run Sam’s piece for intermediate students of herbalism on some of the more plentiful herbs of this continent, and then we couldn’t leave out bioregional herbalist Dara’s article and pics.  Not to mention all the art and photos!  Sheesh…  So here is the October table of contents:

Jesse Wolf Hardin: The Healer’s Love
Dara Saville: Alum Root & S.W. Herbal Allies
Melanie Pulla: The Enchantment
Sam Coffman: Some Common Herbs of The U.S.
Rosemary Gladstar: Tradition Not Trademark – An Important Fire Cider Issue Update
Personal Stories of The 2014 HerbFolk Gathering & The Bigger Folk Herbal Mission
Juliet Blankespoor: Hibiscus Pomegranate Cheater Fire Cider Recipes

To subscribe to the complimentary monthly Herbaria Newsletter, simply go to the Plant Healer Website, then enter your name and email in the space for that at the far left of the screen.

Plant Healer’s Herbaria Newsletter is created to provide totally free content to the folk herbal tribe, many of whom cannot afford a subscription to Plant Healer Magazine or the other educational materials they need.  It is also meant to be spread beyond the known herbal community, to folks just starting to get interested in plant medicine, to the doubters and detractors as well as the curious and hopeful.  You can help with that mission, by submitting articles about what you know best to: PlantHealer@PlantHealer.org… and by liberally spreading this download link on your blogs, Facebook, and more:

October Herbaria Download

(Thank You Much  for Reposting & Sharing)

Teaching in the pines at Plant Healer's HerbFolk Gathering

Teaching in the pines at Plant Healer’s HerbFolk Gathering

Jesse Wolf Hardin & Guido Masé

Jesse Wolf Hardin & Guido Masé

Happy smiles at HerbFolk 2014

Happy smiles at HerbFolk 2014

HerbFolk's Rebecca Altman

HerbFolk’s Rebecca Altman

The Mountain Rose Herbs table, one of 35 in the Healer's Market

The Mountain Rose Herbs table, one of 35 in the Healer’s Market

Herbalist David Hoffmann with his ally Jesse Wolf Hardin

Herbalist David Hoffmann with his ally Jesse Wolf Hardin

Herbalist Matthew Wood teaching at Plant Healer's conference

Herbalist Matthew Wood teaching at Plant Healer’s conference

Stephany Hoffelt leads the deliriously happily bungling Renaissance dancers at Plant Healer's Masquerade Ball

Stephany Hoffelt leads the deliriously happily folk dancers at Plant Healer’s Plants & Faeries Masquerade Ball

Time for goodbyes: HerFolk helper Jenny Rizzo, Wolf Hardin, Rebecca Altman, Kiva Rose Hardin, and the inimitable Trail Boss.

Time for goodbyes: HerbFolk helper Jenny Rizzo, Wolf Hardin, Rebecca Altman, Kiva Rose Hardin, and the inimitable Trail Boss.

 

Sep 282014
 

2014 Essays & Class Notes poster-72dpi
If you were unable to attend Plant Healer’s 2014 event for any reason, you can still get a taste
of its spirit and themes, while benefitting from the immense amount of information and inspiration found herein.

Conventional Class Notes books consist mainly of basic outlines, whereas our event ebooks contain in-depth, full length essays on the various class topics.  Soon to be available will be a large softbound book of essays and class notes drawn from the entire first 5 years of Plant Healer events, “Traditions in Western Herbalism” … but this 2014 Ebook will remain the only way of studying all 22 of 2014’s class essays.

170 pages, full color Ebook PDF Download only $21 to all
from the Bookstore & Gallery page at:
www.PlantHealer.org

2014 Essays & Class Notes Book Contents:

Jesse Wolf Hardin: The Enchantments of Herbalism
Guido Masé: Hawthorn: Lady of The May
Kiki Geary: The 5 Elements in Herbalism
Charles “Doc” Garcia & Lori Pino: Hispanic Healing Ritual
Merihelen Nuñez: A Modern Curandera
Sean Donahue: Herbalists’ Wheel of The Year
Shana Lipner Grover: The Multicultural Uses of Salvia
Asia Suler: The Woodland Within
Stephany Hoffelt: Traditional Healing in a Modern Context
Jim McDonald: Sweet Flag & Bitterroot
Kristi Shapla: Fermented Flora
Irina Adam: Botanical Perfume
Sean Donahue: The Fisher King & The King of Hearts
Rebecca Altman: Explorations Into The Waters of The Body
Phyllis Hogan: Southwestern Medicinal Plants
Kristi Shapla: Herbal Beers
Matthew Wood: 21 Animal Constitutions
Elaine Sheff: Natural Remedies for Children With Special Needs
Jim McDonald: The Medicine of Melancholy
David Hoffmann: Selection Criteria
Guido Masé: Selva Oscura: In The Dark Forest of The Mind
Jesse Wolf Hardin: HerbStory: The History & Future of Plant Medicine

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Sep 232014
 

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An Amazing 2014 HerbFolk Gathering!

DSCF6204Kiva and I are still reeling from the ecstatic power of this year’s Plant Healer event, the HerbFolk Gathering.  It was without a doubt the most magical, loving, and empowering of our many conferences.  The teachers were amazing, and their classes like none others, welcomed by a community of folk herbalists with a passion for plant medicine and world change, and no one acting better than anyone else.  Rain storms parted for each class period, allowing for many to be held out in the pines with a mountain sun beaming through the forest’s canopy.  The Masquerade Ball and the Tesoro dance concert were nothing less than wonderful, with event manager Stephany leading an uproarious dance and Kiva provoking wild displays from us all!  To read all about it, be sure you are subscribed to Plant Healer’s Herbaria Newsletter before the October issue release: www.PlantHealer.org

If you’re an attendee, we are still welcoming your comments and experiences for the special newsletter edition, sent to us at: PlantHealer@PlantHealer.org

DSCF6202A Welcome To The New Generation of Herbalists

The stereotype of the middle-aged herbalist was overturned this year at HerbFolk, with over half of the attendees being in their 20s and 30s, meeting our goal of providing a wild and spirited home for the next generations of herbalists and culture changers.  “It’s the revolution again,” David Hoffmann said to us, in reaction to the radical vision and high energy of the young folks who had come.

Class Essays & Notes

We will be making the over 200 pages long 2014 Class Essays & Notes Ebook available for purchase by the general public in mid October…. along with a softcover book “Traditions in Western Herbalism” that will feature a selection of essays and notes from the first 5 years of Plant Healer herbal conferences.  Watch here and the newsletter for announcements.

Plant Healer’s 2015 Traditions In Western Herbalism Conference

Make plans now to attend another Traditions In Western Herbalism Conference, with the themes of “Real-World Wisdom & Practical Skills: Sept. 17-20, 2015, at Arizona’s beautiful Mormon Lake.  In keeping with the format of our very first event for herbalists, we will be featuring 50 classes with over 30 teachers including new as well as long respected voices.  Planned so far are:

David Winston • David Hoffmann • Phyllis Light • Guido Masé • Phyllis Hogan • 7Song • Lisa Ganora • Jim McDonald • Juliet Blankespoor •  Sean Donahue • Kiki Geary • Laura Ash • Charles “Doc” Garcia • Lisa Ganora • Rebecca Altman • Asia Suler • Dara Saville • Katja Swift • and Stephany Hoffelt 

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Call For 2015 Teacher Proposals

There are still some undecided class slots at next September’s Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference.  If you have information, insights and experiences that can benefit other practitioners, take confidence in your gifts and submit a proposal to teach a class about what you feel most able and passionate about.  Slots go fast with so many applying, so apply soon for the best chances.  To download the latest application, click on:

The 2015 Teacher Application

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Aug 252014
 

Now Available, Plant Healer’s Newest Book:

THE HEALING TERRAIN
Coming Home to Nature’s Medicine

by Jesse Wolf Hardin
with Kiva Rose, David Hoffman, Phyllis Light, Robin Rose Bennett, Juliet Blankespoor, & Dara Saville
Foreword by Judy Goldhaft (Planet Drum Foundation)

309 pages, 8.5×11” B&W Softcover – $29 – Order Through the Link On the Bookstore Page at: http://PlantHealerBookstore.com

The Healing Terrain front cover 72dpi

“Rightfully at the core of all Natural Healing is nature, from the herbs it provides to the positive healthful examples it offers.  By deepening our conscious relationship with the land, we create the opportunities and conditions for increased sensual engagement and creature awareness, empowerment and self-authority, uninhibited pleasures and fun, and greater effectiveness at nearly everything we might try to do in life.”    –Jesse Wolf Hardin

I’m excited to announce the release of the third book in our healing trilogy, “The Healing Terrain,” written with my partner Jesse Wolf and our Plant Healer allies Phyllis Light, David Hoffman, Juliet Blankespoor, Robin Rose Bennett and Dara Saville.  I’ve watched for the past year as Wolf searched out the most amazing photographs and art, and placed them in the most visually pleasing ways, illustrating inspiring content about the art of wildcrafting and growing herbs, biorgional herbalism, plant natives and “invasives,” the healing powers of nature, becoming more native, rewilded and empowered as healers, and connecting with place.  Those of you who know my personal story, know how crucial my canyon home and its native medicinal plants have been to the healing of my body, mind and spirit.  Along with the other two titles in this trilogy (“The Plant Healer’s Path” and “The Enchanted Healer”), “The Healing Terrain” strives to provide insights and tools for your own deepening connection with the source of all medicine and healing: this living earth.

Judy Goldhaft and Peter Berg, directors of Planet Drum. ©2009 IWe’ve been blessed to have Forewords to our other books written by herbalists like Matthew Wood and Phyllis Light, but this time we reached out a little further, and are thankful to have one penned by Judy Goldhaft.  Judy and her life partner Peter Berg have been two of the greatest influences on what we have come to know as “bioregionalism”: the practice and art of living sustainably in place.  Back around the time the pioneering “Whole Earth Catalog” was featuring the first photo of our planet taken from outer space, San Francisco was coming alive with social and eco activism, and Judy was busy using dance and theater to raise consciousness and inspire change.  From her work with the Diggers to directing the wonderful Planet Drum Foundation, she has lived a life and done the work that makes her the perfect person to introduce our book.  Her complete Foreword follows, along with the table of contents.

Thank you.   –Kiva Rose

Ainu Snyder quote poster

Foreword to The Healing Terrain

by Judy Goldhaft

It’s always amazing to pick up a book and discover it is not the book you expected.  Jesse Wolf Hardin said he had put together a book about using plants in healing and healing the places plants live.  Sounded simple, interesting and very bioregional.  But the book is a deeper more inclusive investigation than Jesse’s brief description. The book is a journey for those who have forgotten how important place is, and a handbook for developing an awareness to relate to a place while becoming a more balanced and whole person.

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The Healing Terrain recognizes the importance of a life-place (bioregion) to our beings and our health. The book begins with a deep exhortation to the reader to discover his or her own place as the first step in healing oneself, becoming a healer or becoming a complete person. It challenges the reader to recognize their personal place and to refocus for a more meaningful life, and then provides the tools to do this.  There are lists throughout the book to help actualize practical manifestations of the abstract ideas, helping the reader travel beyond the philosophical discussions of place and rootedness to actually experiencing and delighting in their bioregion.

amazing-garden-flowers 72dpiThe word bioregion represents a deceptively simple idea. The concept realigns priorities so humans are contained within the place (bioregion) — not governing or exploiting it. This simple notion opens up the possibility that the whole interdependent ecosystem could become the basis for a society’s decisions. This deeper understanding of a bioregional outlook is reflected in the importance that “Rights of Nature” are being given in South America.  New social mores are emerging which are entwined with the natural world.

Living with the planet requires diversity, adaptability, creativity, and self-regulation. Within this book difficult questions are dissected, examined, and considered from a multitude of perspectives. There are bold in-depth discussions of the tangled questions about living with other species and the authors are fearless in considering all topics — including wildness, bodily functions and sex. The tone of the conversations is always balanced and inviting, never preachy or judgmental.

Man hugging Basil 72dpiThe voices in this book come from people who have been putting bioregional sensibilities in the center of their lives for years. The community presents a series of personal approaches to universal ideas. They are deeply rooted where they live and encourage you also to become aware of your bioregion, in a very deeply understanding way.  They provide guidelines to reconnecting to the earth and personal heightened awareness while welcoming diversity and recognizing how difficult it is to do this.  The two main voices balance and fulfill each other. Jesse Wolf speaks poetically yet in-depth about historic, social, scientific and political considerations and analysis; Kiva Rose weaves a fabric of personal experiences and direct observations that she shares openly with ingenuousness and heartfelt warmth. They provide different paths and explanations to access the information and heart of this work.  From the section “The Healing Roots of Home”:

“On a practical level, to live bioregionally is to acknowledge and participate in the ecosystem we are a part of, rooted – in a very literal sense – in the land that we live on. What this means will vary according to the needs of the land in a particular area, whether it is establishing trees or restoring the soil… or simply helping maintain the diversity that already exists with careful harvesting practices and a prayerful attitude towards the spirit of the land.”

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The book itself has been thoughtfully put together, its format a manifestation of the ideas being expressed. The pictures and quotations are intrinsic aspects of the book. Each reiterates the ideas and could be the subject for meditation or rumination. This collection of philosophizing, musings, experiences, graphics, epigrams, and quotations reinforce each other and produce a balanced whole. It doesn’t just encourage “a vital return to balance,” the book itself is a balance—of head and heart, scientific and experience, words and graphics — a truly accessible set of information on many levels.

The Healing Terrain is like a long love poem to a bioregion — water is treated as a lover, there is a love affair with the geology, plants are longtime companions, etc. Be prepared to fall in love.

www.PlantHealer.org

Elka gathering wild herbs and food in a misty S.W. forest.

Elka gathering wild herbs and food in a misty S.W. forest.

The Healing Terrain Contents

I.    Nexus: Grounds For Healing
Jesse Wolf: The Journey Home: The Call to Stay & The Call to Roam
II.    Rooting – Where We Are, & Where We Most Belong
Jesse Wolf: Tips For Cultivating Sense of Place
III.    Grounding – A Geology of Place
Kiva Rose: The Weedwife – Coming Home, Weedy Ways
IV.    Healing Waters – Sweet Medicine, Hydrotherapy & River Tales
Jesse Wolf: Creating an Organic Calendar
Kiva Rose: The Ripening Fruit – Living With The Seasons
V.    Bioregions – Defining, Being Defined By & Drawing FromStellaria 72dpi
Dara Saville: Place-Based Herbalism – Practicing at The Crossroads of The Southwest
Kiva Rose: The Healing Roots of Home – My Journey Into Bioregional Herbalism
VI.    The Landed Healer – Finding, Purchasing & Restoring Land
Jesse Wolf: 15 Tips For Wildlands Restoration
Jesse Wolf: Strategies For Land Protection
Kiva Rose: Reading The Leaves – Learning The Names & Ways of  Plants
VII.    Building a Relationship With a Plant
Juliet Blankespoor: Planning Your Healing Garden
Dara Saville: Gardening Natives –  Reflecting the Wildlands in Your Medicine Garden
Kiva Rose: Deep As Root & Song – Wildcrafting
VIII.    Plant Adventuring
Jesse Wolf: Herbaria: The Importance & Joy of Plant Collections
Kiva Rose: In The Pines – Pleasure & Healing From an Ancient Tree Ally
IX.    In Balance – Invasive Species, Natives, Healing & Wholeness
Jesse Wolf: Guidelines & Reminders
Robin Rose Bennett: The Terrain of Home – The Healing Land, Commitments of Love
Kiva Rose: Sustainable Wildcrafting & Foraging – Tending The Wildest Garden
X.    ReIndigination – The Necessity of Learning to Become Native Again
Phyllis Light: The Geography of Healing
XI.    An Ecology of Healing – Treating The Body As An Ecosystem, & The Ecosystem As A Body
David Hoffman: Deep Ecology, Deep Healing – Herbalism’s Place In The Living Whole
Kiva Rose: The Cartography of The Heart – Finding The Road Home
XII.    ReWilding – Unleashing The Wild Empowered Healer
Kiva Rose: Spiraling Deeper
XIII.    The Blooming – Growing, Thriving, Spreading Our Seeds

 

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www.PlantHealer.org

(Thank you for reposting and linking to this announcement!)

Aug 122014
 

The following excellent article by Sean Donahue is a drawn from the latest (August) issue of the free Herbaria Newsletter.  If you haven’t subscribed, you can still download a copy of this 60 pages long edition here:

Plant Healer’s Herbaria Newsletter PDF

This piece is an advance excerpt from the upcoming Fall issue of Plant Healer Magazine, a call for a greatly nuanced, entirely integrative, deeply personalized approach to “healing.”  You can hear Sean speak about these topics in his class at the HerbFolk Gathering in September (register on the conference page at www.PlantHealer.org), and you can read the entire longer article when The Fall issue of Plant Healer releases on September 1st, by being or becoming a Plant Healer Magazine subscriber (www.PlantHealerMagazine.com).   –Wolf

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AN HERBAL COSMOLOGY

by Sean Donahue

The stories we tell ourselves and each other about the world and peoples’ places in it shape the ways we practice medicine. When we work with them consciously and intentionally, those stories can be an integral part of the healing process – shifts in the ways people understand themselves can bring profound shifts in their way of being in the world which in turn can bring profound shifts in their health. But if we do not examine the patterns of belief that underlie and guide our practice, we can end up unconsciously acting on the stories and assumptions of the culture that surrounds us – the very logic that got us into the kind of mess we are trying to get out of. One of the strongest critiques many herbalists have of mainstream biomedicine is the way it treats people like a conglomeration of symptoms and values on lab tests and treats everyone who displays similar symptoms and similar lab values pretty much identically, no matter who they are or what gave rise to the conditions they are experiencing.     But it occurred to me last semester while teaching my “Energetics of Western Herbalism” course that if we aren’t careful we often end up just replacing one set of diagnostic categories for another, one set of rote guidance for another. For example, five elements or three doshas can become just another set of diagnostic criteria guiding the application of increasingly rigid protocols.

To be sure, such an approach can guide us to giving medicine that will help people feel better.  But most of us came to herbalism because we were frustrated or alienated by mainstream medicine’s approach of treating symptoms and syndromes and diseases instead of people.   And if we want to avoid replicating the problems of the dominant medical system (albeit in a greener and more humane way, at least at first)  then we need to ask ourselves:  if our goal as practitioners isn’t just to treat disease, what is it? Acupuncturist Lonny Jarrett offers one possibility, rooted in his own fusion of Taoism and Ken Wilbur’s “integral philosophy.”  He sees the practitioner’s role as “nourishing destiny” – helping people move along the path of embodying the potential they bring into the world.   From his perspective, the degree to which a person is living according to their true nature can be discerned by the relative integration of the many parts and aspects of themselves.

People come to us in relative states of dis-integration, and we can tell we are helping them if they become increasingly integrated as we work with them. So what is the goal of medicine? My usual cop-out answer is that I want to help people experience themselves and the world as fully as possible by shifting whatever gets in the way of their participation in that ecstasy.  I say that’s a cop-out answer because it sounds nice, and gives lots of weight to liberal notions of choice and autonomy, but it ignores and disguises the fact that I really do have an agenda. Fundamentally, my desire is to bring people into relationships with plants in ways that will introduce them to the possibility of more fluid relationships with themselves and with the world. Disease can be seen as the repetition of a pattern of response or reaction to a stimulus that continues to the point where it begins damaging tissues and disrupting allostasis – the ability of an organism to respond to a changing environment in changing ways.   In a sense it can be seen in terms of a rigidity of response – a characteristic the diseases most people I see have in common with the organizing logic of the dominant culture.

Our ancestors evolved in a context where they were constantly taking in a varied abundance of medicines through breathing in the chemicals plants were releasing into the air, absorbing chemicals from plants as they brushed against them with their skin, drinking in the chemicals that filtered from their root systems into the water – and that is not even taking into account the plants they ingested.   This wove them integrally into the ecosystems they inhabited, and the fluidity of those ecosystems and the ever changing nature of the chemical inputs into their bodies created a fluidity in their experience.   Water soluble compounds from plants interacted with their endocrine systems and oil soluble compounds from plants altered their brain chemistries, shifting their perceptions. While I don’t see it as possible to replicate or reconstruct that kind of experience for most people today, I see my role as an herbalist as being an intelligent vector for the reintroduction of the creative chaos of the mind of the living world into people’s lives through introducing plants into their bodies to change them from the inside.   To be sure these changes serve to change patterns of disease on an individual basis, but my interest extends to the ways they can shift patterns on the level of communities, cultures, and ecosystems.

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Jul 232014
 
www.HerbFolk.org

www.HerbFolk.org

Class Schedule
for Plant Healer’s
2014 HERBFOLK GATHERING

Sept 16th-21st – Mormon Lake, Arizona
www.PlantHealer.org/HerbFolk.html

The Information You Need, The Enchantments You Desire

We’ll be coming up soon to our 5th Annual Plant Healer event – five years of education and celebration from Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference to Herbal Resurgence, Medicine of The People, and now the HerbFolk Gatherings. Located in the lush high elevation pine forests south of Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon, featuring folkloric and hands-on elements as well as clinical, these are truly events like no others! Classes this year are being taught by a collection of impassioned teachers, for students and practitioners of every level from beginner to accomplished. For more information including detailed class descriptions, download the free July issue of Plant Healer’s Herbaria Newsletter: https://madmimi.com/s/633115

2014 Class Schedule

While the class descriptions have been posted on the website for a long time now, we always wait until near August to post the actual schedule and times. It seems there are often some last minute changes, so we don’t want to release it too early. On the other hand, those of you who are coming like to know which classes are up against each other in the same time slots, in order to pick ahead of time which ones you are most excited to attend. We therefore present to you now the schedule for this year’s program, complete except for the names of the kid’s classes. Click on the following link to download your advance copy:
HerbFolk Class Schedule PDF

Thank you for re-posting or otherwise sharing this... and we will hope to see many of you in Arizona’s verdant forests in a little under 2 months time!

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Jul 092014
 

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40 Pages-Long  July Newsletter for Folks Interested in Herbs

The July issue of the Plant Healer E-Newsletter will be mailed out on Monday the 14th.  The download link won’t be posted on this blog, so please make sure you are subscribed if you’d like to receive a copy.  Subscribe by going to our website and clicking on the “Subscribe” button on the far left side of the page:
www.PlantHealer.org

This month’s issue is an overgrown 40 color pages in length, and includes:

Herbal Books Stairway – The Amazing Art of a Cyprus Apothecary
Sean Donahue Review
Jesse Wolf Hardin: Sacred Indulgence – Body Care
Robin Rose Bennett: Exclusive Excerpt from Her New Book
Irina Adam: The Magic of Botanical Scents
Asia Suler
Sylvia Linsteadt: Wild Talewort
Elka’s Healthful Recipes: Stuffed Grape Leaves & Watermelon Rind Pickles
HerbFolk Teacher Bios
Plant Healer Event Reviews
Herbalist Interview: Guido Masé

Spreading Like Weeds

We’re now reaching over 11,000 readers with absolutely 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 and grow this this mission of healing and love – this weedy revolution!

Advertise Inexpensively

Display ads in the Plant Healer 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:
Plant Healer Advertising Rates & Specs 2014:15

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, send an email with your ideas along with a request for the Guidelines… to:
PlantHealer@PlantHealer.org

Subscribe at: www.PlantHealer.org

Wild green blessings, from
Kiva & Wolf

Jul 072014
 

Tell your most financially challenged friends:

HerbFolk Gathering Scholarships!

Plant Healer events draw a unique community of herbalists, not only professionals but everyday people, the common folk: part-time practitioners, backwoods mothers, volunteers at nonprofits, and kitchen-sink medicine makers. Few attendees of our past Traditions in Western Herbalism, Herbal Resurgence and HerbFolk Gatherings have been able to easily afford the trip to beautiful Mormon Lake, let alone the price of the ticket. It is partly for you folks that we picked a site that has free camping in the adjacent national forest, in an earthy resort where we can prepare our own food and avoid the cost of meals in their eatery… and it is for you that every year we make available a limited number of scholarships to attend these educational events and healing celebrations. It’s absolutely crucial that our community purchase enough tickets to cover the high costs of putting on the conference, but it is also important that those who have absolutely no way of covering the cost of a ticket can have a chance to come, learn, and enjoy:
Plant Healer’s 2014 HerbFolk Gathering – Sept. 18-21, 2014 – Mormon Lake, Arizona

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We welcome scholarship applications from anyone, and the tickets will be given to those with the strongest enthusiasm for herbal work, as well as the greatest financial need. Applicants who don’t receive a scholarship will still be offered a deferred payment plan, barter possibilities or a work exchange, in order to try and make it possible! We may be full for on-site volunteers, but always need focused assistance with online and phone outreach.

Julie Caldwell of Humboldt Herbs, beloved teacher at HerbFolk 2013

Julie Caldwell of Humboldt Herbs, beloved teacher at HerbFolk 2013

Anyone can be helpful by 1. Contributing funds to help scholarships for others, 2. Donating your purchased ticket if you find you are unable to attend yourself; and 3. Spread this post and announcement around so that the all have the opportunity to fill out and then return to us the following simple form:

2014 Scholarships Application

Name:
Email:
Website, Blog, Facebook etc:
What draws you to Plant Healer’s HerbFolk Gathering in particular:
What you hope to do with what you learn:
Your need, & reason, for requesting a scholarship:

Write “Scholarship” in the subject line, and email your responses to: PlantHealer@PlantHealer.org

We look forward to seeing many of you there soon!

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Jul 032014
 

St. John’s Wort has long been one of those herbs that I have great respect for and love as medicine, but have used it minimally simply because it’s not plentiful in my bioregion. Native species of Hypericum don’t always seem to contain much in the way of the red purple juice that herbalists so value, and just as importantly, they tend to be too sparse to ethically gather. So instead, I usually buy or trade for a small amount of the tincture and infused oil each year from friends for personal use and otherwise do without. Until now…

Hypericum scouleri

Hypericum scouleri

I was recently on a hike high in the White Mountains of Arizona on the Little Colorado River in a sheltered subalpine canyon where the plants are lush and green, even this time of year when most things are dormant or dying back while waiting for our summer rains. There were so many gorgeous herbs in flower it was actually difficult to focus, I just kept turning in circles to gaze at the Elderflowers and Wild Roses and Aconite and Violets and Horsetail and Owl’s Claws (Hymenoxys hoopesii) and Checker Mallow (Sidalcea neomexicana) and False Solomon’s Seal and Fernleaf Betony (Pedicularis procera) until I was downright dizzy! But then, under a clump of Red Osier Dogwood, there was a huge patch of one of our native medicinal Saint John Worts, Hypericum scouleri, in wild golden bloom spreading back through the woods to the river.

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Like the completely plant obsessed madwoman that I am, I nearly hyperventilated from joy over the unexpected gift of just seeing so much of this somewhat rare herb. Not only that, I could see from the size of the patch and the patches beyond that there was clearly enough to harvest a small amount for medicine. Elka and I immediately knelt down and began carefully picking the flowering tops, accompanied by quite a lot of excited chatter from me. But seriously, people, look at this plant! Is it possible to not be incredibly happy in its presence?

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St John’s Wort is one of those exceedingly well known plants that is so popular that it becomes difficult to describe its properties without being redundant. It’s probably most famous for its use in treating mild to moderate “depression” and for its sometimes problematic interactions with pharmaceuticals because of its effect on liver metabolism. I personally find a depression a problematic terms that tends to be a catchall for anyone who is not currently happy and may or may not also be manic. In other words, another generic psych term that can result from a plethora of roots and requires some critical thinking to best understand what may help and by what mechanism. Anything the normal processes of grief to side effects of hormonal birth control to chronic pain to symptoms of a food intolerance can be diagnosed as depression, and yet, they all need to be addressed differently… so let’s just forget that whole “St John’s Wort is for depression” thing for a minute.

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Hypericum scouleri elixir

 

P1030732St John’s Wort is a fantastic relaxant nervine, and I think it best enhance mood when there’s a component of tension and/or anxiety. Henriette Kress says in her book, Practical Herbs, that it’s most indicated for depression stemming from frustration, and I find that to be very true. This is basically the only kind of depression I’m personally susceptible thus far in my life, so beyond treating clients, I have some experience of my own with St. John’s Wort. I find that the herb taken internally in such a situation is very helpful at not only getting a sense of humor about the situation, but also in helping to find the proper perspective for sorting out whatever is causing the frustration and changing it.

As is common with herbs that are relaxant nervines, Hypericum is also helpful in cases of insomnia, especially if anxiety, gloomy thoughts, or a busy head is preventing sleep in the first place. I also find it useful in preventing and treating night terrors and nightmares, especially in children. Once again, elements of anxiety and tension are the key here.

Externally, SJW liniment can be a lifesaver for crunched back muscles resulting in sciatica, especially when combine with Cottonwood (resinous Populus spp.) buds and Alder (Alnus spp.) bark or leaf. The oil, salve, poultice, or compress is wonderful for healing almost any skin inflammation, and for reducing the swelling, pain, and overall inflammation of many injuries, including pulled muscles, sprained ankles, and can be useful post ACL surgery when combined with Comfrey, Solomon’s Seal, and Mullein.

P1030730Hypericum is also very helpful in all sorts of back pain characterized by a burning pain, including nerve pain, especially pain that is worse with pressure. It is commonly present in a great many general wound salves, pain liniments, and oils for sore muscles. It can be helpful in all of these situations, being rather multipurpose when it comes to hot, burning inflammation. This also applies to topical use in the treatment of herpetic lesions and shingles, especially if used as a preventative (concurrent with internal use) at the first sign of an occurrence, but most effective in this situation if combined with other helpful antivirals and supportive herbs.

When St. John’s Wort is truly indicated, it tends to work notably in a rapid manner, whether internally or externally. It’s not one of those herbs you have to wait to six weeks to see results from. If it doesn’t show any results from the first few times of taking it, try something else.

Preparations:

I prefer infused oil made with the fresh flowers, and tincture or elixir from the fresh or freshly dried flowering tops. Tisanes and infusions can be made with the dried plant. It is sometimes said that the dried plant is ineffective but I have not found this to be the case as long as I am using high quality, recently dried herb.

Formulae:

Internal: Endless combinations come to mind, but for alleviating anxiety, tension, and general gloominess, particularly if accompanied by exhaustion, weakness, and gut inflammation, I’m especially fond of a formula made up of 5 parts Hypericum, 3 parts Evening Primrose (Oenothera spp.) flowering tops, 2 parts Monkeyflower (Mimulus spp.) flowering tops, and 1 part Rose (especially Wild Roses, but any aromatic species will do) in honey and alcohol to make an elixir. Take as needed, .5 ml 3x/day.

For general sadness and apathy, it combines well with a more moving herb, such as Lavender or Tulsi to lift the spirits and help clear stuck depression or grief. I especially like a formula of 3 parts Albizzia flower or bark, 2 parts Hypericum, and 1 part Tulsi as a tincture or elixir, .5 ml up to 3x/day or smaller doses as needed.

It also makes a wonderful infusion, in equal parts with the flowering tops of Evening Primrose, for chronic coughs, especially that lingering cough after a long struggle with bronchitis in those who are already worn down by the virus and then the secondary infection and having difficulty recovering on the respiratory front.

External: For healing damaged ligaments I like an oil or liniment of 4 parts Solomon’s Seal root, 3 parts Saint John’s Wort, 2 parts Comfrey leaf/root, 2 parts Cottonwood bud, and 1 part Mullein leaf and root. This can also work well for almost any damaged joint that is suffering slow healing, aching pain, and inflammation.

Considerations:

Please note that this article speaks only to preparations made from the whole plant, NOT hypericin or any other isolated component.

Hypericum effects liver metabolism and caution should be utilized when using large amounts of St. John’s Wort concurrently with other medications, including birth control pills, and especially anti-depressants and blood thinners. High doses of Hypericum can also cause photosensitivity in some sensitive individuals.

Also, some people seem to feel absolutely nothing from St. John’s Wort, and some people are practically knocked out by it, so proceed slowly when dosing. I once saw a very perky young woman take a couple dropperfuls of the tincture at the HerbFolk Gathering, and ten minutes later proceed to stagger out of the Healer’s Market to take an impromptu nap on the nearest patch of shady grass. Such a strong reaction seems uncommon, but seems more likely to happen to vata types, especially if they’re anxious or wound up.

Ethical Concerns:

While H. perforatum is an invasive weed in parts of the United States, here in NM and AZ our native species such as H. scouleri are far from weedy and tend to prefer relatively untouched forests high in the mountains, almost always by a water source. They are not necessarily abundant or flourishing, given the habitat degradation, drought, and severe fires of late. If you harvest here, PLEASE (as in do so or I will hunt you down and personally harm you) do so with due consideration for the plant and a great deal of common sense.

Commercial Sources:

Dried Hypericum perforatum can be purchased from most herb suppliers, including Mountain Rose Herbs, fresh flowers can be purchased from select suppliers, including Pacific Botanicals and Zack Woods Herb Farm. Many suppliers also carry the infused oil or tincture, including Fawn Lily Botanicals.

Resources & References:

Practical Herbs by Henriette Kress
Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West by Michael Moore
Combining Western Herbs and Chinese Medicine: A Clinical Materia Medica, 120 Herbs in Western Use by Jeremy Ross
Hedgerow Medicine by Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal
The Gift of Healing Herbs by Robin Rose Bennett
Herbal Therapy & Supplements: A Scientific & Traditional Approach by Merrily A. Kuhn and David Winston
Warding Off Evil in the 21st Century: St John’s Wort As Xenosensory Activator? by Jonathan Treasure
Herbal Pharmacokinetics: A Pratitioner’s Update With Reference to St John’s Wort Herb Drug Interactions by Jonathan Treasure

All images ©2014 Kiva Rose

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