Sep 042013

Herbal Resurgence

Vendor & Info Tables

available for the 2013


Sept 19-22 – Mormon Lake, AZ

50 Classes taught by 30 Teachers

There are just a few vendor and information tables available in our Healer’s Market building at this year’s Herbal Resurgence Finale held at beautiful forested Mormon Lake, Arizona,

Sept 19th through 22nd.

Offer consultations or massage therapy, sell your natural health products, or get the word out about your school or other business or cause to this highly focused herbal-loving audience. Herb sellers, schools, medicine makers, plant-hearted craftspeople and others are welcomed to apply while any tables remain available.  Our policy is only to rent tables after making sure one is reserved for any of our sponsors and teachers who want one, and then to make the remaining spaces available on a first come, first served basis.

• Tables are $225 (covers all 4 days, Thurs. through Sunday), with 2 staff persons allowed.

• Vendors and staff must also pay for tickets to attend unless certain they aren’t going to attend any of the classes.

For more information on the Herbal Resurgence Conference & Celebration go to:

and then click on the “Events” page

To apply for a table, click on, download, fill out and then return to us our:

2013 Vendor Application


(Please Forward or re-post)

Aug 252013

Paul Bergner by Jesse Wolf Hardin -72dpi

Plant Healer Interview:
Paul Bergner

In Conversation with Jesse Wolf Hardin

The following is a powerful excerpt from my talk with our friend and provocateur Paul Bergner, one of the truly most insightful, honest, forthcoming and visionary of herbalists alive today. After four full decades of doing this work, it was a pleasure to draw tales and ideas out of him for our readers, and to further define his singular legacy. Quite frankly, without Paul’s encouragement and support Kiva and I may not have pulled off the launching of our first event for herbalists, nor been quite so encouraged to create the unique Plant Healer Magazine. His “Herbal Rebel” column in the mag leads off every issue he can possibly make time for, while still traveling to teach both in the U.S. and at a free clinic in Nicaragua with his wife Tania. He will be teaching a two part intensive about diet and herbs at the Herbal Resurgence Rendezvous in the forest of Arizona, Sept. 19-22. You can register or read about his and other Rendezvous classes at:, and you can find some of his most incisive essays in the Plant Healer mag, in the back issues available downloadable on the Plant Healer site as well as in the Fall issue releasing Sept. 2nd:

The complete Bergner interview is an awesome 20,000 meaningful words long, and will appear in full only in the second volume of the 21st Century Herbalists book, due out in the next 12 to 18 months. An abridged version will appear in Plant Healer Magazine either before or following… and because we didn’t have it ready in time for the recent Plant Healer Newsletter, we’ve decided to share it with you all here!


Jesse Wolf Hardin: You have been a healer for 40 years now, as of this interview. What have you done to keep your excitement alive over the course of so much time working in this field, and what can you recommend others do to stay in touch with the source of their inspiration and enchantment?

Paul Bergner: You have to keep in touch with the polestar of your calling. Keep re-aligning to it, navigating by it, re-committing to it as it changes and unfolds. Keep whipping the flame of the aspiration to the calling to a conflagration of passion. And keep following all lines of curiosity and inquiry.

Wolf: What are the essential roles and missions of the herbalist…. continuous through the ages, and also now in this denatured and institutionalized society?

Paul: There is a problem for me with the label “herbalist.” If you look at the history of medicine, whether folk, ethnobotany, classical, traditional, etc. we don’t usually find an “herbalist.” We find a healer, or a midwife, or a village elder, or a community of mothers, or a physician, who help people. And sometimes they might use herbs and sometimes not. They are not defined by the use of herbs, but by their wisdom, common practical sense, medical training, or accumulated tribal, village or familial or medical level knowledge of what promotes health, or helps to address a health crisis. In the classical systems, Chinese medicine, Greek/Arabic medicine, and others, it is even specifically stated that if you are using herbs, then normal methods had failed. So I don’t want to be identified as an herbalist, or try to describe the roles of an herbalist in history when for the most part that is a profession which has not existed separate from a larger paradigm which defines each practitioner more by their overall approach that by what they give people. To some extent, the historical emergence of the drug industry, the trend that defined a doctor as someone who uses drugs and/or surgery, at the same time promoted a definition of an herbalist which had never occurred before. Doctor uses drugs, herbalist uses herbs. In historical reality through millennia I think probably every “herbalist” was a dietician and wise advisor first, and an herbalist sometimes second, sometimes not at all. The Greek physician Asclepias’ aphorism was “First the Word, then the Herb, then the Knife.” To define person as the one who gives the Herb, while forgetting the Word. creates a superficial and two-dimensional kind of “this-for-that” therapeutics which will never actually produce healing.

Wolf: And in your opinion, what are the great “herban myths,” fallacies, distracting notions or diversions in herbalism today?

Paul: Are you kidding me? In this short interview? A large portion of what we call herbalism today is Herban Legend. A large portion of what I taught in my school in Boulder was not just correcting the current Legends, but training the individual in the kind of practice, study, and critical thinking that defend against them. I hope before I die to write among other books, one entitled Herbal Legends: Critical Thinking in 21st Century Herbalism. It would not just be a list of legends, but a dissection of where they came from, how they came to be propagated, and what sort of critical thinking or information a person would need to prove or disprove them. It would present my whole “four directions” model of critical assessment of information, basically with pitfalls of relying on old books, the problem with taking new information in from science or commerce uncritically, how to think critically or gain more information in one’s own personal experience, and finally the idea of “critical intuition,” which I’ve written about in the Plant Healer Magazine. Some of the most important sources of contemporary misconceptions come from 1) herbalists not trained in science dabbling in it and then trying to sound authoritative 2) herbalists projecting their preconceptions onto a romanticized past or blindly accepting “folk” traditions that are not actually authentic 3) Herbalists accepting herb industry propaganda and overstatements uncritically and 4) herbalists blindly following authorities who are immersed in the above.

Wolf: What are some misunderstood, overrated or over marketed herbs?

Paul: Hydrastis is not an antibiotic. It will kill bacteria in a lab dish, it won’t kill them in your system. In larger doses it will dry out your mucous membranes, which does not mean it killed any bacteria, it means it turned off the beneficial effect of antibody-laden mucous flow. Wild Yam does not have any hormonal effects, though is a top specific smooth muscle antispasmodic. Adaptogens do not give you free energy, if you use them to support overreaching, instead of to support rest, recovery, and nourishment, they will enable a deeper level of burnout. Echinacea will not normalize your immune system, no one has an Echinacea deficiency, it can ramp up immunity, mask the effects of a bad lifestyle, and aggravate autoimmune conditions.

Wolf: A minority of our other interviewees have clearly said that they did not feel called to the work, or that herbalism is their calling per se, describing it instead as a conjunction of ability, practical need and circumstance. Does this prove that not all wholly dedicated herbalists are called, or do you believe they’re in denial or uncomfortable with the implications and associations?

Paul: I do believe that Calling and ability are inextricably intertwined. My training at age 25 was to seek out my calling on a daily basis, as the central prayer of my life, and then to also carefully assess all my abilities, to develop every ability into a talent through practice, and then apply those talents toward the calling. This was the esoteric training in the ancient mystery schools of Egypt and Greece. It is important to find out where you have a ‘green thumb’ and where you have no talent at all, and to dwell as much as possible in the areas where you excel just by following your own nature and pleasure.

Wolf: I like the idea of awarding certificates of accomplishment with fundamental and clearly defined criteria, but I have a hard with official “certification” and institutional vetting. While I do not want to be treated by an MD who is a charlatan with no knowledge, training or experience, we all know that having a Dr.’s license does not ensure someone is any good at all at practicing medicine. You have your doctorate and credentials, yet teach an accessible form of herbalism and self care. Talk about this.

Paul: I don’t have a doctorate. In fact my NDAA means “no-degree-at-all.” I didn’t finish college, but had the prerequisites to get into naturopathic medical school, and then I didn’t finish ND school, so technically, although I have 50 semester hours of doctoral level work and some of my books would qualify as doctoral theses, I don’t have any degree. For me that advanced education came later in life and career, I was already established in my calling and practicing and teaching natural healing, and for me, that education taught me tools terms, and concepts that I could use to further my study. Once I had acquired what I actually needed, I left the school. that wasn’t obvious to me at the time, it was a difficult departure, but in retrospect that is exactly what happened. Leaving also allowed me to avoid the Doctor Complex, where individuals with medical degrees put on certain airs of inflated superiority. For certification, I am in favor of people who have completed a course of study to have a certificate that documents that work. I’m not in favor of regulatory certification of herbalists at this point in the evolution of the profession, but educational certification is different, it just certifies that you have completed some study. Let the merits of the certification rest on the reputation of the school.

Wolf: Many of the folks who read Plant Healer Magazine or attend the various Plant Healer events are people who have felt on the edge of the herbal community, either unworthy and inadequate or “different” and marginalized. This includes family practitioners and kitchen witches, social radicals and outlaws defying convention, youth who often feel underestimated and amateurs and zealots who don’t and never will have letters, degrees or registered status. What can be done in the herbal community to attract a wider range of people, of all types and colors, ages, and ways?

Paul: A decade ago herbalism was dominated by a few organizations and a few conferences, which always featured the same speakers or the same kind of speakers. This lasted a long time, but as herbal schools churned out graduates, and thousands more people got the herbal bug, at some point, the masses of actual practicing and studying herbalists greatly outnumbered those who were recognized or spoken for by the previous institutions and conferences. Tremendously outnumbered. And I will say unhesitatingly that many of them have more actual experience, work with patients, hands-on gritty work than some of the big names riding on their reputations. People with 20 years of clinical work could not get on a podium at a conference, while people who hadn’t practiced in twenty years were considered big names. Yes, they felt isolated and out of the loop, even though they had much to offer. I think it was the advent of social media that got some of the new generation together, and then your first conference at the Ghost Ranch and the Plant Healer magazine made a nexus that opened a new center which facilitated the communication among them. I remember being there and looking at the teachers, and I remember thinking “Everyone teaching here is actually a practitioner.” They were attending each other’s lectures, sitting with the students instead of apart from them, no one strutting around like a rooster. This was a new phenomenon, and for me it was electrifying.

Wolf: I should point out here for the record, that the name or our annual event came directly from you, a christening that came from you calling it a “new nexus of the folk herbal resurgence.” From the very beginning you encouraged our antics… including fashioning the event and magazine as a folk herbal revival. Tell us about what you were thinking, what you felt that was different about these conferences, the state of the herbal movement at that time and the directions you find it going today.

Paul: I had the emerging vision that herbalism in North America is not a profession, it is not really even a consistent occupational definition, there are no true standards, and attempts by one or the other clique of herbalists to impose them have not been accepted. On the other hand it is a rich community, and a social movement at this point, an earth centered one. So what a community needs is networking and facilitation, not standards, and a movement needs rabble rousing and inspiration. That’s what I was encouraging rather than some new crystallized organization.

Wolf: Some core advice, for these special, heartful readers?

Paul: Be authentic. Work at it. Don’t exaggerate. Don’t make up stories. Be grounded in practice. Be open.

Wolf: It is rare for me to meet a single “civilized” person who sees the world close to the ways I do, let alone who independently developed such resonant ideas and used such similar phrasings. Though we have both been aesthetics, sensualists and radicals, and both came to serve the vital force of life, processes of discernment and real world action, you came to your convictions through a healing study and practice, through different books and experiences, while I through nature spirituality, a wilderness home preceded by outright outlaw experiences.

Paul: It is somewhat amazing that two fellows coming from such different training and expertise come to such a common vision. I guess if you try to reinvent the wheel it will end up being round. Constitutes a double-blind test of reality.

Wolf: I hope to always get to feature your insightful, incisive and inspiring writings in our Plant Healer Magazine, and enjoy your alliance in our shared purpose. It’s been an honor to work with you.

Paul: And with you.

Aug 212013

Baba Yaga by Kiva Rose

Plant Healer Magazine – Fall Issue
Over 250 Pages – Releases Sept. 2nd
Subscribe at:

Sept. 2nd is the release date for the exciting 12th Plant Healer Magazine, the final issue of Volume III.   We’re very excited about its content, another great collection of insights and experiences from many of the best authors in the field.

Plant Healer Fall Content

Kiva Rose takes on digital sculpting and painting, creating her first Plant Healer cover, a personable Baba Yaga gathering mushrooms in the deep forest.  With any encouragement, she may make high quality art prints of her Baba available for sale.

Paul Bergner’s “Herbal Rebel” column is back!  We are so grateful – it has been terribly hard for him to get any time to write due to his teaching, trips, and taking care of their baby Lilikoi when his partner Tania works.  But there are almost no others that speak as clearly and incisively on widely avoided topics, while imparting the tools that only decades of experience make possible.  This issue’s column focuses on perspective, practice and education in the South, another installment in his directional Medicine Wheel of capacities and approaches.  If you get the chance, please thank him personally for his Plant Healer sharings, of so much value to us all.

Our awesome regular columnists are joined this time by the engaging herbalist authors Jon Keyes, Rebecca Altman, Sean Donahue, Ryn Midura, Sam Coffman, Renee Davis, Corinne Boyer, Christophe Bernard,  Catherine Skipper, Michelle Czolba, Heather Nic an Fhleisdeir, including a super well written piece by first time contributor Dave Meesters on the treating of so called “bad habits” and exploring the the concepts of “medicine” and “poison,” as well as a final exclusive excerpt from Robin Rose Bennett’s upcoming book “Green Treasures.”

We’re pleased to run my conversation with Sam Coffman in this issue’s Plant Healer Interview department.  It’s a pleasure to run exclusive advance excerpts from his upcoming book, as well as to host his teaching at the Sept. 19th-22nd Herbal Resurgence Rendezvous.  As you’ve seen here in this magazine, he writes extremely well about herbal actions, regulation and legalities, primitive skills, wildcrafting, post disaster response, first-aid and wound care, and all with an entertaining “no b.s.” style.  It is for this reason that I include some of his commentary in our book The Plant Healer’s Path, and it’s also why we’re so glad to share here our interview containing his personal story, insights and wisdom.  Order your own hardbound copy of The Plant Healer’s Path from the new Bookstore page at

Cover Art: Baba Yaga – Digital Sculpture/Painting by Kiva Rose
Art Poster:    Humphrey’s Witch Hazel Oil – 1880s Advertising Card
Introduction & Announcements
Art Poster: Herb Gathering – 1880s Advertising Card
Jesse Wolf Hardin: The Joy of Herbalism: Levity & Play, Happiness & Bliss
Kiva Rose: Overview of The Plant Healer’s Path: A Grassroots Guide For The HerbFolk Tribe
Paul Bergner: Learning In The South Direction: In Praise of Community Herbalism
Art Poster: Flower Vendor by Léon Jean Bazille Perrault
Phyllis Light: The Story of Us
Juliet Blankespoor: Plant Photography: How To Take Pictures You’re Pleased With
7Song: Brassicaceae – The Mustard Family
Art Poster: Five of Earth by Joanna Powell Colbert
Jesse Wolf Hardin: Finding Our Medicine: Answering a Calling, Assuming Our Path
Art Poster: Herbal Basket – 1905 Advertising Card
Art Poster: The Path That Suits Our Direction & Tastes by JWH
Susun Weed: Oily Edible Seeds – Part II
Art Humor Poster: Altered 1950s Movie Poster: La Femme Apache by JWH
Robin Rose Bennett: Red Clover
Rebecca Altman: California Everlasting: Gnaphalium Californicum
Corinne Boyer: Dock: Grandma’s Healing Balm & Root Medicine
Renee Davis: Turkey-Tail Mushrooms & The Antifragility of Immunity
Art Poster:    Skunk Medicine (Logo for herbalist Irene Sturla) by JWH
Dave Meesters: Dark Medicines: Seeing Patients With “Bad Habits”
Sean Donahue: Mental Health Therapeutics
Ryn Midura: Toxins & Terrain: A 4-Elements Model of Detoxification
Sam Coffman: The Herbal Medic: Part II: Wound Healing & Infection In The Field
Christophe Bernard: Tools For The Clinic: Success Criteria & Health Journal
Jim McDonald: Foundational Actions: Stimulants
Art Poster: Russian Girl In Summer Garland by Konstantin Makovsky
Jon Keyes: Traditional European Medicine: Herbal Astrology
Art Poster: Carnival Insectivora by Madeline Von Foerster
Matthew Wood: EarthWise: The Practice of Western Herbalism
Art Poster:    Autumn Winds by Zephyr
Rhiannon Hardin: (age 13): Chaparral
Catherine Skipper: Healing Plants With Plants – Part II: How To Make Plant Treatments
Loba: Boletus Mushroom Feast
Michelle Czolba: Bringing The Tantric Arts Back Into Natural Skin Care
Heather Nic an Fhleisdeir: Culpeper’s Profession: A History of Apothecaries & Their Significance
Sam Coffman: Connecting The Dots: From Folk Medicine to Modern Herbalism
Plant Healer Interviews: Sam Coffman
Jesse Wolf Hardin: The Medicine Bear Novel For Herbalists: Part VIII
Subscribe at:

Plus Expanded Free Newsletter

We’ve expanded the scope as well as length of our free digital journal, renaming it the “Plant Healer’s Newsletter.”  It will continue to be your source for information on any Plant Healer sponsored events, but also include advance excerpts from upcoming Plant Healer issues, as well as inspiring articles and interviews with herbalists that won’t be be found anywhere else – even in this magazine.  The newsletter runs from 10 to 30 pages in length, and is sent out 6 to 10 times per year as a free service to the community.  Please tell your friends about it, especially any who may not normally be able to afford herbal books or zines.  To subscribe, go to the top of the intro page of our websites, fill in your name and email address and you’re good to go!

Writers Encouraged To Submit – Next Deadline: Oct. 1st

Write about what you feel most passionate about and have the most experience in.
Just go to the Plant Healer website and download the Submission Guidelines.

Thanks again for joining us, we hope to serve you well….

(please share)

Aug 112013

Plant Healer's Path by Jesse Wolf Hardin

Now Available to Order, the New Book:

A Grassroots Guide For The HerbFolk Tribe

by Jesse Wolf Hardin
with Kiva Rose
plus David Hoffman, Paul Bergner, Phyllis Light, Sam Coffman, Rebecca Altman, & Roger Wicke

302 pages, 8.5×11”, over 100 photos & art illustrations

Limited Edition Cloth Covered Hardback!: Preorder Now: $39 (shipping early September)
Ebook – Download Available Now: $25

Order Now From:

“That which was suppressed is back. The wise women and crazy men, in all their multicultural diversity, are finding their voices. Even if the monolith of the dominant culture is ignorant of this, finally we are listening to each other.  The Herbalist’s Path, is the clearest description yet of this truly grassroots manifestation of herbalism – of humanity’s re-connection with healing nature and the wild.”  –David Hoffman


The Story of The Plant Healer’s Path

by Kiva Rose

The Plant Healer’s Path is the first of two volumes by my partner Jesse Wolf Hardin, cofounder of Plant Healer Magazine, along with essays, medicinal plant profiles and favorite herbal recipes by myself (Kiva Rose), David Hoffman, Phyllis Light, Paul Bergner, Rebecca Altman, Sam Coffman & Roger Wicke.  Wolf tackles topics vital to an effective, empowered herbal practice, with tips for the fullest living of our lives, and will prove as useful, inspiring and transformative for those of you with decades of experience as it will for anyone just getting started in herbalism.  You’ll open the book up to an overview of herbalism’s history and celebration of lineage and tribe, and you’ll finish with an unflinching vision of both the near and distant future of this vital field.  “It is a past that we can learn from and feel rooted in, and a future we are each called to help make.”

The Plant Healer’s Path is a veritable cultivator’s guide for growing “our practices and community, our awareness, purpose, satisfaction and bliss…”  From Wolf’s Introduction:

“Throughout the ages, there have been among us women and men who felt called – impelled – to work with plants, assisting in the healing of bodies and psyches, community and the land… sometimes gladly bearing the mantle of yerbera, healer or root doctor, while at other times affecting people and the world without accepting the honor or duties of a title, or even realizing how much medicine they truly provide. And never, it seems, has this insistent calling sounded more clearly in some of us, as we awaken and respond to the great challenges of our lives and times, reclaiming some responsibility for both our personal well being and that of our society and our planet.

In the process of heeding this call to service, we’re rewarded by becoming more awake and alive, excited for the adventure, and better able to sense and savor.  We each become – in our own individual ways – the needed place holders and wisdom keepers, the proactive doers and teachers, the joyous care-takers and determined healers for our times.”

Plant Healer's Path by Jesse Wolf Hardin

I recommend that you read The Plant Healer’s Path, that you be informed and affirmed by it, your understandings deepened, your perspectives expanded and shifted.  I recommend you be drawn in, like a kid to a garden spectacle, like a lover to his heart’s yearning.  And I hope that it will awaken, excite, empower and propel you on your own signature path of healing.

“To be an herbalist in the U.S. in the 21st century is a lot more than just knowing some herbs and what they are ‘good for.’ It is a path of passion, enchantment and commitment and sometimes disillusionment in a wild and diverse community of peers and elders, a path complicated by industry propaganda, cultural resistance, magical thinking, ‘herban’ legends, regulatory obstacles, poor financial compensation, and a lack of educational or professional standards. Whether just beginning or already walking the path, The Plant Healer’s Path provides a panoramic road map of the terrain – both internal and external – for any person called to healing with plants… with thought-provoking essays on the issues most important to our work.”    –Paul Bergner (Herbalist & Teacher)

The Plant Healer’s Path explores:
• Herbal community, tribe and culture.
• The language and terminology of healing.
• The power of our personal story.
• Herbalists as seeds of change.
• Extreme herbalism.
• Identifying needs and goals, and whether to go the professional route or not.
• What we most need to know to either start or further and deepen our herbal eduction.
• Choosing our path, defining our particular niche and role, a “summons to shine.”
• Reconciling traditional and scientific approaches.
• How to understand and deal with issues of licensing and regulation.
• Identifying pitfalls, illusions, myths & other impediments to a maximally effective practice.
• Divergent streams of herbalism, the diversity of approaches, no two herbalists alike.
• Discernment, critical thinking & “response-ability.”
• Ethics for herbalists, and clarifying and living by personal own code of honor.
• The empowered herbalist, the right to practice, and herbal activism.
• Making a living in herbalism, and the true richness of the herbalist life.
• Apportioning our time, the value of retreats, the importance of nourishing ourselves.
• The joy of herbalism, and lightening up.
• Co-creating a culture of healing.
• The future of herbalism.

“In The Plant Healer’s Path, Jesse, Kiva and others offer their shared insights offer and an exploration of folk herbalism, rejoicing in our diversity and challenging our assumptions.”
–Jim McDonald (Foundational HerbCraft)

Spruce Tip Basket by Jesse Wolf Hardin

Spruce Tip Basket by Jesse Wolf Hardin

“How can I begin to describe the many ways that herbalism can impact a person’s life?  How the herbs can call and change you and help you become the person you were meant to be?  How you can find your herbal community, your herbal tribe, by following this pathway?  Or how the resurgence of folk herbalism may be a key to a revitalized health care system for this country?  Or, maybe… you should just read this book!  The Plant Healer’s Path is a result of Jesse Wolf and Kiva Rose digging down deep into their relationship with the plants and the profession, and holding the torch high for us.  What more could we ask for?”
Phyllis D. Light (Appalachian Folk Herbalist)

Kiva Rose Hardin

The Making of The Plant Healer’s Path

by Kiva Rose

Every path has not only a route and destination but also a beginning.  It’s been nearly ten years since Wolf and I became partners under some very magical circumstances.  It’s been a wonderful if in some ways difficult transformation for me and us, but a few things have remained consistent from the beginning.  For one thing, we have always been writers with a similar passion, perspective and style.  Publishers had already released several books by him by the time I arrived, including Full Circle, Kindred Spirits and Gaia Eros for the alternative spirituality and nature-awareness audiences, and I was a poet who learned to use my poetic images to craft very personal essays first for SageWoman magazine and then beyond.  Wolf also draws the evocative art you’ve seen many times in this magazine, and he loves my sculpting and encourages me in all my interests, but it is through our writings that we are able to share with you the most of what we know, and the most of our selves.  His Anima blog and my Medicine Woman’s Roots blog have reached, informed and empowered a vast number of folks, and Plant Healer Magazine and Newsletter have become essential ways for us to combine practical clinical herbal information with wildcrafting and homestead skills, conservation, the enjoyment of food, art, healing culture, folklore and plant infused fiction.

From the beginning, I imagined that my first book would be a compilation all my clinical herbalism pieces from my blog and Medicine Woman courses.  Instead, I now find myself pulled towards creating a series of volumes with the folkloric emphasis and feel that excites me most, to write plant and healing inspired tales that evoke a new mythos (stay tuned!).  And instead of my writings on herbs and herbalism going into a clinical book, I’ve designated a large number of them for use in these books of Wolf’s that we’re releasing.  It seems entirely appropriate that we appear together in The Plant Healer’s Path and its upcoming companion – The Healing Journey: Walking The Spiral – given that we spend much of our days at desks a few feet apart, a shared window overlooking the Sweet Medicine River, tapping our hearts out on our twin solar-powered Macs.

“Part poetry, part herbal ethnography, Wolf has created an herbal call to action full of wisdom and insights from him and other remarkable contemporary herbalists.  Most plant healers will find that this book strikes a deep chord in their soul, affirming what they know while pushing their boundaries for growth.”    –Rosalee de la Forêt (Methow Valley Herbs)

At the onset, I did not imagine Wolf writing such an important series for the herbalist community, though I knew he had much to contribute if I could only find a way to provoke it (telling him he “can’t” or “won’t” usually does the trick!).  I came to herbalism through the processes of my personal physical and emotional healing, while he came to it as an extension of his work healing the land through his riparian restoration efforts, helping heal the wounds and debilitating insecurities of the students he taught and folks he counseled, and his commitment to assisting the healing of humanity’s painful separation from the natural world and their own natures.  Neither of us were cut out to be clinical herbalists daily seeing clients, yet our love and devotion to herbalism and herbalists align, our writings are kindred in a special way, and it’s a shared message we are devoted to.

“Jesse Wolf provides an inclusive, vital and passionate look into the practice of herbalism, giving voice and validation to the resurgence of a widespread, diverse herbal community whose roots go deep.  The Plant Healer’s Path weaves plant medicine, politics, practical advice, poetry, history, story and lore with insightful monologues from some of the most influential voices in contemporary herbal practice.  Everyone who enjoys a relationship with plants – from foodies to gardeners to medicine makers to clinicians – will find inspiration in these pages that challenge you to actively participate, in ways small and large, in the ancient and continuing story of health, vitality, and co-evolution with the plants and the green.”    –Julie Caldwell (Humboldt Herbals)

modern dance-72dpiFrom the most practical tips and lists of choices and options, to much needed inspiration, encouragement and vision, The Plant Healer’s Path casts a light on the journey at hand, on our individual, custom paths that are our practices and lives.

“We are as seeds,” Wolf insists, “embryonic, emergent, seminal!  As seeds, we’re the products of a particular process of reproduction, propagation, improvisation and advancement that serves diversification and variance – thus also serving the continuing evolution and possible improving of our kind.  We are not just receptacles and transmitters of existing traditions, like replicative gene sequences.  We are instead the potential for healthful alternatives, adaptations, mutations and celebrations.  Every one of us, vital packages of potential needing to be turned loose.”

Consciously fulfill your potential, and taste the rewards of your personal Plant Healer’s Path.

Wildwood Blessings,


Limited Edition Cloth Covered Hardback: Preorder Now: $39 (shipping early September)
Ebook – Download Available Now: $25

Order From:

40% Wholesale Discount on orders of 10 or more of the regular Softcover Edition
Write for details:

(Thank you so much for re-posting this on your blogs and sharing the news any ways you can!)

Aug 042013

Plant Healer Newsletter by Jesse Wolf Hardin

Free Plant Healer Newsletter

We’ve expanded not only the length but the scope of our free digital journal for herbalists, wildcrafters and plant lovers of all kinds, renaming it the “Plant Healer’s Newsletter.”  Published 6 to 10 times per year, this newsletter will feature advance excerpts from upcoming Plant Healer issues, as well as inspiring articles and interviews with herbalists that won’t be be found in our magazine or anywhere else.  The newsletter runs from 10 to 30 pages in length, and is sent out 6 to 10 times per year as a free service to the community.  Please tell your friends about it, especially any who may not normally be able to afford herbal books or zines.

The issue releasing this week is the sixth this year, 20 pages of information and illustrations containing fascinating interview excerpts with herbalists Larken Bunce and Jim McDonald, as well as an article about the medical uses for Verbena by Kiva Rose.  Future issues will include more plant profiles, clinical herbal info, updates on Plant Healer events, and interview excerpts with Paul Bergner, Howie Brounstein, Caroline Gagnon and more.

Article submissions will be accepted for consideration from now on.  Write us for more info, or for affordable advertising in the Plant Healer Newsletter.  To subscribe, simply go to the top of the intro page of our websites, fill in your name and email address and you’re good to go!

(thank you for sharing and re-posting)

Larken Bunce

Larken Bunce

Jim McDonald

Jim McDonald

Jul 242013
Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium

Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium

In the more lightly burned areas of the forests just above us in the White Mountains of Arizona, the Fireweed is blooming in colorful profusion between the blackened spikes of destroyed trees. This beautiful member of the Onagraceae family is also one of my favorite herbs, being especially talented at reducing inflammation, astringing lax tissue, and encouraging healing, especially in the gut. This makes it a rather ideal addition to gut healing infusions, especially if a food intolerance or other trigger has been recently removed.

Rhiannon gathering Wild Raspberries, Rubus idaeus var. strigosus

Rhiannon gathering Wild Raspberries, Rubus idaeus var. strigosus

Rhiannon declared this bit of mountainside a piece of her personal heaven, and danced through the mist and ferns for a while before settling into harvesting just ripening Raspberries. She particularly enjoys the not quite red fruits, relishing their tartness, and often dissecting them into little jewel shaped fragments before eating them up.


A patch of Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium

A patch of Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium

There’s something haunting about the the spectral mists that can shift and swirl through the mountains during monsoon season in the Southwest. I could stand in the midst of the young Aspens and stare into the distance for hours, listening to small animals move amongst the underbrush and ravens obscured in the mist call from just beyond the veil.



Fungi of many sorts were just beginning to fruit from dead wood, and I look forward to returning soon in search of my favorite edible and medicinal mushrooms.

Black River - Ligusticum porteri flowers9s

Oshá, Ligusticum porteri, was blooming at the edge of the Aspen stands, their fern like leaves drooping under the weight of a recent rain. Since I still have plenty of Oshá from previous harvests, and none of the patches I found were very large, I left them to continue to grow and spread on the mountainside.



Several times we spotted deer in the forest, usually nibbling  specifically on burned Ponderosa twigs… perhaps they enjoy the smoky flavor?!

Elderflowers blooming in a meadow

Elderflowers blooming in a meadow

At the edge of a large meadow, hedges of Elders grew, and a few had already (for this elevation) burst into bloom, their creamy umbels tossing back and forth in every small breeze. As much as I love working with herbs for healing purposes, I am often reminded on these forays of how the deeper medicine is actually in spending time with the plants, in restoring connection between myself and the land, and in simply being aware of the beauty, complexity, and power of place. No tincture can replace that, and no harvest can achieve it without attention, presence, and a fierce love for the wild ways of the plants.




Jul 012013

Attend The Herbal Resurgence Rendezvous Finale!

Register now to attend the final ever Herbal Resurgence conference, Sept. 19-22.  

This is your last chance to be a part of what has been a celebratory, seditious, life changing event.  There will never be another one like it!  

Why The Change?

Wolf and I are share the belief that we and our message need to continue evolving, adapting to changing circumstances, filling in what is needed in the herbal community rather than repeating what has been or is being done.  We’ve been successful in our aims for Resurgence, in sparking changes in existing gatherings and organizations, and seeding other groups and events.  We see the influence of the Resurgence in longstanding events and groups starting to use similar language and change their approach or content, as well as in the many letters of thanks we’ve received from people who were inspired by the Resurgence to start their own regional or focused events. 2014 is time for our events to morph yet again.

Let’s Make The Most of The 2013 Herbal Resurgence Finale

We’d love your help getting the word out about the finale to as many folks as possible  Please make an announcement to your mailing list or on your blog. You can write a simple personal recommendation, or just copy and use following paragraph below, thank you so much for your help!:

“Join me at the last ever TWHC/Herbal Resurgence Rendezvous, Sept 19-22nd, 2013.  Organizers Kiva Rose and Jesse Wolf of Plant Healer Magazine have put on this event for 4 years now, and are ready to try something different in ’14.  If you wanted the chance to see the Grand Canyon and other Arizona attractions, you still have time to schedule your work and flights.  This will be your only chance to be a part of this seminal event, featuring 30 different teachers, teaching 50 unique classes.  Go to the Herbal Resurgence website for the complete list of teachers, classes and plant walks.  Register now, or sign up for the free newsletter featuring herbalist interviews, articles and news on this and next year’s Plant Healer events:

The graphic below (or write us for a copy) can be used to post on your website or in your blog or newsletter.


Herbal Resurgence Final-Web Graphic-72dpi

Owe Us, Offer Barter, Find a Way To Come!

We are definitely dependent on ticket sales this year to make a new 2014 event possible.  But that said, we don’t want anyone to miss this final Resurgence Rendezvous in September only because of a shortage in funds.  We will accept pledges of time payments over the next year, and we’ll even consider trades.  Write us for a list of what kinds of things we’d be interested in bartering for:  herbalresurgence(at)gmail(dot)com

We Thank You So Much!

Words cannot adequately express how very much we value and appreciate you HerbFolk, not just for what you do with and for us, but for all you do for the world.

Subscribe on the Resurgence website to the free events newsletter, with details about the 2013 Resurgence finale as well as the 2014 HerbFolk Gathering.  Together, we’re building a movement, and bridging with non-herbalists to better impact the world.  Medicine of The People!

Kiva and Wolf




Jun 232013


It may be hot indeed down in the middle mountains and deserts of the Southwest, but head up a few thousand feet and the subalpine forests are cool and lush with the verdancy of the Summer Solstice. This past week Wolf and I took a much needed break to explore the cienegas of the Little Colorado river in the White Mountains just above our canyon home.


The Little Colorado River

The Little Colorado River

Wading through the cool currents of the river, we stopped to examine almost every little flower and leaf underside. Surrounded by Alder thickets and rambling briar patches, the sunlight fell on us in dappled patches through the trees. The scent of Wild Roses made the air sweet and heady, giving an even more enchanted feeling to an already fairy tale like walk.



The river banks were fertile and green, wildflowers and broad leafed trees on one side, and ferns, conifers, and fungi on the other. I admit to a lifelong fascination with ferns, from unfurling fiddlehead to rusty spores, everything about them draws me in and has me trying to get closer to the ground so I can see them better.



There are so many more details, so many incredible colors and textures in the close up. I can’t help but be mesmerized by the beauty that’s all around me. The delicate lavender and deep crimson of this frond had me all agape with amazement.


Twinberry, Lonicera involucrata

Twinberry, Lonicera involucrata

All around us, insects hummed , traveling from flower to flower, sometimes looking a bit drunk on the sweet nectar of so many blossoms open all at once. I ran from bush to tree to herb, exclaiming under my breath and trying to key things out in my field guide while looking at six flowers at once!


Monkshood, Aconitum columbianum

Monkshood, Aconitum columbianum

I was particularly excited to see dozens upon dozens of this plant in flower. Monkshood is one of my absolute favorite wildflowers. Both medicinal and poisonous, it’s also incredibly gorgeous with it’s deep blue to purple flowers and finely waxed leaves. I don’t see it terribly often in many of the mountain meadows I visit, and I was ecstatic to find so many here. I think I took nearly a hundred photographs of just this one species!


Wild Onion, Allium geyeri, inflorescence

Wild Onion, Allium geyeri, inflorescence

In fat patches on the riverbank I found an incredible wealth of one of our local Wild Onion species, which, besides being absolutely delicious, is also drop dead gorgeous. Like the ferns, getting closeup allows us to see the detail and nuance of the inflorescence just getting ready to open into many small flowers. I would very much like a gown made of this color and texture, perfect for a Faery ball on a Summer’s night!


Campsite in the White Mountains of Arizona

Campsite in the White Mountains of Arizona

At the end of the day, Wolf and I made camp on a canyon rim that wound far above the Little Colorado River. From there, we watched the sun sink into the Western sky, and light the Ponderosas and Douglas Firs up in a radiant golden light. Redroot flowers glowed ghostly white in the shadows and the shiver of Aspen leaves brought the evening in with their elven song.


©Jesse Wolf Hardin

©Jesse Wolf Hardin

We returned to the canyon next morning full of inspirations and ideas after a long conversation on the drive home. Wolf set to work creating this gorgeous logo for my new little shop of botanical creations, The Bramble & The Rose, where I’m selling my bioregional incense and botanical perfumes.

Wolf and I also discussed some very important upcoming news that we’ll soon be sharing about the Herbal Resurgence Rendezvous!

~Also, a quick reminder for all our Plant Healer writers, the deadline is July 1st for the Autumn issue, so be sure to send in your submissions soon!~



Jun 162013

Sacred Datura, Datura wrightii, wilting in the morning light

Come high Summer in the Southwest, the wildfires rage and nearly everything dries to dust. There’s a great stillness as the land seems to hold its breath in anticipation of the rainy season that usually arrive sometime in the second week of July. There’s a palpable tension as we all wait to see how much fire damage will accumulate around us and what will survive until those first blessed drops of rain kiss the parched earth. 

Even here in the mountains, the grass has all turned gold and the river trickles across the rocks in small rivulets. Wildlife clings close to any water sources and the afternoons are quiet as the sun beats against volcanic cliffs. The vibrant and diverse communities of life often only become apparent after the sun begins its dip into the West, and evening often brings the hum of insects, the skittering of small animal feet, and the hushed wings of myriad nightbirds.

As dark falls, the sphinx moths hover over fuchsia tinted four o’clock flowers and drunkenly totter around just opened datura blossoms. This is the moment in time when life flourishes as we approach the Summer Solstice. Shadows lengthen, and the cool air calls us all out to play.  Midsummer has been a favored celebration for most of my life, and I anticipate each year like an eager child. In the beginning, it had something to do with how close it is to my birthday, and allowed me to extend the festivities just a bit longer. Even now, living in the hot Southwest, I find myself wanting to slow and stretch time, to enjoy these white hot days and intoxicating evenings for as long as possible. But of course, the wheel keeps on turning, so I try to drink up as much of the sensations as I can each season.

Oregano de la Sierra, Monarda fistulosa var. menthifolia, in bloom in the arroyo

Oregano de la Sierra, Monarda fistulosa var. menthifolia, in bloom in the arroyo

This coming weekend we’ll be creating any number of berry based treats, and nearly every sweet thing will be flavored with the delicate but complex flavor of rose, which is consider to be one of the perfect herbs and flowers for the Solstice! Grape leaf, Paintbrush, and Wild Tarragon crowns will be made for all and we’ll spend time near the river harvesting Nettles and watching the Monarda flowers open into purple fireworks on the longest day of the year.

Despite my pronounced love of the present moment, I’m still counting down the days until the Herbal Resurgence! I’m so excited to see so many of my friends again, to be able to learn from teachers I might not otherwise ever meet, and watch the happy pack of herb loving children run through the wildflowers. The way the Resurgence community comes together so quickly at each event always amazes me, and I’m profoundly grateful for the magic that’s created every single year!

And I hope to see many of you there! Until then, a blessed Midsummer to you all… enjoy the dusk and dawn of these long days, and the beauty that infuses them all.


PS – For those of you considering attending the Resurgence this September, let me know what you’d like to see me teach. I’m still making up my mind, and would love to have your input!

Canyon Grape, Vitis arizonica, in flower outside the cabin door

Canyon Grape, Vitis arizonica, in flower outside the cabin door


May 292013


Summer Issue Sneak Peek

Dammit!  Dammit! The just-finished Summer 2013 Plant Healer is over 320 pages in length…. a new record, even though we said we’d do our best to keep it smaller – presenting over 120,000 words of herbal wisdom and inspiration, a single magazine issue the size of all but the largest books!  We tried, we tried, believe me – but what’s an editor to do when so many excellent articles have been submitted?  Get ready for another epic journey across the vast and diverse landscapes of folk herbalism, through a forest of useful tips, recipes, herbal history, wildcrafting, art and lore… a veritable garden of delight.  Kiva and I have spent 3 months putting it together, and it’s important to note: we did it for you.


Early on in this issue we take a moment to mourn our losses and celebrate special lives, beginning with an honoring of herbalist Cascade Anderson Geller who passed away in May.  Paul Bergner, Rosalee de la Foret and Rosemary Gladstar share their thoughts and feelings about Cascade, and the Appalachian herbalist Phyllis Light follows with some deep insights inspired by the recent death of her beloved Mama.



Juliet’s New Column: Flora Julietta

The much loved herbalist teacher Juliet Blankespoor has committed to write a regular quarterly column for us on all-things-herbal.  Her first column focuses on estrogen and herbs, and like all her writings, is illustrated by her own astounding photographs.  Juliet joins our other respected Plant Healer columnists including Paul Bergner, Matt Wood, Susun Weed, Jim McDonald, 7Song, Sabrina Lutes, and the creatrix of Herbal Roots Zine for kids, Kristine Brown.  Thank you for your excellent contribution, Julietta, even as you deal with difficult family challenges, manage your gardens and run a busy school.

New Folkloric & Historic Departments

Plants have their own treasured folklore and mythologies, tales that tell us as much about ourselves as about the herbs themselves.  We present to you yet another regular or periodic department, starting with the first in a series of essays by Corinne Boyer and including excellent photos by her husband, focused this time around the magical history and lore of the Elder tree.

A second new department is called “Steampunk Herbalism” and is designed to cover where our “Frontier Herbalism” leaves off: the historic herbal and healing trends, curiosities and fascinations of the Americas circa 1900-1930.  We begin with the story of Lydia Pinkham, once a household name and the most recognized woman’t face in the United States.  Her back–room herbal tonic business grew into an empire, while she used her spare time to fight for racial and gender equality, and to campaign for more natural lifestyles.



A Gifting Basket of New Articles

Join us in welcoming our first-time authors, including Erin Piorier who brings us an article on tongue assessment, Wendy Housel presenting on bridging nursing and herbalism, and Arizonan and 2013 Herbal Resurgence teacher John Slattery writing about the fascinating Mexican traditional herbalist Doña Olga Ruiz.



You’ll also find here everything from detailed plant profiles and recipes to gardening suggestions, maple syrupin’, and Loba’s wild grape leaf meal suggestions.  The brilliant and wonderful Virginia Adi is back with another massively researched historical pieces, this time on the archaeopharmacy of the controversial Opium Poppy.  Christa Sinadinos blesses us with another piece, this time on Herbal Honey preparations, Melanie Pulla continues her series on the practical means for creating a fulfilling herbal business, Sophia Rose writes about False Solomon’s Seal, Cat Lane shares the trials and joys of being an herbalist for animals, Katja Swift continues her clinical skills series while her mischievous daughter Amber talks about how to make herbal lotions.  Christopher Bernard from France and Catherine Skipper both sent pieces on herbal cultivation, and our Resurgence teacher and favorite new feller Sam Coffman brings us articles on both open wound treatment and the edible and medicinal Southwest “gem” Algerita.  If you wonder what my partner Kiva Rose means by “Introversion & Otherness” for herbalists, you’ll need to be sure and read her latest column, as usual the issue’s concluding words.

Crucial is Roger Wicke’s classic tome “The Right to Practice,” greatly expanded and updated by Roger here especially for you Plant Healer readers.  Everyone practicing or intending to practice herbalism in the current regulatory climate would greatly benefit by this information, including the necessary strategies for avoiding prosecution for “practicing medicine without a license.” Ignoring the threat won’t make it go away, make sure you take the steps needed to protect yourself and your business of helping others.

Juliet Interviewed

Juliet Blankespoor is also the subject of this issue’s Plant Healer Interview.  Read about her life and lessons, and benefit from her advice and tips.  The complete conversation can be found in the first volume of the book 21st Century Herbalists, now shipping.

New Herbal Conferences Guide

Included this issue is a special 23 page long Conferences Guide penned by myself, Rosemary Gladstar and a large number of other conference organizers, describing a number of annual events for herbalists that you may want to consider attending this year.  Part of the mission of both Plant Healer and the Rendezvous is to inspire, seed, assist and support the strengthening of the herbal community far and wide, and this includes helping instigate and publicize conferences besides our own.  As the Guide explains, it would great if we could all go to several different venues each year, but with limited time and funds it’s a good idea to decide what our educational and social needs are, and which venues serve these needs best.  The guide is also being released separately as a free Ebook, in your Plant Healer bonuses and in general release.

If perchance you aren’t a subscriber yet, you can sign up now at:

At the bottom of this post is a sneak peek at the Summer Issue’s table of contents.  We release the issue this issue on June 3rd, always the first Monday of the month.  Enjoy, and thrive!

Love, Wolf (and Kiva!)

Summer Contents:

Jesse Wolf Hardin: Emulation, Competition & Distinction
Paul Bergner, Rosemary Gladstar & Rosalee de la Foret: Cascade Anderson Geller
Phyllis Light: Healing The Heart – Grief is No Fun
Frida Kahlo: Art Poster: The Green Energy of Healing
Juliet Blankespoor: Flora Julietta: The Ecology Of Estrogen In The Female Body
Jesse Wolf Hardin: Needs & Goals: What It Means To Be An Herbalist
Zephyr: Art Poster: Creative Release
Sam Coffman: Algerita (Berberis trifoliolata): S.W. Food & Medicine
Virginia Adi: The Archeopharmacy Of The Poppy: Let’s Talk About Opium!
Sophia Rose: False Solomon’s Seal – Maianthemum Racemosum
7Song: Lamiaceae: The Marvelous Mint Family
Susun Weed: Wise Woman Ways: Oily Edible Seeds
Arthur Rackham: Art Poster: Elda Mor
Corinne Boyer: For The Love of Plant Lore: The Elder Tree
Jim McDonald: Foundational Actions: Relaxants
Matthew Wood: Lymph-Immune System – Part IV
John Slattery: Traditions In Focus: Doña Olga Ruiz – La Yerbera Pajarera
Jesse Wolf Hardin: Lydia Pinkham: Grandmother of Herbal Marketing 1819-1883
Erin Piorier: Introduction To Tongue Assessment For The Western Herbalist
Katja Swift: Clinical Skills: Illustrated in Case Studies – Part II
Sam Coffman: The Herbal Medic: Herbal Management of Open Wounds
Herbal Conference Guide
Jesse Wolf Hardin: Selecting & Making Plans To Attend Events for Herbalists
Rosemary Gladstar & More: The Herbal Conference Experience
Sabrina Lutes: A Mother’s Healing Basket: Beyond The First Year
Kristine Brown: Kids As Herbalists: The Herbs of Summer
Amber Swift: Make Your Own Lotion!
Samuel Thayer: Sugar Woods: The Maple Syrup Experience
Wendy “Butter” Petty: Foods For The Field
Christophe Bernard: Growing Medicinal Plants – Part II: Know Your Land & Soil
Catherine Skipper: Healing Plants With Plants: Part 1 – Natural Plant Cultivation
Loba: Using Wild Grape Leaves
Christa Sinadinos: Herbal Honey Preparations
Melanie Pulla: Purpose Based Herbalism: Uncovering The Brand of You
Wendy Hounsel: Bridge-Walking: Herbalism, Nursing, & The Need To Work Together
Cat Lane: Challenges & Rewards of The Animal Herbalist
Roger Wicke: The Right To Practice Herbology: Legal History & Basis
Dante Gabriel Rossetti: Art Poster: Summer Spell
Kiva Rose Hardin: Luminarias: Reflections On “21st Century Herbalists”
Plant Healer Interview: Juliet Blankespoor
Jesse Wolf Hardin: The Medicine Bear: Novel of Adventure & Plant Medicine–Part VII
Kiva Rose Hardin: Witch at The Edge of The Woods: Introversion & Otherness in The Herbalist


(Please RePost & Forward…. thank you!)

May 192013

21st Century Herbalists Book Now Shipping

The first shipments of our new book 21st Century Herbalists have mailed out, with more following soon, and everyone should have theirs soon.  As some of you have already gotten to see, Wolf put a lot of work into the questions and the respondents shared both their wisdom and their personal stories.  Please do let me know how you like them and what your favorite parts are (as well as whether or not we can quote you): Write Wolf and I at:

Limited Edition Selling Out

There are less than 100 copies left of the Limited Edition hardcover versions, and soon only the regular paperbacks will be available.  Order in the next few weeks to have a chance of getting one of the few cloth bound copies before they sell completely out:

40% Wholesale Discount

If you have an herb related business, retail website or catalog, I encourage you to stock and resell some, to help spread the herbal inspiration.  I can give a full 40 percent discount on orders of 10 or more, plus actual shipping.  Write me at:

Free Review Copies

I will send this book free to the first few folks who let me know they will write and publish a review of our collection of herbalist interviews in a popular magazine, newsletter, or blog with a large readership.  Reviews should be from 1200 to 2500 words in length, describing some of the content as well as the stories and information you found most useful or insightful.  Email us to tell us 1. Where your review will be published, 2. The size of the readership, 3.  Why you look forward to writing about this book, and 4. Your snail-mail address.  We’ll give you a full digital copy to read and review, and once the review has been published you can request a paper copy as well.  Write:

Thank you!

Kiva Rose

May 042013

The Folk Herbal Tribe

by Jesse Wolf Hardin

Whether we realize it or not, we are – as clinicians, gardeners, foragers, medicinal plant conservationists, botanists, plant illustrators, students as well as teachers of plant medicine – all constituent members of an herbal community. This is true even if we mainly do our work or pursue our passion alone, happen to feel like outsiders, avoid herbal events, or treat only family and friends. We are qualified by virtue of our interests, focus, calling or commitment… and if we identify with the group, we belong. No vetting or voting required. It is our community, because of what we share in common.

The word “community” itself comes from the Latin communis, meaning “common”. It is thus, that the warp and weft binding the strands of any village or culture together are made of those things its residents and participants share – such as either place or purpose, interests or needs, traditions or goals, and almost always a shared body of ideas that profoundly affect both the ways we members live, and the quality of our lives. The more definitive those shared elements are, the more cohesive and usually smaller a grouping becomes, including identification with families, geographical regions, subcultures, associations, trades… and tribes.

Kid members of the Herbal Resurgence tribe

Reclaiming The Term


tribe |trīb| noun
1 a social division consisting of people linked by social, economic, religious or other ties, with a common culture and dialect.
2. informal family

Thriving within the larger herbal community is a readily recognizable subculture that is nothing less than tribal: a self-defined and self-determined Folk Herbal Tribe! What else to call this clearly informal but ultimately intimate family of plant healers and tradition keepers? Our social links are irrefutable, drawn to one another in an alliance of purpose and priorities, sensibilities and celebration. We support each other financially or by promoting each other’s work, contributing to a shared folk herbalist economy that increases the odds of us being able to survive doing what we love. There exists what could be called a spiritual commonality amongst us, regardless of whether we are Christian, Pagan, Animist, or Atheist – recognition of some kind of “chi,” “anima” or “vital force” that largely determines one’s health and healing capacities, and a sense of something powerful and mysterious that enlivens, fuels and inspires our relationship to the herbs and to each other. We have our own, plant-informed and slightly irreverent, dialect that folks outside the tribe no doubt scratch their heads over. And we identify with a particular culture made up of the healing systems, principles, modalities, music, literature and art of folk herbalism past and present.

Some of you might object, thinking that “tribe” refers exclusively to Native American groups, and that it could be cultural appropriation to use the term. In fact, the word comes from the Latin tribus, referring to the original three divisions of the peoples of Rome, and was only much later applied to Native American societies by the invading colonial powers. These so-called “Indians” have actually long preferred to refer to themselves as nations. Or, it may be that you’ve been influenced by the way “tribalism” has been equated with “factionalism” in the vernacular of the government and the news media, blaming tribal interests for divisive conflicts in places like Central Africa where tribal loyalties have proven stronger than any hoped-for national identity. And it’s true that traditional tribes in some parts of the world enforce a rigid moral standard and dress code, seek to keep women subservient or underrepresented, and act as a damper on individual creativity and choice. Yet at the same time, tribes are banks of cultural diversity, endangered languages and dialects, earth-centered and ecologically motivated values and behaviors. And in the case of the Folk Herbal tribe, it provides a home for kindred souls, some of whom may have felt out of place, unrecognized or unfulfilled elsewhere, active co-creators of an encouraging alliance of healing priorities, culture and mission.

Komi Girls

From the late 1800s until roughly the 1950s, the conventional anthropological assumption was that tribes were homogenous groupings of people practicing the same rituals, speaking the same language, residing in the same homeland, with a prescribed belief system and following the same leader, and it was said to be highly parochial with a narrow outlook and limited scope. Upon closer study, however, researchers found that there are many examples of traditional and historic tribes whose members practice different rituals, speak different languages, look to different leadership, and incorporate a broad range of perspectives and beliefs. In addition, in recent times, tribal members may reside geographically far apart from one another, and apart from any ancestral lands their kind ever claimed. In actuality, tribes are often characterized by fluid boundaries and heterogeneity, are seldom parochial, and generally dynamic.

According to anthropologist Elman Service, human societies can be classified based on the degree of relative inequality (stratification, control, restriction and repression). By this reckoning, Hunter/Gatherer bands are usually the least oppressive and most egalitarian, with Service listing Tribes a close second due to “limited instances of individual prestige and social rank.” More unequal are supposedly “advanced” societies, where members are expected to follow and obey chosen chieftains. And the worst offender of all is our much vaunted civilization – from the rule of royalty over peasants, to the modern state with its increasingly effective and oppressive systems of surveillance and regulation.

The Folk Herbal Tribe esteems individuals for their accomplishments, knowledge, compassion and honor, but does not and will not ever obey the dictates of a single person – elected or not – nor do its constituents uniformly base their actions and work on the pronouncements of organizations or agencies. Children are respected, and women herbalists are readily considered at least as wise and effective as men. The impoverished are considered equal to those having ample financial resources. Members of this tribe do not follow officials or chieftains… they follow positive examples instead.

There are no bylaws, nor rules beyond mutual respect, and incidences of perceived disrespect are dealt with by those involved rather than by anyone supposedly in authority. Constructive divergence and disagreement is encouraged. There are no requirements to meet in order to belong, other than personally ensuring one’s own authenticity, focus and sincerity. One need only share some of the tribe’s plant-inspired interests, values, passions, and priorities, identify with this blessedly disparate group, and participate or contribute in whatever individual ways that one desires.

Sami Tribal Life

Inclusivity & Diversity

It is for the above reasons that this tribe attracts, houses, and helps to weave into its fabric those with decades of experience as well as folks just now learning the craft, and conservative rural traditionalists as well as tradition-shattering radicals and urban free-clinic volunteers. For all its adamant informalism, the tribe is a welcome home not just to kitchen herbalists, grannywives, and wild eyed herbal visionaries, but also to formally trained clinicians, to the lettered, registered and perhaps someday certified, to business minded herbal entrepreneurs and the most sober-headed practitioners. Many of the attendees of the Herbal Resurgence Rendezvous have been professionals, established academics and scientists, even if – admittedly – they are the most mission driven or Gaia inspired, down to earth or enchanted, obsessed or impassioned, unconventional or free thinking of their ilk.

The Folk Herbal Tribe is open to all. We should note that it does not, however, purport to include everyone involved in herbalism. While no one is excluded, people self-select. Some herbalists identify with a different expression of the craft, may be leery of freeform movements or uncomfortable with extreme diversity, and for whatever reasons choose to see themselves as outside of the tribe. For them, Folk Medicine of any kind may be associated with superstition or a lack of education, rather than valuing it as “medicine of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

It is healthy that membership be entirely voluntary and develop totally naturally, calling those of like heart and focus, responding to common threats, sharing basic hopes and dreams. A tribe can be an opportunity to recover the most meaningful aspects of human relationship and purpose. And for the Folk Herbal Tribe, it is a purpose grounded in healing, sustained and furthered by herbal folks… people consciously grounded, interactive, and closely connected even if we often live far apart.

Brazil Tribe

Connection, Range & Recognition

Unlike many historic tribes, ours does not tend towards a particular fashion when it comes to either our clothing or thinking, and members can be dressed in anything from fairy skirts to lab coats, Green Man tunics, army surplus pants, goth tees, dress shirts or farmer’s coveralls. Without a uniform style, it could be hard to tell who belongs and who doesn’t, but not so! For all our differences, we know each other at the deepest levels as being part of something bigger than us all, pledged to a shared covenant, direction, quest. We can see it in each others eyes, in the ways we interact, and in what we each do. Something inside lights up, communicating “hey, that person over there is one of us!” We may feel related to all of humanity, and I personally sense at the deepest levels my connection to the whole of this awesome living earth… but that said, we likely feel a special tingle when we meet those who are most inspired by what we are most inspired by, devoted to that which we, also, are devoted to. Because of how you hold a flower, examine a leaf, or smile as you sniff an herbal lotion – I am readily able to recognize you, seeing myself in you, and you in myself.

We need that gift of recognition, given that herbalists and plant people are now scattered thinly throughout the populations of the world. Because we are spread wide, we may reside miles away from the nearest other herbalist, or many states away from our dearest of allies.

It is the nature of a tribe that its members be drawn to live in relatively close proximity, interacting with each others’ children, cooperating on mutually fulfilling projects, helping one another, sharing our daily lives with others of our kind. It is sad, on one hand, that the Folk Herbal Tribe do not share a region, inhabit adjoining lands, work together on community herbal gardens and the job of habitat and species restoration, coordinate on the building of earthy healing-hearted schools for our children and grandchildren to join in attending. On the other hand, it seems true to nature’s needs and program, that the planet’s folk healers and land-lovers be spread thin across a wide range, so that hopefully no region or neighborhood is without an herbalist, and no public land unloved or unprotected anywhere.

Historic Native American tribes would often split up, with smaller bands ranging far and wide for much of each year. The reason for this, was that the land could not sustain too large a group for long in a single place, while bands that had dispersed can bring back a variety of needed resources from the different landscapes they spread out to. Big-time parties would be held at prescribed times, marking the return of these bands, the reuniting of friends and relatives, the opportunity to trade goods and services and develop alliances, and to meet and court a desirable sweetie. In a similar way, the bonds between the families and bands, pacts and posses of the Folk Herbal Tribe are restored by periodic gatherings such as the Herbal Resurgence Rendezvous, a sharing of information and downright celebration.

The Tribal Commitment

We are each part of the larger herbal community, automatically, by default, by our very nature, and whether we like to think of ourselves that way or not. Membership in the Folk Herbal Tribe, however, is not automatic, and certainly doesn’t kick in by default. When and where it begins is at the point that we identify with it – whether we do so in solitude, or at an event in the company of those we “recognize.” It deepens with the relationships we form within it, the friendships, alliances, business arrangements, and romances. And it is manifest in the ways we interact, contribute, and participate.

Tribe is not simply a spontaneous conglomeration, or even just a natural conduit and hub. It is a purposeful product of its co-creators, of the whole of its informal membership. While it dissipates with disinterest, it increases equal to our interest and involvement, intensifies with our excitement, and is sustained by our commitments to it. It can give so well to us, only because we give back to it.

We may hear commitments referred to in a negative light, or cast as restrictions as in “I can’t do what I really want in life, due to commitments to my job/husband/wife/kids.” More helpfully, a commitment is a moment to moment choice in which – every second – one decides to re-promise themselves to a person, place, purpose and so forth. It is not a feel-good New Year’s resolution meant to be forgotten the next day, it is a pledge of support and sustenance that we do everything possible to fulfill… though only for so long as it feels right.

Tribal Kurdish

Our commitments matter, because the well-being of what we commit to matters. Our most essential commitments are:

1. To ourselves… our authenticity, our real needs, our continuing education and growth, our purpose and fulfillment. Only when we are nourished, our bullshit processed, our dreams honored, can we hope to be very effective at deeply helping anyone else.
2. To the land and its entire community of life forms… to the plants that provide our medicines and our food. In an interview I conducted with visionary herbalist David Hoffman, he pointed out that “we become the problem” instead of the antidote, cure or relief, unless we make a strong commitment to what I’d described as “furthering the agenda of helping people and the planet.”
3. To the tribe… through our willingness to learn and happiness to teach. Through our medicines in their many forms, sometimes including the sharing of difficult to hear realities or insights. Through our support of each others’ efforts and work, the encouragement of their personal expression and individual role and contribution. And through our demonstrative loyalty.

What does it mean to be loyal to who and what matters most to us? At what point does something that we do, become a betrayal of what we are most connected and committed to?

Larken Bunce, Kiva Hardin, & Stephany Hoffelt at the Herbal Resurgence tribal rendezvous

Kiva and I have pledged our lasting loyalty to the plants, to our family and the wild Anima Sanctuary, to our Plant Healer writers and readers, our Herbal Resurgence teachers, sponsors and especially participants, to the integrity and aims of our mission, and to every folk herbalist and plant lover who is in turn loyal to their plant tribe. Loyalty sustains and extends what love seeds. If not to blood, then to a vision and purpose. If not to nation, than to tribe. If not to institutions, then to healing roots, meadow and heather… and to this work we so gladly and passionately do together.


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Apr 222013

21st Century Herbalists Book

Special Wholesale Offer

Herbalist Interviews Books Shipping Soon


We just got word from our printers that softcover versions of our new interviews book “21st Century Herbalists” are finished and on their way to us, with the Limited Edition hardcovers following shortly thereafter.  We’re excited to soon be able to start shipping copies out to all of you who preordered!

Please Consider Selling Copies Yourself

Do you have an Herbal Store, Clinic, or Mail Order Catalog where you could help me distribute 21st Century Herbalists?  Do you table at conferences or health fairs?

Or do you have a minute to recommend this book to the manager of your local herb store or whole foods store, please?

For the first time ever, we are offering one of our book titles at a wholesale price, a 40% discount on orders of 10 or more.

You can help in getting these wonderful in-depth conversations out beyond our circle of community.  You can make 40 cents on the dollar, while affirming and informing existing practitioners, and inspiring more new folks to get more involved in the field of herbalism.

21st Century Herbalists

Doug Elliott – 21st Century Herbalists –

Rosemary Gladstar & Mom – 21st Century Herbalists –

Simply drop me an email, letting me know 1. How many copies you’d like (10 minimum); 2. Your name or business name and physical shipping address.  I’ll respond by sending you an invoice that includes the actual shipping charges to wherever you are are, and get you your books and quickly as possible: <>

You can also order a single Limited Edition Hardcover for $39 by going

Thank you so much for helping, we’re very grateful!

–Kiva Rose


(Repost and Share please)

Apr 152013

A Daily Devotion:  Passion, Purpose, & Practice for the Herbalist

by Kiva Rose Hardin

“You too can be carved anew by the details of your devotion”
Mary Oliver

“It takes long practice, yes. You have to work. Did you think you could snap your fingers, and have it as a gift? What is worth having is worth working for.”
-Philip Pullman, His Dark Materials

Ni Sasih by Dullah

I have frequent discussions with my students in which they’re struggling to understand how they can fit into what they see as the role of an herbalist. Some may base it more on a clinician model, while others have been more influenced by a village wise woman archetype. Either, and anything in between, can work wonderfully if that’s the role that best suits the individual and their context. The trouble comes when someone realizes they don’t fit into any known role, even those they look up to the most. For some, this understanding can be enough for them to simply walk away from herbalism thinking that they don’t belong, and for others it can preface a long struggle of trying to force themselves into a mold they just don’t fit.

Not everyone is cut out to be an herbalist, and some of us realize on our journey that a different aspect of the green world works better for us. However, if we adore practicing herbalism, but struggle with feeling like we don’t fit the models of herbalists we see around us, then we need to find a new model that is unique to suited to us.

I’ve certainly experienced this myself, and have spent long hours in despair over my aversion working in an office like a proper clinician, or conversely, my inability to entirely abandon a scientific perspective when treating people. I have many role models in the herbal community, but I’ve still struggled to find where I fit, and what exactly I have to offer. I see expert clinicians with backgrounds in nutrition and biochemistry and can’t see any way to catch up to their knowledge, or the effortless grace of the wise woman who doesn’t seem to need to work at all in order to cultivate intimacy and trust with those she works with. These kinds of comparisons are not only useless, but often harmful to ourselves and those we’re comparing ourselves to as we foster an attitude of useless competition and potential resentment and envy of someone else’s gifts and skills.

A common fear is that everything we offer is already being done by someone else, and likely being done better. This kind of thinking can cause mental paralysis, shutting down our ability to write about plants, make medicines, or even practice. I don’t know many herbalists who haven’t dealt with this at some point, and it can be difficult to remember how much we each have to offer to each other, the folks we work with, and the community as a whole.

It helps me a great deal to remind myself that herbalism is not just a science or a trade, it’s also an art. And like art, we each have something unique to offer that can’t be replicated by others. When ten different herbalists write monographs about Rose there will certainly be notable overlaps, especially when it comes to general therapeutic applications, but I know from experience that there will also be an incredible number of differences and individual subtleties. These differences combine to create a greater body of knowledge, and a deeper legacy of wisdom and beauty for herbalists to come!

The Medicine & The Muse: Follow Your Interests

Remember that our interests will develop over time, adapt to our lives, and sometimes outright change. While it can certainly be a bad idea to radically alter our lives for every impulsive venture, too many of us are more likely to get stuck in stagnant practices that no longer serve our selves and our work.

In the last few years I found myself increasingly frustrated with strictly clinical work. To be honest, when I first started experiencing feelings of dread every time I even thought about seeing a client, I thought I might be done with herbalism altogether. After many tears and months rife with self-doubt, I’ve come to realize that it’s not possible or even good for me to try to stick myself in a single category of herbalism. I find myself much happier if I follow the meandering flow of my interests, and integrate them as I go along instead of trying to freeze myself into just being a clinician. These days you’re as likely to find me perfecting a new botanical perfume, grinding fragrant resins for incense, photographing a newly opened flower, or brewing up a medicinal mushroom based soup as studying neurophysiology or treating a client.

One of the things I have long loved about herbalism is its innately multifaceted nature that can incorporate everything from botany to cooking, sensory pleasures to clinical therapeutics, counseling to gardening. All of this, and much more, are important parts of the larger pictures of herbalism. Some of us serve in specific niche roles, such as growing and propagating at-risk medicinal plants, while others work as broad generalists to integrate many fields of study into one life of art and practice.

The important thing is not to get stuck in one spot and feel limited by what we’ve chosen, but instead, to constantly follow what we love and feel passionately interested in. Every day we have the choice to expand or contract, dig in or move on. In this ever evolving and growing field, we too are forever falling back into the dark to re-germinate before spiraling upward to the sun.

Envisioning: Periodically Reassessing Goals & Dreams

In the midst of harvesting, medicine making, seeing clients, teaching, writing, studying, and the multitude other tasks that accompany this work, it’s easy to become so overwhelmed with attempting to stay caught up that we don’t notice we may have lost our love for the daily devotions of herbalism. In my own practice, I’ve found it extremely helpful to take periodic looks at what I’m doing, how I’m doing, and how I feel about it.  Running on auto-pilot is bound to happen at times, but when we notice that we no longer have our heart in what we’re doing, it’s time to reassess.

Ideally, we have a planned time for the assessment each year, most likely in the Winter when work is often a bit slower, and it feels most natural to dive inwards. Life doesn’t always follow our version of what should happen though, so we may sometimes need to take an unplanned time out. If we’ve previously written down our goals, needs, and dreams, then it’s fairly simple – although not always easy – to compare our current ideas and ideals with the past and see what aligns, what needs to change, and plot a course in that direction. If we’ve never taken the time to really think this through, it may be a much bigger project to honestly examine our desires and abilities.

For many of us, this whole process is made much easier by stepping away from our normal routine, environment and work while we reassess. Retreating to the woods for a weekend or heading to a location in nature that especially connects us to our purpose and passion can be perfect, but even simply taking a day away from normal surroundings can be enough to give us a much better idea of where we are and where we want to be. Sometimes, we just need that break and breathing room to realize we absolutely love all that we’re doing, and simply need a little more downtime and self nourishment. Other times, we’ll find that it’s time to make a significant shift that may entail entirely restructuring our lives to find fulfillment and satisfaction.

Devotee of the Green World: The Plant Healer’s Work

It’s taken nearly a decade of relentless obsession, intermittent exhaustion, constant studying, hands on experience, and daily wonderment at the magic of plant medicine – for me to finally realize that the key to being fulfilled in my work lies in my daily rededication to it. It’s as simple as that, the understanding that all the work I do is an act of devotion to the land, the plants, and the people. It’s not a race, it’s not compensation for guilt, it’s not even about being a good person.

It’s this simple act of fragrant flowers petals falling into waiting water, of holding someone’s hand while they breathe through their pain, of kissing the leaves of the Alder tree in gratitude for this medicine. This practice, this devotion, this prayer.

Mar 252013

Reflections by Kiva Rose

Inspired by the Book “21st Century Herbalists”

I took the opportunity to reread all the amazing conversations in our new book, “21st Century Herbalists,” and it makes me feel stronger than ever about what these practitioners’ teaching, lives and stories offer to us all.

Luminarias are paper lanterns common to my beloved Southwest, a simple candle set in sand inside a brown paper bag, usually set in rows on the rooftops or lining a road or walkway. It’s been a huge gift to my partner Wolf and I, to be able to shine a light on the many pathways of herbalism… and on many of the diverse talents in this field, people who have given so much to the world through their healing, wildcrafting and teaching.

Ryan Drum, Herbalist with Broadleaf Kelp

We seek to help give voice to a sampling of those amazing folks who are either younger or under-recognized… as well those wizened elders and what we laughingly call the “rock stars,” drawing knowledge and personal stories out of them that may have never before been shared. We’ve done this by featuring them in Plant Healer Magazine, by hosting them to teach at Herbal Resurgence Rendezvous, and most recently through the first in what will be a series of books containing extensive, personal, and uncommonly revealing interviews: “21st Century Herbalists.” This and future volumes will feature fascinating conversations between Wolf and twenty-one of the most compelling practitioners of our times. For herbalists like David Hoffman, it‘s been a chance to “stir the pot.” For some including Matt Wood, it’s the opportunity to address and define his legacy for the first time. For the reader, it’s a chance to share in their trusting intimacies, herbal tales and tips alongside the inspiring example of their lives.

Doug Elliott, herbalist –

David Hoffmann, Visionary Herbalist 1970

Not only can these herbalists pass on knowledge to us, but they also serve as valuable role models in a time and culture that can be difficult indeed as we continuously find and define our own herbal path. As Wolf aptly points out in the introduction to 21st Century Herbalists:

“Make no mistake. A role model isn’t somebody that we’re expected to imitate. It is, rather, a person whose role – their assignment, purpose, mission and means – inspires us to seek our own unique role and service in our lives… and our optimum personal place in the diverse and evolving field of plant medicine.”

I see the herbalists that I’ve learned from and look up to as luminaries themselves, as numinous lights that can point the way through an impasse, a challenge, or questions I can’t yet answer. Sometimes we all have to find our way through the dark on our own, but in times as dark as ours can be, we need the light of each others’ help and inspiration. The plants themselves – as well as the earth as a whole – can provide enormous amounts of guidance, but nothing replaces the human touch, hand to hand, as we learn the healing arts. This doesn’t have to come in the form of formal schooling or a specific mentor, it can just as easily be the herbal cooperative we work with, a local study group, or the nearest gardening-obsessed neighbor.

David Hoffmann 2010

Reading through the finished book again, I’m fascinated to see how many similar messages and ideas came through from these geographically disparate herbalists, some of whom have never met any of the others. It’s heartening to observe how much we agree with each other on the fundamentals of healing and working with plants, despite many differences on the surface. One of the primary messages that seems to come through time and time again from these experienced herbalists is how vital it is for each of us to engage our work and passion fully and personally. As Rosemary Gladstar so eloquently put it in her interview:

“While I think it’s great that there are schools, curriculums, teachers and apprentice programs, online courses, and every other type of educational opportunity one could wish for, herbalism really is a ‘self-study’. It’s really about people engaging and interacting with the plants themselves. The best teacher is one, in my mind, who can help open the key to one’s own well of knowledge, stimulate interest, and then says, “here, go drink, inhale it in!”


Some of the best herbalists I know of are ‘self-trained’. Look at most of these brilliant young herbalists out there in the world today. They are wildcrafters in the true sense; wild spirited, collecting seeds from here and there, gathering this and that, and weaving it together into a delicious colorful fabric of their own making, their own distilled green wisdom gathered from the four corners. It’s eclectic and free spirited, edgy like these times…” –Rosemary Gladstar





Phyllis Hogan & girls 1972






Another sentiment oft repeated by the folks interviewed – regardless of their background in science, traditional herbalism, or both – is the strong belief that herbalism, science, and conventional healthcare can work together in a productive manner that allows for more healing than any one of these elements can in isolation. There are few better qualified to speak on this subject than traditional Appalachian herbalist, Phyllis Light, who has also worked in conventional healthcare, and has served a wide range of clients since her late teens:

“I love folk medicine and I love science and don’t see the two as mutually exclusive. A good folk herbalist is a keen scientist using observational skills to gather information about an hypothesis and using reasoning skills to work through the hypothesis. If you are an herbalist in practice, you probably do this quite often whether you realize it or not.”Phyllis Light





Mary Boone & Phyllis Hogan 1983






A question that was asked over and over again of the interviewees was about their own definition of healing, and why they do what they do, as Wolf looked to dig deeper into the heart of this work we all love so much. Some people were able to reply without hesitation, while others had to think long and hard before responding. Personally, I find myself constantly amending my answers in my own head, as my ongoing experiences shift and alter the exact way in which I define my work and how I do it. What doesn’t change is the underlying motivation for why I do this, why I continue to write and teach and treat with the assistance of the plants and the land I live with.

Susun Weed in the day

Susun Weed & Justine

One of the replies I found especially interesting on the role of healers in our culture came from renowned herbalist, David Hoffman:

“I see the role of healers (in the broadest sense) as mitigating the suffering that is inherent in the changes our world is traversing and the culture’s response. The system cannot (or will not) be meaningfully changed. The need is to create viable alternatives to the brutalism of the fascist form of capitalism that is stomping its jackboots on all of life. I have no idea what comes after “the storm”, but we herbalists have much to contribute in the minimizing of the trauma of the transition we are in.”David Hoffman

At times, the sheer volume of devastation, pain, sadness, and despair we healers face on a daily basis can be overwhelming to the point of paralysis. And yet, the very plants we work with can prove to be an incredible source of strength and inspiration. I’ve long looked to pavement cracking Dandelions as role models for revolution and to the persistent clinging of Ivy as a reminder of just how far tenacity can take us. Another source of joy, motivation, and even comfort comes from the very work we do, and the role we play in our communities, families and even our own health.

Ours is the work of not only giving ease to the hardships and ills of daily life but also of gifting each other with an essential reconnection between ourselves and our body, human and human, human and plants, human and planet. Clinician and educator, Bevin Clare, spoke so eloquently to this topic in her interview that I found myself in tears several times while reading it, and I couldn’t agree more:

“I believe that people are called to do this work we do. It may take people a lifetime to listen to the calling, or they may have something else to do to prepare them, but I believe that we find each other and we find this work because it is the calling we each have… It’s a bit self-important to say that the earth and the creatures on the earth need us right now but I think herbalists may be part of the solution if there is one.” -Bevin Clare

We are both the medicine makers and the medicine, and we have so much to offer each other and our communities. I hope that we’re able to slow down and deeper listen to each other, to take in the important stories, the inspiring struggles, the great joys, and the growing wisdom passed down from one generation to the next. The common message of the “21st Century Herbalists” book, I’ve come to realize, is that it’s time for us to each in our own ways help guide herbalism through the encroaching dark, bringing healing to a hurting world with the power and grace of the giving land itself, walking forward as lights.


Order soon to be sure to receive one of the special Limited Edition hardcover versions of 21st Century Herbalists, $39 each, at:

*NOTE: If you have an herbal store or products catalog, I’d love it if you’d consider purchasing a batch of the softcover version at a 40% discount, for resale there. Please give Wolf and I a write at:

(Thank you so much for your support and involvement in the good work… and for sharing and RePosting this blog)