Have you ever asked yourself the question, “how do I decide which herbs to use?”
Have you ever been totally overwhelmed while standing in a health food store staring (gawking!) at an overflowing shelf, an entire wall of tinctures, teas, syrups, juices, extracts, infusions, powders, poultices, soaks, bathes, etc?
Have you ever looked in an herb book (or worse on google!) and found a really long list of herbs that could be used for this or that?
Seriously, have you ever done a google search for “anti inflammatory herbs”? When I did that just now, I found dozens. One site listed 22! Some are “right in your cupboard”, some are “super foods that we can’t live without”, some are “scientifically proven” and others are “traditional” remedies from TCM or Ayurveda or whatever.
So, how do you decide? When there is SO much information available, how do you know?
My answer to this question is the backbone of the Urban Herb School, in fact ALL my herbal work, all my healing work (as a practitioner and as a client). It has directed my spiritual growth and practice for almost a decade now.
And it’s something that I see as a huge gap in the herb world (I don’t mean the plants, but the industry). It’s missing from most books, most herb schools, all naturopathic programs. It’s the piece that simply can not be seen through the lens that views plants as objects, as chemical factories to be taken and used wherever and whenever we decide.
For me, my primary consideration almost every time (95/100 times) is my personal relationship with the plant.
This missing piece is…
Our Direct Relationships with the Living Intelligence of the Natural World, (or as a short hand) Plants.
I hope I didn’t lose you there. I know that can be a lot to take in.
“A man has not seen a thing who has not felt it” Henry David Thoreau
And if that hurt a bit, then I apologize for this next bit. You might want to look away.
You see, I’m not just referring to the trust relationship that a craftsperson develops with their tools, though this is a very important part of it. The more we use our plant medicines, the more we learn about when and where they work vs. when and where they haven’t.
What I want to assert is that we can learn directly from plants, we can develop plant allies. It’s not even that hard to do.
And this is SO important because it becomes our measuring stick.
This is how we have KNOWLEDGE about plant medicines and not just information about plants.
Through Direct Communications we EXPERIENCE the plants rather than just learning about them. These relationships are as real and dynamic as with any of our human or animal friends.
KNOWLEDGE + EXPERIENCE = EMPOWERMENT
What I’m sharing here is the heart of the Herbal Integration Course (HIC) offered by the UHS. And as I said, it’s the heart of all the healing work that I do. This is why this course came to be, why the Urban Herb School exists, and what I’m here to do. A huge piece of my work is supporting the return to this way of relating to plants as a way to support the global shift back to balance with Earth (and all It’s life forms).
I’d like to add 1 more thing about the HIC so that you can get a clear picture of it.
I’m also an incredibly practical person. Praxis (theory in action) is key to this program. While half of the classes are spent in the field, the other half are spent in the lab/kitchen making remedies, applying the knowledge we’ve gained from our experiences and empowering ourselves by building the most incredible medicine cabinets (“apothecaries”).
And from these tool kits, we treat our kids, our friends, our families in a way that helps not just their bodies, but starts to repair their relationships with the living intelligence of the world around them also.
“Once you see it, you know it was there all the time. So why is it all such a big deal? And why do we keep forgetting” Dale Pendell
strength & wisdom.