All posts filed under: Inspiration

Multiple Means to Meet Medicine

During my interview for Chinese Medicine school, one of the interviewers asked if I had ever had acupuncture or taken Chinese herbs. “Of course! Why else would I be here?” was my response. I thought they were either joking or patronizing, but they looked dead serious. They didn’t respond. I asked if people actually went to school for acupuncture without ever having it, and they replied with, “some people go through school, pass their boards and start practicing without ever having it.” I was shocked. Chinese medicine isn’t the sort of field that people pick with the mentality, “I need a job, so why not do acupuncture?”. As I worked in the herbal dispensary and took Herbology classes, I found that its not entirely rare for students to have never taken the herbs they prescribe. It hit me when I asked my provider if they could make my bulk formula taste a little better. In truth, it tasted a lot like rotten stomach acid mixed with a side of fermented garbage juice – it was …

City of Roses

Rose Best and dearest flower that grows, Perfect both to see and smell; Words can never, never tell Half the beauty of a Rose – Buds tht open to disclose Fold on Fold of purest white, Lovely pink, or that glows Deep, sweet-scented. What a delight To be a Fairy of the Rose! -Cicely Mary Barker Portland calls itself the City of Roses and I must agree that it lives up to its name. Rose bushes adorn meridians and lawns, whole parks are dedicated to hybrid roses. The Rose Test Garden has over 500 variates of roses in just about any color you could imagine. The Shakespeare Garden is my favorite part of the Test Garden, which only contains plants mentioned in his plays (which makes for lots and lots of culinary and medicinal herbs). Unfortunately, the majority of these test, hybrid roses are lacking the most transcendent, beautiful and impactful quality of roses: scent. What the hybrid roses lack, the wild and forgotten roses more than compensate. They are teeming with the heady, rich, …

Physician, heal thyself

I am at the end of a much-needed three week break from school. Of course, before the end of the term I was already plotting and planning all the wonderful super important and constructive things I would do with the immense amount of free time. Then break arrived. I spent the first three days still doing homework, since I came down with a weird 24-hour bug during finals and fell behind. After that, I threw away my list of things to accomplish and undertook a new plan: relax, rejuvenate and have fun. This is an herbal blog, and yes, there are plenty of herbs for rejuvenation. In another entry, I’ll share my two allies of the moment for just that. But as I grow, so does my relationship with health and my thoughts on healing. All the herbs in the world can’t replace a decent night’s sleep, healthy relationships, creative expression, faith and optimism. Herbs are just one of the many tools we are able to graciously call upon for nutrition (literally and figuratively) and …

A tea when everything’s perfect

Why do I use herbs more when I am sick then when I am well? Perhaps because most of what I know about herbs came from reading about how to help the body in times of illness. At the point at or just prior to the start of a health imbalance, I reach out for more pointed botanical support and either restore vitality or get sick, convalesce and then restore vitality. Herbs help us regain a sense of wholeness, or offer something we are lacking. Even the herbs I use preventativly to build reserves, like the nourishing, vitamin- and mineral-rich plants like nettle, raspberry leaf, alfalfa or even supportive roots such as dandelion, burdock and yellow dock to give me something. Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with the quest for support, well-being, and wholeness. It’s kinda part of the whole point of herbalism. Indeed, there is an inherent need to be engaged with consistently taking care of ourselves with food, rest, exercise and so on, just to make it through the day (otherwise …

Plant ID – Who are these?

I have two plants I cannot identify. I have looked online, to no avail. The lily-ish one looks very familiar, I know it is in a field guide (but I have packed all of my field guides, so I am flying blind here). Anyone know? I love this purple one. It was a vine of some sort, growing close to the ground at one spot and up a shrub in another.

Herbal Aspirations

All this time away from the internet has created a lot of space for reflection. I am a constant question asker, and of course I ask myself questions related to herbalism. One such point of reflection is simply: what are my goals? Attend more conferences. I love conferences. I have gone to a few and always learn a ton. Plus, it is great to be surrounded by all the plant people! I can only be a solitary learner so long before I start craving learning from an actually person, not a book. Here are a few I have my eye on: Medicines from the Earth. I am going this year and can hardly wait. Mid America Herb Symposium. Held in Winona, MN. Women’s Herb Conference. I got to go in 2007, and it was a such a blast! It was good for the soul to be around so many fabulous women herbalist. Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference. I have never been to the Southwest. Now I have even more of a reason to get down …