The what, why and how of Herbal medicine

Updated: Jun 17, 2020

As a community herbalist and educator I am often asked questions about the efficacy of herbs, how herbal medicine differs from modern medicine, and what exactly lights me up about using herbs.

It's the history, the deep and varied relationship of chemistry, the visual beauty and so much more that lights me up in a passionate fire to teach this medicine and to educate individuals how to integrate plants into their daily life to promote wellness emotionally, mentally and physically.

The art and science of using plants to promote wellness and prevention comes from cultures around the world. All of these cultures use plants with an emphasis on emotional, mental, and physical health and prevention rather than disease. Information, recipes and formulas are often handed down through families. One of the biggest driving forces behind my education was being handed down my great grandmother and her sisters recipe books. They were midwives in the Rocky Mountain region and they kept meticulous notes on the plants they used, where they were found and how they were used. When I started my formal training to become an herbal educator, the information I learned was very similar to what was held in their professional notes.

Herbal medicine is prepared from fresh living or dried plants, using the flowers, stems, leaves, seeds, bark, roots and rhizomes of the plants. Each plant contains 100's to 1000's of interrelated chemical compounds. It's these compounds and their active chemistry that modern pharma is actually modeled off of. However the effectiveness and safety of herbal medicine is related to the synergy of all of these interrelated compounds working together. Not only that, but their taste, texture, smell and color has a lot to do with how our bodies choose to work with the plants. We have a symbiotic relationship with plants. We rely on the oxygen they release, the food they produce and the shelter they provide. They rely on us for the carbon dioxide we exhale, and at times for our help in their cultivation, care, and protection when they are weak or endangered.

Herbal medicine is about creating and keeping balance in the body, often referred to as homeostasis, which is what the body is always striving for. When herbalists introduce herbs into the diet, the body breaks down the 100's and 1000's of compounds into building blocks the body uses for production of hormones, bone, muscle, tissue, and cells, which it in turn then uses for repairing and restoring its self back to homeostasis. I really can't think of anything more fascinating or really good news, than what's on the end of my fork, can make my body healthy and work the way it was designed.

From sweet and spicy flowers to exotic tasting roots, come join me to see how to incorporate the traditions of herbal medicine and food to improve your wellness game and prevent dis - ease.