Herbs are the people’s medicine.
One of the reasons I began herbal studies was to begin (continue) decolonizing my relationship to the land. I’m thankful the lineage of herbal studies in which I’ve been steeped is about the recovery of the ancient, even indigenous, knowledge of the ancestors from the lands I originally came from, currently known as western Europe and particularly England, Scotland, and Ireland. The herbs in our materia medica (our “medicinal stuff”) are ones my ancestors would have known and loved, with stories to go with them.
I honor my first teacher, Tonja Reichley, and the herbal lineage I trained in which includes Gina McGarry, Rosemary Gladstar, and Juliette de Bairacli Levy. Our tradition is the wisdom/folk tradition, honoring many ways of knowing including intuition.
My Materia Medica includes:
Elder (flower & berry)
These are good friends…some of them are best friends and some I’m totally in love with (or they’re in love with me?). They all want to be our allies.
When I’m able, I harvest herbs locally: in our own garden, friends’ gardens, and urban wild spaces, though rarely in the wild to honor ecosystems. Otherwise, I endeavor to obtain herbs and other supplies from reputable sources.
Note: White herbalism in the US is rife with theft from and appropriation of indigenous peoples and their healing traditions (which included/includes herbal healing as a form of resistance against white supremacist violence). I continue to learn about this and want to be held accountable when I make mistakes. I do not use, personally or for sale, herbs such as white sage, sweetgrass, palo santo, and osha for this reason.
Additionally, though cannabis is a powerful herbal medicine and “legal” where I live, I do not believe it ethical for me as a white person to make money using an herb whose criminalization has resulted in so many people of color being imprisoned. Reparations first.