Respecting our Herbal Elders: a note about how I started my herbalism journey

One of my favorite teachers & elders, Margi Flint (Earthsong Herbals, The Practicing Herbalist), always praises those who have taught her or come before her in the herbal community. I have always found this to be beautiful & necessary. Give credit where credit is due. She calls out & thanks her teachers left and right and encourages us to do so too. I mean, is there any person who hasn't learned something from someone older than them? Maybe not. The point is our elders need to be respected, loved & cared for. They help us get to where were going. They are the links to the knowledge of the recent and ancient past.

And so, as a symbol of respect to my herbal elders who have taught me what I know, I share this article with you...click below for article. 

These are two of my all time favorite plants to work with (Disclaimer: I have about 17 "all time favorite" plants).

Suzanne & Sarah Rose

 

The author is the woman who taught me nearly everything I know about the plants that grow here in the Pacific Northwest: Suzanne Tabert of Cedar Mountain Herb School. This spring, it will have been 8 years since I started taking her apprenticeships. Full disclosure, I carried the info flyer for her classes around like a total nerd for almost 3 years before I was finally ready and able to enroll. I had it carefully folded & it travelled from desk to backpack to purse to wallet. Sometimes, I would take it out from wherever I had safely, tucked it away, unfolding it carefully, reading & re-reading all the things students were going to be learning about. I would think to myself, "This has to mean something, this has to be important, I don't know why or how, but I just know." I wanted to explore herbal medicine options in hopes of curing my eczema, which, at that time had completely taken over my life. So I dove in head first and never looked back.

I was, dare I say it, obsessed with the plants and herbal knowledge and what the plants could do for us. I have always loved plants & learning, but this was completely different. Suzanne teaches students how to apply the medicine of the plants in practical ways. The focus of most classes is on "how to get the medicine IN." My all time favorite lessons were always about how to incorporate herbs and their medicines into your daily meals. Culinary herbal fusion. "Oh, this plant over here? Well, you could make a tea or a tincture...OR you could make jelly with it or roast it and sprinkle it on your salads!" The possibilities are endless... 

Was my eczema cured after one year of study? Two years? no. 4 years? almost. Did I ever think I would end up working for Suzanne, running her farmers market booths & making her product? nope. Could I have even fathomed that one day she would "send me packing" with a pocket full of really amazing herbal formulas & stern but loving kick out the door so that I could start my own herbal-based business? absolutely not! Did I think she would help me every step of the way in my business journey? counseling & advising me and sometimes yelling at me? not really. I honestly consider myself one of the luckiest apprentices to have come through her school. As a continual student, I do my best to keep learning, respect her knowledge & opinions and to respect the time she's put into advancing her own herbal education so that she can be an even better teacher. Infinite 'Thank yous', Suzanne, I love you. 

"We put the WILD in wildcrafting!"

"We put the WILD in wildcrafting!"