What is Community Herbalism?
Herbalism takes many forms and is practiced across the world by a wide range of people. A mother might add herbs to her chicken noodle soup to help a sick child, a western medical doctor may suggest turmeric to help a patient’s inflammation, and a practitioner of Chinese Medicine might make a complicated formula of roots for you to take home and decoct.
Herbs are the common thread throughout these myriad uses, and the way that this knowledge is obtained may come from many paths. Some people come to learn herbs through direct experience, others books or a certificate program, some may study in an apprenticeship or learn about herbs in their naturopathic doctor program.
There is no overarching system of licensing for herbalists so we must be careful how we practice and there is often some confusion about herbal skill levels and how they were obtained. For a more detailed overview of the many ways to become an herbalist (and some of the reason that most herbalists oppose licensure), I recommend checking out the book The Herbalist’s Path. I earned a certificate in herbalism with Rosemary Gladstar and I consider myself a Community Herbalist.
A community herbalist has spent much time with the plants and has used them extensively on themselves and in their family. They have gathered enough knowledge that they are able to share ideas about how to use and prepare herbs for common health concerns with their neighbors and broader community.
A community herbalist does not diagnose health conditions, or prescribe herbal treatments. A community herbalist is a teacher.
In my view, herbalism is The People’s Medicine. It is the medicine that grows at our doorstep. It is the medicine that is readily and easily available and accessible to people of all walks of life. But we do need to know how to identify, harvest, and use the plants and that is why I am here to help.
I believe that all families should have some basic knowledge about herbs to help deal with common first-aid and health concerns. This creates families that are more resilient and confident with their health. It means that we can reserve our time and money in entering the dominant medical system for serious health concerns.
From birth throughout the lifespan, a community herbalist offers loving suggestions, educational wisdom, and empowers people to take their health into their own hands.
I hope to help guide you in the wonderful world of using plants and other gifts from the Earth to assist in your health and wholeness.