When I walked into an herbal apothecary looking for relief from heartburn during my first pregnancy, little did I know that I had discovered a new beginning for myself. Well, I had perhaps heard whispers that peaked my interest in the wisdom of plants over the years, but not yet the jolt to wake me up like this one. After oogling the beautiful jars and bottles on the shelves, and chatting with a compassionate and helpful human being who clearly knew what they were talking about, I left the store with a clear bag filled with dried herbs I had never heard of (marshmallow root tea – how cool does that sound?!), willing to give it a try. In the following days and weeks I made my first loose leaf herbal tea infusions. And I was hooked.
Since then, I have been ravenously seeking out opportunities to learn about herbs. Books, webinars, online courses, in-person workshops, conferences, trainings. And I have learned from the plants. A major turning point for me was an herbal apprenticeship with Jessica Morgan of Morgan Botanicals. Every herbalist has their own relationship to the plants, and Jessica is a horticulturalist. She introduced me to the plants, the actual plants. In a community medicinal herb garden, I got to know the herbs that previously I had only ever used after someone else had harvested, dried and processed them. I could see their size and color and understand if they were sticky or prickly, if they are hard to grow or prolific, and when they are ready to be harvested. Because all of that knowledge helps me understand their medicine better.
Herbalism is such a vast ocean of knowledge and experience. And it can be daunting at first. But it is also very simple to just get your toes wet; and soon the waves will be lapping at your feet and you will be inspired to walk in a little deeper. I am passionate, not just about the wisdom of the plants and knowing how to use them to care for people, but empowering others with that knowledge as well. There was a time when people knew the plants that grew around them and how they could be used, to stave off a cold, heal a wound, calm nervous tension. And now, we are spraying chemicals on dandelions and wasting water to grow weak strains of grass. Nature is simple and it is all around us, if we remember to breathe and let it in. It will nourish you if you let it.
Sarah Cody, MS Ed: Child Development Specialist, Certified Eco-Maternity Consultant, and Family Herbalist