When I see young people moodily pulling leaves off a tree as they walk by, or tearing a flower to bits, what I see is an instinctual – though unconcious – act of herbal self-healing. Just as we clench our fists when angry (this is a hand-mudra, used in yoga to deal with anger) or bang our fists to our heads with frustration over a problem (in yoga, pressure on the forehead activates the frontal lobe, dealing with short-term memory and problem-solving), so tearing up leaves or flowers releases chemical components of the plant and surround the person with its healing energy. These are simply my thoughts and intuitions… how do YOU feel about this?
Want to learn how to make an herbal tincture? This Friday morning join me in some hands-on tincture-making. I’ll provide a selection of dried herbs (some herbs work better dried, others fresh – we’ll talk about this on Friday), and you bring a number of small jars and your own alcohol of choice – or buy some from me if that’s more convenient. Possible herbs include: Arnica, Vitex Berry, Cramp Bark, Gotu Kola, Pau d’Arco, Rhodiola, Shatavari, Tumeric, Yarrow.
We’ll also process a number of my own herbs that are ready to be poured-off. This is a great way to learn what to do when your own tincture has ‘matured’, as well as being a fine introduction to many medicinal herbs and their healing properties. You’ll get a chance to sample each tincture as well.
This workshop will take place at my home, and my apprentices will also be there for additional assistance. Spaces are limited, and reserved for those who have pre-paid.
Please RSVP by bank transfer to L J Akse Kelly, INGB 0755 5451 33
Date: Friday, May 17
Time: 10:00 to 12:00
Fee: €15 to reserve your space . Please fill out the contact form. At the workshop, you’ll buy your chosen herbs to tincture. After you RSVP, I’ll send details with my address and phone number.
What’s growing right now? What special properties do these plants offer us? When is the best time to gather? What parts can I eat or use for medicine? We’ll explore all this and more – come on out! This is an informal introduction to the many useful plants that surround us.
We’ll meet by the children’s pool, where there are plenty of benches to relax until it’s time to head out. Feel free to bring your camera and notebook to record your discoveries. We’ll explore the park and finish in the Artsensijhof – a traditional formal herb garden – where if you wish to stay longer, you can continue learning about our herbal allies.
The Walk is about 1.5 hours and will be rescheduled in case of rain. (the May 17 walk has been rescheduled as rain is forecast)
Wildcrafting – gathering plant material from it’s native “wild” environment – is becoming much more popular as an alternative source of food and medicine.
While in many ways nature-based herbal medicines and wild food foraging is ecologically sound – reducing carbon output, reducing chemical use, and, especially, reducing the immense drug-burden (from excreted pharmaceuticals) on soil and water-tables – there is still an impact, especially when there are simply more foragers at large, or if harvesting is done in a non-sensitive manner (trampling plants, pulling then up by the roots, over-harvesting, using endangered plants, simply – not being aware).
Responsible wildcrafting means to ethically harvest those plants which are most prolific and regenerative (dandelion, burdock, cleavers, for example) with the least amount of negative environmental impact.
Many wildcrafters have, or develop, a deep sense of kinship with the plants and surroundings, and make an effort for the protection and sustainability of natural areas. Equally important is an awareness of the ecological and personal relationship between individuals and our sacred Mother, Earth.
If I may, here are few suggestions:
Take the time you need to closely observe your surroundings over the course of days, months and years. That way you’ll know which plants are readily abundant, when they are in harvesting season, and which plants to protect. You’ll also form a respectful, friendly – even loving, relationship with the plants. Allow them to enter into your heart.
Be discreet. Others who witness you plucking plants may go ahead and do the same, but without your awareness and knowledge – especially children, who so love plants but also need some guidance on which are safe to eat, which flowers are abundant for picking, etc.
Know which plants are on the endangered list.
Harvest plants with a sense of respect and gratitude. Do so when in a calm emotional state, so you can stay aware.
Give back to nature in some way, and share your knowledge with other like-minded people. Try to join herbal walks with an experienced guide. Go out on your own, with not one, but two identification books, and look up one or two (or more) selected plants carefully. Touch the plants, smell them, talk to them, listen. If you know the plant is safe to eat, have a nibble. The greater the hands-on experience, the more you’ll remember.
A well-trained wildcrafter will avoid damage or depletion of our natural heritage, and she or he is integral in passing on the herbal knowledge of those who have come before them. If this is you, we need you, and our children need you.