I often get asked what I do as an Herbalist but a better question is what does it means to be an herbalist. What it means for me is that I have chosen to embrace a natural, gentle and nurturing lifestyle. Using herbs is a big part of that picture but not the sum total of it. I have left the fast paced, plastic based, commercial lifestyle that has sadly become so much an icon of America.
Herbs provide a better answer to the American medical model of healing for me and so I seek to embrace herbalism as a lifestyle of health and nurturing care to those around me. Spending time working with the plants that God has provided for our health and healing is a natural overflow of “coming out from among them” but it cannot stop there or else it becomes a very selfish lifestyle indeed. For me it also means trying to the deepest depth of my being to serve others. I believe we are also able to fulfill the command to “love our neighbor” in this lifestyle choice. Many feel that the gift of healing can only come by some one time, heroic act such as the healing that Christ or His apostles performed, therefore there is great debate as to whether the gift of healing is still for us, as Believers. I contend that every person who spends hours at the bed of their sick loved one, praying for their relief and restoration while cooling their brow with an herbal infusion or any mother who stoops over the tub for unending hours while bathing her sweet child in an herbal bath to help with a rash or fever, every one who has lovingly placed a poultice on the wound of their spouse, parent, neighbor, animal, etc., each of us who have spent hours pouring over the choices of herbs to blend into that perfect tea for that elderly neighbor who has just lost their spouse, we are all living this lifestyle of nurturing, healing – we are Herbalists!
Some of us will dive deeper then others, we all have our own gifts to share but you see it is not a title or degree or certificate rather it is a lifestyle and it envelopes your total life. Its not what we do, its who we are. What it means is that you stand and marvel at the goodness God has provided us through nature. You take a deep breath and say a prayer each time you apply you skills for someone’s need. You thank the Lord He has shown you a way to nurture those you love and those who are strangers or even those who despise you. It means you take an even deeper breath whenever your help is rejected for other choices and you say that prayer for successful healing anyway. Being an Herbalist, for me, is to be a nurturing, gentle spirit to all that come my way.
The miracles to me is that these plants are so able and precise in their actions. That they are growing at our feet everywhere and that more then anything, God has gifted me to be able to use them to relieve suffering!
So going back to the question of what I do as an Herbalist. I teach, I care, I help, I provide strategies, I grow, I share, I learn, I praise, I develop art, I inspire, I support, I nurture, I appreciate, I relieve, I carry.