Most of the images on my site are photographed by myself, however; this lovely image came from istockphoto.
I have studied herbalism for many years and enjoy using the knowledge that I have gained to create both simple and complex herbal remedies, delicious teas, tisanes and brews, and to make natural skin and hair care products. I get to share a lot of this knowledge in my weekly column on hellogiggles.com as The 21st Century Herbalist. Once a week I like to repost the column here, just in case you missed it!
Original publish date: September 20, 2012
enerations ago, there were tiny homes cobbled together by the people of the surrounding village, with each neighbor helping the next to create a community. Inside these little homes you’d find simple furnishings and functional décor. Keep looking and you’d notice a fire burning low in the hearth and table made of heavy wood, flanked by empty chairs and benches awaiting their occupants. On shelves sat tools worn with use, yet cared for by the very hands that worked them so hard. If you were to open the cupboards, drawers and cabinets you’d find them brimming with trinkets of nature, bottles of herbal brews, oils, salves and lotions. This is where the secrets of generations past were stored. This is where the true old wives tales were born and this is where they were passed on.
As an herbalist participating in traditions that were started long before I came into existence, I’m interested in the beginnings of these sacred practices. When I use my mortar and pestle, I imagine the wise hands of elders cupping the hands of young ones, showing them the motions and flow needed to grind the herbs. I picture small bottles of golden oils filled with the essences of plants and pure waters from rain, river and well, being set out for the brewing that was to come. Around a table sat women of generations each with a journal, some as large as tomes, filled with the knowledge of their years. Each book was tabbed with bits of ribbon and string, bookmarked with feathers and scrawled with herbal recipes. Back then (and even now) there were the few that could understand the plants, they were attuned to them and they knew how to use them. It was the plant walker that usually became the medicine man or woman of the village. As an herbalist of today, it is these medicine women of the past that I think of when making healing herbal brews. Learning about traditions that started long ago and were enacted as hearth fires were lit, foods