January 22, 2013 @ 7:56 AM


New Year Resolutions for Herbalists


Follow me this month while I try to clear out my own chaos and get a few tips on how to get your herb cabinet and/or business back in order! January is a perfect time for reflection and planning, but also, we have time for getting things done since the rush of garden season is still a few months away, the snow keeps us at home a bit more....as does the promise of a warm house and hot cup of tea. Each day, I am going to tackle something that needs constant care or attention, but that is often left to become dysfunctional as the year goes on. Will this be the year, I actually keep on top of things? Who knows...but if not, I will repost next year!

January 22 ~

Learn From Your Successes

As it is unhelpful to dwell on defeat, it is equally problematic to rest on laurels or gloat. But, the saying goes "You can't argue with success!". I have a visceral reaction against "testimonials" as I feel thay play on people's hopes when they are in a health crisis. But, I do think that past clients/students who were pleased while working with a healer, will pass the word in a  more "organic" manner. So, while you may not want to advertise the really good work you do, there is as much to be learned from the protocols that worked perfectly and/or the perfect matching of a client to certain herbs/foods. It is truly an art when well done.

I have a gift of being able to see the whole picture, so choosing the correct herbs for any particular person/illness is fairly straightforward. My Social Work training gave me the opportunity to see the value of short and long term goal planning---and the ability to do it well.That pairing of innate ability and education, has led to many a success story. 

While I grew up around plants, I formally studied herbs and homeopathy at the same time. One day, my daughter came downstairs saying her "face" hurt--the entire side of her face was hot/red and very swollen. I called the doctor to get an appt., but was told it would have to wait until afternoon. So, I looked simply at the symptoms she presented and chose one Homeopathic remedy from my brand new, yet unused, kit. ....and gave her a dose. Then I got back on the phone to find a sitter for my other daughter, so I could make the afternoon Appt.. Less than 5 mins. later, my daughters face was absolutely normal...no fever, no pain....symptoms never returned. I cancelled the appointment and sitter.

Another Homeopathic quick fix came several years later when my 8 year old came back in from milking the goat and said "It is weird, mom, she gave out some chocolate milk today."After the initial "Whaaaaaat?!?!?!", I ran to the barn, milked her out a bit more to find an obvious case of mastititis. All the animal care books say that a vet must be involved in curing mastitis....but my vet was out of town and it was a Sunday...so I knew that Phytolaca is used for mastitis--gave my sweet goat a dose and by the next milking, she was clearing up and by morning, her udder was a nice consistency and the milk perfect (though we did not drink any for a few weeks).

Once my cat had mucos filled runny poop, "looked pale", staggering a bit.( my vet was away again and another weekend) I went to my favorite natural remedies for animals book and found for her symptoms, honey, slippery elm, scraped apple and cinnamon worked well----and it so happened that it was Rosh Hoshana--so we were all eating apples and honey! I had to feed it to her in a push applicator--not pleasant--but within and hour, 
could see improvement and by night, she was doing fine--though sleepy. Another kitty got hit by a car and his knee cap was "rearranged"--the vet said he either would have to amputate or we could spend thousands to have it rebuilt with metal inserts. He said if we did neither, kitty would be in terrible pain all the time. I asked for time to think it over, came home and began poulticing with comfrey and horsetail. He regained total use of his leg and led a long, happy, pain free life.

I learned several things from these experiences---kids and animals respond more quickly to any sort of remedy that do adults (lots of reasons for this--but they can also go downhill faster than adult humans) and I never had to worry or consider the "placebo effect"--because neither animals or small kids have any knowledge or expectations of what remedies they are given.

My adult people experiences have been very positive--as soon as I learned to "read" who would be fairly compliant. For those who seemed less inclined, it was up to me to figure out how to make the protocol easier for them to use successfully, or make sure it was in their realm of acceptance (some practitioners do what they do regardeless of client--always use flower essences or just teas, something very esoteric, etc. I believe we need to always start where the client is--not the practitioner. Takes more work, but outcomes are great). If a protocol is chosen that "fits" the clients world view, they will be a healing partner along with me--instead of looking to me for all  the answers--and they eventually learn to reclaim their own power in self care.

Every practioner has particular strengths. Recognize them and use them--they are your allies. When you have a case that frustrates or stumps you, go back to a success and analyze all the components...you will soon find your groove.