January 29, 2013 @ 7:05 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 29 ~ 


No doubt about it, working with people on health concerns and teaching are are serious endeavors, taking dedication and focus.......but sometimes, we have to laugh.

I make a point of sharing some of my really funny (sometimes embarrasing) herbal/healer moments with students and other herbalists---because it is fun, useful after a long lecture to lighten things up a bit and always instructive to learn from silly mistakes and also from stories.

Here are a few of mine:

Once, believing the hubris of being an "expert"--I felt I would remember the contents and use of certain  preparations I was making one day. I had already labeled things to sell/give away and had some remaining that I could use myself. Well........the next time I decided to exfloiate in the shower, I noticed the texture of the product  was a bit off and didn't smell like my usual preparation of ground oats, clay, almond seed. However, it was slathered all over my face and neck...so I just went with it. It turns out, it was the sink scrub I had made that same day. I laughed out loud for quite a while. Luckily with many herbal products, it still worked--though I don't recommend using them interchangeably mostly due to a little harsher texture, and no clay benefits for the skin. Luckily, I do always follow my own advice about not making ANY preparaton that you could not also eat or use on your skin. Everyone in my "Making Herbal Preparations" class gets to hear this story.


When still doing births years ago, it was fairly common for midwives to keep some unwanted  placentas for teaching purposes--or sometimes to cook up or dehydrate for the birthing mother ( I will not go into that here!!!). Seemed normal, so who thinks to warn others? A friend was going into my freezer to help me prepare a dinner and screamed , possibly assuming, for a split second, that I was a serial killer. I have heard similar stories from other midwives. After that, i may have done it on purpose a few times--sending an unsuspecting person to fetch me something from the freezer--just for laughs.


When the Ear Candling craze began--I was one of the first on the bandwagon. It works, and I still use them---but is so silly looking EVERY time. It never gets old! It is the sort of wierd looking thing you do and threaten to take a picture for future boyfriend/girlfriends to see--or these days--publish on FaceBook. If you have never done this--follow the safety precautions .....and then settle in for a good laugh!


One of my apprentices came to class very distraught telling us her husband had decided to "tidy up the yard" and in the process, mowed over her huge,  prize Mullein. She asked aloud how she could remain nmarried to someone who had not picked up the importance  and placement of all her  medicinal "weeds". She told us that after 10 years of marriage--this caused their first  and bigest real fight. Later that day, before she arrived back home, her contrite husband called me in a panic--clearly recognizing the "horrible" thing he had done and asked if he could run over and buy a Mullein from me or where could he get one. After explaining it was a wild plant--and that another would grow back--just to let his wife tell him where to mow from now on---and that I would tell her  he had called in an attempt to make things right....he relaxed. and all was well. 18+ years later, they are still happily married. Since then, I hear similar stories and I do the first several mowings of my own yard until the ill placed wild herbs I want to save are well established (ie-tall enough to be noticed). However, just 3 years ago, my husband came in all proud he had mowed an area we usually neglect.....but it sounded very close to where I had recently planted a bargain basement rose bush. I ran outside and sure enough, nothing left but a stump. Yelling ensued--because, really, a rosebush cannot be mistaken for a weed!!! However, the next spring, it came back and put off beautiful roses and has since.  My husband is now as careful about protecting it as I am.

I would LOVE to hear some of your funny stories. It is a good laugh for you in the telling and for us, in the hearing.