Monday, March 10, 2008

Dream Seeds Herbal Project Interview


Dream Seeds Herbal Project Interview
I was asked to participate in this project by way of an interview with Kristena at:

Do you remember what was going on in your life that lead you to herbs?
I was living in rural British Columbia with my first husband and our two kids. Self-sufficiency was the necessary life-style in that situation back in 1972. I was 21 years old at that time. We had an extensive garden including many culinary and medicinal herbs. I learned a great deal about the effects of herbs on the body as I added them to some of my favorite recipes.

Can you share some of the work that has most influenced you? Such as books, blogs, video, and lectures.
Until I enrolled in the Heart of Herbs Master Herbalist course , I had no formal education. I’d just been growing and using the herbs I always had such as: Rosemary, Sage, Marjorum, Thyme, Basil, Fennel, Bay, Calendula, Chamomile, Cleavers, Dandelion, Garlic, Ginger, Lemon Balm, Peppermint, Spearmint, Raspberry leaf, Red Clover, and Yarrow.

I’d also read many books on the subject of herbs and anatomy, as follows, and all of them helped educate me and made me want to learn more:
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs by Jiri Stodola and Jan Volak
The New Healing Herbs by Michael Castleman
The Pill Book Guide to Natural Medicines by Michael Murry
The Botanical Pharmacy by Heather Boon
The Complete Guide to Herbal Medicines by Charles Fetrow & Juan Avila
The Healing Spirit of Plants by Clare Harvey & Amanda Cochrane
The Herbal Drugstore by Linda B. White and Steven Foster
The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier
Healing Herbal Teas by Brigitte Mars
Healing with the Herbs of Life by Lesley Tierra
Atlas of Anatomy-Know Your Body by Emmett Keffee, MD
Traditional Herbal Remedies by Michael Howard

When making plant medicine, are you drawn to any particular method?
When I collect herbs, I chant Om to the Mother plant. I give thanks to Gaia as she is my earth Mother who takes care of every one of my physical needs including my medicine. Source looks after my spiritual and energetic needs.

Then I dry the herbs in my Ronco food dehydrator and either tincture the material or infuse it in oil. Of course, it is used in the food recipes I create as well as medicinal teas, baths, pot pourri, given as gifts, and other ways.

When tincturing, I will use both the measuring system and the Simpler Method.

Do you have a most memorable event, conference, or one on one experience with any of our herbal foremothers and forefathers or any other key person used in your path of herbalism? And how has that influenced you today?
I was born and raised in the southwest corner of beautiful British Columbia. In this beautiful land, we are surrounded by mountains, forests, and many varieties of wild life. The Fraser River runs through our area only a few blocks away, and the Pacific Ocean is nearby. This wild beauty has consistently captured my heart. I’ve always experienced a heart-swell when I look at the plant life around me. I’ve talked to plants and sang to them my whole life.

My most memorable herbal event to date is the discovery of Calendula in 2002. My Spiritual Mentor of 26 years passed away in September 2001. As we were leaving her property for the last time, my husband reached down and took a couple of handfuls of seeds from one of her plants and stuck them in his pocket. We didn’t know what it was, we only wanted something of hers to live on with us.

We planted these seeds in early spring. When the flowers bloomed, our neighbour identified them as Calendula. I did research on this beautiful plant and began to make Calendula Balm in 2002. I made ten jars and those same first customers keep coming back for more. Each year, when the plants set seed, I give some away to whomever is my student at that time. Calendula plants are now growing all over the world and Louise Campbell Silver lives on. Her affect on my life was incredibly deep and lasting. I will never forget her.

Do you work with the public and could you describe your work? such as: Do you teach classes?
I do work with the public teaching classes in Energy Healing and Natural Perfumery. I don’t teach Herbal classes just yet as I want to first graduate from the Master Level course and another herbal course I’m taking in person this fall of 2008, and get extensive experience with herbs in a formal way. The class I'm taking this autumn has us going out into the bush to do some wildcrafting and plant identification, bringing back the plants to Langara College and making medicine.

Do you offer consultations?
It is my plan to do herbal consultation when I graduate. I have been doing them on an informal basis over the years, doing lots of research for particular cases. I look forward to broadening my scope of practice.

Do you have a vision for your work in the future or are you seeing how it unfolds?
For over thirty years, I have been using the herbs that I have grown myself for cleaning products, health and beauty aids, food, first aid, and many other reasons. I also use several over-the-counter herbs when I have an acute situation. I have peace of mind when using herbal remedies, as I know what is in the product and how it will affect my health.

By learning more about herbs, going deeper into the botany, chemistry, wild crafting, human anatomy & physiology, and increasing my knowledge and experience of other certified organic herbs that I have not grown myself, I hope to be able to help myself even more so I will be really healthy. Eventually, I want to have a consulting practice and help people physically as well as energetically.

What career opportunities will be available to you after you complete this course?

There are many ‘jobs’ that I could be suited for: growing and distributing herbs; teaching about herbs; taking interested folks on herb walks, lecturing about herbs, writing about herbs; owning/running a herb store; doing herbal consultations; and working in a herb store. There may be others that I haven’t thought of yet.

My plan is to do what I always do with that which I learn and that is to write, teach, and help others via consultations. My husband has come on board with me and will be expanding our herb garden this year. We have a good-sized order pending for live plants and organic seeds. We are always interested in seeing where Spirit will lead us next.

Most of the readers are new to herbs and if there is one word of wisdom or sage advice you could leave them, what would that be?
I am a writer so it is unlikely I can do this in one word. : ,)
What I would like to convey is to be ever-curious; find out all you can about the herbs you are interested in. Don’t skim over the contra-indications, rather fully learn those, too. Herbalism is the world of possibilities: to overcome chronic health situations, for health maintenance, for safe bath and beauty products, for a clean home environment, and for a nutritious way to eat. The possibilities are indeed endless.

I am so grateful to have you participating in this project I know you will inspire others with your deep appreciation, knowledge and love of herbalism.
You are so welcome. Thanks so much for allowing me to share my love of herbs.

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