The first time I utilized plants as medicine was in 2012. I was detoxing from opiates and weaning off of SSRI medications. I NEEDED support — natural, non-harmful support. My 15-year journey with synthetic medications needed to come to an end as it was proving to be more harmful than helpful. (This is MY story. I am in no way shaming or disregarding the fact that these medicines do provide support to many folks and I respect that!)
Sweet Melissa was the first plant I used to support myself. She is gentle but her medicine and energy are strong - just the scent of her growing fresh in your garden will lift your spirits!
I began to crave this support, more and more and honestly my mind was blown in the beginning! 🤯 When I learned that all the things I was taught were useless weeds are actually potent medicine with so much to offer us, when I started learning how extensive this path is, when I learned that there is literally a plant to support any ailment out there my mind was blown. If there’s a pill for your ailment there’s a plant that can do the job more subtly, kindly reminding our bodies that they hold the wisdom to heal.
I started creating products for myself and then sharing with friends and family. The response I received was so positive it inspired me to continue down this path. I am mostly self-taught, but seeking out a clinical herbalist in my area, participating in apprenticeships and a local class series is also a part of my path. I had one mentor in particular named Mischa who I absolutely adored and each day spent with her I was taken deeper into this world of plants. This is literally a whole other world of “medicine”! Although I am not a clinical herbalist I hold these humans on the same level of a doctor. A doctor of the earth.
I think the best way to start is to go outside and pick a plant. Usually, the plants that surround where you live are the ones you will benefit greatly from! Even if you are in a city – there are many “weeds” that thrive in these places such as St Johns Wort, Plantain, and Dandelion to name a few. All three of these so-called weeds provide wonderful nourishment and support to the human body.
Once you choose and identify a plant – research its uses, energetics, harvest specifications, folklore, and contraindications. Decide if its something you want to work more closely with – and if yes, harvest away from roadsides (these places tend to be sprayed with pesticides) only taking 1/3 of the parts used so they have a chance to reproduce. If the plant is more abundant like dandelion, then you can be more generous with your harvest!
You can then choose what method of medicine you want to make – is this plant most useful as a tincture, infusion, oil, or salve? Ask yourself what you would benefit most from – and then go for it!
Working with plants in this way is SO empowering. Taking a step in the direction of having your health in your own hands is one of the best feelings in the world in my experience. I relied on doctors and “professionals” for so many years and it honestly did not get me very far. I regressed and became sicker. My life started to really positively shift and my spirit came out of slumber when I started on this path – and now, 7 years later, I am forever grateful for discovering the lemon balm in my garden and having the curiosity to learn about her.You can become an herbalist too! Start somewhere. Just begin. I’m still diving into this rabbit hole and am will be a lifelong student. It's a neverending journey that feeds my soul. If you want, it can feed yours too.