Herbalists Without Borders & My Herbal Beginnings
Hey, it's Arati. I joined Herbalists Without Borders Board of Directors this January. I was super excited to discover the organization's work through Carolyn Jones and the Healing Project based in Queens. I too am passionate about improving accessibility to herbal wisdom in conjunction with the herbs themselves. If you have information without the actual herbs, you are kind of out of luck! Herbalists Without Borders is so empowering, offering herb lovers support for creating their dream projects and supplying herbs.
When I was in my master's program in nursing, herbs started communicating with me. I was on a gynecological oncology rotation, and I was having a very hard time with the energy. I am way more comfortable working on a mental health inpatient unit. After another day feeling overwhelmed by my empathic experience of the cancer, I found myself at a farmer's market in front of a table of scapes (garlic shoots) that were glowing with light. The scapes told me I didn't have to be good at everything, and that they were great with cancer. I loved this new reality. I didn't have to do it all, and there is a world of helpers out there ready to collaborate and share their healing medicine. I started doing plant meditations to learn directly from the plants. I typically take the plants as tea and ask them to tell me about how they work. I also offer to share anything they want to learn from me. Who knows what it is like to be a plant, right? They might want to learn from us wandering creatures as well or ask for preservation help. They always seem to appreciate meditation time and are good communicators.
I love cooking with herbs. My favorite springtime recipe is Martha Stewart's Nettles Soup. Oh my goodness! Just writing about it is making me rearrange my schedule to find harvesting time. I absolutely love talking to nettles, it is the chattiest plant ever! They love meditation before harvesting, and I love how I have to carefully harvest to avoid getting too many stings. They have this underground network that reminds me of neurons connecting and are alive with the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This plant is so magic! The soup connects me with my Irish roots where the plant was not a gourmet treat but a helpful, nutritious food. It is the most protein-rich land plant and is full of minerals. If you do get stings you know the medicine is working...but, you can also grab a dock leaf or plantain to ease the ow.
If you want to do a fun plant meditation experiment try first offering nettles tea, observe how it is feeling and how people are acting, and then offer catnip tea. See the shift! This works great for a group; kids love this! Nettles is soooo stimulating...many will admit they have ADHD. Catnip is so relaxing...it'll be hard to believe it's the same people!
I hope you are enjoying the excitement of Spring coming around again. Now is the time I remember the Earth was only sleeping. Each bud and shoot coming up from the ground brings new cheer.
If you are interested in learning more about Herbalists Without Borders, or starting your own project, please feel free to reach out. I am in your network and love to communicate about plant medicine.