Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Personal Herbalism –UK Herbarium Blog Party

The lovely Ali English, of Eldrum Musings blog, is hosting this month’s party. Thank you Ali!
My form of practicing herbalism is very personal indeed. Those of you who follow this blog know, I do very little that doesn’t involve my grandchildren. It has been my greatest joy in life to help guide them down the herbal/wild foraging/gardening/ nature loving path, and I hope these early adventures will give them a life time of joy, and good health!
Lily (age 7) and Dylan (age 4) helping make this years elderflower cordial
Almost everyday we explore together, our world. We take walks and it is a great joy to hear the children naming so many plants and whether they are edible or we can use them to help us stay healthy or feel better if we don’t feel so good.
Dylan and his chickweed garden
My own herbal journey started rather late in life. The year my third child was born, and I turned 21,  Jean Auel wrote the book Clan of the Cave Bear. The setting is 30, 000 years ago and throughout this well researched book, there are many references to plants as both food and medicine. I was intrigued! I was taught while a young girl, growing up on a Midwest farm, some of our local wild edible plants and mushrooms, but I had nothing in my background about using plants as medicine. Herbalism was just beginning a resurgence her in the US, and even though we were starting to have some stores that carried some herbal teas and such, there was really no one in my area to help me learn more… I asked around our town if there was any of the older folks known for using plants as medicine, and got dribs and drabs of info, but no one alive to talk to…. Fast forward to my forties and I had just learned about Healing Touch, which is similar to Reiki,  and had began taking weekend classes to learn it. My mother had been diagnoses with cancer and I became a caregiver. Any of you who have been there know what a soul wrenching experience it is to tend a loved one with a serious illness, especially one that ends in death.  My brother Eric and  I discovered the China Bayles mystery series of books by Susan Wittig Albert. This series of books is centered around the lead character, China Bayles, and her herb shop. During this time of sorrow, and feelings of helplessness, Susan rekindled my intrigue for herbal medicine, and my mother’s illness provided the fuel. I also credit Susan with saving our sanity during this time, as there is no better medicine for sorrow than to be looking in a forward direction, and her China Bayles books gave me a new learning direction.. herbalism.
Since then, I have weaved the world’s of being a grandmother, a beekeeper, healing touch practitioner, and herbologist into my daily life. I do lots of reading of some of the great herbalist’s and ethnobotanist’s books, essays, and other shares. I have networked with many lovely, sharing herbalist around the world and learn daily. I meditate with the plants and use my senses I refined through learning Healing Touch to pick up the vibrations of my green allies and learn from them. I experiment, taste, touch, smell, look, look closer, and watch the changes through the seasons. Whereas I feel many times I was born in the wrong century, I am very grateful to having been born during a time when I can easily communicate with my herbalist friends to ask questions, compare ideas, and to learn from. I am grateful to online book sellers where I have been able to buy books that have explained to me and taught me much of the historic, time honored uses of plants. If I would have had all these more modern means of learning back in my early twenties, I would have been able to share these things with my own children then! Now, I have to smile as I watch my grandchildren teach them :)
My personal herbalism is all about taking back my herbal heritage I earned as a human on this planet and sharing it with my grandchildren, or anyone else who cares to learn with me. And using this knowledge to help steward our planet, and help keep healthy, help with diseases or injuries myself, my loved ones, or my friends and pets.
Lily playing animal vet. I so enjoyed listening to her play this game with Dylan. They used elderflower, linden flower, peppermint, plantain and yarrow during this game:)
Dylan harvesting dandelions
By the way, it is not too late to get in on the drawing for a jar of my rose cream. Just follow this link to read my review of Anke Biala's new book Homemade Health and leave a comment before the 27th!
Herbal and Honey Hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages xx


Bridget said...

Your Grandchildren are privileged to have such a wonderful teacher, leading by example. Happy Solstice to you!

Comfrey Cottages said...

Awww thanks Bridget! Happy Solstice to you!! xxx

Jo-Ann said...

What an inspiring post - Its so great to read how others found herbalism and have made it part of their lives.
I have nominated you for a Liebster blog award as I love reading your blog. I also find your comments very supportive - Thank you Jox

Comfrey Cottages said...

Oh Jo-Ann!! Thank you dear! I am honored to receive the award! What a nice thing to see this afternoon:) Big hugs and many thanks to you, Jo xxxxx

Anke B said...

You made me cry, Leslie!
This was the paragraph that did it...
"My personal herbalism is all about taking back my herbal heritage I earned as a human on this planet and sharing it with my grandchildren, or anyone else who cares to learn with me. And using this knowledge to help steward our planet, and help keep healthy, help with diseases or injuries myself, my loved ones, or my friends and pets."

Loving and appreciating you and your spirit from across the miles. I am very happy you live in a modern world as well or we would not have met.

Solstice blessings )O(

A Magical Whimsy said...

Your blog is fascinating, Leslie
I will come back and view some more. It is almost mid night, but I know I am going to love the herbal knowledge you have here.
nite, nite
Teresa in California
I just became a follower of your blog.

nettlejuice said...

Thank you for sharing.
It is usually healing crisis that bring us back to the earth medicines.

Anke said...

You are such a wonderful grandma! Involving and teaching your grands about herbs and nature, spending so much time with them. They are lucky to have you! :-)

Anonymous said...

Such a lovely post Leslie. I love hearing about your herbal adventures with Lily and Dylan and your animal friends. You are such an inspiration in all your practical wisdom.
Hugs to you and Happy Solstice xxx

Unknown said...

Leslie you never cease to amaze me with your enthusiasm and the delight you take in watching your grandchildren learn about the herbal world, I'd love to have had a Grandma like you! A beautiful and moving post, made me cry to Anke!

I <3 Dylan's little garden and his lovely tips, precious treasures aren't just in the herbal world, they're in the words that we hear when people speak of them.

Comfrey Cottages said...

Awww gosh ladies! Thank you for the nice response!
Welcome Teresa! Thank you and glad you are enjoying your time at Comfrey Cottages! xx I will pop over and see your blog too:)
Anke B!!! I am so happy it resonates with you!! xxxSolstice blessings to you love!
April, you are so right. xx
Hugs Anke! I am lucky to have them:) xx
Thank you Lucinda xx Happy Solstice to you my dear friend! xx
Thank you Debs! I am so happy this post spoke to you too! xxx

Rita M said...

A lovely blogpost Leslie, I love the way you teach the grandkids about herbs. Thanks for sharing these beautiful pics off them :)
Big hugs XXXX

Comfrey Cottages said...

Wish you were here Rita!!! xxxx

fiona said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fiona said...

So great to learn more about you and your love of plants and healing .. you are such an inspiration, I love working with my little'un now he's big enough to get involved .. so important to hand on to the next generation xx

Medical Service said...

Thanks for the post dear. I really like what you've done. Thanks for the share. It entertains me a lot.