Home herbalism is a way of life as well as being a healing practice. It permeates our lives in myriad ways, far beyond transforming the garden yield into next year’s medicines: turning a chicken carcass into bone broth, tucking a light sleeper in with a lavender pillow, convincing three teenagers to spend Saturday afternoon harvesting elderberries (and enjoy it!), and generally endeavoring to have on hand the remedies your loved ones might need next year—
Home herbalism is who we are and how our families work, healing practiced around the kitchen table around the world and across the centuries.
I’m a practitioner of what we call the Vermont Hustle: diversification is how to make it work in a seasonal tourist economy out in the pucker-brush of these far northern climes. Between farming, clinical practice, the herb school, writing, and my jobby job at our local birthing center, the day-to-day of it all can feel very full, never mind the part where I’m doing most of it with a toddler strapped to my back, and the kimchi won’t ferment itself.
Thank the Good Green Earth that home herbalism happens as a reflex:
There are moments when I am surprised by a forgotten jar of wild ginger-thyme oxymel in my Narnia-like pantry right when I need it, because I’m like a squirrel hoarding nuts when it comes to the bounty of forest and field. Instinct guides me along as I muddle and putter, but a strong foundation of herbal fluency is deeply rooted in the soil of my practice.
Let us explore the creation of family remedies, including children’s health, nursing parents and their babes, pregnancy & postpartum from a radical perspective, and
Generally hexing the patriarchy from the comfort of your own home.
This is an excerpt from Heart & Hearth, my radical family herbalism column in the glorious Plant Healer Magazine. If you don’t already subscribe to the best magazine in herbalism, you can click the link in the sidebar to learn more (and subscribing through that link supports my work, so thank you!)