My People's Medicine Journey
Updated: Feb 8
My People’s Medicine journey began with menstrual cramps. Not just any cramps, but painful, vomiting and passing out cramps. I was given Darvon 650 Comp to stop the pain and I would miss school every month because of the pain. I remember feeling royally cursed as a high school student. When I started college, I learned that some girls were controlling their pain with exercise. That didn’t help me. In my late college years, I found that MJ helped with the pain, but it was hard to source and very illegal. It was the first time that I found a plant directly helpful for a health concern.
At the same time, I began to develop an interest in Women’s spirituality largely motivated by an interest in plants for health and healing. I met Susun Weed in 1990 as part of a Women’s healing retreat put on by a local UU church. I was riveted by what she had to say about plants, health, and women’s health in particular. I signed up to do an apprenticeship with her at the Wise Woman Center in NY state. I was transformed. It was amazing to find a group of women dedicated to healing body and mind and so in tune with the plant world. MY cramps eased considerably with the help of the herbal allies I learned about at the center. I began to explore acupuncture and body work and other non-western modalities of healing, but I was always drawn back to herbs. I attended culinary school for fine dining and was introduced to the use of herbs in cooking to make food more pleasurable, nourishing the senses as well as the body. I also began to garden when I had land available to me. I had considered myself to have a brown thumb with houseplants, but plants rooted in the Earth grew for me very well. I got a job in my early 30’s at a pharmacy that was a conventional and alternative pharmacy selling mainstream medicines and homeopathic, nutritional, and herbal remedies. I gained great insight into how people used each modality and gained great experience answering questions about herbs for the public. I then did a second apprenticeship with Susun to help deepen my herbal knowledge.
I began to use nourishing herbal infusions, kombucha and seaweed for general nutrition and other herbals for acute problems. When I had my child I used herbs to aid in my labor and delivery and lactation. I was beset by PPD after my child’s birth, and I left herbal healing behind for a while.
After a few hard years I began to drink kombucha again and was delighted to find people making kombucha in many ways using fruits and herbs for flavor and fizz. This alchemy of flavor led me to make low carb cordials and infused vodkas since I had developed diabetes. I then circled back to using herbs for health problems and nutrition support. I loved the creation process of making remedies and the magic of combining ingredients into a new substance.
This led me to making my own soap and lotions. Herbs became the foundation of my soapmaking, allowing me to create delightful soaps based on plants and body care items with the goodness of herbs in them.
As I grew older nearing menopause, I developed substantial fibroid tumors. I was determined to resolve the problems with these fibroids without getting a hysterectomy, so I relied on my beloved herbs to help me. I used Nettle and Yellowdock root to help with the anemia, Motherwort to help with the anxiety of bleeding so very much and vitex berry to help deal with the hormonal shifts I was experiencing. I am happy to report that I made it without losing my uterus. I now use Motherwort as anxiety support in times of stress.
I currently have a host of herbs that I rely on to help me feel energetic. I keep Echinacea tincture on hand, use hawthorn berry tincture for my heart daily and eat seamoss or another seaweed regularly. These herbal allies help me feel my best and help me cope with a very stressful time in my life. I am leaning on the knowledge I have gained from their gifts to me over the decades. Let me share what I have learned with you.
The information presented is provided for informational purposes only. It is not meant to substitute for medical advice or diagnosis provided by your physician or other medical professional. If you have, or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your physician or health care provider.