Last Saturday, after many moons of studying tinctures and decoctions, plant parts and families, how to recognize native plants and the role they play in the healing of ourselves and the Earth, I graduated from the Wildflower School of Botanical Medicine with a big smile and tons of inspiration and gratitude.
It’s been quite a journey. We were assigned an open-ended project on the first day of class, to encourage each of us to explore the wide world of herbalism and how it might fit into our own individual paths. That project turned out to be a fantastic vehicle for nudging myself along the winding road of a foodie-cum-herb-nerd.
My initial idea was to create a “Gourmet Herbalist” cookbook, featuring a range of medicinal recipes designed to heal and nourish the body for specific ailments or conditions. That turned out to be quite an ambitious feat for an uber-”green” newbie in our short 6-month semester, but I managed to make some big strides.
Walking an herbal path, as I learned along the way, isn’t just about brewing potions from plants. Learning to see culinary herbs (and all of our foods!) as medicine encouraged me to explore growing my own and seeking out local, organic sources, as well as thinking about and using aromatic herbs for more than just their flavor or aroma.
All of this to say, sometimes food truly is the best medicine. One of my classmates did her project on exploring natural remedies for her toddler’s ouchy case of eczema, and found that taking wheat out of his diet went much farther than applying even the most powerful herbs topically. As foodies, I challenge you all to begin seeing your eats as more than just tasty stuff we consume. Our food can heal us, and having a grateful, conscious attitude about where we get it and how we use it can heal our planet and the people around us.
You know that old adage about being what you eat? We’re pretty vibrant, awesome and delicious, wouldn’t you say?!
Originally published for PK4 Media.