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  • Writer's pictureJennifer

Starting an Herbal Journey

Updated: Jan 7, 2023

If I had a penny for every time I have been asked the question, "where do I start" I would be richer than Elon Musk! The answer is START, but, know the back history first! Before Rockefeller took over and started to capitalize on the industry, it was just herbs, not synthetic versions of them, just pure, straight from the garden herbs. Prescriptions were created by looking at what Chinese, Ayurvedic and Western Medicine used and for what, and then they took those compounds and extracted them and synthesized them to create a mass produced version that they could sell through a doctors prescription or put on the market for over the counter use.

Let's take a look at a drug that lots of folks use - simple aspirin. Aspirin is a synthetic version of White Willow Bark, which contains salicin, a compound very similar to aspirin.

White Willow Bark comes from the willow tree of the Salix species, and when metabolized by the body, it creates salicylic acid, which is the main component in aspirin.

Looking at the history, not too long ago in 1997 the Ecology Society of America found that in the United Stated, of the top 150 prescription drugs, at least 118 are based on natural sources: 74% from plants, 18% from fungi, 5% from bacteria and 3% from vertebrate species such as snakes or frogs. So then, 78% of the top drugs that were being prescribed were derived from things that nature provides!

As the world started to take more and more prescriptions, one thing was inevitable, Overharvesting, and Habitat destruction. This is the number one reason that herbalists have an "endangered" list and we stick to it!

What's an Herbalists? We are folks who have a great deal of knowledge in the plants, their constituents, their uses and who have been trained (either formally or informally) on the proper ways to harvest a plant, from where, at what stage and how to use it.

My personal history in herbalism is about 20+ years long, and it starting with trying "Devils Claw" to help with severe lower back pain I was experiencing (this was one ailment among MANY I had at the time). My doctor had me on 10 different prescriptions at one point for all of the issues I was having (bear in mind I started developing completely unrelated symptoms than from what I originally went in for), and when they tried to add another one, I got really worried that something wasn't right. I hit the internet to see if any of the additional symptoms could be prescription related and I was sickened. Every single one of the issues I was having was either a result of the medication I was given, or due to medications being given at the same time.

That was my tipping point, I stopped all medications and purchased a book and got to reading. The book I purchased was The Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine

and thus my journey began! A few years after reading as much as I could I started to get my formal education through the Herbal Academy, you can check them out here, and to date, have completed all courses they offer. It won't happen overnight if you start the journey, but you learn so much and that knowledge will change your life immensely, this I promise.

How I chose to use and share my knowledge was through educating others, and product formulation. Every herbalist will find their own purpose in how they were meant to use their knowledge. I like to learn, so I chose the path of watching studies that are done on herbs and sharing that with others or formulating a non-toxic product to serve a purpose for an ailment. There is no right or wrong way other than not doing anything with it. I encourage everyone to start somewhere, if you don't want a book, just research a bit on a specific ailment on the internet, if it intrigues you, take the next step. With herbalism there is no race to the finish line and you will probably never learn EVERYTHING in your lifetime about every plant on the earth, focus on what matters to you and take the steps in your own time. Herbal Wellness is about discovery and it comes in so many forms.

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