Herbalist Overview and History

An Herbalist uses plants and other natural substances to improve health, promote healing and as preventative care. 

Given that there are no licensing requirements, no state board examinations or tests to ascertain knowledge, how do you define an Herbalist and, more importantly, who do you trust for knowledge?

With todays' modern technology and social media, there are numerous ways to self-educate but it is important to "weed" out the "fake news".  Anyone can write a blog, create a website, Instagram with photos and not have the experience needed to safely educate.  In fact, there are blogs that are written by people who have never even used what they are writing about!  Seek out reputable Herbalists, reference books and accredited associations for assistance.

Herbalism is a belief and practice that all the body needs for healing is found within nature.  Plants and other natural ingredients offer healing benefits that have been around for thousands of years, and in fact, many modern medicines come from plant chemicals.  With a healthy immune system support, proper sleep, hydration, fresh air, some sunshine and eating whole foods, many ailments can be cured or prevented.

Plants are medicine!  They are our birthright but we have also been brainwashed to think otherwise.  Quick fix pills to relieve symptoms and mask the root of the problem is not going to make us all better.

The American Herbalist Guild, formed in 1989,  is a voluntary credential that allows an herbalist to refer him/herself as a "registered" Herbalist. (RH).  The AHG actually promotes "freedom of practice".  The AHG does recommend a minimum of 1,600 hours of study which recognizes a level of proficiency but is not legally recognized or required.

The United Plant Savers was formed in 1984 by Rosemary Gladstar and is an excellent group of which to be a part.  Also, have a look at one of her websites, www.learningherbs.com which is loaded with herbal remedies and information.

Did you know?  At least 7,000 medical compounds in modern prescription drugs are derived from plants.

Herbalism back in the day, was simply common medicine and was not divided from standard medical systems.  It was recorded and passed down from generation to generation by using items in the pantry, wildcrafting and growing herbs.  Grandma knew the home remedy for heartburn was baking soda.  If that wasn't available, then she would reach for the apple cider vinegar,  ginger root or a piece of "real" licorice.

During the second half of the 20th century, there was a noticeable shift in herbalism from traditional home remedies and plant medicine to science-based ones.  The "back to the land" movement then resurfaced in the 1960's to where people began to reassert their independence from society and biomedicine, back to herbalism and folk remedies.

The middle third of the 20th century witnessed a blossoming of pharmaceutical invention, with breakthroughs in the development of synthetic vitamins, sulfonamides, antibiotics, hormones (thyroxine, oxytocin, corticosteroids, and others), psychotropics, antihistamines, and new vaccines. Several of these constituted entirely new classes of medicines.

And here we are today!  Notice the trend?

Herbalists of the past paved the way for today by experimenting with plants, using their intuition, recording their findings, and continuing to spread the herbal word by teaching and sharing their findings.  Each generation of herbalists expanded and built off of those before them.  Same goes for families that have practiced home remedies and passed them down to their children.

Herbalism has been a part of our families life since as far back as I can remember.  Wild crafting as a child with my family, my Granny applying aloe to my sunburn from the potted plant on the porch, my other grandmother gave me tea after we worked her garden and then growing up on a farm in Florida.

This has all been part of my education.  We now have our own family farm on "Oakwood" and specialize mostly with the plants that we grow on site.  Years of self-education through proper channels has brought me to where I am today.  The education never stops and will continue due to the love and passion that we feel for herbalism and All Natural Living.