Sunday, 26 July 2015
Suggested Sunday reading
I'm always amazed to still be tripping over excellent herb sites, and some of them go quite far back in "time" (at least time as the internet measures these things).
I've just read this article at a site called The Herbarium ; "How to Become a Master Herbalist in Thirty Years or More" by the venerable Paul Bergner.
If you have a few moments, please have a look. His perspective will open your eyes to how much we stand to lose if we discount the accumulated experience and wisdom of practitioners and concentrate only on scientific trials.
I can't imagine how I haven't run across the The Herbarium site before. A quick explore reveals some very intriguing recipes, methods of extraction and various articles in the index. I scanned the article on tinctures and fluid extracts and wow. Just wow. The British herbalists have some tricks up their sleeves I'd never heard of (and intend to try)! A site that will definitely be on the list of links I'm collecting.
It's making me think, this reading. That's a British site, most of the herbs I use are actually transplants from Britain. Why am I not using the British methods? For example, apparently one needn't always use vodka to make tinctures, one can use 50% white wine. What a lovely thought! Not only because it's economical, but because wine has a different, lighter vibe to it, and I can see that the qualities of some of the more delicate flowers - mullein, say - might 'come through' quite differently. The site also speaks of re-using the 'marc' (the herb). That is something absolutely verboten in American style herbalism, at least from what I've read or been told by other practitioners. I feel as though I've just begun again!
These revelations illustrate quite effectively the core of Paul Bergner's article linked above. We are losing valuable knowledge within our own traditions. Never mind learning TCM or Ayurvedic traditions, we need to learn our own. Our own plants, under our own noses, in our gardens, along our bike paths, lurking in city parks.
Where we can't find teachers, though, what do we do? I suppose we have to ask the real teachers - the plants. And we need to teach each other, too.