HolisticWisdom.org web site
Linda Diane Feldt
NCTMB, Holistic Health Practitioner and Herbalist
The Ann Arbor Center for Holistic Health and Traditional Wisdom
What is Herbalism?
One of the oldest approaches to healing, the knowledge of herbs for medicine and nutrition is an understanding that predates"modern" medicine by many thousands of years. While once considered basic knowledge for every woman and many men, herbal wisdom is making along overdue comeback - although not without some strange distortions reflective of our times and odd approaches to healing. My understanding of herbalism is not memorization of hundreds of plants and what they do, but a relationship with the individual plants. Growing, harvesting, tasting, preserving, and finally using the plants are all important components of the healing plants can impart. Awareness of the cycles of nature, your immediate environment and what grows close and far, can be part of the understanding of herbalism and our own health concerns.
One of the distortions of herbal wisdom is the emphasis on the strongest most dramatic plants. While it is valuable to have plants available to us that can work quickly and powerfully, we are aided even more profoundly by plants that are highly nutritive and that are used preventively and as tonics for the body's systems. Those plants are often common weeds such as dandelion, stinging nettle, yellow dock, burdock, chickweed and others that have somehow been transformed into evil menaces that ruin our lawns, rather than wonderful allies for health. How have we so lost touch with our surroundings that we drive to health food store to purchase heavily processes pills and capsules rather than picking the leaves of what grows in abundance right outside our front door? So very quickly, herbalism becomes a lifestyle and even political statement.
Using herbs for your own healing can be a very radical and political act. When the history of herbalism is studied with that perspective, the loss of information, the treatment of Native Americans and other indigenous people (where much of our herbal wisdom is found and has also been lost with the destruction of much of their culture) and the persecution of the wise woman healers (often called witches) takes on new meaning.
Join us for a slow tour of some of the areas abundant weeds - also known as nourishing and medicinal plants. Identify the plants you've heard so much about, and learn how you can harvest them-when, why, what parts, and hot to preserve them. Handouts are provided in a friendly low pressure learning environment. Kids are welcome, and under age 12 are free. Offered spring and fall.
Weed Walks attract those young and old. This walk was at Dolph Park.
Herbal Wisdom a Ten Week course Tuesdays beginning September 20 2005
Join us for ten winter nights to learn the basics of herbalism including using herbs to nourish the systems of the body, harvesting and preservation, preparations, and more. Sliding scale $100-150.
Herbal Wisdom a Ten Week course - continuation from the beginning course, or for more advanced students - Wednesdays beginning spring 2006
Spend the spring learning more in depth knowledge of herbs and herbal healing. Includes more working with the plants, individual study, and how to learn moreon local plants. Sliding scale $100-150.
Herbal Wisdom with the People's Food Co-op click here for up to date schedule
This free class has been a popular favorite since 1992. Each month, a different topic is introduced. Come to one or all, but pre-registration at the Co-op is requested. Instructor: Linda Diane Feldt
Herbal Wisdom at Whole Foods click here for up to date schedule
In the FUTURE:
The Wise Woman Tradition and the Nature of Healing
An overview of the Wise Woman Tradition, perfect for practitioners and lay people who are attracted to this nurturing and nourishing approach to health and life. Highly experiential and includes classes on the six steps of healing, inspiring food, use of herbs, ritual traditions and practical use, song, stories, and more.
Herbal Wisdom Certificate Program
This two year program is designed for students wanting an in-depth experience of herbology, and for those interested in the practice of herbology. The classes are offered 20 evenings and 6 Saturdays per year for two years. The supervised independent study can be completed in your own time schedule, with certain requirements each year. This study includes preparing your own materia medica, doing case studies, gardening, harvesting, and an independent project. At the end of each ten week module, there is individualized time with the instructor. This program has not yet begun. Funding is needed
Standards for Practice
The American Herbalist Guild has standards for practice in a variety of categories of herbalism. This is a great contribution to the field of herbal medicine. Herbalists have a long standing tradition of apprenticeship teaching, sharing of folklore, and association with shamanism. Are standards appropriate for this healing tradition? At this time, consumer awareness is essential and is the most important focus. Any standards that may be developed must take into account the traditions of herbal medicine and healing. We've come too far to shut out some of the best sources for information, our traditional healers. Yet, true consumer protection is needed from those entering the market with profit as the prime motivator. This is an area in which respect, safety, education, and openness needs to prevail in a climate hungry for more rules and regulations. While the practice of herbalism can be carefully legal in most areas, the spotlight of governmental regulation will surely be shifting more frequently in our direction over the next few years.