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  • Writer's pictureHeidi

A Rose by Any Other Name

I have been making herbal remedies for 25 years for friends and family, and professionally for almost a decade now and I still am uncomfortable with anyone calling me an herbalist. In my mind, an herbalist has clients, works with each patient to develop an herbal protocol based on their individual ailments/constitution. While this concept it true, it is not necessarily the complete picture; this limiting belief almost kept me from finding my heart song.

2014 Lancaster Farmacy crew

I started to explore herbalism as a career path in 2013. While I connected with working with the plants and just thrived in creating formulas, I was uncomfortable with finding solutions when people presented me with health problems. I always felt undereducated and ill-equipped to even speak on these matters. I started to rethink becoming an herbalist. But it broke my heart to even consider not working with herbal medicine anymore, so I decided to dive deeper.

I spent two years in Maia Toll's Sage School (now owned by Rosemary Gladstar), where we were presented with case studies. Ironically I absolutely loved "solving the mysteries" of each study, diagnosing their condition. But when it came time to wrap the course I completely panicked, "I am not ready to treat people in real life." So I kept studying, participating in many courses and even considered enrolling at our local community college to get a certification in nursing. After a few years I came to grips that I just do not feel comfortable in the "diagnostician" role. I figured I didn't belong in herbalism and decided to walk away.

No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't let go of the feelings of wanting to craft plant medicine and the joy that it brought to my life. Then it seemed like every where I went someone was approaching me to thank me for a remedy that brought them relief. My heart strings were being pulled; crafting concoctions didn't just make me happy, it was actually helping others.

As the Indigo Girls say, "there is more than one answer to these questions pointing me in a crooked line." I decided it was okay for me to "just" make plant medicine; I didn't need to see clients too. Instead of pushing myself down an avenue that didn't feel like the right fit, I wanted to embrace the part that gave me energy and inspiration. Changing my role from herbalist, to product maker seemed to release me from what was holding me back.

The local medicinal herb farm, where I made herbal products, affectionately referred to me as their "Medicine Mama." I currently work at Maia Toll's Herbiary where I don the title of "Herbiary's Kitchen Witch." I love and completely relate to these monikers; they feel in alignment with what I do and how I see myself.

I believe our purpose in life is to figure out what we love to do, make it happen and then share our passion with others. That is why I am completely excited to announce that I will be hosting "medicine making" workshops throughout 2022.

My first set of classes will be held on Friday, April 22nd and Saturday, April 23rd at Truce Road House. In this hands-on, 3 hour workshop participants will be learning about and creating:

  • tinctures

  • infused oils

  • salves

  • hydrosols

Everyone will leave with 5 herbal remedies to start/stock their home apothecary, a pdf of notes on each subject and the confidence to continue crafting herbal preparations on their own.

I am intentionally limiting class sizes so that I can work with everyone individually while setting a relaxed pace; allowing everyone time to connect with the work and with each other in this community space, love!

I am continuing to walk this winding path, letting my heart lead the way. Crafting my way of life that seems to live outside of any box I try to contain it in. Are there stereotypes or outdated ways of thinking that are holding you back? If so, how do you push past them?

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