Well, we are two classes in, with much enthusiasm – it’s great fun for me, and there seems to be a need. To that end, I have booked dates through April and am setting up classes. Over the spring and summer I will be looking at two dates per month – one for formal classes and one for “weed walks”. For now, here is what we have set up. NOTE: All classes are on Sundays, for the time being.Each class will be written up in more detail as the date approaches.
January 18- Tree Medicine. We will look at medicinal uses of several local trees – not always understood as “herbal medicine” but all of them are important medicinal plants. We will look at Birches, Pines, Poplars, Alders, Cedar, Willows, Oak and several more common local species, with an eye to identification, folklore, traditional uses and even culinary applications (birch syrup, pine needle cake). We’ll probably need a second Tree session, but this is where we start.
Paper birch, Betula papyrifera – one of the most easily identified of our local deciduous trees, offers a range of medicinal uses
February 15 – I thought Kitchen Witchery worked here, as we are all stuck inside a lot of the time, in February, and with Valentine’s Day, we have the perfect excuse to make all kinds of intriguing sweets, too. The everyday herbs and spices we rely on in cooking, have a much wider range of medicinal applications than is often understood. Another advantage of doing this class at this time is, we can decide which of these herbs to grow and get those seed started. Many standard “culinary” herbs are real heroes in the medicinal sense – think of thyme, oregano, sage, turmeric, cayenne, ginger and garlic – you won’t have to worry about running out of herbs for medicinal uses, as long as your kitchen is well stocked with these and many more.
8 and 15 – in March we have two dates – one for regular class, and one for a potluck celebration of the Equinox. The class will be one I call “Ten Herbs” in which we focus on the selection of getting to know 10 herbs indepth, as a basis for how we will learn more of them in future. It’s a process of finding an ally, but also understanding what actions we need to work with and what we can grow or find locally. A class I have taught in past, and always find so useful for students. There will be some prep, and some homework as well. But it’s all fun, I promise.
The Potluck is set for Sunday the 22nd, we’ll watch a screening of the herbal film Numen, and just eat, socialize, talk about our gardens and summer herbal plans, celebrate the end of winter and the start of the growing season. Please bring a herb-themed dish, of course!
Turtlehead, Chelone glabra, grows locally and is a beautiful, underused plant for all kinds of liver disease.
April’s Class will be on the 12th, and the topic is Local Abundance: an Intro to our medicinal wild plants. I cannot wait for this!
May – September will feature one class and one “Weed Walk” as well, where we ID plants and learn how and when to wildcraft, take plants from their wild environments in such a way as to ensure we don’t harm the stand or over-harvest, as well as how to “garble” dry and use the harvest. There will likely be a second Tree Medicine class, given the interest in this one and the amount of ground there is to cover, even on an Introductory level.
Some of the summer topics include:
First Aid: getting ready for cuts and bruises, stings and scrapes
Herbs for Dogs and Cats( yes, animals are different)
Actions and formulations; an Introduction
Medicine Making 101 – an Intro to tinctures,elixirs, salves and ointments
Energetics – this is perhaps THE key to successful herbalism,and it’s very easy to learn
Nervines – using herbs in simple or complex formulation for specific nervous system issues
Getting Set up: the Home Apothecary
…and, I am open to suggestions, always.
Have a warm and wonderful Holiday season, whatever you celebrate, and I look forward to a year ahead filled with plants, magic, and medicine.