Herbs In Practice Making herbs habit not hobby.

 
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As I gather supplies and piece together knowledge for my first in person class I have to stop myself from starting all over again or adding more information.

There is just so much to share. There is so much a person needs to know when starting to use herbs. I want to tell them everything all at once! But how helpful would that really be? Information overload anyone?

So instead I keep revisiting the phrase herbs in practice. How can I teach the little things that amount to herbs in practice? How do I help people make herbs a habit not a hobby?

Herbs in practice

Herbs in practice is using herbs like you use a fork to eat or put pants on to leave the house. Herbs in practice is the natural easy use of herbs in your day. It is so routine that you don’t even think about what you’re doing but you would miss the routine if it was gone.

Herbs in practice doesn’t have to mean extreme knowledge and in depth study with a certification or a license.

Herbs in practice is as simple as making a tea or picking a flower.

The little things

If you regularly drink hot tea you are experiencing herbs in practice. If you grow lavender just for beauty and aroma, you are experiencing herbs in practice. If you are a master at seasoning meals from scratch, you are experiencing herbs in practice.

The big things

If you go searching for a natural alternative to the medicine your doctor prescribes you are looking to put herbs in practice. If you search out the best herb or plant for {insert ailment or issue here} you are trying to put herbs in practice.

These are complicated ways to put herbs in practice...I suggest you slow it down and learn more about putting herbs in practice. And always remember natural doesn’t always mean safe.

Intuition

Yep, going woo woo here but it’s truth!

Whether you catch it at first or not, the beginning of herbs in practice is often intuition. Or maybe it’s luck or fate or coincidence...who knows but I look back at the herbs that jumped out at me first and they were most certainly the ones I needed most at the time.

This trend has continued, I often catch an article or a glimpse of an unfamiliar herb and sure enough, it is just the herb I seem to need. Or a day or two later something comes up that is perfect for the herb I just read about.  

Don’t let the little interactions that perk up your ears go by without taking note.

Once you catch on to how your intuition works you’ll easily be able to weed out the herbs you should focus on from ones that can wait till later. Long story short, herbs will talk to you. They will jump out at you right as you need them. You may not understand why but that is where research comes in.


Growing your own herb garden is a great way to put herbs into practice! sign up for Your garden your herbs to get started!

 

Research

So you just read this amazing article touching on all the fantastic uses for an herb that happens to grow right outside your backyard but now what? Where do you go to learn more so you can put this herb in practice.

Grab a book, a good one...or maybe two books. Don’t get sucked in to the whole book just yet. Flip to the index, see if it has the herb you’re looking for and dig in. What is the herb good for? What parts do you use? Why does it work?

It’s simple when you focus on one herb at a time.

Don’t be overwhelmed if there are terms you don’t understand. If you’re new to the terms you can check out the Melissa and Yarrow Membership’s vocab library or do a simple google search. Many of the books you find will also expand on terms such as actions, energetics or preparations.  

When I first started if there were too many words that went over my head I’d just move on. I look at this two ways, I just wasn’t ready for that herb yet and MAN, I missed out on an amazing herb because of a term I didn’t understand...sigh.

So if the vocab is too much move on or dig deeper it’s your choice. Either way you will get there. As you slowly hone your intuition, as it pertains to herbs, you will also grow your vocabulary and understanding.

Hands on

If it is in your backyard, get out there. Touch the herb, smell it, draw it. Taste it if it’s safe to do so. Dig it up if you have plenty growing and get a good look at the root system. Take a good hard look at this herb, and as you are out and about see if you find it anywhere else.

Okay, maybe the herb isn’t in your backyard but after all your research you know it’s the herb for you. Buy it. Mountain Rose Herbs, Frontier, Bulk Herb Store, these are all great places to source dried herbs. You can also head out to a greenhouse and buy a little seedling to start at home.

Or, find a meadow or pasture that you have permission to walk through and see if you can spot this herb. Take a book with good pictures and a shovel, bucket and scissors (if you have permission to harvest.)

Now that you have a feel for this herb, go back to your research and figure out how you want to use it. Is it the right time to harvest your parts and pieces or do you need to keep an eye on this herb for a bit longer? Pick your recipe and get hands on with your herb. Build that relationship!

Daily use

Some herbs are great for daily use. They can support your body’s normal functions adding vitamins and minerals. I love nourishing infusions for this purpose. Many can be a relaxing reprieve such as chamomile tea or an energy booster if your trying to step away from coffee or just really like tea. Mint teas are good for this.

Ritual

Putting herbs in practice can be ritualistic. For me it is my afternoon boost. At about 1:30 instead of letting the 2 PM fade sneak up on me, I step away from my work and head to the kitchen to make a lovely tea and to prep my infusion for tomorrow. Sometimes I start to fade earlier and I’ll have a cup of tea mid morning as well. This ritual gets me up and gives me a break.

The smells invigorate me and the process of drinking it wakes me up and bonus...I stay hydrated.  

Plus who doesn’t look at pictures of people working with a pretty little cup filled with coffee or tea and some colorful pens nearby and think “ I want that to be me.” It’s not just me is it?

The ritual of herbs in practice goes beyond a cup of tea or a daily infusion. I find a soothing meditation in every step of backyard herbalism. Planting the seed. Watching and watering. Harvesting and tying up my bundles. Putting up the dried herbs. Shaking my tinctures. I could go on but basically these little rituals are my happy place.

All my senses are at play and I can find peace in this crazy world.

Therapeutic use

Some herbs are nice for daily use but can be used therapeutically as well. Other herbs are best left for therapeutic use only. As you research the herb that calls to you identify whether it is a sipping herb that can be used daily such as chamomile or an herb that should only be used when a boosted immune system is needed such as echinacea.

Echinacea helps the body to boost its immune system but if used daily for an extended period of time it becomes ineffective. Many herbs should not be used in therapeutic doses when pregnant or breastfeeding. You can use thyme in cooking but it is not recommended in high doses when pregnant.

Most herbs used therapeutically or at therapeutic levels are only used for a short amount of time. While it may seem like an extreme ritual to use some of these herbs because you often should take them multiple times a day, the ritual shouldn’t last long before you achieve your goal. Especially at a backyard herbalist level.  

Pick your practice

So how do you experience herbs in practice? How would you like to expand your practice?

The preparations are flashy and for sure they are fun. Creating remedies us what hooked me on herbs. But nothing is better than using your own homegrown or wildcrafted herbs to make that preparation.

First open your mind and eyes and ears and see what herb may be reaching out to you.

If nothing comes grab a book, do a search or better yet check out the membership and pick your herb.

Now how can you get your hands on this herb?

As I write this, my little seeds are under lights growing strong so when the snow finally goes away they can be planted out. Can you grow this herb?

Pick your plot or spot, seed or seedling, and really get to know this herb by growing it.

Wrong season for growing? Buy some of it dried if it’s cold or if it’s full swing summer get out into the fields and see if you can wildcraft it.

If you want to put herbs in practice, you need to get your hands on the herb of choice. The membership can help but you don’t have to go that far. If you’re not there yet a great book will do. You got this, I believe in you!

Noticing herbs for the first time can be extremely exciting and it can get overwhelming fast.

Whether you notice a post on the internet about a weed you recognize or a friend recommends a salve for a rash you could easily get the herb bug. If you’ve got the bug, don’t waste any time! Start with the basics and put those herbs into practice!