“Herbalist” is a word that is becoming more commonplace as more people are exploring natural products or a more health-centric lifestyle. Although some rely on context to try and piece together its definition, most are left with questions and no one to whom they can look for answers. Wonder no longer. An herbalist is…
An herbal practitioner.
In other words, someone who practices medicine through the use of plants. This simplistic definition is a bit sterile, so be sure to read on for a more holistic perspective.
A guardian of cultural traditions.
As the age of technology and synthetic products carries us forward, we are faced with the very real possibility of losing the knowledge that enables us to navigate within the natural world. By practicing herbal medicine and teaching others how to do the same, herbalists safeguard the valuable traditions of countless ancient cultures.
A protector of the earth.
Herbalists strive to maintain balance in their relationship with the environment. The life of an herbalist requires diligence and watchfulness so as never to overburden the delicate ecosystems in which our food and medicine grows. If one plant is being overharvested or becoming invasive, they do their best to share this news with neighboring communities so that, together, everyone can act accordingly.
A community healer.
It’s easy to create an herbal preparation for a rattling cough or a persistent rash. But, oftentimes an herbalist will choose to go beyond the physical and build a relationship with those around them. As these friendships blossom, many discover a growing sense of belonging and community, something that becomes increasingly valuable in the digital age.
In conclusion, an herbalist is more than an essential oil peddler or someone who “DIY’s” a salve recipe they found on the internet. Herbalism is a calling. A lifestyle. A responsibility. Here’s to hoping there are even more herbalists in the future.