Seven Causes for a Localized Medicine Chest
Guidelines for engaging with your bioregion as a healer
This essay is an excerpt from Deeply Rooted: Medicinal Plant Cultivation in Techtropolis, pages 25 - 27, self published in 2016 by Bonnie Rose Weaver.
I. MAINTAIN TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE
Access and share ancient wisdom | Talk with elders and learn
remedies, recipes, and cultivation tips. Pass along oral traditions and
valuable knowledge we will otherwise lose. Engage people from all
generations in gardening and herbal education.
Learn the traditions of your people | As a person of European
descent, I practice western herbal medicine. This has strengthened my
connection to my ancestors, and helped me to embrace my role as an
herbalist. In Europe and its colonies during the 15th—18th centuries,
womyn were accused of being witches, and were killed for practicing
herbal medicine and magick. It is empowering to reclaim and practice
my ancient traditions.
Build awareness of place | Use plants to remember the history
and ecology of the bioregion in which you live. Get to know the impacts
of colonization and gentrification. Most of us are not indigenous to
this land. Honor the people and healers that are native to this land and
those that came before us.
Work with your bodies and hands | In the digital age, it is
critical that we relearn how to work with our bodies. This opens our hearts and minds, and creates a space for embodied healing. Pause and
connect to the natural world. What catches your eye and calls your
II . GROW THE LOCAL ECONOMY
Support ethical and sustainable practices | Are your herbs
grown ethically? Are they fair-trade, sustainable and organic? Do your
herbs come from outside of the United States? There is no international
organic standard or certification, so the international cultivation of
organic agriculture is nearly impossible to track.
Grow local, use local | Encourage use of remedies that grow
locally for maximum effectiveness. If it doesn’t grow where you live,
don’t use it! Promote regional sustainability; decrease the ecological
footprint of herbal products; improve regional medicine access for
everyday and emergency situations.
Impact the local economy | Similar to the popular “local
food movement,” local medicine creates jobs, cash flow, and an herbal
economy. Support small business: Buy direct! Seed-to-bottle business
allows herbs to pass straight from the grower to the consumer.
Politicize local | By consuming locally grown products, we
challenge globalization, wage slavery, and environmental degradation.
Sometimes this means we end up paying more for local products, because
we are paying the true cost for the materials, labor, and environmental
resources it takes to create the medicine.
III . GROW THE FRESHEST AND MOST POTENT PRODUCTS
Plants that are grown in one’s own bioregion deal with the same
environmental stressors and toxins, and thereby pass on a stronger
healing and resilience to local residents who consume them. When
harvested fresh and medicinally active, plants will create high-potency
products and better results.
IV. FOSTER PLANT-PEOPLE RELATIONSHIPS
Ask “Where does medicine come from?” | The answer to this
question is powerful for urban dwellers because it allows us to redefine
what medicine is. By forging a connection between plants and the emotional, spiritual, and physical health of people we deepen our connection to the health and wisdom of Mother Earth. We become allies and advocates for the plant world.
Create community | Get to know your local growers, producers,
and medicine makers. Get to know local plants! Engage communities
with the collaborative work of holistic, natural, safe, effective, ancient,
and alternative forms of healing.
Maintain wild spaces | Allow native and naturalized plants to
thrive in your garden and green spaces, and promote biodiversity of
plants, insects, animals, and other living organisms. Protect gardens,
farms and wilderness.
V. USE PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE
Many diseases or imbalances can be avoided with proper knowledge
and use of herbal medicine. There is inherent value in the practice of
preventative medicine, which is often unavailable in contemporary
western medicine. Engaging in herbalism can empower healers in
clinics, community centers and homes.
VI. HEALTHCARE FOR THE PEOPLE
Healing from plants can be more affordable, can prevent the expense
of surgery, and can reduce the stress of long-term illness. Regardless of
race, socio-economic status, location, gender, sexuality or ability every
hould have access to plant medicine. Herbalism is for everybody.
VII . PRACTICE MAGICK
There are ways of knowing that are beyond the physical. These include
the subtle influences and energetic properties of plant spirit medicine,
flower essences, and plant communication. By trying new things and
expanding our minds and bodies, we may better advocate for ourselves
and find our own magick, personal growth, and healing.