Medicine from the Forest 1: Wildcrafting
Wildcrafting is the craft of harvesting medicinal plants from the wild. Humans have been wildcrafting since the dawn of time, but today when medicines are so easily procured, one might question the effort and time required to gather your own. I can assure you that the benefits of harvesting and making medicine from wild plants are many. It is not only more sustainable to use the medicinal plants that grow in the regions where we live, but the herbs we gather will be fresher and more potent. Also, because they are born of the same forces that give shape to our own physical and spiritual beings, local plants are more likely to offer deep healing benefits for our bodies, minds, and souls.
Speaking the Language of Plants: Plant Morphology and the Doctrine of Signatures
Tools of the Trade
Principles of Ethical and Sustainable Wildcrafting
Asking Permission and Making Offerings
Endangered, Threatened, and Sensitive Species
The Legality of Wildcrafting
Determining Whether a Harvest Is Ethical and Sustainable
Mutually Beneficial Wildcrafting
Processing, Drying, and Storing Herbs
Medicine from the Forest 2: Medicine Making
Making good medicine is an alchemical process that calls us to enter into a relationship with the elemental forces of fire, water, earth, and air. Participating in this age-old ritual reconnects us to our ancient wise woman and cunning man healing traditions. Without doubt, an herbal medicine maker exists in every person’s family tree. Maybe that herbalist and medicine maker was a mother who knew which tea to give to her feverish children when they were ill, or perhaps he was a grandfather who knew how to make poultices to relieve the pain of sprains or bruises. As a child, you may even have collected sticks and grasses to make your own potions. I urge you to tap into this forgotten part of yourself and remember that making medicine from plants is the birthright of all. It’s in our bones, and for the vast majority of human history we as a species have known no other way.
Folk and Scientific Methods of Tincturing
Good Menstruum Makes Good Medicine
Fresh or Dry Plant Material?
Making Infused Oils and Salves