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As an Intense Winter Unfolds, Some Lessons From Herbalists

You and plants, together during a fearsomely uncertain time.

A New York times article that features our very own teacher, Candace Taylor!

This piece was written to bring insight and knowledge from herbalists from across the country.

"Humans have relied on plants for their healing properties as long as we’ve been incarnated on this planet. Sumerian clay tablets from ancient Mesopotamia contained instructions for the herbal preparation of more than 200 different plants, including poppy and mandrake. A Neanderthal burial site discovered in the 1960s contained branches of a bush known to contain ephedrine, commonly used to treat breathing ailments, and several wildflowers that also have medicinal properties."

Written by Jenna Wortham and released on Jan. 8, 2021.

"Last summer, under the weight of the pandemic and social justice protests, I turned to my deep network of Black, Latino and nonbinary herbalists around the country, who were generously sharing their ancestral knowledge of plants online to care for their communities and help them cope with the waves of grief, anxiety and depression."

To read the full article, click here.

Find Candace in the article:

Eat something nurturing

"I am a chef, and I love how we can integrate medicine into our foods,” said Candace Taylor, 38, who lives in Winooski, Vt. “I love using cinnamon, star anise, cardamom in dishes, which all support lung health. Same with curries made with cayenne, turmeric, cumin and mustard seed, which is so powerful for lungs.” She also loves using eucalyptus, she added, “in a diffuser or even taking a hot bowl of water, placing plants like wintergreen, ginger, rosemary or cinnamon into the water, and draping a hot towel over your head and lowering your face to the bowl for a quick steaming session.”

“I’m growing mushrooms for the first time this year,” said Cheré (rere) Bergeron, 33, an herbalist in Minneapolis.I put reishi and chaga mushrooms into everything I make, including my elderberry syrups and my bone broths. They also have a lot of vitamin D, and as we head into winter we aren’t getting enough sunlight and that’s also important. In fall and winter, the energy of the plants is traveling downward, back into the earth, so this time of year, eating things that grow in the ground can mirror that action and in our own bodies, helping to slow down so we can rest and move slower, at the speed of molasses.”

“The very first plant that I picked in herbalism school — like an herbal tarot card — was yarrow,” said Arvolyn Hill, 31, an educator and herbalist in Harlem. “It’s an abundant plant on the land I grew up on, it’s a warrior plant.”

Candace, we are SO proud of you.

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