On being an herbalist; here’s the secret

October 12, 2017 at 6:02 pm

Today is a typical weekday here at my house- parrot is screaming, three senior dogs snoring away after breakfast, exercise and playtime; cats – well, all cats sleeping as they all do every day. I’m at my desk, working with clients, answering emails, getting some class material ready for the Tutorial group meeting in a few hours. It’s a beautiful October day, nothing out of the ordinary here.

Why is this a blog entry, you ask? There’s another dimension to my day, and the point of this entry…on my stove, one heavy stainless steel pot containing reishi mushroom pieces simmers gently, as it will for the next 8 hours…on another burner, slices of astragalus do the same. In two separate bowls on the countertop, rosehips and bilberries sit infusing in warm water, to be eventually put through a sieve and used as daily additions for all three dogs. In the oven, several bottles are sterilizing, to be used as containers for Amara’s tincture blend (St.John’s wort, ginkgo, hawthorn, and prickly ash) and zhou zhou’s respiratory glycerites, several formulas I rotate according to her symptoms, and one alcohol tincture for acute distress. Danny and I both take the same cardiovascular infusion, linden, hawthorn, cinnamon and dandelion, so that’s infusing in a bodum, ready to start adding/sipping by noon. In the fridge, an assortment of yummy “medicine balls” – for humans! are stored in glass containers, to be take as an afternoon treat that also supports the immune system, tackles respiratory health(my partner) and nervous fatigue from overwork and general Type-A attitudes (me). Later today, I’ll whip up a batch of my canine version of Asia Suler’s Adaptogenic Snickerdoodles – a lovely, low sugar cookie made with almond meal, coconut oil, American ginseng, astragalus and reishi. When lunchtime comes, I’ll be adding dried calendula flowers and milk thistle seeds to my parrot’s lunchtime “chop” of mixed veggies and fruits.

In other words, this is an herbal household.


Ah, summer’s bounty. I miss it already…

Herbs go into every aspect of life here, the few I mentioned above and countless more.

Over the years, I have been asked about my “qualifications” – how did I get to be a clinical herbalist for animals? And the answer is always the same – I took the courses (I consider myself a herbalist for humans as well as non-humans, based on my training anyway) I am still taking courses, and I have put in the 10,000 hours, easily I have. But the heart of what I consider “qualifications” – is my passion for plant medicine, for herbs used in all kinds of ways, from seasoning a soup to a first aid kit full of tinctures and salves, to growing and gathering plants for home use, to the clinical work I do for a living. In other words, living an herbal lifestyle. By incorporating the actual use of herbs into one’s daily life, that’s how you really get to know the plants – whether finessing a large Materia Medica for clinical use, or putting together a home apothecary for both maintaining health and addressing minor issues for all species.

And that’s one of the things I will emphasize in the Tutorial – not trying to cram your head full of facts and endless lists of Latin names, actions and multi-syllabic constituents, but developing a a basic methodology, a filing system so to speak, of understanding how to use herbs, and then I’ll get you to start doing exactly that.

Every art requires that the student takes time to sit and study, take notes, and memorize lists. But it’s the practise that bestows confidence and skill – mastery – and so we will be practising! We will be making salves and tinctures and water based preparations, tasting and working with the same herbs we give dogs and cats, infusing them into honey and vinegar, all the while linking this practical knowledge to what the classnotes convey.

Admittedly, an herbal lifestyle does lend itself to a wee bit of clutter.

Recipes, exercises, classnotes and three sessions a week with yours truly….now doesn’t that sound like fun?

Your link to register is here! https://www.thepossiblecanine.com/product/online-tutorial-herbal-medicine-dogs-cats

Please feel free to contact me too, if you have any questions at all about the Tutorial.

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