For me being a herbalist means much more than prescribing bespoke herbal formulas, Australian Bush Flower Essences or diet and lifestyle recommendations.
It means really being in touch with herbs; growing the ones I can, appreciating their beauty and knowing the herbs. I grow a few herbs but more for their beauty and culinary use than herbal use. This is because when I want to use or prescribe herbal medicine I use formulae provided by highly respected companies known for their quality and efficacy. I could not hope to reproduce that in my garden at home in a cost effective manner.
It means helping people to help themselves; allowing their bodies to heal with the assistance of herbs and appreciating what a marvellous self-healing construct our bodies are. From cellular level outwards our bodies are remarkable in that, if treated well, will give us many good years.
It means educating people about their health and teaching them not to take it for granted; looking for ways of improving how they treat themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and taking a ‘prevention is better than cure’ attitude. The holistic approach to herbal medicine is shared by most natural health therapies – we look for the cause of the problem, rather than just treating symptoms.
And finally it means giving back to the community and helping people improve their lives by improving their health. This comes from the old-time herbalists/hedgewitches who lived on the outskirts of villages, closer to nature and were often paid for their services with food or small items of interest – feathers, birds claws and such like. For the record, this modern herbalist has bills to pay, but keeps her prices to a moderate level.