Even one day's work in field, forest, and kitchen can provide you with many years' worth of medicines. Whether you buy or make your own medicines, remember, herbal remedies may not work or may work incorrectly if they aren't prepared correctly. Learn more about the weeds around you directly from the plants, from a personal guide, and from field guides and herbals. When we open all our senses, including the psychic ones, to the green world, we learn to hear and understand plant language. A personal guide into the plant world will show you plant features which ensure positive identification, such as the hairs on Wild Carrot which safely distinguish it from Poison Hemlock. Field guides are indispensable references once your taste for herbal identification is whetted.
Herbals concentrate on the specifics of using plants as medicines and are rarely illustrated well enough to serve as a guide to identification. The binomial is (usually) consistent in all references, unlike common names which overlap and vary from region to region.
My years of leading Weed Walks and helping people identify wild plants have shown me that learning to recognize herbs in the field is far easier, and much less fraught with danger, than most people realize. Even if you never pick your own herbs, knowing how the live plants look will be a great asset when you go out to buy them.
Jessie Conaway, herbalist and experiential educator, takes you into the woods and out into her backyard to teach about wildcrafting and preparation and use of herbal remedies.


Topics covered include trip planning, wildcrafting tips, herbal traditions, backyard wildcrafting and herb preparation.
Herbs discussed are agrimony, balsam fir, blueberry, burdock, chaga, elder, goldthread, hazelnut, horsetail, mullein, partridgeberry, sarsaparilla, usnea, white oak, white pine, wintergreen and yarrow.
Learning to identify and use the common plants around you is easy and exciting, beneficial and safe. When you make your own, you know for sure what's in it, where it came from, when and how it was harvested, and how fresh and potent it is.
Stock your herbal pharmacy with your own foraged or cultivated dried herbs; expand your resources and experiment with new herbs by buying dried herbs from reputable sources. If you can't make your own, buy from sources who wildcraft or grow their own herbs to use fresh in preparations.
Read this chapter carefully; it contains easy to follow instructions for every remedy and preparation mentioned in this book [Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year].
Through shape, color, location, scent, texture, taste, and energy, plants tell us how they will affect our bodies, which plant parts we can use, and how we prepare them.
A personal guide will introduce you to the foods, medicines, dyes, fibers, decorations, and delights hidden in common plants, and instruct you in wise harvesting and preparation.
I find the line drawings in the Petersen guides more helpful than color photographs when I have to distinguish between similar looking plants. Once you have identified a new plant, you can look it up by finding the binomial in herbals and other references.


A confirmed favorite with pregnant women, midwives, childbirth educators, and new parents. Making your own medicines saves you money if you follow the Wise Woman tradition of using local herbs, free for the taking. Fennel, Pepper Grass, Dandelion, Plantain, and Mugwort (to name a few) are as common in cities and suburbs as in the country. Check local garden clubs, botanical gardens, and nature centers for contacts with personal guides.
The link between your field guide and your herbal is the botanical binomial, or Latin name, of each plant. Packed with clear, comforting, and superbly helpful information.
Though the scientific tradition scoffs at such knowledge, the Wise Woman tradition honors the plant as the ultimate authority on its uses.



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