I’ve been seduced by the wonderful herbology courses run by the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh – since January I have spent Thursday evenings studying ‘Medicine from Trees’ or ‘Herbs of the Highlands’, and making remarkably potent (and sometimes bizarre) remedies, lotions and potions after picking the herbs themselves from the Botanic Gardens here in Edinburgh.
This September I have signed up for ‘Herbs for Healing’, in which we make MORE herbal remedies and – this is very, very exciting – ‘compile an individual herbarium of medicinal plant specimens’. Oh my word. Who would have thought that this could provide so much fun! Then I’ve shifted my clinic times – must be serious! – to allow me to attend an afternoon course at the RGBE ‘The Art of Herbs’, exploring connections between art forms and medicinal herbs, physic gardens and herbaria. We shall be making our own artefacts and getting to know plants and herbs in yet another non-academic way. Even though I love deepening my knowledge about herbs, I’m looking forward to something entirely non-academic.
I have set myself up for all this by becoming entranced by Stephen Harrod Buhner’s erudite yet practical books on our relationship with the plant world, and David Abram’s philosophical works on healing our disconnection from the natural world. Both seek to shift our perception of the world from that of regarding nature – or anything non-human – as there to be exploited, to seeing ourselves as part of a symbiotic whole with the rest of the natural world. Ecology for individuals. Stephen Harrod Buhner is also an excellent herbalist and writes on such subjects as making healing herbal beers and herbal antibiotics to take the place of Western medical antibiotics where they so obviously fail – for example in cases of MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains.
Some of my favourite Stephen Harrod Buhner books:
David Abram’s two spellbinding works: