Good morning everyone! It’s Kate here at Fortress of Faith. I want to share with you a bit about my Herbal journey. One of the many constants in my life has been plants. As a child I would scramble to find the first flowers of spring. When my family would travel (even if just to town) I would beg my Mom to stop on the side of the road so I could pick a flower or two. She would always oblige. Some of the first flowers I could put a name to were the Primrose (we called it a buttercup because when you go to smell it, it puts a soft dust of yellow on your nose that looks like butter) and the Indian Paintbrush (scientific name Castilleja).
Now that I’m older, I still adore the wildflowers. My wedding 10 years ago was even scheduled around when the wild flowers were in bloom. But I never really understood the huge significance of these beautiful plants that God created until about 6 years ago.
I began my journey into becoming a Master Herbalist about 6 years ago. I had no idea it would lead to such a title. My husband fell ill and none of the pharmaceutical medicines worked. Those drugs actually made things worse and each doctor we saw would either change his scripts or up his dosages (this lasted for four years!!) ….. Ok, hang on a second. Why does this sound so familiar? It seems like so many herbal or holistic journeys start out this way. I do so wish I’d been taught the herbal ways as a child. I wish we all had. I know it would have saved my family a lot of heartaches.
After working for over a year, my husband was finally off all pharmaceutical drugs. We found two herbs that work for him. Now, those two herbs are all he has to take daily. We planted these herbs in our medicinal garden so we get to enjoy them visually too. As for my husband, no more headaches or restless legs or the other countless symptoms he had.
** Please know that I am in no way encouraging anyone to stop their medication. We had to work with the doctors that prescribed those meds to get him off of them. Some drugs have very adverse reactions when you quit taking them cold turkey.***
Moving forward, God pressed down on my heart to do something against the grain with my husband’s health and while I havent always yielded to His call, this time I was all ears.
I started my Herbal/Foraging journey in my own back yard. I’d find a plant, identify it and then researched if it was edible or had medicinal uses and such. A couple of good references, I found at a visitors center at a local wildlife park. One book that helped with identification was “The Guide to Oklahoma Wildflowers” by Patricia Folley. This book has nice pictures that are really useful for someone like me who learns better with visual tools.
Once identified, I learned quite a bit from Kelly Kindscher’s books “medicinal Wild Plants of the Prairie” and “Edible Wild Plants of the Prairie”. Lot of Native American references are used in these two books.
I was a little afraid to try anything at first even after careful identification and confirmations. This was a fear built on a lifetime of dependency on supermarkets and dare I say it…., big pharma. I realized my fear did not come from my creator. I slowly began to feel an inner connection to the earth and her pharmacy.
If you’ve ever taken the time to notice, animals will instinctly nibble on nature’s medicine. I personally have seen one of my goats do this. She had a bout of diarrhea and I hadn’t let her out to graze for the day. As soon as she was out she immediately foraged on a giant rag weed plant. After consumption, her next bowel movement was completely normal. I was surprised even though I had just read earlier that rag weed was used by the Cheyennes for ailments such as bowel cramps.
One of my true #herbalgoals is to get back that lost instinct that was given to us from the very beginning. Foraging and Herbalism has become a way of life for me and my family. My hope is that you will join me (even if just through my blogs) as I continue to learn and grow as a Master Herbalist. ~ Kate 🌿