Musings on Herbalism, Aromatherapy & Chinese Medicine
Author: Jessica Baker
Jessica Baker is an acupuncturist, herbalist, aromatherapist and educator. Her passion for sharing the messages of the plants is reflected in her private practice and her classes on aromatherapy, herbalism, and Chinese medicine. As a continuing education provider, she teaches at several herbal symposia and acupuncture conferences throughout the U.S. Jessica teaches at The Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism and is an Assistant Supervising Practitioner at the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Jessica is a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild and the Colorado chapter of the American Herbalists Guild. She is on the faculty of the Holistic Cannabis Academy and is a Cornerstone Business Leader at Women Grow.
The Spring Equinox yesterday was bittersweet. It was a gorgeous warm day in Oklahoma and I had the privilege of working from home. There was an illusion of normalcy as I walked around our land picking dandelion, shepherd’s purse, chickweed, dock leaves, and the ever-beloved violet flowers.
I tried to feel the balance of yin and yang energies, as the light and dark came into equilibrium among all the chaos. Many of us are uncertain, scared, alone, confused. Emotions welling up inside us as we try to appear calm, restrained, happy.
I have been planning to release my interview with Astrid Grove, herbalist midwife, and one of the founders of The Red Earth Herbal Gathering on Equinox. The timing of this episode of The Herb Walk is not ideal for encouraging people to gather, but it now seems essential as a reminder to everyone how important community is.
We are in a time of unknown, the great mystery unfolding before us, pushing us to our limits of comfort and sanity. Just know that you are not alone . Whatever you are feeling, resist the urge to retreat. Reach out to someone. Call an old friend, skype a loved one, hold virtual meetings with colleagues, anything to reach out to another human being and share in the collective experience. We need connection more than anything.
We all feel it. The collective unease that ebbs and flows with news reports and new cases. The unknown that lies ahead as we see what our country and others do in order to prepare for sweeping changes that are necessary right now. There are some things you can do right now to make yourself feel more calm.
Seven Steps to Staying Centered
1. Take a Deep Breath
Seriously. It’s the first thing you need to do to start releasing tension in your mind and body. Breathe.
2. Acknowledge Your Emotions
Whatever they are, know that these feelings are at least partially fueling your thoughts and actions. These emotions are going to be your strength and your weakness as you adapt to the necessary changes that are coming in the days and months ahead.
3. Breathe Again
Breathe again. Breathe deeply and slowly this time. Drop your shoulders and take a deep belly breath.
4. Be Prepared To Stay At Home More
We have to accept that we need to limit exposure to those over 60 and those without strong immune systems. Top researchers are predicting 1.5 million Americans could die from COVID-19 in the next year. How we live and move in the world is going to change, probably for longer than we are comfortable with.
Stock up on water and non-perishable items, but do not hoard. Have on hand enough food for several weeks, if not longer. You will be surprised what a little extra food in the pantry can do for your psyche. Think canned- fruits, vegetables, soup and tuna. I am in rural Oklahoma currently and I was surprised how many inexpensive organic options I found at the local Walmart. Much less expensive than Whole Foods or Sprouts, and no one was buying the organic things anyway.
5. Be Creative With Your Time
Have books and crafts as fun and distractions instead of always using the Internet as your only outlet. Social media does bring a sense of community, but there is also a lot of misinformation and fear spreading, which is counterproductive to staying calm. Grab that dusty guitar out of the closet and start playing again. Play cards and board games. Do arts and crafts. Stretch, do Qi Gong, Dance. Remember what it is like to be entertained and feel connected without a screen.
6. Call Your Friends and Family
Don’t text them. Call them. Tell them you miss and love them. FaceTime or Skype them if you need a visual check-in. Laugh and Cry with them. Breathe together.
7. Help Others and Ask For Help
There are many people that can’t afford to stock up on extra food or buy first-aid supplies. Many cities have programs to support those in need. Find out where drop-off centers are in your area and encourage your friends, family, and church members to each donate something. Big or small it will make a difference in someone’s life.
If you are one of those people in need. Ask for help. Whether it’s for extra groceries or just a quick call to tell you it’s going to be ok. Reach out. There is no shame or guilt in asking for help. It takes courage and wisdom to know when you can’t do it alone. Reach out.
There are resources like The Grief Support Network, which is offering free grief circles every day for the next few weeks. They also have a free Peer Support Program if you need mentor support. If you have the experience and feel called, become a mentor for someone grieving.
No act of kindness is too small in stressful times. We are all in this together, even if we are encouraged to stand 3 feet apart!
I feel a need to stay more connected too. Expect more blog posts from me, from everything from how to make your own sanitizers and cleaners to how to support yourself and others with herbal medicine in this time of uncertainty.
For now, drink your herbal tea breathe, and smile at people. We all need it.
PS: My new podcast episode with Astrid Grove of the Red Earth Herbal Gathering will be out around Spring Equinox!
This may be one of my best episodes. Or maybe it isn’t. You tell me.
I share my journey with Cannabis, from young college activist to mid 40’s entrepreneur. I also bust three big myths about cannabis that I read on the internet and hear from patients everyday. Hint…CBD is one of them.
I have been educating people about cannabis a long time and lately I am amazed by the nonsense I read on the internet! Misinformation spreads like wildfire and the perceived reputable cannabis sources regurgitate falsehoods as facts. It’s really disheartening to know that marketing and advertising companies are where people are getting their cannabis knowledge.
Operating Bakers Medical Dispensaryand The Clone Room, a clone nursery in Oklahoma City has been a huge learning experience for me. It is exhilarating and exhausting. It feels good to be working so hard for a plant I love so much. It is an absolute pleasure and privilege to do what I do everyday. I look forward to seeing where Cannabis takes me!
This last year in Oklahoma has been really eye-opening. My experience with cannabis business people has been either seasoned growers and heads that love weed and the outlaw lifestyle or pink shirt executives that got a whiff of the green greed and want in. Oklahoma has been vastly different.
Many of the cannabis business owners here are normal folks. Maybe they smoke weed, maybe they don’t. Oil money is present for sure, but the majority of people I have encountered got a license because the level of entry was low (cannabis licenses are only $2500), there were very few hoops to jump through, and they saw a unique opportunity and ran with it. There is also some of that outlaw, don’t tell me what to do attitude, that has made Oklahoma a great place to be in the cannabis industry.
I first met Ellie McDaniel of Smokey Okie’s when I visited her grow facility to see if I wanted to give an invitation for an interview. Right away I liked her. She impressed me with her enthusiasm to jump head first into a business she had never engaged in before. Growing good ganja isn’t as easy as people think and with only a year’s knowledge of growing cannabis, she has positioned herself as one of the leading cannabis wholesalers in Oklahoma.
Cannabis has been recorded as a medicinal herb in Chinese Medicine for two thousand years. We know that Cannabis has been cultivated by humans in Southeast Asia for over 10,000 years. Needless to say, we have a very long history of utilizing Cannabis for its medicinal, edible, and psychoactive properties. Here we are in 2020 still mystified by the cannabinoids and terpenoids (and unknown constituents) that help create the myriad uses of the Cannabis plant!
I am thrilled that other health professionals are as interested in the medicinal uses of Cannabis as I am. One of my colleagues and fellow Five Branches alumni, Dr. LeTa Jussila works with her clients using the principles of Chinese medicine, nutrition, and Western medicine to create a personalized health plan for her clients.
During our conversation, I learned what inspired Dr. LeTa to pursue a career in Chinese Medicine and how she came to use Cannabis in her medicine chest. Dr. LeTa and I discussed the importance of a holistic approach to working with Cannabis and the other activities, foods, and herbs that affect the Endocannabinoid System.
It was also inspiring to geek out with another practitioner of Chinese Medicine! Make sure to check out Dr. LeTa and all of her offerings. You will be glad you did.
Moving to Oklahoma has been a huge change for me. I am still processing all of the setbacks, challenges and infinite rewards that are part of being in business for yourself.Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. It is hard work and requires patience, vigilance, and sacrifices.
It took a few months longer than anticipated to get Bakers Medical cannabis dispensary and clone nursery up and running in Oklahoma City. I was extremely stressed about what the delays were costing us and am now elated (and exhausted) that we got it open before the end of the year!
A week after the dispensary opened, I am happy to release the first episode of Season 3 of The Herb Walk with Jessica Baker! The season begins with Arcillia Miller, the program coordinator of OK Women Cann. The mission of OK Women Cann is to serve and empower women, providing women with opportunities to network and connect, educate, and promote a strong female representation within our industry.
OK Women Cann provides vital community outreach with their Little Buds and Sweet Sweet Sisters. The Little Buds Project is specifically created to provide financial assistance to eligible families so their children can start or continue to receive the medical benefits derived through medical cannabis, cod/hemp products. The Little Buds Project offers payments for medical recommendation office visits, as well as, further education on the benefits and administration of cannabis as medicine. The Sweet Sisters program, along with community support, hopes to reach Oklahoma women who may not have the ability or opportunity to become Cannamed educated and/or licensed due to disability or financial constraints.
A huge thank you to Arcillia Miller and OK Women Cann for taking the time to share their work with us.
Whether you are traveling to see friends and family or having a quiet holiday at home, may you be filled with the warmth of the season.
Wherever you are, please Subscribe to The Herb Walk and Leave a Review!
I never get tired of talking about weed. Hearing other people talk about cannabis these days is kind of tedious though (especially when they’re uninformed). Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE what is happening with ganja and hemp right now, but I am growing weary from all of the misinformation that is Still being perpetuated (thanks weedmaps and leafly).
Chip Baker, the host of The Real Dirt Podcast, is one of my best resources for all things cannabis. I’m also lucky enough to be his wife, so we talk endlessly about our favorite weed strains, what’s happening with the hemp market (ouch!), what we’re going to grow next time..
This canna-conversation was all about taxonomy (indica, sativa, rhuderalis, et al) and how the collective idea about sativa and indica is just plain Wrong. I try not to get too upset about the ignorance, since decades of prohibition have warped our understanding of cannabis as a plant. This topic has already annoyed a great many. Changing our understanding of something is hard. Yet it is our duty to overcome the lies and myths that come along with prohibition. Whatever your opinion is on the subject, there is Always more to learn.
Listen to this episode with an open mind and a fat joint. Then please subscribe to The Real Dirt (and The Herb Walk) and leave a review letting Chip and I know what you think!
PS: Today is Cinco de Drinko: On this date in 1993, the 21st amendment was ratified to end the prohibition of alcohol!
I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by how quickly the year has gone by. I am not where I imagined myself to be by the end of 2019. Since my timeline projections for opening the Bakers Medical dispensary have not been achieved, I find myself anxious with the nearing of December. I also thought I would feel more settled in Oklahoma and be farther along with the formulation of my Baker Botanica herbal products. My attitude towards these displeasures has intensified with each passing day.
There is a cliché about time going by faster as you age. I would have agreed with you last week when I was rushing around from one task to the next. Then on Friday I broke my toe. I was moving too fast, not paying attention, lifting a heavy object, and WHAM! Broke my right big toe.
Time doesn’t move nearly as fast when I’m laid up on the couch, only able to accomplish tasks that can be done by computer or phone. No pacing the office, walking back and forth from the office to the dispensary, making tea when my heart desires. My mind, once unsettled with thoughts of “too much to do” has become disturbed in a different way. The reality that I have to stay seated to ensure my toe will heal quickly is an affront to my mental state.
Which makes me remember that I haven’t been exercising enough. Now that I can’t put any weight on my foot, I have the overwhelming urge to run, jump rope, do plank, anything but sit around. What I really need to do is chill, breathe, meditate, and drink my herbal tea.
Once my Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) arrives I will make a poultice and put it on my foot to speed the healing of the broken bone. If you’re interested on how to make a poultice, check out my Youtube video.
The word symphytum is derived from sympho, “I grow together.” Comfrey is commonly called knitbone and I look forward to experiencing her medicine first hand. Over the years I have used Comfrey many times in salves and I like to add it to digestive teas. In recent years, the internal use of Comfrey has declined to containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids, but I will still add it to a tea blend if the anti-inflammatory benefits of knitbone are required.
For now, I’m going to accept my limitations of movement and be grateful for the opportunity to slow down.
While you’re slowing down, enjoy this interview with Mindy Green, aromatherapist and herbalist, from Season One of The Herb Walk.
Season One Replay continues with an interview with one of my favorite Denver herbalists, Monticue Connally. His approach to herbalism (and life) is inspiring to anyone that appreciates the spiritual side of the work.
Samhain, or Halloween is the perfect time to sit back with a steaming cup of tea to listen to this episode about working with herbs and spirits. Monticue gifts us with him rapping too!
I am re-releasing Season One of The Herb Walk Podcast because for some reason it is not showing up on iTunes or Stitcher any longer. I don’t want you to miss out on some amazing interviews with people like Jane Bothwell, Mindy Green, Julie Caldwell, Monticue Connelly and so many others.
Jane Bothwell was my very first herb teacher! Way back in 1998 I took her Beginning with Herbs class through the Dandelion Herbal Center and my entire life changed. You will know why Jane is revered as an herb teacher and a mentor after listening to this episode!
Season Two will be re-released soon since they are also no longer available through iTunes or Stitcher. Season Three recordings have begun and I should have a new episode to you soon. I’m excited to be back in the studio (even if I’m super distracted by everything else I’m doing!)
I’m back after a long summer hiatus! I didn’t expect it to be so long, but it has seriously felt like summer until just a couple of days ago. Oklahoma summers are no joke! After months of extreme heat and high winds, the mornings and evenings are now cool and our long work days in the garden are winding down. I just froze the last of the okra harvest (no-not mine, but some gems from a sweet old man I met at his Davenport roadside stand).
We have begun the harvest of our Legal cannabis garden. I’ve been growing medical cannabis for two decades and I am as excited today as when I first began. Most of the outdoor plants have been trimmed and are ready to be sold at our dispensary, Bakers Medical. The hoop houses are still a few weeks from being ready. I suspect they will turn out even better than the outdoor plants. I am ecstatic about our first harvest season here in Oklahoma!
Our dispensary should be open anytime now. Just waiting on a couple more inspections and we should be good to go. I will breathe a deep sigh of relief once we Finally up and running! Once we’re open- send your Oklahoma City friends (with a medical card) to Bakers Medical!
So now you know what I’ve been busy doing all summer. Trying to run multiple cannabis businesses, while continuing to teach, write and relax by our ponds. New episodes of The Herb Walk Podcast are in the works and will be released in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for interviews and musings on herbalism, Chinese medicine, and cannabis.
For those that want to hear an interview with me on MindBody Radio, tune in live Tuesday October 15th at 4:15 CDT!
I’m going way back to the beginning of Season One of The Herb Walk Podcast where I interview herbalist and author Brigitte Mars.
Brigitte is an herbalist and nutritional consultant of Natural Health with almost fifty years of experience. She teaches Herbal Medicine at Naropa University and The School of Health Mastery in Iceland. She has taught at Omega Institute, Esalen, Kripalu, Sivananda Yoga Ashram, Arise, Envision and Unify Festivals, and The Mayo Clinic. She blogs for the Huffington Post and Care2. She is also a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild.
Brigitte is also the author of many books and DVDs, including The Home Reference to Holistic Health and Healing, The Country Almanac of Home Remedies, The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine, Beauty by Nature, Addiction Free Naturally, The Sexual Herbal, Healing Herbal Teas, Rawsome!,and co-author of The HempNut Cookbook. Her DVDs include Sacred Psychoactive, Herbal Wizardry for Kids of all Ages, Natural Remedies for Childhood Ailments, Overcoming Addictions, and Natural Remedies for Emotional Health. Her latest project is a phone app called iPlant that helps budding herbalists to identify plants in the wild.
May you find this interview inspiring and fun! You can see both me and Brigitte (and many more great teachers) at this year’s Red Earth Herbal Gathering in Boulder, CO September 13-15, 2019
Tobacco is demonized by many as a deadly killer, but she is also one the most sacred plants on Earth. Grown across the Americas by people from Chile to Canada, Tobacco has been a predominant crop and sacred plant for thousands of years.
As the mass colonization of the continent increased throughout the eighteen century, Tobacco would be exploited and marketed to consumers as a panacea for all their ills. An ugly reality in the tobacco trade is slavery was a necessity for the colonizers to maximum profit. Without the impressed labor of slaves, the wealth derived by settlers to facilitate and ensure independence from England would not have been possible.
It’s disturbing to realize that while our founding fathers were fighting for their freedom, that freedom was only possible by enslaving others. It’s disgusting and that’s why I will not be celebrating “Independence” Day tomorrow. Instead I will continue to speak out against the continuous oppression of people of color in America. I will look deep into my own history and own my place in the continuation of white supremacy in America. It ain’t easy y’all, but it is necessary if we truly want to be the America we believe we are.
For the rest of Summer I’ll be periodically re-playing some of my favorite Herb Walk interviews from the past two seasons. There will be one special episode of me talking about The Red Earth Herbal Gathering coming up in September!
I don’t talk about my book, Plant Songs: Reflections on Herbal Medicine very often. To be honest, I’m still kinda shy about it. Besides information on my favorite herbs, I also share some personal stories of my life. Which is really hard for me!
In this episode of The Herb Walk with Jessica Baker, I read from my Nettle chapter. Nettle is the ultimate “Pay Attention” plant. If you don’t, Nettle will remind you every time! I recall my memories of hiking in the Annapurna Mountain Range in Nepal and getting the message of Nettle very clear that if I should pay attention. I’m glad I did!
Only one more podcast episode left until I break for summer. Just as a teaser- it’s all about Tobacco….
In the last month we have had Denver decriminalize psilocybin and Oakland decriminalized a slew of entheogens including psilocybin, ayahuasca and ibogaine.
This is a win for freedom of choice of medicine! I can only hope our minds and hearts are expanded with the reverent use of these ancient substances. It is apparent that we have a serious mental health crisis in our country. May the gifts of the earth prove to be the remedy we all need.
In honor of the new laws I am re-releasing my interview with Kelly Green of Refugio Altiplano, a wellness center in the heart of the Amazon jungle. Our discussion includes the mission of Refugio Altiplano to help preserve the 1,200 acres that surround the center. Kelly also has a gofundme to help purchase 500 of those acres that are in danger of being sold to companies that want to cut the forest to grow cacao and other crops. If you feel called to support, please pitch in as you can!
Sit back, partake in your entheogen of choice, and enjoy this episode of The Herb Walk with Jessica Baker.
Please leave a review so others can find the podcast easier!
This is the last in a series of interviewing women in the cannabis space. Today’s Herb Walk Podcast episode is with Stephanie Boucher, of Cannabotanicals.
Stephanie created Cannabotanicals to bring cannabis back into the modern herbal apothecary, keep it in the hands of the people, and utilize it as the powerful transformational tool that it is. We had a great conversation about how she got interested in herbalism and then inadvertently cannabis. This is an episode not to be missed!
I have been waiting for this episode to air for several reasons.
1- This is the Dr. Lakisha episode and I have the upmost respect for what she is doing in cannabis healing and research.
2– Because of our talk I know we all need to meet in Jamaica to smoke and share our finest ganja (listen to find out about legally flying cannabis to Jamaica).
3– We need a fundamental shift within our healthcare system and our values about wellness, nutrition, and cannabis use. I believe Dr. Jenkins is here to be part of that change.
Discussions like the one I had with Dr. Lakisha is why I started The Herb Walk Podcast. I want to learn from as many people (and plants) as I can and I am grateful for all the guests that have said yes to speaking with me!
I hope you enjoy this episode of The Herb Walk with Jessica Baker. Please share with your friend and family and leave a review so others may find me easily.
We all know Hemp is everywhere. Thank goddess! Hemp Hemp Hurray! Decades of prohibition is lifting as we see Cannabis spread across the continent. I also see the old guards fighting back every way they can, redirecting their hatred of the feminine with their arcane abortion laws (that’s a different post- which I will get to once I have a more creative outlet for my anger!)
Today I celebrate Cannabis instead. In this interview with Jessica Bates, of Moon Mother Hemp, we discuss her full spectrum hemp product line, where she uses her knowledge and love of herbalism to fuel her highly sought after hemp products.
We talk about the importance of using full spectrum hemp, as opposed to just CBD distillate or isolate, as is common with most products on the market. At Moon Mother Hemp, the difference is that cannabis is incorporated into tried and true herbal formulas, enhancing their effect with the full spectrum oil. Cannabis is not the only medicinal plant, as in most products.
What I love about Jessica is that she is an herbalist and talks about Rose, Calendula, and Nettles with as much reverence as she does Cannabis. Like me, her connection to plants runs deeper than the newest fad.
Listen to the latest episode of The Herb Walk with Jessica Baker and let me know what you think! Please leave a review so others can find me on iTunes and Subscribe to stay up to date on new releases.
If you haven’t been to my website lately, check out my new offerings!
My interview with Dr. Michele Ross, neuroscientist and researcher, is one you will want to hear! I met Dr. Ross a couple of years ago when we were both on a panel with the founders of the Holistic Cannabis Academy at an annual Women Grow event in Denver. She is a wealth of knowledge and I am honored to have her on the podcast.
Dr. Michele Ross is a leading psychedelic researcher and educator as well as fibromyalgia patient. She founded the first 501c3 nonprofit on cannabis for women’s health in 2013, and is now CEO of Infused Health, an online platform for cannabis health coaching. Dr. Ross is the author of “Vitamin Weed: A 4-Step Plan to Prevent and Reverse Endocannabinoid Deficiency” and has a Doctorate in Neuroscience. Dr. Ross’s most recent project is an initiative attempting to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms in Denver in May 2019.
During our interview, we discuss the importance of having a healthy endocannabinoid system and the various ways to create homeostasis with cannabis and other remedies. We talk about what is on the forefront for cannabis and psilocybin, as well as her health consultations and online courses for those that want to learn more about how to incorporate cannabis into their wellness regimen. Check out all Dr. Ross has to offer!
Please subscribe and leave a review (iTunes) so more people can find The Herb Walk Podcast! As always, your support is greatly appreciated!
There is much to be said about being on time, but since time is an illusion I’m going to say my timing is perfect.
Spring is in full force here in Oklahoma. The cherry and dogwood trees are blooming. It’s been 80 degrees and those spring winds are definitely blowing! Fingers crossed for a mild tornado season this year.
And double so for the winds that are stirring humanity. May we have truth and justice over division and strife!
Before you listen to the Wood Element, check out my (absolutely late) Earth Element episode. There’s an nice intro into the Wood Element that you may enjoy!
May you have compassion for yourself and then share that compassion with others.
when energy flows, wellness grows
PS: For some reason my first Season of The Herb Walk Podcast is no longer on iTunes or Stitcher so I will be re-releasing those episodes over the next several weeks. Enjoy!