Slow Down You Must

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.

With love,

Jessica 

The Herb Walk Podcast: Re-release of Interview with Monticue Connally

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!

All you ghouls have fun out there tonight!

Witchy love,

Jessica

The Herb Walk Podcast Season One Re-Release: Jane Bothwell Interview

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!)

With love,

Jessica

The Return of Autumn

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!

To learn more about Autumn (and the Metal Element) according to Chinese medicine, check out my Metal Element episode of The Herb Walk with Jessica Baker.

Much love,

The Return of Autumn

Jessica

The Herb Walk Podcast Interview with Brigitte Mars

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 HealingThe Country Almanac of Home RemediesThe Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine, Beauty by Nature, Addiction Free Naturally, The Sexual Herbal, Healing Herbal TeasRawsome!,and co-author of The HempNut Cookbook. Her DVDs include Sacred Psychoactive, Herbal Wizardry for Kids of all AgesNatural 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

With love,

Jessica

The Herb Walk Podcast: Tobacco Episode

For the final episode of Season 2, I share with you excerpts from the Tobacco chapter of Plant Songs: Reflections on Herbal Medicine.

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!

Sit back, listen and have a great summer!

With love,

Jessica

A New Entheogen Revolution

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!

With love,

Jessica

The Herb Walk Podcast Interview with Stephanie Boucher of Cannabotanicals

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!

Listen, subscribe and please leave a review so others can find The Herb Walk Podcast!

With love,

Jessica

The Herb Walk Interview with Dr. Lakisha Jenkins

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.

With love,

Jessica

The Herb Walk Interview with Jessica Bates of Moon Mother Hemp

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.

With love,

Jessica

If you haven’t been to my website lately, check out my new offerings!

The Herb Walk Interview with Dr. Michele Ross

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!

With love,

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Spring & The Wood Element

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.

With love,

Jessica

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!

Cannabis as Medicine

As we approach the stoner holy day of 4/20 I thought I’d share a podcast about the evolution of Cannabis as medicine throughout history. Used throughout Southeast Asia for millennia and cultivated for at least 10,000 years (probably much longer), Cannabis has a long history of medicinal use. Hemp was an already well known herb in Europe in the 15th century.

Today we have so much information (and misinformation) on Cannabis, especially with the terms sativa and indica. I think you’ll be surprised by how these terms are widely misused. With Cannabis becoming more popular it is more important than ever to make sure we are spreading Truthful information, and not concepts that were created and spread because of the ignorance prohibition caused.

If you’ve been wanting to learn more about Cannabis or how to use Cannabis as medicine, I am available for herbal consultations via Skype and I can also formulate for your herbal products company. I have worked with several companies to help blend Cannabis and/or CBD with other herbs. I would love to help spread Cannabis any way I can!

If you are in Oklahoma City for OK CannaCon April 18-19th I’ll be walking the floor and hanging out at the Cultivate Booth. Come by and say High!

May we all be healthy, happy, and high!

With love,

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Sick Day Blog Post

Those of you who read my blog know that I’m not a sugar coated unicorn-loving optimist. If anything I see unicorns as the symbol of white masculinity.  Maybe if unicorns weren’t almost always depicted as white I’d feel differently. 

This blog post isn’t about unicorns or white masculinity. 

Today is one of those testy days. I got sick yesterday, which is pretty rare for me. There’s also some stress in our lives (good and bad) that have altered my sleep patterns. Not to mention a weekend of good times at the Baby Bathwater Institute Members Only Mastermind that definitely over stimulated me!

To bring myself back into balance (in body and mood) after too much stimulation I always come back to my herbs. They always know exactly what I need.  This is what’s in my medicine cabinet today.

– RESOLVE (METAL ELEMENT)– Baker Botanica 5 Element Essential Oils

I’m rolling this blend on my chest, neck, and behind my ears. The therapeutic properties of Douglas Fir, Tulsi Basil, Eucalyptus radiata, Scots Pine, and Clary Sage help me take deep breaths and let go of the irritation and agitation I feel. 

– GET OUT THE FUNK TEA– This is a blend that is my go-to when I’m sick. I don’t measure any of the herbs, but you can blend 1-2 teaspoons of each herb together and add as much as you want to a quart jar that you drink throughout the day. I’ll probably drink 2-3 quarts of tea over the course of the day. Blend together elderberries, citrus peel, peppermint, yarrow, and ginger

– WATER– I can’t tell you how much water I’ve had today. Although my throat hurts I drink water and/or tea constantly to stay hydrated. 

– REST– Guilt and commitments make me think I need to push through, regardless of how tired I am. Reality tells me that I should rest so I recover faster. Most of the time it’s okay if work waits until after a nap (which I am going to take right now).

Be Well Friends!

With love,

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Finding Balance with Spring Equinox

Spring Equinox is here! And a Super Full Moon too! 

Spring Equinox is one of my favorite days of the year. The balance of night and day, yin and yang, earth and heavens is palpable to me. It is the pull of the awakening of life after a cold lifeless winter. 

Spring is also the return of the Wood Element. We see green sprouts growing around us while within in us the yang energy also awakens. We feel this instinctively though it often goes unnoticed in our busy lives.

For the last two decades I have recognized and celebrated the Spring and Vernal Equinox, Summer and Winter Solstice and cross days like Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, Samhain. I pay attention to the changing of the seasons for reasons I can’t explain. It feels essential for my mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.

These rituals connect to the universal energy around me and tune me in with natural cycles. And affected by in infinite ways I only understand in fragments. On days like today, with the Equinox and Full Moon energies, it’s easier to feel the connection. Revel in it!

May you find balance in life and love and be in harmony with the cosmic qi around and within you! 

Happy Spring, y’all!! 

With love,

Jessica 

when energy flows, wellness grows 

Cannabis: Reflect, Feel, Create, Evolve

Today feels really good! I am on the brink of something Big. Something so exciting I want to scream it from the top of the rafters. The timing is not right yet. Hopefully in just a few short weeks I can share what I am so pumped about!

Until then I will share with you an excerpt from my book, Plant Songs: Reflections on Herbal Medicine. Chapter 8- Cannabis: Reflect, Feel, Create, Evolve was probably the hardest chapter to write. Partially because of the stigma that surrounds Cannabis and partially because I am still processing my experiences of 20+ years in Humboldt County. It’s hard to be open about parts of my life that I have been so secretive about. Even writing these sentences is causing my heart rate to rise. (If I was at home I’d make myself some chamomile and rose tea!)

Excerpt from Chapter 8 of Plant Songs: Reflections on Herbal Medicine Wriiten by Jessica Baker, LAc, RH (AHG)

The legalization of cannabis and its acceptance in the medical community is long overdue. I get giddy every time I see a cannabis dispensary. It brings back the fondest memories of standing in the middle of a ganja garden, feeling the warm Northern California breeze, smoking a joint, pruning the plants while listening to my solar-powered radio. This was the late 90’s, and although growing medical cannabis was legal under California law, there was still eradication under CAMP (Campaign Against Marijuana Planting). The fear of imprisonment was real. Growing medicinal cannabis was not respected as it is now and people risked everything for their right to cultivate. There is something exhilarating and empowering about growing your own medicine. It makes me feel alive and connected to all the people who have cultivated cannabis over the ages. For those in Northern California that grew under fear of harassment and arrest, the legalization of medicinal and adult-use cannabis has the potential to change not only the lives of patients, but also cannabis growers. A lot of healing can occur when prohibition goes away. Like many, there are days when I still pine for the good old days, when cannabis growers were the freedom fighters, providing clandestine medicine to those in need. 

Today, cannabis is highly regulated, packaged for consumers, in child-proof packaging, and probably contains ingredients like propylene glycol, butane residue, and/or refined sugar. Yum! Almost makes me want to go back to the outlaw days. Almost. The fear that cannabis prohibition perpetuates is something that I have trouble comprehending. The losses of community, family and character that have come from imprisoning nonviolent drug dealers and cannabis users far outweighs the negative effects cannabis can have on a person’s health or psyche. As our culture evolves, we have to look at the bigger picture. Which is worse: ingestion of a safe plant for recreational purposes or knowingly ruining someone’s life because they are growing an herb? It is an obvious choice if we care about people at all. 

So there it is. A little window into my past. If you’re interested in learning more about herbalism or cannabis, you can get a copy of Plant Songs from bakerbotanica.com or from Amazon.

May you be inspired to live your dream as I am living mine!

With love,

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

3 Ways to Avoid the Valentine’s Funk

I have never been into Valentine’s Day. Never will be. Don’t give a shit. And I have been in a very loving, supportive relationship with my husband for over twenty years. I just don’t buy into Hallmark holidays that revolve around buying more plastic or sugary crap for your loved ones (didn’t we get enough of that at Christmas?!)

For those that don’t feel like me, Valentine’s can be hard. It is another reminder of your loneliness from not having someone to share your life with. Or it could be that you are in a relationship that is abusive or just not serving your highest purpose. Valentine’s can stir up all kinds of emotions for us.

As always, plants are there for us.

3 Ways to Avoid the Valentine’s Funk (Herbalist style)

1.Eat Chocolate, Lots of Chocolate

The darker the better. If it has Rose petals, Raspberry filling, or is dipped on Strawberries- Do it! Rose soothes a broken heart and anything red in color is beneficial to the heart channel and the fire element, which is the element of passion, creativity, and joy.

2.Drink Herbal Tea   

Nutritive herbs like Milky Oats, Skullcap, and Rose petals help keep you relaxed, while reminding you that you are supported and loved. Just add a teaspoon or two of dried herbs to 1 cup of hot water, steep for at least 10 minutes and then enjoy! TIP: Chocolate is a wonderful accompaniment to chocolate and will mellow out the richness of the dark chocolate.

3Phone a Friend  

This is Huge, especially today when we often text instead of call someone. Hearing a friend’s voice can do wonders for the soul when you’re feeling alone or isolated. If you have friends like mine, laughter is sure to follow- and we all know laughter is The best medicine.

As for me tonight I won’t be out at a romantic dinner or welcomed home from work with (chemical laden) roses. I will be happily at home, with my husband, not celebrating Valentine’s Day, but eating chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.

With love,

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows 

Hawthorn Berry as a Digestive Tea

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Tashi Dalek! The Lunar New Year is upon us and I love to celebrate the cyclical shift from one year to another! On Monday’s New Moon we left the year of the Yang Earth Dog and welcomed in the Yin Earth Pig. I hope this year’s energy is a little less aggressive wounded dog and more congenial lucky pig. May our collective focus turn more towards generosity and companionship and farther away from personal motives of money and power. 

My birthday was also on Monday and along with honoring the next lunar cycle, I also celebrated my next revolution around the sun! A perfect yin yang balance! I threw an all day Drinky and Smoky Tea Party where we drank loads of Tea (Camellia sinensis), ate pastries, and smoked fatties. In typical Jessica fashion I took photos of me preparing the goodies, but forgot to get images of the final creations! I also had so much fun during the party I only had one series of pictures taken of some girlfriends and myself. Next time I’ll remember to take more photos! 

I will admit I went to bed with a bellyache Monday night. I ate way too many sugary treats, drank too much caffeine, and then had cheesy calzones late in the evening. It was a deliciously indulgent day and I felt the aftermath. As a Chinese medicine practitioner I embrace their theories on food stagnation (bloating, gas, and fatigue due to eating heavy, rich foods) and know that eating like this can wreak havoc on my digestion. That’s when I remember the wonders of Hawthorn (Crataegus pinnatifida).

If you’ve been overdoing it like me, then you need one of my favorite Hawthorn Berry recipes. Perfect for sluggish digestion after too much fun! This tea is tasty and works wonders to help digest fats and heavy foods. I recommend drinking small 2 ounce cups throughout the day if you tend to overeat. I should have been drinking this tea during my party and I wouldn’t need it so badly now!

Swollen Belly Decoction (aka Belchy and Burpy Tea)

3 tbsps dried Hawthorn berries (Crataegus pinnatifida)

3 strips dried Tangerine peel (Citrus reticulata)

3 cups of water

Simmer berries and peels in water for 20 minutes. Strain out herbs and set aside. Drink 2 ounces of the decoction throughout the day or 1/2 cup after a heavy meal. 

To learn more about Tea and Hawthorn, check out my book Plant Songs: Reflections on Herbal Medicine! It’s available on Amazon, Balboa Press and other online outlets.

You can also check out this episode The Herb Walk Podcast where I read from the Hawthorn chapter!

With love,

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows 

Herbalism As Activism

We are a country divided. I have heard this said over and over again lately and I have seen this polarization play out all over social media- especially Facebook. I have absolutely participated, as I have been quick to anger, to point fingers, and to make generalized statements about people I disagree with.

I am acting exactly like what I loathe and think I am working against. I am allowing myself to get riled up and angry, instead of transforming that energy into something productive. An example being a recent post I made on a Clinical Herbalists Facebook Group about a conference in Alabama that was threatening to kick out anyone being political. 

First of all their statements about what being political are were vague and I thought it was rude of them to threaten to kick people out of their conference for disruptive behavior related to politics. The organizers state  “this conference is for participants to reconnect with the land and our first love of using plants and alternative medicine.” Yes, that’s the reason we attend herbal conferences, but to censor people’s speech about politics (herbal medicine and politics are deeply intertwined unfortunately) is ridiculous. The keynote speaker took offense to their statements as well and has chosen to step down from speaking. 

Second of all, it is a conference called The Deep South Conference without any sort of representation of the people that come from the South. There is one teacher that is a Cherokee man, but all others are Caucasian. Which is not uncommon at herbal conferences in the U.S.- just a little shocking when the name is the Deep South Conference and there is not one single black teacher. The south (if you haven’t been) has no shortage of African American herbalists. 

I don’t think we can separate politics from herbalism. Most of us have learned some form of indigenous herbalism and we take for granted how easy and accessible it has been. It’s why we didn’t think twice (until recently) about burning sage and palo santo. We have never been prosecuted, shamed or killed for practicing our beliefs. We just got to expose ourselves to whatever we wanted to learn and then shout it to the rooftops as if everyone has had the privilege and right to do it. 

As herbalists, we are activists! Even if we don’t want to see ourselves that way, it is our responsible to change, not only what we perceive health to be, but to make sure everyone has equal access to the medicines of the Earth. We must work to make herbal medicine affordable and accessible to as many people as we can. No one should be left out when it comes to working with plant medicines.  But because of political structures that continue to keep up the business of capitalism and a racist foundation that we value one person’s life above another, this is not possible. 

And that is why I have to speak out

If you need some help building Courage or Resolve, remember your herbal allies. It could be a good time to call upon Eleutherococcus senticosis (Siberian ginseng) to help adapt to the changes in your life and relationships as you speak your truth more clearly. Maybe you need Crataegus spp. (Hawthorn) to transform your emotions of frustration and hate to clarity and compassion. It could be that you need to wear aromatic herbs like Lavender and Rose as an amulet or (diluted) essential oil to keep you calm and centered during heated conversations. 

We always have a choice as to how we are going to react. Maybe tomorrow I’ll react calmer when faced with colleagues that don’t want to rock the boat or call out injustice. Instead of attacking them with cynicism and withdrawal, hopefully I’ll be able to have a more intelligent conversation. I’ll do my best.

With love,

Jessica 

when energy flows, wellness grows

Featured Image: Photo taken by Jessica Baker Artist- Apex

Chinese Herbal Energetics

Getting to talk about energy and our relationship to nature and the cosmos may be the coolest thing about teaching Chinese medicine classes. I spent the last two days at the Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism talking to students about the dynamic relationship between yin and yang that is necessary to create and sustain life. We discussed ethereal concepts like qi (vital life force energy), jing (essence) and shen (spirit) and how to choose herbal medicines based on their energetic properties.

In Chinese herbalism, the taste of herbal substances is what determines its therapeutic action. Five Element theory tells us each element has numerous correspondences, including a taste. In this weeks episode of The Herb Walk Podcast, I talk about Chinese herbal energetics and the importance of choosing the right herb for a person’s constitution. Just like all Chinese medicine practitioners, I also mention poo quite a bit and how it relates to the health of our digestive system.

I hope you enjoy this episode and learn some fun information about why loose stools happen. Please Subscribe to The Herb Walk Podcast so you never miss an episode! And if I can ask a favor- to please post a review wherever you listen to podcasts. It would really help me out!

With love,

Jessica