Have you been thinking about becoming an herbalist? Do you have a deep love and connection with nature and all that God has provided for us? Do you want to have the skills and strategies to start enjoying a simple lifestyle? If so, I am glad you are here. I want to share my story with you. It’s about cultivating the heart of an herbalist and it’s my journey. Come along and see how my experiences from my childhood to adulthood have molded and shaped me into the herbalist I am today. I hope my story will inspire and ignite a passion within you to start your journey and cultivate your herbalist’s heart.
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Everyone who finds themselves on the journey of herbalism has a story to tell. This is my story.
Cultivating the Heart of an Herbalist as a Child
As a child, I would play in the yard around my house all day long. I would gather grass, sticks, rocks, dirt, and water and make the best mud pies in the neighborhood. The mud tasted a little earthy and bland but the sweet taste of grass intrigued me. Four-leaf clovers were my favorite to snack on.
A Little Gardener
One of my favorite things to do was plant the garden each spring with my dad. I loved the smell of freshly tilled Earth! I loved how it felt damp and cool under my feet. I would walk behind the tractor plunging my piggy toes into the soil. Sometimes Dad would even find me making dirt angels.
I still get excited every spring when my dad turns the dirt to prepare the garden spot. And yes, I still plunge my piggy toes in the dirt. And at 57 years young, you will find me in the dirt making modified dirt angels. 🙂
My dad planted several vegetables but the one that stands out to me the most was PUMPKINS! We would make little hills in each row and poke five holes on the top of each hill. After that, it was my job to push the pumpkin seeds down into the soil and gently cover them. Then, I would eagerly wait for the seedlings to push through the soil.
In a matter of days, the little sprouts would make their appearance, springing forth from the dirt, facing upward as if to kiss the sun. I was always amazed at the new life that sprung forth from the seeds. Soon, we would be picking the pumpkins and selling them on the side of our road. I asked my dad a million questions about dirt, seeds, plants, and pumpkins. The plant world around me was intriguing. These experiences began to establish a connection with nature that would deepen as I grew older.
Cultivating the Heart of an Herbalist During the Teen Years
As a teen, my curiosity and interest in the plant world faded. The time I spent in the garden seemed to be a chore instead of a connection to the plant world. Sadly, I didn’t enjoy any part of it. So, my interest shifted to horses and I spent most of my spare time riding in the woods. During this time, something in me shifted and I began to develop a deeper connection to Earth. I began to pay attention to the landscape and the heavens. I began to see the beauty in the trees, mountains, brambling creeks, and wildlife. Lastly, and MOST importantly, I grew to know my savior and became aware of HIS everlasting love for me. As my relationship with Him grew, my sense of connection to Earth strengthened.
Cultivating the Heart of an Herbalist as a Newlywed
A New Passion
Shortly after I married, my husband and I visited Bellingrath Gardens and Home in Theodore, Alabama. This was the start of my first hobby that would quickly grow into a passion of no return. The gardens were so inspiring. As soon as we returned home, I built my first little flower garden right off the porch steps. As expected, my passion grew as well as the gardens. I subscribed to every landscaping and gardening magazine under the sun and before I could realize what had happened, my yard had morphed into a mini botanical garden filled with a variety of colorful annuals, never-ending perennials, bold and beautiful shrubs, and lastly, forgiving and grounding herbs.
Over the course of the next few years, I gravitated to using mostly herbs in my landscape. I loved the ease of growing herbs. They were very hardy and forgiving. I was drawn to their shapes, textures, and scents. Being around them in my garden made me happy. Expanding the gardens was my goal and my dream was to have my gardens featured in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. So, I continued to design and install garden beds all over my yard. Well, my garden was never featured in the magazine, but my gardens were featured in our local newspaper. My gardens were not the only thing expanding. After ten years of marriage, planting, and tending to my gardens, it was time to expand the family.
Cultivating the Heart of an Herbalist as an Adult
Unfortunately, as a new mom, I suffered from a host of symptoms after the birth of my children. I was disappointed in allopathic medicine and what it had to offer. So, I began my own research to ease my symptoms. This search opened up the world of herbalism for me! I added encapsulated herbal supplements into my daily regime and was astounded by the response from my body as the herbs supported my systems during my health crisis. Because of this, I was intrigued and excited to learn more. Searching led me to an overwhelming amount of information to digest. Again, I purchased magazines and several books on herbalism, read several blog posts, and joined blogging groups on Facebook. The more I read, the more questions I had.
Treading the Path
After a few years, I realized that my information was scattered and disconnected. In addition, I felt I was lacking the confidence to use encapsulated herbal supplements as a tool for healing. I knew I needed to find reliable sources. My search led me to many, many, MANY herbalists and online courses. I was overwhelmed with all the choices offered. As a result of my overwhelm, I put studying on the back burner and defaulted back to my “comfort zone.” I continued my landscape gardening and started raising kids.
I befriended a sweet herbalist who was a grower. She had greenhouses as well as a storefront where she offered soap-making classes and other herbal-related gatherings. She held a deep connection with every herb she grew. I could feel that connection as she shared information about what each herb had to offer us. Her storefront was AMAZING. With lavender and rosemary hanging from drying rafts, sweet, woodsy aromas beckoned me to know more about the art of herbalism. I purchased my first two books on herbs and I began to learn about how powerful PLANTS were. She recommended a book by Tasha Tudor and it became my biggest inspiration for my gardens. The memories I have of visiting her greenhouse left an impact on me.
Facing Middle Age
A few years after the birth of my second child, I experienced symptoms of peri-menopause. I did not fully understand the changes my body was going through or how much support and LOVE I should have been giving myself. Once again, I turned to a handful of encapsulated herbal supplements and continued my lifestyle without making any changes to support my health and wellness. Of course, that lifestyle consisted of making poor choices, and I would soon find out that a handful of herbal supplements were not enough. So, life went on………..
A Health Scare
In 2013, my mom had a near-death experience with septic shock. After four months of being her health advocate and caregiver, I found myself exhausted and suffering from adrenal fatigue. I was 30 pounds overweight, highly stressed, and in survival mode. Reading and researching about septic shock, H-pylori, rheumatoid arthritis, and many other dis-ease related topics that affected my mom became my new hobby. I soaked in the knowledge and with much prayer, love, encapsulated herbal supports, and lifestyle changes, mom to recovered. My health? That’s for another blog post.
It was my cousin, Veronica, who encouraged me to continue my herbal journey. After I shared my mom’s story with her and how we used herbs for support, she encouraged me to become a naturopath to provide support for the people in my community. Because of this gentle nudge, I enrolled in my first formal herbal course. I was hooked. The more I learned about herbs, the more I wanted to know. I bought MORE books, joined MORE Facebook groups, and devoured MORE information. This gentle nudge contributed to cultivating the heart of an herbalist, my heart!
However, this time, something was different. I have always been intrigued by biology, microbiology, anatomy, and physiology. Learning about the history of dis-eases from an epidemiologist’s viewpoint was interesting. I learned even more about how herbs assist and support our bodies, bringing the body into balance, from a holistic perspective that includes a balance between mind, body, soul, and spirit. This was a pivotal point in the way I viewed herbs and how they are used.
What is Herbalism?
Most people think that herbalism involves taking a few encapsulated powdered herbs or taking the latest remedy posted on social media. Did you notice that was my pattern of thinking as you read this post?
It goes much deeper than that. Herbalism is a way of life that facilitates a connection to the natural world. It is a way of life that bridges the gap between our modern-day living and the lifestyles of our ancestors. Herbalism is living holistically and embraces many aspects such as natural and clean living, whole foods nutrition, self-care, and lifestyle choices for health and wellness as well as caring for our planet. is nourishing to the body and offers many opportunities for self-care. Herbalism is supportive.
There is a time to learn and a time to do.Katja
Embracing herbalism has been a challenging task for me. Sure, I have been reading every book that has been suggested. I have completed several online courses. But there is a difference in learning new material and actually putting the knowledge to work. I feel that lack of confidence has held me back.
After reflection, I have come up with my “WHY.” I have realized what drives me. I have realized why this way of life is important to me. Discovery of my “WHY,” has given me mental clarity and the confidence I need to embrace herbalism and continue my journey. I completed an introductory and intermediate course at the Herbal Academy. I enrolled in the Herbal Medicine for Women’s Course by Dr. Aviva Romm as well as several other short courses at Herb Mentor. I am excited to announce my new journey! I am enrolled in the Community Herbalist course at the Common Wealth Center for Holistic Herbalism. My goal is to take my journey deeper and wider to offer knowledge and support to my community as a community herbalist.
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.Genisis 1:29
Today, I embrace herbalism. I praise God for the bounty He has blessed me with and I vow to use His blessings to sustain my health and wellness. I vow to do my part in caring for His creation. My mission is to share my knowledge as a ministry to empower women to embrace a simple, wholesome and favored lifestyle; a lifestyle that will bridge the gap between our modern life and the lives of our ancestors as well as a lifestyle that supports health and wellness so that we can be a beacon in today’s world. Herbalism is stewardship!
As I reflect back to my childhood, I see how my experiences have contributed to cultivating the heart of an herbalist. My Heart!