Interested in Herbs, Life as a Herbalist
Answered by: Christine Dennis
Question from: Yasmeen
Posted on: March 03, 2008

Ever since I was in grade six my best friend and I were crazy about the use of herbs. I know grade six sounds a bit young but it all started with our interest in medieval era, Native Americans and American colonial lifestyle and healing styles. As we grew we found very few places and even fewer people who we could learn from. I have always had Richters website saved under favourites but didn’t see that we could email an herbal expert. That is why I am writing. As a person who has gone to university and mastered herbalism, could you give us some advise and what drives your passion. What your lifestyle has become being an herbalist versus if herbalim was a hobby? Thank you so much if you could reply. We would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you for your inquiry. I must say that for me it is not AS much a passion as it is a calling. Many people have asked how it was that I decided to be a herbalist but the reality is that I did not decide to do this! I was just fumbling and stumbling along taking courses and buying books here and there when one day it suddenly dawned on me that this is were I was heading. It was not a conscious decision. In fact, if I had actually listened to my head, I would not be working, practising and living as a herbalist here today. Every time I started a course, workshop, or program, it NEVER actually made sense for me to do it - timing, finances, pregnancy, and other various "barriers" suggested that it would not be wise to do so. But, I did not listen to my head and the usual logic surrounding these types of decisions. Instead I listened to my heart and here I am. I am very passionate about herbs and am very grateful that I listened, unconscious as it was, to the calling. Come to think of it, I don’t think that ignoring it was an option or at least it did not work if I had tried to do so.

Having said this, it has not always been an easy road. Since really focusing my energy a few years ago life as a herbalist has been a good one. My family and I eat, sleep and breathe holistic/herbal medicine as well as Herbal Medicine, the craft, as opposed to just herb medicine, the tools, everyday. What helps to focus and drive me is the desire to help others reconnect with and to live within the rhythms of the earth as we now do. We home school our three children on a farm way out in the country and we are surrounded by plants and nature. Life feels very complete here. In the winter we hibernate and study up and plan for the spring and summer ahead. In the spring and summer we all garden and harvest like crazy growing, processing, preparing and storing both foods and medicine - which are really one in the same anyway. Come fall, with our "stock" replenished, we look forward to the break and to hibernate thus resting in preparation for the next season again. I could not imagine doing anything else or allowing another "career" to interfere with what would then be my hobby. I would have to say that being a herbalist is my both my career and hobby all in one.

My herbal practice waxes and wanes throughout the year but it all balances out. Since I grow/make over 90% of my medicines that I use in my practice, I am happy that most people take holidays in the summer when I am busiest in the gardens. My office is in my home so my entire family meets and greets my patients. As such they are often reminded of the importance of their own balancing and healing in their life both now and for the future. It is wonderfully rewarding to see a patient finally "getting it" and for my children to "live it" as well.

If you feel drawn to nature and a desire to help others feel the same, I would really recommend becoming a herbalist. With the future looking as it is, I believe the need for herbalists is going to rise. David Hoffmann also believes that herbalists are going to become the triage for the changes that lay ahead.

I hope this helps.

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