Saturday, January 15, 2011

An Herbalist Makes Her Peace with Technology

Yes, I'm normally found fingers in the dirt, bare feet in the garden, or standing behind my farmer's market booth selling my medicines. I'm happiest in these places--where the sounds of nature are familiar and the sun is a stronger presence than my swivel chair. But I've made peace with the technology around me--even, dare I say it? Embraced it. I opened a Quickbooks account. I'm starting a blog. I'm (gasp) getting a Facebook page. I've reached the episode in my professional life as an herbalist, healer, teacher and writer where I feel the need to take the next step, which in this case is offering a few words of encouragement alongside a smattering of herbal know-how to anyone who might be looking for it.

For sixteen years, I've taught what I've been fortunate enough to learn about herbal medicine. I learned traditionally--following around old-timers in the rugged Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, and watching what they harvested, experimenting with my formulas, and finally establishing my practice as a manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer of potent and effective natural herbal remedies. My products contain herbs I've harvested myself (about 85%), either cultivated or wildcrafted, and many of my products are completely organic. I don't use the bad ingredients and I try to foster an appreciation and respect for the natural world with the wonderful people who take my classes or apprentice with me. (More information at my website,

So, what is The Buttercup List? As any gardener will tell you, buttercups are lovely little yellow flowers that will take over a garden and quickly strangle it. When I served as head gardener at the historic Mast Farm Inn, the owner bitingly referred to the yellow blossoms as "ranunculus" as she ripped them out by the roots. Over time, I've learned to never plant buttercups in my garden (or ivy, mint, morning glory or honeysuckle, for that matter) but I've also learned to appreciate the flower's tenacity. It has five petals and its very fierceness can teach us something about staying true to your cause and never giving up. Thus: The Buttercup List is five days each week of inspiration, quotes, plant information and even guidelines with recipes for making herbal medicines for you and your family. It's not the World Cup: It's The Buttercup!

Here's the Buttercup Schedule: Monday: Daily Inspiration; Tuesday: International Inspiration and Book Reviews; Wednesday: Meet a Plant; Thursday: Herbs & How They Work; Friday: Recipes & How-To. Saturday we take off, and then it's Buttercup Sunday--recapping the week and looking ahead.

If I can figure out the links, you'll be able to access this blog and The Buttercup List directly from Facebook, as well as from my website Thanks for following, and please come back and share with friends who might need a pick-me-up, an encouraging word, an answer to a question about herbs or health, or an idea for how to use all those wonderful herbs growing outside the back door.

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