I'd Rather Be A Herbalist

in THE WEEKEND6 days ago

Sometimes I want to start a degree again. Western Herbal Medicine, or Naturopathy. I've wanted to be a naturopath for years, but only after it felt too late, already in a well paid teaching job as I was. People always argue it's not too late, that feels like a kind encouragement over a truth, and I smile agreeance whilst I don't want to argue that perhaps I don't want to work at all. There's an impossible tension between wanting to earn money doing something you love, and not wanting to be beholden to work at all.


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Feverfew, growing wild near Bruthen, NSW

When I was a teenager, I didn't have a passion except for literature. I loved reading and I loved studying, so an Arts degree it was. I was an all round student, smart at Maths and Sciences as well, though I didn't believe it at the time. If I was to write back to my teenager self I'd tell her that she was good at everything, and not to believe the niggling doubts she wasn't. But off to university I went, as you did, and it took me ten years to finish my degree because I was busy living - gallivanting round Australia, travelling to Europe, having a child. Bar work and the dole (Jeff Kennett's surf team, as we called ourselves in the '90's, driving old Holdens and Fords into the sunsets of Western Australia) and later the single parent pension paid the rent.


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Mullein by the kerb, Bradford on Avon, UK

Eventually, I did a year diploma to qualify as a teacher, and here I am today thinking, god girl, if you could have chosen any career, why that? And I know why I did - it was because I loved literature, and studying, and that meant I could keep studying and keep reading, which I did. I also believed I did it because of empathy - I had such a bad time at school that part of me had to return to the place to help kids like me. I love teenagers - their bright young minds, their developing identities, their wounds and their wonder, their enthusiasm and their quick to forgive nature. Give 'em a bit of love, and they shine. And I've had a lot of love to give. Even on my darkest days being with students cheers me up. They have a way of pulling you outside of yourself.

But if you offered me a million bucks, or even 200 grand, I'd quit in an instant and never look back. It's exhausting and my heart's not in it anymore - kids don't read much anymore and the curriculum either dumbs things down or packs too much in so you can't spend too much time on a text that deserves more. Staff politics is not my thing. Earning money to pay bills is not my thing - it's something I've never cared for, this merry go round and money hungry circus that the world's chosen as their modus operandi. Build more, expand more, consume more - dollar dollar bill y'all. Oh to be back on Jeff Kennett's surf team and handing in a dole form once a fortnight and finding twenty cent pieces covered in fluff and green in the crook of the couch.


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Unidentified herb, roadside, Northern India

But back to the question, posed by @galenkp here on HIVE. If I could do any job in the world, what would I do?

Well, I'd love to be a herbalist - but that's more about studying herbal medicine than actually doing the job. I love to study - it's so interesting. Herbalism is one of those huge subjects that could take you lifetimes to learn, and there's so much in it, from ethnobotany and the cultural overlay placed over plants, to energetics, to homemade balms and salves, to supporting and nourishing through diet, to just a practical every day herbalism through kitchen witchery. I'm not sure I'd like to practice in a clinic, but teaching people about the medicinal value of backyard plants and how to use them sounds right up my alley. I've loved plants and herbs since I was a teenager when Mum and I made a herb garden and she'd send me off scouting for plantain. You come back to your dandelion roots, I guess.

I wish I'd known it was possible to study herbalism or naturopathy and that I would be good at it and could make a career from it before I went into teaching. I didn't know - I guess pre internet days information was a little scant. No one I knew followed that pathway, so it wasn't on my radar.


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Plantain billy tea, roadside, Tathra NSW

There's lots of things we didn't see coming back then. We didn't know you could shape your own career, or that social media was going to be so huge and a way to earn money. Even podcasting - man, if I had had known how much I'd love them I would have continued with journalism and thought about sound engineering. I love the idea of telling stories through that medium and podcast popularity has boomed of late.

It's all a moot point - I'm not sure I want to dedicate my life, time and money into anything but community work and travelling and not being part of a money money money world anymore. It does feel too late. I don't have the energy.

Who knows though, who knows.

With Love,


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Ya most us believe that we have chosen as different carrier from what we are really meant to. But we feel that its to late but , is its late ?
I think we can do anything if we really wish to do, I read your most of the posts you are really good at herbs and plants, there use and advantages as well so you have a good knowldwge of all the things in my opinion.
we always want to learn this is a great things most of us have indeed.
Thanks 😊🤝🙏

 5 days ago 

You are very sweet and I appreciate what you say xx

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My pleasure mam 🙏😊

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It's a wonderful field and one worth looking into, I have my sights sent on it too but the time isn't right for me.

Currently there is an entire world of Australian native plants that are not being used with strong healing properties. Kangaroo Apple has high levels or cortisone. A substance this currently requires the farming from animals. This plant has future potential in markets.

Acacia high in protein can be added to coffee, food, used as dough and many more.

I was planning a few business things with those plants but have put them on the back burned due to current career progression and work I am involved in.

Worth looking into and researching if you're interested.

 6 days ago 

@melbourneswest, I'd love to learn from First Nation people about indigenous plants that are used for healing. I don't feel that I know anything about the Australian plants here and rely on European/American plants that found their way here via colonialism. I do find there's something sweet about that - I like seeing Australian 'natives' and feel so in love with this land, as much as I adore the medicinal plants that come from my European heritage. But I wish there was more information readily out there about natives. I do eat wattle seeds out walking, and I have just planted kangaroo apple by the dam. How do you prepare them?


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Wattle is easy, just becareful as some do have arsenic in them and will kill. Most the Australian varieties are safe but Golden Wattle (acacia) is the most common down south and the preferred.

Roasting them then grinding them is the preferred manner in a way similarly to coffee. Traditionally this was done by having a fire and rocks in the fire that would heat up.

Place the wattle seeds inclusive of their pod for a few minutes. The pod draws out toxins leaving a roasted seed.

Although, easier now days to just peel them, put em on a tray and then toast them in the Oven.

Kangaroo apples are still abit harder and I haven't investigated it enough. My partner also has a BA of Biomedical Science ontop of her BA of Nursing. She advised that it is through distilling but then you need another chemical to separate the cortisone from the ethanol and all the other impurities.

Also Acacia bark is high in tannin, another derivative that requires animals but is found in high amounts in Aussie plants.

Sorry, some acacia have Cyanide not arsenic, I was thinking of apples.

Thanks for sharing a glimpse into the journey you are on and a way forward.

 6 days ago 

Thanks @an-man, kind of you.


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:-)

Never stop dreaming. You can be anyone this time around :)

 6 days ago 

Thanks @litguru, that's sweet.


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Oh, never stop dreaming. You will always have the opportunity to change and do what you like, I know it's a little scary (being 20 I'm afraid of everything hahaha) but trust that maybe it will be very rewarding for you that change, it is better to do it and stay with that experience, to always stay with the feeling of ''what would have been if...'' I send you a ton of love 😄💚💚

 6 days ago 

Yes but it'd be very costly to do the degree, which I object to as well.... I'll do it in next life.

PS You don't stop being scared, just like you don't stop being brave.


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I honestly reiterate that phrase that it's never too late to start afresh but the time obviously isn't right now for you, who knows what the future holds!
It's great though that someone like you are working with young people.

 6 days ago 

Aw, shucks. I do enjoy it, and I think they appreciate my nature. I just can't imagine starting again - it'd be years beofre I'd 'qualify' - plus the expense!


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You would make an excellent herbalist. :))

 5 days ago 

Aw Thanks so much!

 5 days ago 

I already consider you a herbalist, there is a lot to be said for being self taught. The apprenticeship side of it would be awesome though.I think now the way things are, we got to do what makes us happy and you are a such a nature girl at heart xxx
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 5 days ago 

@trucklife-family Thanks babe. In some ways I am. Gosh I wish apprenticeships were a thing in Australian #herbalism pathways. Be so much better.