19 new herbalism events


Latest event updates on HerbRally!

Herbal Kombucha
October 19, 2017
Missoula, MT

Mushrooms and Medicinals: Forage in the Forest with Missy Rohs
October 20, 2017
Portland, OR

Little Shop of Horror - Oregon's Carnivorous Plants
October 21st, 2017
Eugene, OR

DIY Herbal First Aid - Cold and Flu Season
October 24, 2017
New Orleans, LA

Visiting Herbalist: Ola Obasi
October 30, 2017
New York, NY

Aromatherapy for Colds and Flu
November 1, 2017
Missoula, MT

Visiting Herbalist: Tammi Sweet
November 3, 2017
New York, NY

Insulin Intensive Seminar
November 4 - 5, 2017
Portland, OR

Herbal Ales and Beers
November 9, 2017
Missoula, MT

Responding to Environmental Impacts on Fertility and Birthing with Margi Flint
November 11, 2017
Cedar Creek, TX

Stress Less: Herbal Allies for Self Care with Missy Rohs
November 15 - December 6, 2017
Portland, OR

Herbal Medicine as Food
November 21, 2017
Missoula, MT

Visiting Herbalist: Matthew Wood
December 4, 2017
New York, NY

Herbal Wines
December 7, 2017
Missoula, MT

Visiting Herbalist: Todd Caldecott
March 23, 2018
New York, NY

Visiting Herbalist: Anne McIntyre
March 29, 2018
New York, NY

NOLA Herb Gathering
April 15, 2018
New Orleans, LA

NPSO Annual Meeting
June 1st - 3rd, 2018
Prineville, OR

Great Lakes Herb Faire
September 7 - 9, 2018
Chelsea, MI

33 new herbalism events!

Join Gabby Allen as she discusses why herbalism matters. She wrote a blog post for HerbRally with the same title. This episode of the podcast is her narrating that post.


The show is also available in iTunes. If that's your preferred listening method, we'd appreciate if you could leave us a review!

Here's the 33 new event listings. To search chronologically or by state, visit herbrally.com/events

Advanced Herbal Formula Making and Case Taking with Ellen Evert Hopman
July 29th - 30th, 2017
Lee, NH

Charles River Herb Walk
August 2nd, 2017
Cambridge, MA

Kitchen Medicine: The Roots of Health
August 2nd, 2017
New Orleans, LA

Cosmic Community Fest
August 4th - 6th, 2017
New Hampton, NY

Hall's Pond Herb Walk
August 9th, 2017
Brookline, MA

Bio-regional Herbalism and Local Medicine
August 11th, 2017
Northampton, MA

Putting It All Together: Medicinal Oils and Salves
August 12th, 2017
Newfane, VT

Wild Herb Week
August 14th - 17th, 2017
Littleton, MA

Tincture Making 101
August 16th, 2017
New Orleans, LA

Herbal Day Camp for Kids
August 21st - 24th, 2017
Williams, OR

Free Herbal Clinic
August 22nd, 2017
Brookline, MA

Syrups and Immune Health
August 23rd, 2017
New Orleans, LA

The Sisterhood of Plants - An Herbal Retreat for Women
August 25th - 27th, 2017
Berne, NY

Waxing Moon Herbal Celebration
August 27th, 2017
Arlington, MA

Spirit Medicine: Managing Stress and Mental Health
August 30th, 2017
New Orleans, LA

Happy Hour for Your Wellness
August 31st, 2017
New York, NY

Healthy Skincare from the Inside Out
September 6th, 2017
New Orleans, LA

Fall Foraging Walk
September 15th, 2017
New Orleans, LA

Kitchen Medicine: The Roots of Health
September 18th, 2017
New Orleans, LA

Diving Into Dream Space
September 22nd, 2017
New York, NY

Intuitive Healing and the Taste of Herbs
September 25th, 2017
New Orleans, LA

Herb Walk
September 24th, 2017
Kneeland, CA

Tincture Making 101
October 2nd, 2017
New Orleans, LA

Herb Walk: Trinidad Trailhead
October 8th, 2017
Kneeland, CA

Syrups and Immune Health
October 9th, 2017
New Orleans, LA

Spirit Medicine: Managing Stress and Mental Health
October 16th, 2017
ew Orleans, LA

Healthy Skincare from the Inside Out
October 23rd, 2017
New Orleans, LA

Fall Foraging Walk
November 4th, 2017
New Orleans, LA

Kitchen Medicine: The Roots of Health
November 8th, 2017
New Orleans, LA

yrups and Immune Health
November 29th, 2017
ew Orleans, LA

Spirit Medicine: Managing Stress and Mental Health
December 6th, 2017
ew Orleans, LA

Healthy Skincare from the Inside Out
December 13th, 2017
New Orleans, LA

Authentic Hawaiian Adventure: An Ethnobotanical and Spiritual Journey
January 13th - 22nd, 2018
Big Island, HI

The HerbRally Podcast is Now Live!

Episode one of the HerbRally podcast is now live!

The goal (fingers crossed) is to release a new episode every Monday. 

So be on the lookout for those! Please subscribe in iTunes in you feel so inclined. 

The episodes are also available on the website: www.herbrally.com/podcast

How to Start a Free Herbal Clinic with Katja Swift and Ryn Midura
Join Katja Swift and Ryn Midura from the Commonwealth Center for Holistic Herbalism as they discuss the free clinic they started in Brookline, MA. They go over the finer details of creating a clinic, along with some of the pain points (i.e. burnout, funding, etc.).  Thanks to Katja and Ryn for taking the time to share their expertise! 


11 new events + HerbRally updates

Hey there, just a few HerbRally updates + 11 new events for ya...

We're now on Pinterest! if you'd like to follow us for all things herbal, CLICK HERE.

If you haven't read jim mcdonald's ridiculously awesome wild cherry monograph yet, you can do so by CLICKING HERE

Looking for some great online herbal education opportunities? Check out the Commonwealth Center for Holistic Herbalism's offerings. There's plenty of classes to choose from plus free content. CLICK HERE

The Pacific Women's Herbal Conference is coming up! September 22nd - 24th in Monroe, WA. Check out the amazing teacher lineup! CLICK HERE

HerbRally is now offering dandelion botanical illustration t-shirts (again). To check 'em out, CLICK HERE

Aaaand here's those 11 new events :) 

Elements and Energetics of Plant Medicine
July 23rd - 25th, 2017
Berne, NY

The Alchemy of Fermentation
August 4th - 6th, 2017
Paonia, CO

Plant Communication with Karine Goodineer
August 5th, 201
New York, NY

Herbs of the Southern Appalachians
August 6th - 12th, 2017
Brasstown, NC

Homebrewing with Herbs and Spices
August 19th, 2017
Oakland, CA

Distillation Workshop
August 26th - 27th, 2017
Paonia, CO

Fundamentals and Secrets of Tongue and Pulse Diagnosis for Herbalists
September 16th - 17th, 2017
Atlanta, GA

AHPA Botanical Congress
September 29th, 2017
Las Vegas, NV

Dietary Interventions and Food Energetics
September 30th - October 1st, 2017
Clayton, GA

Restorative Medicine Conference
October 5th - 8th, 2017
Tucson, AZ

The Art of Herbal Formulations
November 11th - 12th, 2017
Clayton, GA

15 new events

I wanted to share with you an important blog post that herbalist Sharon McCamy wrote for HerbRally last week. It's called "Saving the Lobelia Plant: When Wildcrafting's Joy Becomes Too Much". 

If you have an interest in wildcrafting herbs it's definitely a must read. 

CLICK HERE to read that post. 

Along those same lines, I always recommend folks check out Howie Brounstein's "Wildcrafting Checklist". You can read that by CLICKING HERE

As for the 15 new events, you'll find those listed below!

Hope you're able to get out there and hang with the plants. 


Chocolate: A Scientific Journey into a Bittersweet History
July 13th, 2017
Bronx, NY

Aromatherapy 101: A Beginner's Workshop
July 15th, 2017
Charlottesville, VA

Phytochemicals: What, Why and How? 
July 19th, 2017
Charlottesville, VA

Medicine Maker's Series: Glycerites
July 19th, 2017
Charlottesville, VA

Herb and Prescription Drug Interaction
July 20th, 2017
Charlottesville, VA

Castor Oil Packs Made Easy
July 27th, 2017
Charlottesville, VA

Essential Oil Perfume Workshop
July 29th, 2017
Bronx, NY

Soap Making Workshop
August 6th, 2017
Bronx, NY

Renaissance Medicine Conference
August 12th - 13th, 2017
Portland, OR

Forest Ecology
August 23rd, 2017
Bronx, NY

Wilderness First Aid Course - Pacific Northwest
September 1st - 3rd, 2017
Underwood, WA

Systemic Botany
September 5th, 2017
Bronx, NY

Botanical Latin
September 12th, 2017
Bronx, NY

Inflammation and Insulin Resistance
September 20th, 2017
Charlottesville, VA

A Day of Clinical Topics
September 21st, 2017
Charlottesville, VA

Why Herbalism Matters

by Gabby Allen

Once upon a time, for a long time, herbal medicine was the only medicine. We as a species quite literally wouldn’t exist without it. I think that collectively, we are disassociated from this important fact, and thusly disassociated from the vital role that herbalism plays into our past and present existence.

At first glance, it seems a far off time when we were relying solely on plant medicine to keep our species on its feet. However, when looking at how long we have been here, and most especially how long plants have been here (oh hey, horsetail), it’s really less than an eye blink. In comparison to how long herbalism has been practiced, modern medicine is very....modern. I’d make clear right away that I am not attempting to invalidate modern medicines obvious efficiency and crucial roll in our current existence, but rather illustrate that herbalism has gained a lot of wisdom in the passing centuries and millennia.

Survival of the fittest, as it were, and of course when considering bruteness, we are of lesser strength than some of our more fearsome and outright tenacious neighbors. I don't doubt that history would be missing were it not for some major plant allies supporting us a long the way. The generations long process of learning plant medicine, and evolving along side them, not only kept our species alive, but enabled the nearly endless luxuries we partake in today.

If we could consider for a moment all of the various ailments, diseases, and dealings that are addressed by modern medicine, then consider the stark difference in physicality in the lives of our lineage bearers, how far would we have gotten with no way to treat an out of control fever, or pull an infection from a wound? Our big brains are wrapped up in fairly fragile packaging and I really just don’t think we would have made it very long if ailments and injuries were completely untreatable.

Without herbalism, we wouldn’t have made it far enough to have the millennia required to come to a point where we can develop such sophisticated technologies that make up modern medicine. Obviously there are a lot of factors to the here and now-ness in which we find ourselves, but its been my conclusion that we quite literally, and very directly own our sustained existence to the plants.

What a gift it would be to peek into the past and witness the undoubtedly reverent process of an individual who’s life had depended upon botanicals. That is, one who would not have survived and thrived nutritionally and medicinally without herbs and edible plants. I’d like to comprehend even a fraction of the depth of understanding, and the depth of plant knowledge of those that are in large part responsible for getting us this far. The reverence and treatments of plants by those who’s lives truly depended on them, without any hope of modern intervention, must have run unfathomably deep. I know one such man who can give us this peek.

Rewilder, hunter, and all around wild man, Jordan Manley, spent a grand total of seventy seven days in the wilderness, and gained a peek into what life was like for nomadic cultures, spending those days being reliant upon the land for sustenance. During his journey his diet was mostly wild plants.

"My diet during that particular trip was comprised almost entirely of plants. Somewhere of about ninety five percent or more. I harvested a bear during the trip, which was made into jerky, and I caught fish during a week that I spent camped along a river. The majority of my diet was Native American First foods, such as biscuit root, onions, fireweed, raspberries, serviceberries, lilies, and grasses. I also ate some introduced European plants, such as burdock and plantains. I usually ate one meal a day, comprised of a large salad, a dish of fried or boiled roots, and a large pot of stewy broth."

Mr. Manley was consuming herbal medicine everyday, and it had a very direct effect. While he does account low energy, he also reports that his mind was clearer, and sharper than it had been in all his prior days. His vision was better, along with a heightened sensitivity to all of his senses. There was a notable positive change in his thought patterns, and a lack of stress. That last bit is significant to our hyper stressed society. Imagine, over two months of mostly stress free days. That's the kind of thing that people pay big bucks (often earned through four lifetimes worth of stress) to achieve. It seems a dream, and Jordan, along with the original herbalists and wildcrafters lived it. From his account, it's easy to conclude that our ancestors lived a life of nearly infinite more vitality, strength, and stamina.

In the passing weeks, the relationship he had with the plants that were nourishing him evolved.

"Over time, I began to think of the plants I was interacting with more as relatives than resources. Once I became aware of the abundance of wild food, I noticed that it is hard to take a step out in the wild without stepping on something you can eat. I began to walk more softly on the earth, and interact with plants in a more gentle manner."

No one walks through a grocery store with such reverence and respect. The life giving and sustaining nutrients are trampled upon by generations of ignorance and greed (agricultural and industrial revolutions, respectively), so yes, herbalism matters very much.

Our ancestors were nomadic. Follow the seasons, follow the food, both flesh and plant based. Our existence literally revolved around the plants (and the animals, who also followed the food or were pushed by predators; predators who were following their food) we followed them, making a great circle on the land, over and over, season after season, century after century, again and again. Until of course, we didn't and disease, and malnutrition became a common companions, the penance for the boom in population allowed to us through our own domestication. (1)

It seems to me that we should stay in connection with something that was so important to our existence. If we couldn’t survive without it in the beginning, how long will we survive without it now, even with our new, very clever discoveries? The signs are clear, depending on who you ask- not that long.

Something that was such a vital foundation to our sustained existence is something that we probably shouldn’t lose touch with. One, me for example, could justly argue that our departure from the wild way of things is integral to many of the issues that we are facing globally and culturally. Herbalism matters because life matters and there wouldn’t be any of it without the plants. Without botanicals, there would have been nothing to isolate and concentrate, starting the decades long process that has lead us to modern medicine today.

There is independence in the addressing of ailment that is achieved thorough herbalism when modern medicine fails. Cottonwood and mullein cleared my son’s wee lungs when they were bombarded by virus. Herbalism can offer our children relief from unpleasant symptoms of viral infections that a doctor can give no prescription for but time.

My husband had a yearly spring cycle of sinus infections. It went allergies, cold, sinus infection, antibiotics. If luck was on his side, he’d do this once, then rinse and repeat next season. I came across a really great write about sinus infections by jim mcdonald, (3) and the resulting plantain and yarrow saline rinse that came of it worked famously. A simple tea of ginger, cayenne, lemon juice, and honey, also assisted this true healing process in a great way. (4)

The previous solution offered to my husband by modern medicine isn’t even what I would call a solution. A yearly cycle of wrecking absolute havoc on his gut flora, only to do so again a short while later, does not seem to me a path of true healing and vitality. I am grateful that we had access to the antibiotics for stopping the issue before we had knowledge to address it otherwise, but it was a bandage over a broken bone. Not only a bandage, but it left no opportunity for his body to heal itself. There’s a potential too, for a very lengthy discussion on the long term effects of too many antibiotics. It’s been four springs since he had to take them.

My goal here is not to say that modern medicine is inherently useless, or evil, or that we should just be rid of it. My point is that herbalism fills the undeniable gaps that heroic medicine leaves, and then some, because it has to power to truly support us through of various life phases and transitions.

The really great thing about it is that often no harm is done by trying to cure your ailments with plants. If your energy is low, the worse thing that will happen by adding herbal infusions to your life is that they won’t work. If you are prone to panic attacks, the worse thing that will happen by keeping skullcap tincture handy, is you will have the panic attack anyway. And in both cases, a complete lack of result is fairly unlikely. When a lack of result does happen, you've effectively ruled out a few of things that your ailment is not, and are closer to narrowing down what could help you.

The thing about modern medicine is often times it comes with consequences. Ugly side effects and sometimes (often?) irreversible damage. Side effects that pretty soon have you taking a whole cascade of medicines. Under the right circumstances, and with a few precautions (5) we can attempt to address many of today's aliments and life transitions with plants.      

The way that a pregnant or birthing woman is treated in the conventional birthing realm, and the less than conventional birthing realm is one of the biggest examples of the nourishment and healing that is offered through a more holistic or herbal approach. Nothing I’ve experienced cures the bone deep weariness of anemia like nettle infusion. Calendula soothes growing, tired skin. Ginger offers nausea relief, and hawthorn eases the ache of loss, when it happens, because it happens. How common is it for a bereaved mother to received genuine comfort, or tools for seeking comfort from a doctor? They’ll stitch you up, but steady vitals are not equal to heath and vitality.

Aileen Peterson of Lady Moon: Bodywork & Birthwork, offers enlightening information regarding the topic of modern pregnancy and the roll herbs play.

“I believe that traditional herbalism most definitely has its place in the modern birth world. Because, though we are ‘modern’ humans, we are also very ancient creatures, who have had a relationship with plants and the plant kingdom since the beginning of our time on this planet. Plants have provided us with shelter, clothing, food, and medicine (and yes, even poison) for time immemorial. I believe that plants and specifically medicinal herbs hold a key position in our repertoire of providing nourishment, preventative care, and treatment for menstrual health, fertility management (both contraception and conception), pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum. I believe that herbs in many cases can and should be utilized in some way by all childbearing persons and the birthworkers who serve them, whether they are on a more ‘conventional’ or ‘non-conventional’ birth journey. Though specific herbs can be utilized for treating acute or chronic conditions associated with menstruation, infertility, pregnancy, and birth, I believe that they can best be utilized by all peoples for their nutritive properties— which is the ultimate preventative medicine for pregnancy and birth-related complications.

The birthkeepers and midwives of old were knowledgeable in many things, and in all things related to womb health and childbearing. They were gone to for simple herbal remedies for colic and coughs, they were gone to when a woman wanted to get pregnant, or who did not want to be pregnant, they were gone to when a woman was with child and cared for her through the birth and beyond. And her most valuable tool, I believe, was her knowledge of and partnership with the plant medicines, both spiritual and mundane. This is true and can be said for wise women and midwives the world-over, from the First Nations of the Americas to Europe and Africa. Different herbs were sought for their different properties—such as nutritive, uterine tonic, abortifacient, to stop a miscarriage or early labor, to bring on labor, to relieve or treat different complaints such as nausea, to bring out a retained placenta, to prevent or treat a postpartum hemorrhage, etc. –  and depending on the area where they could be found growing. Some herbs commonly used in North America for womb care and birth were Queen Anne’s Lace, Black Cohosh, Blue Cohosh, and Nettle. A few examples of herbs commonly turned to in Old Europe were Pennyroyal, Rue, Nettle, Oatstraw, Mugwort, and Raspberry Leaf. [Note: I have included some infamous “abortifacient” herbs in these short lists because the releasing of unwanted pregnancies has always been an area of expertise belonging to the midwife, from thousands of years ago all the way through the 19th century when the war on midwives began in earnest in North America. I believe it is very important to acknowledge this and to not hide away this part of our history as birthworkers and as women, nor to ignore this knowledge which is still applicable today]. All of these herbs and more are still in use today. My personal favorite herbs for pregnancy and preparing for birth are nettle, red raspberry leaf, oatstraw, and alfalfa, which are nutritive, good for the womb and the nervous system, help build the blood, and are generally considered safe for most people to consume regularly [Note: alfalfa should only be used in medicinal quantities in the last trimester]."

All this to say, in a round about way, is that herbalism supports us and walks along side us through many twists and transitions, and has done so for a long time. This is not to say that all of ancient herbal knowings can be classified as applicable wisdom. Some texts of old contain information that is simply inaccurate, but there’s a lot that is accurate, and it has combined and meshed with what we have learned and discovered in recent years. Herbs can and will support us through our various transitions in life; Baby to child, child to maiden, maiden to mother, mother to crone, an on. (Insert whichever titles and transitory process that suits you. I simply have chosen the one that applies to me.)

If you walked into a doctors office and asked the doctor to give you something to help with your broken heart (a very legitimate ailment) you’d likely be laughed out and add a healthy dose of embarrassment to your plateful of pain. Ask and herbalist and they will lovingly supply you with their condolences and perhaps an extract of hawthorn, and perhaps go so far as to recommend you wear the berries on your person. (6)

Herbalism matters because despite growing and waning trends throughout the centuries, we have, undoubtedly through guidance of the plants, have found our way back to them, and have come at a new influx of energy in the ever growing movement of modern herbalism. It’s a continuation of ancient wisdom that is still more than applicable today, and we herbalists may not be able to replace a hip with the beloved botanicals we work alongside, but again, steady vitals isn’t the end of the story.

"Herbal medicine is the people’s medicine" - Susun S Weed. The people’s, all of them. Plantain won't turn you away because you can’t pay, or because of a culture influenced by "isims,” and I doubt it will ever be successfully regulated.

Down to the DNA in our bones, the same plants that were part of our ancestors, are part of us. They've been supporting, healing, and killing us for generations. Perhaps a balance between the world we created, and the world of old can be achieved in part, or perhaps in whole, through the guidance of our plant allies.

Herbalism matters a very great deal.

Gabby Allen is a student herbalist, writer, artist, and work-at-home mother currently residing in Roseburg, Oregon. She has spent the last four or so years on mostly self-study, and aspires towards higher education, and a career focused on holistic support of women's health. As a mother of two adventurous boys, she frequently finds uses for the plethora of medicine and nourishment around her, and continually seeks out methods and wisdom she may apply to her family's wellness, as well as ways to aid in the support of plant allies. She attempts steps everyday towards balance and integration between and among her passions. Gabby is also completely enamored with fermentation, is an organic gardening enthusiast, and budding seeker of wild foods. For more from Gabby you can visit her at GabbyLynnAllen.com.

Gabby Allen is a student herbalist, writer, artist, and work-at-home mother currently residing in Roseburg, Oregon. She has spent the last four or so years on mostly self-study, and aspires towards higher education, and a career focused on holistic support of women's health. As a mother of two adventurous boys, she frequently finds uses for the plethora of medicine and nourishment around her, and continually seeks out methods and wisdom she may apply to her family's wellness, as well as ways to aid in the support of plant allies. She attempts steps everyday towards balance and integration between and among her passions. Gabby is also completely enamored with fermentation, is an organic gardening enthusiast, and budding seeker of wild foods. For more from Gabby you can visit her at GabbyLynnAllen.com.


1) Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari- Part Two The Agricultural Revolution *final

2) http://www.susunweed.com/herbal_ezine/June07/healingwise.htm  

3)  www.herbcraft.org/sinusitis.html

4) https://learningherbs.com/herbs-made-simple/ginger-lemon-honey-tea

5) http://www.susunweed.com/Article_Simple_Safe_Herbal_Medicine.htm

6) https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/energetics-of-aphrodisiacs-pt-2/id976377038?i=1000379615116&mt=2-Questions portion

15 new events

Just wanted to give ya a quick update on all of the herbalism events I've listed recently. 



Happy Hour for Your Wellness
June 16th, 2017
New York, NY

Lavender Thyme Faire
June 16th - 17th, 2017
Dillsburg, PA

Summer Solstice Retreat
June 23rd - 25th, 2017
San Marcos, TX

Materia Medica Herbalism Intensive
June 26th - 30th, 2017
Boston, MA

Plant Medicine Walk
July 6th, 2017
Brooklyn, NY

Medicine for Your Moon Time
July 8th, 2017
Baltimore, MD

Making Your Own Fermented Foods
July 13th, 2017
Baltimore, MD

Herbal Love for the Postpartum Momma
August 6th, 2017
Baltimore, MD

Sage Medicine Series
August 12 - 13, September 30 - Oct. 1, November 25 - 26, December 9 - 10 (2017)
Berkeley, CA

Gladdening the Heart with Plant Medicine
August 16th, 2017
Baltimore, MD

Herbal Family Campout
August 25th - 27th, 2017
Walton, OR

Family Herbalism Intensive
August 28th - September 1st, 2017
Brookline, MA

Plant Medicine Walk
September 14th, 2017
Brooklyn, NY

Aromatherapy and the Medicine of the Soul
September 30th - October 1st, 2017
Santa Fe, NM

Wise Traditions Nutrition Conference
November 10th - 13th, 2017
Minneapolis, MN

Saving the Lobelia plant: When wildcrafting’s joy becomes too much

by Sharon McCamy

Last year, outside my small greenhouse, I was gifted with a beautiful Lobelia plant. It emerged ten feet away, where I had let the meadow grow—a mixture of naturalized clovers and, delightfully, Bluestem native grasses.  Its brilliant red showed through the waving grasses; I was astonished to see Lobelia so far away from the pond where it more frequently, though still rarely, appears.

I have a small herbal tea business and for it both cultivate and wildcraft herbs on my farm in Virginia. 

Did I harvest the Lobelia? No.  There was only one plant.  To have taken the one would have been wrong.  To see its joyous red while I worked in the greenhouse was gift enough.

Later, one of my regulars at the farmer’s market asked if I had Lobelia.  I said yes, but then explained that Lobelia was being overharvested in the wild and that I didn’t take plants when there weren’t very many.  She understood. 

As a landowner, I make these choices on my own land, and am fortunate enough to have enough space kept clean that I don’t have to go elsewhere to wildcraft.  But I understand very well the herbalist tradition of wildcraft.  The path into nature, the exploration, the joy in finding plant treasures are time honored, revered processes in the herbalist’s journey.

But, as occurs too frequently in human interaction with nature, herbalism’s new popularity means too many who may not fully understand a plant’s rarity take too much, compounding the problems of habitat loss through development and industrial farming.

Ginseng is the poster child for endangerment from overharvesting. With roots selling around $500 a pound, its monetary appeal is clear.  Yet Ginseng takes 8 years to grow to reproductive maturity.   There are many other endangered plants:  Goldenseal, Black Cohosh, and Slippery Elm are just three.  With Slippery Elm, the bark is harvested--how many herbalists know how much bark is too much? How many fully understand the reproductive cycle of Goldenseal or Black Cohosh?

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has a listing of 945 endangered plants (EOCS) but this doesn’t capture all plants in danger nor does it forecast what next species will become popular and overharvested.

Most herbalist schools provide strong ethical guidelines to herbalists for wildcrafting, but as herbs grow in popularity, wildcrafting for resale is increasing and guidelines can get ignored.  Like my customer at the market who asked about the Lobelia, consumers need to be educated.  Maybe it’s time for adoption of a sustainable wildcraft certification on a national scale. Just as with organic food, consumers could buy wildcrafted herbs that are certified sustainably wildcrafted.   

Organizations like United Plant Savers are working diligently to educate regarding the dangers to medicinal plants, but they and others are working against a tide. Much more focus on this problem is needed or many valuable plants will be lost to their own popularity.

Domestically producing medicinal herbs such as ginseng through sustainable management is another option to protect the wild plants that give us so much joy and health benefit.  Cultivation of these plants is often challenging—but the potential for saving a species of a valuable medicinal plant makes this a worthy goal for those who tend the land.

For my part, I’ve ordered some Lobelia seeds.  If a bed of Lobelia is successfully established, permission will be asked for harvest of just enough.  Until that happens, these beauties will be left alone. 

Sharon McCamy writes, teaches and farms in Virginia.  Her farm, Terembry, is a Certified Naturally Grown farm. where she produces cultivated and wildcrafted herbs and manages a small free-range, non-GMO poultry flock.

Sharon McCamy writes, teaches and farms in Virginia.  Her farm, Terembry, is a Certified Naturally Grown farm. where she produces cultivated and wildcrafted herbs and manages a small free-range, non-GMO poultry flock.

Free Webinar! the Sacred Art of Incense & Aromatics

The Sacred Art of Incense & Aromatics Webinar

Hey there, 

I wanted to inform you about something very exciting. Evan Sylliaasen, founder of Higher Mind Incense and The Northwest School of Aromatic Medicine, is running a Free Video Webinar this week starting today, "The Sacred Art of Incense & Aromatics." 

I think you'll really enjoy this so I wanted to share this rare opportunity with you.

You can join the free webinar now by CLICKING HERE

In the first video, "The Fragrant Path & the Roots of Aromatherapy", Evan guides us through the ancient art of incense, the rise of aromatherapy, and the ancient application of incense in different esteemed Eastern medical systems. He also speaks about the age-old Japanese practice of listening to incense and its accompanying ceremony, the koh-do; as well as the many sacred and ritual aspects of incense and holy smoke in many different cultures, and more..

I highly recommend checking out the webinar! It's very well done. All you need to do is enter your name and email address to ensure you receive email notifications and links for the rest of the webinar videos.




18 new events from New York to New Orleans

Hey there :)

Just a quick note to let you know I've added 18 new events to ol' HerbRally (thanks for the submissions, y'all).  

There's so much going on! Are you going to make it to any conferences this year? Which ones? 

If you're not able to make it to any of these listed below there's plenty more to peruse on the events page (130+): www.herbrally.com/events

Have fun!


Herbal + Handcraft Trade Post + Guided Plant Walk
June 4th, 2017
Richmond, VA

Kitchen Medicine: The Root of Health
June 5th, 2017
New Orleans, LA

Making Herbal Tinctures Using the Folk Method
June 7th, 2017
Washington, DC

Tincture Making 101
June 12th, 2017
New Orleans, LA

Spirit Medicine: Managing Stress and Mental Health
June 19th, 2017
New Orleans, LA

Medicine Makers Series: Salves and Creams
June 21st, 2017
Charlottesville, VA

The Art of Kitchen Herbalism
June 22nd, 2017
Sunderland, MA

Midsummer Mugwort Magic and Wildcrafting
June 24th, 2017
New York, NY

Salves and Infused Oils for Healthy Skin
June 26th, 2017
New Orleans, LA

Harvesting and Drying Herbs for Remedies
July 9th, 2017
Washington, DC

Wild Weeds Club
July 10th, 2017
Charlottesville, VA

Infused Oils, Salves and Creams
July 12th, 2017
Washington, DC

Rhode Island Herb Festival
July 22nd - 23rd, 2017
West Greenwich, RI

Making Herbal Infused Honeys and Oils
August 6th, 2017
Washington, DC

Minnesota Herbal Education Festival
September 17th, 2017
Belle Plaine, MN

Into the Wild: A Wise Woman Herbal Gathering
September 22nd - 24th, 2017
Cloudland, GA

West Virginia Herb Association Conference
September 30th - October 1st, 2017
Jane Lew, WV

Midsouth Women's Herbal Conference
April 20th - 22nd, 2018
Mentone, AL