For an intro to one of my herbalism classes, a teacher asked what were your first plant/ herb memories. Most of my classmates had very positive, beautiful ones like being served chamomile tea by their grandmas or weaving the branches of a willow tree together alongside a small neighborhood creek. Mine, as is life on the east coast, were a little more gritty. I remembered my mom picking burs out of my waist long hair one by one after a not so pleasant encounter with a backyard weed (burdock possibly?!). I also remember touring William Penn’s estate for a third grade field trip. “Over there behind the fence is stinging nettle. Stay FAR away from that very dangerous plant.” Way to go, Suburbia!
Luckily I gave the whole Nature thing another try while interning for the US Forest Service. My mentor was the head wildlife biologist for the White River National Forest. She was helping me classify wildflowers amid the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. I remember her brilliantly introducing me to Yarrow and her healing properties. I had absolutely no idea that a plant could stop bleeding and also reduce the sting from that *ahem* ‘nasty’ stinging nettle. Little did I know in that moment that Yarrow would become my first plant ally, that she would help me reclaim and bring back my moon cycle and make my first flower essence. I now take said essence every day before my shifts at Alembique Apothecary to remind myself that I am indeed a healer.