Confessions of a North American Opium Admirer

“Oh! just, subtle, and mighty opium! that to the hearts of poor and rich alike, for the wounds that will never heal, and for ‘the pangs that tempt the spirit to rebel,’ bringest an assuaging balm; eloquent opium! that with thy potent rhetoric stealest away the purposes of wrath; and to the guilty man, for one night givest back the hopes of his youth, and hands washed pure of blood….”

– Thomas De Quincy Confessions of an English Opium-Eater  Continue reading

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Chaparral Lavender Lotion

I’ve been pretty absent from this blog due to months of frantic travel, but now I am back home in West Texas to recharge for a month or two and hope to get back in the swing of things. We have a full house: there are three senior citizens, one nearing senior citizenhood, three teenage girls, a doofy dog and me! It can be challenging at times, but you are definitely never lonely or bored and there are lots of people to try herbal recipes on. Continue reading

Talking to Plants

I learned A LOT in herb school, sometimes there was so much information that I thought my head would actually explode, but there is one simple thing I feel you must learn before you can even consider being an herbalist. You have to develop a relationship with the plants you work with. Developing that is what turns it into an art; you wouldn’t call a house painter a muralist or a bricklayer an architect so I hope you wouldn’t call someone who puts plants into useful little categories an herbalist.  Continue reading

The Vine that Ate the South (and My Heart)

I ventured into the deep south for the first time last August on the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity.  I was just this snot-nosed kid from El Paso who somehow managed to get on this bus comprised mostly of very brave Mexican activists who were following in the footsteps of Martin Luther King Jr. and being invited into the warm congregations of  African-American communities along the way. It was surreal, beautiful and humbling and I didn’t feel worthy. Everytime I think of that trip I get goosebumps. What an honor.  Continue reading

Herbs I’ve Been Digging Lately…

Hello friends! I’ve been super busy lately and the days are flying by, but I told myself I was not going to let this blog die so I came in for a quick post. It is all part of my master plan to gain discipline which is definately a skill that can be learned even by the most undisciplined (like myself).

I’ve been taking a fairly intensive herbal medicine course for the last three months and have learned so much about the natural world and myself, but I’d say the key element in this process is turning yourself into a human guinea pig. How can you recommend an herb you’ve never tried? This is a list of five herbs that I am absolutely loving right now. Many of them I have not been taking for very long so I am still uncertain of whether I’ve gotten the full effect, but just having them in my life has made me happier which is good enough for me. Continue reading

Feel Good Herbs

I will be the first to admit that I am pretty tightly wound. Sure, I can be a good time and my sense of humor teeters on the absurd, but underneath all that I’m a bundle of nerves. I have suffered from insomnia since I was an infant and get really stressed out with too much external stimuli which when coupled with a wreckless restlessness means that… I’m a bit of a loon really. All this stress has meant that I have suffered from digestive issues or a “nervous stomach” for most of my life. Luckily, I have a Mexican grandma!

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(Me, as an anxiety-prone Mexican child) Continue reading