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Links & Resources

Finding information and resources online can be tedious and frustrating; there's a lot more useless debris than valuable information out there.  These links are my way of separating the wheat from the chaff.  With the exception of wildcrafters/growers/medicine makers, all herb links lead to sites with educational content.

 

I know pretty much everybody linked to here and feel real good about steering others their way. 

 

Live in Michigan?

Links to good people and places here in Michigan

Herb Sites...

The best herbs sites online I know of, offering excellent articles and resources for learning cool and useful stuff.

Herbal Listserves and Forums

Online herbal email lists and herb forums can be invaluable means of learning, especially in areas not teeming with herbalists to get varied perspectives from.

Blogs...

Some nice ones worthy of regular browsing... 
Herbal conferences, festivals & events...
an offsite calendar of events offered in the US & Canada.

Identification...

Remarkably good online photos & identification info 

Wildcrafters, Growers, and Medicine Makers

Links to the best sources for obtaining the highest quality fresh & dried herbs and herbal preparations, direct from the people who grew, collected or created them.  This is one of the of the most valuable resources I've put on this site.

Myth & Lore...

A collection of folklore and traditional stories about plants

Henna...

Info on how to delve deeply into dying the skin with henna...  

Totally-Unrelated-To-Herbs-But-Still-Cool...

Other sites I like and get a kick out of linking to 

Poetry...

Purely self indulgent.  Some of my favorite poems.

 

 

Live in Michigan?

Upland Hills Ecological Awareness Center

One of my favorite "lurking places"... I teach day classes here every couple months.  A true treasure, we/they offer programs covering a wide spectrum of holistic topics, from herbs & holistic practices to sustainable energy to Native American Ceremony.  If you live anywhere nearby, please check it out...

Nature's Products

No website to link to, but Gary Wanttaja has the best selection of dried bulk herbs anywhere around, and is probably one of the wisest plant people I know of, possessed of admirable knowledge and a singular sense of humor... I recollect once asking him what Wahoo was for and he, totally deadpan, answered, "It's for when you're depressed" (Wahoo!).  Nice.  Nature's Products is located in Detroit at 20020 Conant (minutes from I-75 & 8 Mile Road); give him a ring at (313) 891-3900 for current hours.

Jen Green, ND

Jen Green is a Naturopathic Doctor specializing in women's health, pediatrics and cancer care.  I met her ages ago at a Holistic Mom's pot luck, where we started talking 'bout our practices over a bowl of burdock and have more or less kept up the conversation since then... Jen is kick ass, and I jive with her clinical sensibilities enough to feel completely confident referring clients (or any of you all) to her.  She's a real Canadian, too, as evidenced by her saying "herb" with a soft "h" (this is a dead giveaway for brits, aussies, and canadians...). 

Simple Organics

After a stint as director at Upland Hills Ecological Awareness Center, Troy Farwell opened Simple Organics in Oxford and I can honestly say it's one of the best stocked health stores you could hope for.  Troy carries Herbalist & Alchemist, Urban Moonshine and other impeccable brands, as well as an increasing selection of bulk herbs.  His shop also offers services including health consults, bodywork, and for those interested in a multifaceted Holistic Health Practitioner course, Om Wellness Institute, of which I'm proud to be a guest instructor.  Do tell them I send my regards when you visit.

Shepherd's Farm

This is where we get much of our meat from, and I probably don't know enough adjectives to convey how highly I regard this farm.  They also have a CSA with organic vegetables, sell farm fresh eggs, and hardwood firewood.

Bronwen Wildflower Gates

Bronwen is one of my favorite plant people round these parts, and I'd highly recommend taking a class, enrolling in her herbwyfe program, or listening to a story with her... she's delightful to spend time with and speaks so beautifully... She works with herbs, flower essences and other energetic modalities. 

Moonlight Mile Herb Farm

My friend Susan Burek's fledgling herb farm, offering certified organic herbs and all manner of feathered things to boot.

Yule Love It Lavender Farm

Iris Lee Underwood's small organic farm offers several varieties of lavender, in bundles or "you pick".  The first time I was out there and stood in front of the gardens on a hot summer day with the breeze blowing towards me I gained an entirely new appreciation for lavender the the EO just can't touch...

Oikos Tree Crops

Oikos not only provides fruit and nut trees, but oodles of useful plants native or hardy to Michigan.  Their offerings are drool worthy.

Renaissance Acres Herb Farm

Located near Ann Arbor, they offer organically grown medicinal and culinary herbs...

Herbal Alliance of Northern Michigan

Herbalists working together here in and around the Traverse City area; I've taught for them on a few occasions.

New Moon Midwifery

If you live anywhere near Ann Arbor, and are looking for a midwife to guide you through a homebirth, I couldn't possibly Amanda, Jamie, Anna & New Moon enough... beautiful people, doing beautiful work.  We've got three wonderful ones to prove it.

Waterford Life Chiropractic

Dr. Adrian Gaviglio (the 2nd "g" is silent) is one of the coolest practitioners of any sort I've ever crossed paths with.  He radiates both confidence and compassion, has a great sense of humor, makes good wine and most importantly, is quite good at what he does.  As I get a fair number of referrals in using herbs to address back and joint injuries,  I'm frequently also referring these people to see a good chiropractor, and if asked for a name, this is the one I give.  Dr. Gaviglio uses the grostic technique, which is a subtle atlas adjustment.... very low force.  If he needs to do more he does, but I've seen (and experienced) very impressive results with just these subtle atlas adjustments.

Artemisia

I met Caryn at an herb conference in Traverse City ages ago, and kept in touch with her since; turns out we know more than a few of the same people and I had been using her "whole baby salve" on my little boy's... well, I'd best not embarrass him.  She offers doula services, knows how to make hammocks, dyes with plants, and weaves other stuff, too.  Nice, nice diction, on that site...  Caryn's home, in the Ann Arbor area, is a United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary.

Far East Ginseng Herbs and Tea

Far East Ginseng is a Chinese herb store on the northeast corner of 14 Mile and Dequindre (is that Warren or Sterling Heights?).  They've got lots of Chinese herbs available, but if you're gonna go in looking for something in particular, you'd best know at least the Latin and ideally the Chinese name for it.  If you're looking for raspberry leaves or burdock root, you're better off going to Nature's Products, but if you suddenly discover you're on your last zi wan root, this is probably the place to go.  The "shopping" part of the website, by the way, in no way represents what they have in the way of bulk herbs or what the store is like.  It's worth a visit.

Deanne Bednar's Strawbale Studio

Deanne Bednar is a dear friend and wowie-zowie, what a cool, cool things she creates.  If you live within driving distance, you've simply got to check this out... it's literally like walking into a fairytale cottage.  Plus, you'll get to spend some time hanging out with Deanne, which will leave you wondering whether she just isn't the fairy in the fairytale...  Deanne teaches about all sorts of natural building techniques, from making cob to waddle & dob to thatching roofs. 

Hiking Michigan

Hiking Michigan is dedicated to encouraging people to get out into the parks here in Southeast Michigan and enjoying their bounty.  They're organizing hiking groups and have published a map book of many of our local state and metroparks, complete with trails and indications of habitat...isn't that cool?  Certainly well worth having methinks...

 

Herb Sites...

Henriette's Herbal Homepage

Probably the best herb site online.  Has most of the stuff on Moore's site (plus Cook's & King's Dispensatory's) but is fully searchable and excellent for cross referencing.  You should also check out the herblist Henriette runs, if you're a complete herb-nerd who likes your inbox to be filled with emails titled "diverticulitis" and "herbs for an infected toe".  And, our ever prolific Henriette's got a pretty damn cool blog, to boot.  Henriette has made more unstateably valuable information available online (and free, no less...) for our collective benefit than probably anyone else in the world.

Southwest School of Botanical Medicine

Michael Moore's site.  Go out and get 30 or so ink cartridges, a hundred and seventy reams of paper, and put that printer to the test.  All the eclectic books you'd like to have, but are either out of print or too expensive.  Herbalists everywhere own Michael a debt of gratitude for the immense amount of work he's put into making such valuable information accessible... though Michael has passed, the info on this site and the wisdom he amassed is still being offered and taught by Donna Chesner.

Matthew Wood

Matthew Wood is simply an incredible herbalist.  His Book of Herbal Wisdom was truly a powerful catalyst (or maybe catapult?) in my adventures in learning about herbcraft, and both inspired new understanding and reaffirmed much of what I'd come to sense about working with herbs.  He's a remarkably good writer, and has found a beautiful blend of herbalism, homeopathy, flower essences, alchemy and indigenous herbcraft.  His site, entirely revamped in late 07, is now filled with some really wonderful treasures

Columbines School of Botanical Studies

Howie Brounstein & Steven Yeager offer a two year herbal studies course based in Eugene, Oregon, which in 2010 I had the great honor of sitting in (and occasionally butting in) on.  Their approach of stressing the importance of learning the fundamentals of herbalism (the properties and actions of plants) totally jives with my sensibilities.  Plus, more entertaining classes you'll be hard pressed to find.  Howie shares some of his writings here, including the original herbal smoking mixture booklet that was one of the first things I ever found on the internet.  Remember: astringents add body to a smoke mix.  See the way it all goes back to actions?

Paul Bergner's Medical Herbalism

Paul edits Medical Herbalism, an journal for practicing herbalists, and has blessed us with some great links and, even better, a smattering of articles from Medical Herbalism... check out the stuff written by Bloyer... excellent, indeed.  Paul founded the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism.

Kiva Rose

I love Kiva's stuff because I just really jive with where she's coming from; the posts are down to earth and get to the foundational core of grassroots traditional western herbalism.  She's a splendid writer (which is nice) and has a great knack for being able to explain concepts that could be difficult in a very assessable manner.  Kiva and her partner Wolf also host the Herbfolk Gathering in the southwest, and compile the flat out awesome Plant Healer Magazine, which if you don't get you should.  It really is as good as anything you'll read this year.

Rosemary Gladstar

Rosemary is just really cool.  I couldn't state emphatically enough that if you have the opportunity to see her somewhere, you should take it, and if you don't see a readily-had opportunity, you should do your best to find one.  I don't think you could spend a day with her and not be left vigorously inspired by her "viriditas"...  Rosemary is a walking example of the good a green consciousness will do you.  You might ask to hear her story about the woman, the "dying cat", and the valerian...
Rosalee de la Foret
In addition to having a poetically beautiful name, Rosalee offers us a very nice blog, replete with assessable and comprehensive entries that merit regular visitation (this being a good example).  Rosalee also offers an immense quantity of info at herbmentor.com, including a number of "e-books" and video presentations.  The site for her practice also contains some excellent articles.

David LaLuzerne's HerbTV

Dave LaLuzerne is an herbalist in Madison, WI who has made a slew of really darned cool DVDs of herbalists from around the country.  As several of these people don't have books or much in the way written material out, the videos serve as a valuable addition to our collective herbal repertoire, as well as offering a different format for learning.  And there's just something really cool about seeing these people sharing their knowledge... the style in which they teach about herbs is as diverse as all the ways you can practice using herbs.  David has numerous excerpts for viewing here (oh, and I recommend "An Herb Walk in Michigan").

David Hoffmann

David Hoffmann is an excellent herbalist, and has written some of the most accessable information available to beginning and intermediate herbalists.  His Holistic Herbal ("New" or "Illustrated") is a must have book.  This new link connects you to dozens of articles, grouped by topic, so you don't have to navigate the treacherous and peril laden healthy.net site.

Karyn Sanders

Karyn Sanders is an incredible voice in the herbal world... I say voice both figuratively and literally, as she hosts a radio show in California called Herbal Highway, which you can listen to when your eyes say "no" to reading and a trip out into the wild isn't practical.  I can't say how impressed I am with the perspective and wisdom she offers... I've had the opportunity to sit in on classes of hers at the MidAmerica Herbal Symposium and can say that they are among the best I've ever been in.  Karyn's background is deeply rooted in Native American traditions, which she blends artfully with some western herbalism and decades of clinical experience.  Having her shows available to listen to online is truly a blessing, and one not to be passed up.

David Winston

David Winston's site has some excellent articles he's written, as well as .pdf files of interest to those of us herb nerds who dig on vintage nineteenth century eclectic and physiomedical herbalism.  David's class "Talking Leaves" is among the best I've ever been in.

Wise Woman Healing Ways

Robin Rose Bennett offers classes, walks and apprenticeships in the New York/New Jersey area, and possesses the admirable virtue of being "insightful". I got to know her via Henriette's herblist and in crossing paths at the International Herb Symposium and I really admire her ability to see beyond "this herb for that" and recognize the patterns and energies that give one a greater perspective on what's really at play in a given situation. Her site has some thoughtful articles and presentations available for listening.

7Song

7Song runs the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine in Ithaca, NY, and  his site includes a number of articles and an extensive searchable photo archive... his pictures are really good, owing, no doubt, to his inclination towards botanical meticulosity.  7Song also has a nice sense of wit, which peeps out of his writings like the proper use of spices (nonwitty, or "objective" writing is like bland food).  7Song's commitment towards earthy, pragmatic grassroots herbalism is highly laudable.

CommonWealth Center for Herbal Medicine
Primarily run by Katja Swift and Ryn Midura (with adjunctive teachers to broaden things out), CommonWealth offers open classes, intensive programs and consults in and around Boston, and classes for children (how-oh-so-cool-is-that?). I totally jive with their perspective, and they have some nice articles to peruse here. Ryn's use of brackets (something not in my punctuation heavy repertoire) is particularly worthy of taking in.

Susun Weed

Susun is probably one of the most well known herbalists in the world, renown as a herald of the wise woman tradition, for her encyclopedic knowledge of herbalism and oftimes iconoclastic insights about healing.  Her site is extensive, and offers a number of excellent articles and an active and lively discussion forum in addition to information about her classes and programs.

Stephen Harrod Buhner/Foundation for Gaian Studies

Stephen Buhner has written some of the best herb books I’ve read.  His Secret Teaching of Plants, Sacred Plant Medicine and Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers may be among the most well written herb books available.  Here are some articles he’s written… I love, as well, that Stephen has offered corrections to his books.

Dale Pendell

Dale Pendell is the author of the incredible “Pharmako-“ trilogy, consisting of Pharmako/Poeia, Pharmakodynamis and Phamako/Gnosis.  These books are explorations into the relationship between people and “power plants”… not simply "psychedelics", but all the plants that affect our consciousness, from Tobacco, Coffee & Marijuana to Tea, Absinthe and Psilocybes.  Pendell’s writing is astounding, a blending together of botany, poetry, alchemy and herbcraft.  These are among my favorite books, and while that’s not an endorsement of the “poison path” they document, I feel they offer a unique wisdom not to be found elsewhere.  The L.A. Times interview is an excellent introduction to this original voice of plant lore.  I'd consider these among my favorite plant books ever written.  Shame he didn't write on Calamus...

Adam Seller's Pacific School of Herbal Medicine

Adam's site for his school is quite valuable in that it has some very nice recipes, capped by the phrase, "Never trust an herbalist who's not a good cook."  Wise words...  He's also got some very admirable info on Horsetail and Ragweed... not the usual stuff you always see under those herbs.  I'm charmed by a clever humor that seems to permeate the writing...

Michael & Lesley Tierra

The East~West/Planet Herbs site hosts a slew of articles covering a diverse range of history, treatment protocols & insights into various healing modalities.  The Tierra's are renown for the fusion of North American botanicals and the Eastern structures of TCM & Ayurveda, but western-oriented herbalists like myself can happily lose themselves in gems like What is eclecticism? & also rare books like Eli Jones's "Cancer, It's Causes Symptoms and Treatment" (which you can't read and not just come to the conclusion that Jones was way cool).  There are also numerous options in the way of educational opportunities offered.

Todd Caldecott

Todd his among the premier teachers of ayurvedic herbalism in north america; his site requires (free) membership to access the immense content therein.

A Modern Herbal Online

Grieve's classic, searchable.  This is an incredibly valuable resource, and one that's not given as much credit as it deserves.  Grieve offers an immense variety of folk uses and folklore not readily found elsewhere.  I'll often print out entries to take a highlighter to, since I wouldn't dare deface a book with one.

Sam Thayer

I came across Sam Thayer's book The Forager's Harvest while teaching out in Duluth, and my utterly delightful hosts gifted me with the copy I picked up every time I sat down at their place (perhaps they thought I wasn't going to put it down when I had to leave).  It's quite simply the absolute best book on edible plants I've ever come across, with no close seconds.  Sam doesn't cover much in the way of medicinal uses, but his writing clearly expresses the deep connection and kinship he has with the plants that he covers.  While it is a regional book, I'd still get it regardless of where you live, just to see how good an edible plant book can be.  Seven thumbs up. 

Ryan Drum

Hmm... Ryan Drum's site is very cool, but there are certainly some "interesting" ideas offered here and there that might make you scratch your head (thinking specifically about a notion offered in "Herbs for Men's Health" about x and y chromosomes...).  Nonetheless, one of the reasons herbalism is so interesting is because we're all such a bunch of characters, (I've got plenty of oddball theories myself, if you'd believe it...), and Ryan's site is exceptional in that several of his articles offer ideas to ponder you'll not readily find elsewhere... that's always a treat. 

Maria Treben

Some of the herbal entries from Maria Treben's Health from God's Pharmacy...

Smoke Plants

Mairi Ross has authored a delightful book on the oft maligned act of smoking dried plants, and covers over 150 in the process.  The book is a real treat, with pages like puffs on a pipe... lots of wisdoms to quietly ponder.  Really, one of the only books of its kind...

United Plant Savers

United Plant Savers is dedicated to protecting and cultivating medicinal plants threatened by habitat loss and commercial overharvest.  As herbs like Goldenseal, Black Cohosh, American Ginseng and Wild Yam are becoming increasingly rare in the wild, UpS works to both preserve and propagate them.  Their website lists their events calendar, offers ways you can help preserve plants in your area, and provides membership info (hint hint).

 

Herbal Listserves and Forums...
These are the herbal email listserves and forums I know of and would recommend checking out.  There are undoubtedly more (Henriette has a list here, and even that probably leaves out lots).  I haven't included lists or forums focused on homeopathy, TCM or ayurveda - I'm just not knowledgeable enough in these areas to pick out the good ones.  The ones I have included here are all, I deem, very nice.  Like all things, though, each has its own flavor and one list or forum may bug one person and be the delight of another.  The best way to find out which are the good ones are to try them out and decide for yourself. 

 

I would also advise those with addictive personalities to consider the impact of numerous forums (and the myriad ways they can teach you something new) on their time management and productivity.  The same considerations one would keep in mind when dealing with heroine or gambling should be remembered when one realizes that they're in the midst of an herblist fit.

 

I'd also like to acknowledge and (namelessly) thank some of the very skilled and gifted herbalists who post on these open lists, rather than avoiding them in favor of "professional-only" lists.  I find their openness and willingness to share highly admirable, and praise them for so freely giving of their time and wisdom.

 

Henriette's Herblist
Henriette Kress offers an excellent herbal listserve replete with wise herbfolk who share insights opinions and ideas on herbs and their use. The list's archives are phenomenal; and an incredible resource (though unfortunately not searchable). Henriette's list is very well moderated; which saves its members from spam, two word replies that contain another 80 lines of previous posts, and off-topic chit chat, but does require members who want to post to learn the basics of "netiquette" (snipping unnecessary text from replies, not replying "thanks!" to every individual email recieved, and staying on the topic of herbs). For this bit of effort, the wealth of knowledge it offers is priceless... another reason to value this herb maven who has made more information freely accessible than perhaps anyone else online.  You can subscribe here.
The AHG Herbstudent List
The herbstudent list was begun and few years ago and, like henriette's list, offers an immensity of collective insight. There are less requirements for people who want to post (editing previous replies in posts isn't a requirement), and so in that way perhaps a bit more accessable, but that also means you will occasionally get the short reply with paragraphs and paragraphs of previous posts before it. something that'll make you see red if you're on digest. A big bonus with this group is that members can search the archives.  Nice.

HerbMentor.com
John, Kimberly and Rosalee at HerbMentor have put together an exceptional resource for those looking to learn about herbalism with more structure and guidance than is offered by most (any?) other online email lists and message boards.  It is a subscription service, and is replete with lengthy audio and video lectures (including some by me), comprehensive written resources, a message board and other resources that make it an excellent resource to people who learn in different ways (since you can read, listen and watch the presentations).  While an inevitable question is "Why would I pay fro something online when so much is free?", I'd posit a few answers, one being that HerbMentor is very reasonably priced, another being that I don't know anyone who hasn't really liked it (most a lot) and also that John Gallagher is a really super cool fellow who's committed to providing real, grassroots herbal wisdom in a very assessable way.
Susun Weed's Wisewoman Forum
The Wise Woman Forum is, like the herbwifery forum, not "for women only", but its focus is rooted in the wise woman tradition as laid out by Susun in her books. If you're one of the folks who has been put off by Susun's iconoclastic personality or behavior, the forum doesn't really go there, and she herself has little to do with it (I believe that its run by her daughter Justine, who, if I were to make assumptions about a person I haven't met just by reading a smattering of her posts, seems to possess a keen insight and sense of perspective that I find both honest and honorable). Its a forum with a flavor all of its own, and there are jewels to be found there that are seen far lest often on other lists. there's more space there for off topic (but connected) posting. If I had one gripe with it, its that there are too many separate forums; for example, I have no idea why the herbal medicine chest, herbal allies, and health and wellness questions need to have separate boards... but maybe that's just an issue for me, who has to wait longer to get through these in (alas) the land of dial up internet connections...

(You'll notice I've omitted the innumerable Facebook groups I could include here.  There are a couple reasons for this.  Initially, I don't like the format and don't particpate in many of these, and so can't offer any endorsements.  Also, I really don't find the format of Facebook to be especially good for discussion  groups.  Unlike email, it's not searchable, posts tend to be briefer and less detailed, and there's just less focus.  Also, I have to say being added to groups (all the freakin' time) without being asked is irksome.  So that's why they're not here...)
 

 

Blogs...

Really, there are more herb blogs than I can keep up with; fortunately Rosalee de la Foret has an impressive array listed here.

 

 

Herbal conferences, festivals & events...

I always pondered putting up a list of herbal conferences and events, but it seemed like it'd be a nightmare to keep up with, go out of date quickly, and end up less than useful.  But (yay!) someone else has made a nice listing, so I can just post a link to that... so here's a list of herbal conferences, festival and events in the US & Canada.

 

 

Identification...

Missouri Plants*

This site has the best pictures of wildflowers I know of… usually several per plant; showing the flower, leaves, the whole plant and any significant identifying characteristics.   Plants are not listed by common names, which will reinforce the lesson that you can’t get around needing to know the Latin names for plants.

*Dan Tenaglia, who ran this site, tragically died in February of '07.  His wife has kept it up and running, in honor of his passion for plants, but doing so requires effort and support.  If you value this site and wish to help support its maintenance, you can make a donation to the “Dan Tenaglia Foundation”: 1416 Victoria Avenue, Opelika, Alabama 36801.

Michigan Flora

Not picture heavy, but rather a botanical key for Michigan with county level distribution maps.  The search by genus option can help you look to see where to look for a given species, or help to reverse ID a plant you've found

The Biota of North America

A super detailed plant distribution atlas.

MSU Turf Weeds

Is it growing in your lawn?  Check out the MSU Turf Weeds site, which has some nice pics of common lawn weeds...

Virginia Tech's Dendrology Site

ID a tree by leaf or needle(s)... one of the easier to use identification sites with good photos...

Hey... those aren't Nettle...

False Nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica)

Clearweed (Pilea pumila)

Are they medicinal?  All I've ever found is that the the Cherokee "rubbed the stems (of Clearweed) between the toes to alleviate itch, and gave the tea to curb the appetite" (from James Duke's Northeast Indian Medicinal Plants)

Mushrooms...

There's very good mushroom identification information available at Mushroom Expert.com; if you're interested in our fungal friends, that might be one of the best resources online.  In addition to excellent pics and descriptions of a lot of species (listed in the box in the top right corner of the page), there's info on easily identified edibles, deadly poisonous species, primers of morel & boletus gatherers, and technical info to help with understanding mushroom field guides, taxonomy, spore microscopy, etc etc; on & on...

 

Hen of the Woods/Maitake Grifola frondosa...

...mushrooms do not get better than this

Turkey Tail Trametes versicolor

Chicken of the Woods/Sulphur Shelf Laeptiporus sulphureus

Reishi Ganoderma spp.

Birch Polypore Piptoporus Betulinus

 

 

A Few Very Poisonous Plants & Mushrooms...

These are strong enough to kill a person.  Please, if you wildcraft, take as much time to learn how to identify your local poisonous plants as you take to learn to identify the medicinal ones.

 

Hemlock Conium maculatum

Water Hemlock Cicuta maculata

 

Destroying Angel Amanita virosa

Death Cap Amanita phalloides

Deadly Galerina Galerina autumnalis

Deadly Lawn Galerina Galerina venenata

Tender Nesting Polypore/Cinnamon Bracket Hapalopilus nidulans
a poisonous polypore shelf mushroom; you've probably heard there are none.

Wildcrafters, Growers, and Medicine Makers…
I feel very strongly about the responsibility we take in using herbal medicines.  In doing so, we not only take become responsible for our own well being, but we also take on the responsibility of the plants we use to nourish our bodies and souls.  Ideally, we can honor this by respectfully gathering or growing the medicines we use.  Sometimes, though, practicality (be it of time, convenience or whatever) insists we purchase our herbs.  If this is the case, we must understand that when we buy an herb or herbal preparation, we assume the responsibility for how it has been gathered and prepared. 

If you’re buying drugstore brand herbs, or even herbs produced by supplements companies, you’re most likely financing environmentally destructive practices.  Most convenience stores and supermarkets carry wildcrafted Goldenseal preparations, which people buy under the misguided understanding that it’s a "natural antibiotic" (it is not).  It may be ages old and nearly inert, to boot.  The money that this consumption earns encourages plants and nature to be seen as a commodity, something to bring in a profit.  Again, if you buy these preparations, you’re paying to support and reinforce this view.  I suspect most of us don’t intend to do that… wouldn’t you rather your money go directly to an individual herbalist and their family rather than support a huge profit-oriented corporation?

I’ve made it a top priority that if I can’t gather an herb myself, I do my damnedest to get it directly from the person that did, or, if that’s not possible, from a source that I know puts as much emphasis on wildcrafting ethics and integrity as I do.  This effort ensures a number of things:  That the plants are being gathered respectfully and sensitively, that the ingredients you use to make your own preparations are top quality, and that your money and support goes to people who care passionately about the plants they grow and collect.  Our money is a form of energy, and I think that supporting small scale family growers, wildcrafters and medicine makers is an excellent place to send that energy.  I take great pride in the fact that I know whose hands unearthed the Black Cohosh I use, and whose prayers were offered to the bitterroot I chew.

So here’s a list of people I rely on to obtain the highest quality herbs and preparations that can be had, who I know care as deeply about these herbs as I do.  I hope you all will find this information useful, and support these plant people as the herbs they collect support us.

Michigan…

Aspen Hill Farm

1878 Anderson Road / Box 753 / Boyne City, MI 49712 / (231) 582-6790

Steve Edwards grows organic American Ginseng, Goldenseal, Black Cohosh, Blue Cohosh, Bloodroot, and other at risk medicinals.  I’ve purchased both dried and fresh Goldenseal roots from him, and was incredibly impressed by their quality and vitality; not to mention how well they’ve worked for me since tincturing them… when I run out, this is where I order more from.

Wilderness Herbs

Box 518 / Ishpeming, MI 49849

While you'll have to mail out for a catalog (yes, in this day and age...), when you get it and see that it's entirely hand written and illustrated, you'll appreciate the care you can tell goes into what they do.  Wilderness Herbs offers a very nice selection of oils, salves and tinctures (one of the only places I know that offers a Pedicularis canadense tincture), and what is especially cool, herb kits and samplers that provide a combination of extracts, oils, salves and powders.

Yule Love It Lavender Farm

Iris Lee Underwood's small organic farm offers several varieties of lavender, in bundles or "you pick".  The first time I was out there and stood in the gardens on a hot summer day with the breeze blowing towards me I gained an entirely new appreciation for lavender that the essential oil just can't touch...  

 

Northeast United States…

Zack Woods Herb Farm

I’ve been ordering herbs through Zack Woods for years upon years, and can’t recommend them enough.  They grow exceptional Black Cohosh, which you can get shipped fresh out of the ground to you, as well as many other at risk and otherwise useful herbs.  Both Melanie and Jeff have been a pleasure to work with every time I’ve ordered, and their commitment and integrity shines through the herbs they offer us.

Woodland Essence

Kate Gilday and Don Babineau have created a line of flower essences made from native North American trees, shrubs and herbs, as well as tinctures, oils, salves, creams and, of special merit, just awesome chaga mushrooms (a truly exquisite tea, chaga is…).  They also host classes and Kate offers apprenticeships.  I first met Kate at the International Herb Symposium years ago, and she was every bit as cool as she comes across (and knows really good songs, too).  Excellent results with her essences, as well...

Heartsong Herb Farm

Nancy and Michael Phillips farm offers excellent quality herbs and preparations, and more than a few nice articles on herbs and organic apple cultivation.  They wrote "The Herbalist's Way" together and it is a flat-out excellent must-have-r.  You couldn't capture what herbalism is about better than they have; very affirming.  Michael is the green man of holistic orcharding.

Healing Spirits Herb Farm

Matthias and Andrea Reisen's herb farm and education center.  They'll teach you about how to grow the herbs, how to gather the herbs, and do so with prayerful intent.  Beautiful, beautiful herbs.  If you don't see something on their list, it's worth asking about, sometimes they have or can get other things you might be looking for.

Fellow Workers Farm

Traci at Fellow Worker's Farm is a wildcrafter and grower, and offers herbs by order, along with assorted extracts, oils, potions and such. She has a slew of herbs not so easily had, including many tree medicines like alder (see Kiva's writings to gain a deep appreciation for this), peach, aspen, mulberry and probably whatever else grows nearby. Now, don't ya love seeing things like mulberry on someone's herb list? It says so much, about their connection to the plants they live with, their curiosity about them, and their desire to grow herbalism away from over-reliance on the the top dozen best selling herbs and towards sustainable, grassroots, handcrafted medicine. Traci also hosts a blog here. Contact her directly for a list of what she's got.
Urban Moonshine
Bitters.  Really quite spectacular bitters.  I met Jovial at the AHG conference in Pennsylvania in 2012 and got to taste these bitters I'd heard such good things about, and was super impressed.  I love bitters, and I have a deep appreciation for the craft of formulating bitters; sampling the many different bitter blends people make makes me really quite happy and appreciative of the literally infinite possibilities out there.  This is one of the best I've had.  They also make other goodies worth slucking up.

Flack Family Farm

They offer a number of organically grown medicinals, and are one of the only places I've seen that offers Solomon's Seal roots.  Their codonopsis is astounding.
Amrita Apothecary
Long before I ever interacted with her, I heard about Ananda; usually some variation of "have you ever used Ananda's (_insert preparation here_)?" When I finally did get to try some of Ananda's herbals, was was indeed impressed. Quality herbs, well crafted and creative. Ananda offers preparations and collwoven together with a theme. She excels with aromatics. While you're checking things out, do make time to peruse her writings and insights.

Ironbound Island Seaweeds
North Atlantic dulse, kelp, kombu, wakame, and nori hand gathered in Maine.

 

Appalachia…

Moonbranch Botanicals

Robin Suggs at Moonbranch Botanicals offers wildcrafted and organically grown herbs endemic to the eastern forests of Appalachia.  He's gone beyond simple organic cultivation, and is replicating the natural habitat ecologies the plants he grows would naturally exist in (in other words, the plants that naturally prefer poor soil to grow in aren't cultivated in rich, well composted topsoil.  One of the few places I know that offers fresh or recent dried Wild Indigo, Solomon's Seal and Stone Root.

Harding's Ginseng Farm

Larry Harding grows exceptional Ginseng, organically cultivating the plant in wild, unamended forest soil so that it grows in potency as it competes with other plants in the wild Appalachian soil.  The resultant roots are much stronger and medicinally endowed than Ginseng given cushy, well composted and manured garden soil (under a shade cloth) could approximate.  Harding's also offers organic wild cultivated Goldenseal, Bloodroot, Black Cohosh and other at risk herbs.

Mushroom Harvest

Mushroom Harvest offers all the mushroom varieties we that herbalists crave, and then some: Reishi, shiitakes, lion's mane, chaga, turkey tails, and many others, as powders or kits so you can grow your own.  I met George at the 8th International Herb Symposium and was blessed to get some of his cordyceps... divine.  He's an awesome course to get mushrooms to amend your bone broth.

Mountain Gardens

Joe Hollis grows gazillions of herbs and makes myriad herbal preparations to offer, with lots of unusual medicinals and formulae.  He’ll custom harvest herbs for you, and has plants and seeds for sale.  He also offers apprenticeships & classes… And, his site is beautiful and makes me want to visit… check out the pictures… wow.

Equinox Botanicals

Founded by Paul Strauss, Equinox offers a small but exceptional line of extracts and their damn good "golden salve".  Paul is also the steward of the United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary in Rutland Ohio, and damn, does that guy know the land he walks on.  His knowledge of the sanctuary is astounding, and one shouldn't pass up an opportunity to join him on a plant walk (just don't believe him when he says you'll only be 45 minutes...). 

Pine's Herbals

Corey Pine Shane offers an exquisite line of really high quality tincture and such.  I've ordered stuff from him a number of times when I was out of something and wanted to get a ready made tincture from an impeccable source.  Corey Pine also runs the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine in Asheville, NC and offers consults.  Every time I call to order something from him we always get into a long, green conversation... he's a cool cat.

 
Heartland…

Loess Roots

One of my students turned me onto Rod Angeroth at Loess Roots, passing along some extra goldenseal and black cohosh to me.  The roots looked and smelled and felt and worked beautiful, and I subsequently got some other things from Rod, including some absolutely gorgeous american ginseng root.  Everything about Loess Roots rocks, and it's I think the only place I know to get virginia snakeroot.  Purchasing roots from Rod, who's in Nebraska, will get a lot of what are considered eastern woodlands plants to people who live out west faster than getting them from several states farther eastwards.  Highly recommended. 

 

Northwest United States…

Naturespirit Herbs & Sea Vegetables

James Jungwirth and Kari Rein offer hand harvested seaweeds and custom wildcrafted herbs that grow in the Pacific Northwest.  They don’t stock bulk herbs and such, but rather if there’s something you need that grows out that way you can give them a call and they’ll gather for you and ship it to you.  They also carry tinctures, salves and oils, and a look through their catalog shows some really nice stuff… one of the only places I know to get fresh Cactus grandiflorus, or fresh Ragweed tincture if you didn’t get around to harvesting your own..

Ancestree Herbals

Lexie and Chris grow and collect a multitude of herbs from their farm and the wildlands of Washington State, including not only many herbs native to that habitat, but several other less commonly associated with the Northwest.  They offer contract farming services, will produce tinctures, oils, or other preparations to your specs, offer seeds of virtually all the herbs they produce, and most importantly the quality of herbs they offer shows their commitment to both the plants and the people they serve.

Friends of the Trees

You've got to love when you find a resource that states of their offerings, "We grow or wildcraft all of them personally".  Michael Pilarski offers a large array of botanicals native to or naturalized in Montana (along with a smattering of others here & there), primarily to be collected from their gardens or wildcrafted by order.  This ensures you the highest possible quality, and you get to know that the herbs you receive were specifically gathered for you.  Michael offers large volumes of fresh herb infused oils.

Island Herbs

Ryan Drum's wildcrafting.  Excellent quality seaweeds (Bullwhip Kelp is divine) and herbs, including some wonderful rarities like Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora) which turns purple when you tincture it (!).

Pacific Botanicals

This is a big organic farm in Oregon that grows and stocks a wide range of high quality herbs; recently they've been distributing a lot more plants from various parts of the world, but their site clearly lists sources and often says "our farm".  You can order fresh herbs here and they’ll ship them out to you for extraction, or obtain dried herbs that have been harvested that season. 
Organic Unity
Sajah and Whitney offer alchemically produced spagyric tinctures and essences.  These are an entirely different type of preparation than herbal tinctures, and generally taken in drop doses.  I'm currently (at the time of this writing) totally digging on their hawthorne essence...

 

Southwest United States…

Texas Medicinals

Ginger Webb offers a number of tinctures and teas made from both bioregional and commonly used herbs, and her stuff rocks.  She's a great source for midwives looking for cotton root bark tincture, as well as those looking for a source of traditional southwest & mexican herbs seldom seen available elsewhere.  Ginger also does consults...

King's Road Apothecary
Rebecca McTrouble's offerings are not only local, they're temporal. While staples such as her busted joint ointment are everpresent for those in need, her shop offers a rotating selection of whatever she's currently enthralled with, always crafted with balance and flavor. Maybe, when you visit, you can pick up lavender sage bitters, or perhaps this time the bitters are based on cocoa with burnt caramel. Whatever may be, her stuff will leave you not just happy, but inspired to play with your own preparations. Check out her blog for recipes and meandering musings...

Desert Bloom Herbs

Richard McDonald (no direct relation) offers handcrafted tinctures, salves, oils and bulk herbs made from southwestern medicinals.  He wild cultivates the Osha he collects, and I highly recommend him as a source for Osha tincture.  He’s also got cool and hard to find stuff like Desert Anemone (which needs to be extracted fresh), Yerba Mansa and Pedicularis.  Richard's also working on a near-manifesto on his experience using herbs to treat diabetes, which is worth checking out, and an increasing number of herb monographs...

Sunstone Herb Farm

Jen Prosser offers a nice selection of organic and wildcrafted bulk herbs, and has some real treasures offered as tinctures, like peach leaf, skunk cabbage and sweetfern.  Jen also offers consults & classes.

 

Southeast United States…

Coyote Moon Herb Company

I met Theresa Finkbeiner while teaching down in Ocean Springs, Mississippi; she rather saved a ravenously hungry me with some fresh crawfish. We swapped some Kava tincture, gabbed about plants and in her photo album I saw the most insanely tall joe pye weed... it must've been ten feet? Perhaps more? Theresa makes tinctures, oils, offers herbal birthing goodies and teaches throughout the southeast. If you cross paths with her, do ask to see that joe pye picture...
 
Hawaii…

Nuka Hiva Trading Company

(Nuka Hiva is temporarily dormant)
John Fowler grows several varieties of organic Kava Kava on the big island of Hawaii.  This is especially nice, since you can order a specific Kava Kava by name, rather than get a great batch of Kava that you love with one order, and then an entirely different type with your next order.  You can even get fresh roots, chew them up yourself, spit ‘em out, add water and enjoy with friends and family… mmmmmmmm (I’m sure your friends and family will feel the same).

Adaptations

Tana Datta offers fresh and dried Kava and other medicinals and will ship to the mainland...  I haven't ordered from Tane, but have had his kava via 7Song, and it's excellent.

 

 

Canada…

Algonquin Tea Company

Steve Martyn has created some unique and tasty teas, but also offers wildcrafted bulk herbs, including lots of hard to find tree barks, sweet fern, myrica gale and he’s the only place I know who carries dried new england aster.  They also offer classes and workshops on herbs and primitive skills.

 

Dakini Tidal Wilds

Someone online tuned me onto this company; they're the only one listed here where I haven't actually used their stuff, but a look over their (well, actually "her") site at what they had to offer showed them to be of immense grassroots integrity.  Amanda collects and offers wildcrafted seaweeds (including the exceptionally delicious bull kelp) off the coast of Vancouver Island and a line of salves made from regional herbs, including things like sword fern and fireweed... not your average thrown together formulas.  She also offers consults, tours and classes.   

 

From all the heck over the place…

Mountain Rose Herbs

Mountain Rose Herbs is the place to buy bulk dried herbs if you can’t get them directly from the source, or you need stuff from all over the place and shipping costs from each would cost more than the herbs you're getting.  They have all kinds of other stuff, too… essential oils, tea blends, tinctures, salves, stuff for pets, books, bottles, and really good organic teas.  I should probably have up one of those banner things that you can click on and then I get some kind of kickback because you got to their site through mine, but I'm idealistic.  Everyone here gets the same green font (with the exception of Iris at Yule Love It Lavender Farm...).  They have great business ethics.

Poppy Swap

Kiki Geary set up Poppy Swap as an etsy-esque market place where herbal medicine makers can offer their wares.  People can search through the site and get the medicines they use directly from the people who crafted them.  Bulk herbs, tea blends, tinctures, oils, salves, soaps, incense and all manner of potions can be had.  Each seller gets their own site, letting you know a bit about the person whose hands prepared your herbs.  Just way cool, really, and another good way to support grassroots herbalism.

Seven Cups fine chinese teas

Seven Cups imports organic and fair trade teas (Camellia sinensis) directly from China, and offers a vast and varied array of the best green, white, yellow, oolong and black teas to be had.  They personally select the teas they sell, and can tell you where they were grown, who grew them and exactly when they were harvested.  I don't think you can find such reliability anywhere else, when it comes to Tea.  Too bad they don't supply Chinese medicinals, eh?

 

Tobacco…

Organic Smoke

Sun Butler grows and cures absolutely exquisite organic Tobacco.  While much can be said to the offense of Tobacco, it should be remembered that it is considered the most sacred of plants by virtually every native tribe in the western hemisphere.  Tobacco abuse has little to do with Tobacco itself, but as the term implies, our abuse of Tobacco.  For those of us who can truly treat this plant teacher as a sacrament, with all the reverence that it deserves, Sun offers Tobacco that shines with the respect and integrity with which they prepare it.  If you use Tobacco, and understand it as powerful Prayer Medicine, doesn't it make sense to get it directly from someone growing it with this intention?

 

Oils and Butters and Such…

Organic Creations

Organic Creations is a supplier for soap makers, and has a lot of nice organic fixed oils at good prices.  A good place to get coconut oil, cocoa butter,  jojoba oil and other things that are just too expensive when purchased in 8-16 ounce sizes.

 
Seeds...

Horizon Herbs

The Cech family offers one of the widest selection of medicinal herb seeds available, and some good books on growing plants and making stuff out of them… if you’re looking for seeds, this is a good place to start.

...I’ve only listed sources that I’ve personally worked with… but there are numerous growers and collectors that share our common ethics. 

If you join United Plant Savers (and why wouldn't you?) they'll send you a great plant and bulk herb directory.  I encourage you to talk with the people and ask questions about them, the herbs they collect and their philosophy… they should all be able to tell you the fine details about the plant… specifically when they collected it and where it came from, or if it was grown whether its organic.

Myth & Lore...

the green man and the green woman

the origins of disease an medicine ~ cherokee

poison ivy (my telling...)

how blossoms came to the heather

the oak tree and the reeds

the marsh king's daughter

little elder tree mother

the elf of the rose

the nettle spinner

hummingbird brings back tobacco ~ cherokee

the origin of strawberries ~ cherokee

the legend of the trailing arbutus ~ iroquois

the legend of the violet ~ iroquios

the meadow dandelion ~ chippewa

why wild roses have thorns ~ salteaux

how maple sugar came ~ salteaux

the star and the water lilies ~ chippewa

the birth of wek-wek (elderberry) ~  hool-poom'-ne

Goddess is Alive in Every Woman (susun weed)

 

Henna...

If the idea of drawing leaves and vines all over yourself seems like something you could get lost in, these sites will open up a whole new realm of plant-based fanaticism...

Henna Page

This site has extensive free info (in nicely printable .pdf files) elaborating on all you need to know to start making and using henna to doodle on yourself and others, numerous designs and links to sources for high quality henna.  The site index reveals the wealth of info there, and useful since this site is kind of a pain to navigate

 

Totally-Unrelated-To-Herbs-But-Still-Cool..

Woodsong

If you ever cross paths with me, I'll likely have one of Rob Yard's flutes in hand.  These are the best bamboo flutes you can come by.

 

listening...

ZBS

ZBS creates audio stories that blend exciting stories, natural wisdom, insightful views of society, and bad puns... an excellent combination.  Check out Jack Flanders in The Fourth Tower of Inverness, or, if you like sci-fi, The Adventures of Ruby.

This American Life

One of my all time favorite public radio shows, offering all of their past episodes for online enjoyment; episodes range from clear headed journalism to emotionally moving to quirky hilarious.  Ira Glass probably constitutes a personal hero.  If you're reading this, be sure to listen to this.  And this (part 2)...

Radiolab

Incredible listening.  I think everyone should be required to listen to some of these episodes; this being an excellent example.

 

music...

Rising Appalachia

Leah & Chloe totally rock.  I've had the good fortune of hearing their sing & play once or twice a year at herb conferences, which I hope is a phenomenon that extends into decades.  Just awesome, cool, sweet voices and souls. Listen to this this this and this.

Owain Phyfe

I've enjoyed Owain's music since I first walked past his stage at the Michigan Renaissance Festival, and like many, miss hearing his singing as I approach the jewel stage.  He performed period music from several countries and sung in several languages; but all of it is universally beautiful.  Owain's singing is excellent, and best of all, this recordings are excellent too... Where Beauty Moves and Wit Delights is a great place to start... his version of "in a garden so green" is unbelievably beautiful.  This is especially nice.

 

artisans...

SkyRavenWolf

Chris made my oak leaf belt pouch.  Her leatherwork reeks of goodness & beauty.  I love my pouch.

Drakonaria

Probably the most beautiful metalwork I've ever seen; clearly elfwrought.

Mad Dwarf Workshop

If anyone really really likes what I do and offer, and wants to gift me with something I'd totally love but probably won't ever be able to buy for myself, a gift certificate for something from these guys would make my day... I mean, gadzooks...

 

art...

Andy Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy's art is incredible.  This guy is a true wildcrafter; making medicine to be imbibed by the eyes...

 

writings...

Sacred Text Archive

Sacred writings of myriad spiritual traditions and paths.  Divine.

 

 

Poetry...

You'll have to forgive me my indulgence here, but if I had to imagine any other craft to pursue with my life's ambition, it would be the crafting of meaning into words into poetry.  Alas, though... my scribblings don't quite meet my standards, and so I'll have to share with you the verse of others who were kind enough to write poems I so deeply resonate with...

 

Theodore Roethke

e. e. cummings

Kathleen Raine

Dale Pendell

Mary Oliver

Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Wendell Berry

A. R. Ammons

 

Maureen Dorrington

Maureen was a friend of mine, if only briefly and seen on far too rare an occasion to say we were good friends... though nonetheless we were.  It was one of those instances where you meet someone and it's as if you just hadn't seen them in a long while... she was a kindred spirit.  Maureen wrote this poem when her father died, though no one seemed to know she wrote poetry till after her rather sudden and untimely death on July 19th, 2002.   If you like the poem and wish to thank her in some way for it, simply take in a stray cat.  You'll earn a blessing from her for sure... 


offering michigan herb classes, workshops, weed walks,

and other opportunities to infuse one's self in the medicine of plants

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