Q: What is your definition of “herb”?
A: Words mean different things in different contexts. Sometimes “herb” means marijuana. If we’re talking botany, it means a non-woody plant. In the kitchen, it’s usually aromatic leaves used it a small quantity to season a dish. When it comes to herbal remedies, I think of it as meaning a relatively low-tech preparation made from plant material. Within my practice as an herbalist, though, I also use a few other basics – salt, honey, water, clay. They aren’t plants, but they fit within kitchen medicine.
The main reason this question comes up is because I’ll mention apple or cabbage or something in an herb class and folks stop me and say “Wait a minute! That’s not an herb, that’s a food!” Ok. I guess I don’t see any reason to draw a line between food and herb. When someone is hungry and eating something because it will fill their belly, it’s a food. When they are eating it with the intention to create a shift in their health, it’s an herb.
And then there’s phytotherapy and pharmaceuticals derived from plants. Do I consider pills of standardized extracts to be herbs? Sort of, not really. Part of what’s important to me about herbalism is the connection to real living beings and relating with them directly. I love harvesting from living plants, bringing them into my home and creating delicious medicine with my own hands. So, if you don’t mind, I’m going to get back to my potions. I’ve got barberries and corn silk to tend to.

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; color: #454545}
p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; color: #454545; min-height: 14.0px}

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *