November Herbalista Happenings

Here at Herbalista Headquarters we are always striving to come up with creative ways to make our endeavors sustainable and effective. Being flexible, allowing projects to shift and change over time as new needs are identified and methods realized, encouraging broad participation, focusing on training up the next set of helping hands and new leaders— all of these things are vital ingredients. We borrow often from the principles of “permaculture,” working to minimize waste and valuing feedback and diversity. Being a grassroots healthcare project means not only are we born of the community but must consistently reaffirm our relationship with it. And what better way to weave that web than to encourage active involvement in the day-to-day needs of our clinic. In October we tried out a new workshop model. The theory was simple – combine learning with service. We spent the day learning to make the remedies we use the most on the Bus, with special attention towards wintertime remedies. The supplies fee went towards our herbal ingredients, and 7 hours later folks had acquired new skills and the Bus had new medicines!! A win-win! You can read more about this amazing day here. Thanks to everyone who participated!

For those of you who have been following the work of the Bus, you might have heard mention a service project that has been in development over this past year. After lots of dreaming and scheming, I am pleased to finally announce the start of Herb Cart. This pop-up herbal first aid station will set up at soup kitchens and other marginalized communities around the Atlanta area. This project will offer BOTH healthcare to those in need and an educational opportunity for those looking for more hands-on clinical training. If you are interested in learning more, please read about project details and upcoming Herb Cart Training Workshops.

In this month of Thanksgiving, let us balance giving thanks with taking action. There is a lot of need in our world. I give thanks that there is also a lot of opportunity to address that need. We have many bodies, many brains, many hands, and many hearts. Let’s do this my friends. Together.

~Herbalista Lorna

For the full monthly newsletter, click here.


Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 8.00.20 PMComing in 2015, this service project of the Herbalista Free Clinic will provide free, earth-based care and health education.  This pop-up first aid station will set up at soup kitchens and at other marginalized communities around the Atlanta area.  We hope this project will not only place more healing herbs into the hands of the people, but also provide an educational opportunity for those looking for herbal, hands on, clinical training.

If you have been looking for a way to put your herbal knowledge to work, if you are looking for a chance to serve your community, then here is the chance to do BOTH!!

To volunteer with the Cart you must meet the following requirements:

  • CPR and First Aid Certified within the last 2 years. This can be through any number of organizations, such as the Red Cross, American Heart Association, etc.  This must be completed prior to attending an Herb Cart Weekend Training Session.
  • Attend an Herb Cart Weekend Training Session (Herbal First Aid, Herb Cart Protocol, etc.)  Each training session is limited to 8 participants.  Contact Lorna to register and make payment arrangements.
  • Train at the Harriet Tubman Free Foot Clinic at least twice (Safety and Sanitation, Clinical Flow, Anti-Oppressive Practice, etc.)  This clinic meets every Wednesday Night at the Open Door Community.
  • Demonstrate herbal competence, compassion & pragmatism as a health worker. Please note, participation in the program is at the discretion of the Herbalista Crew. 

We will schedule Herb Cart Clinics on various Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s throughout the year.

To enroll in this project, please email

Upcoming Herb Cart Trainings 

January 9th – 11th, 2015

 Friday evening 7pm – 9:30pm

 Saturday from 10am – 5pm

 Sunday from 10am – 5pm

 Herbalista Headquarters, Atlanta, GA

Cost: $250

 February 20th – 22nd, 2015

 Friday evening 7pm – 9:30pm

 Saturday from 10am – 5pm

 Sunday from 10am – 5pm

 Herbalista Headquarters, Atlanta, GA

Cost: $250


Each year we set up an Herbal First Aid Station at the Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference to support this gathering of over 1000 women and children.  Our clinic is a collaborative effort between EMT’s and Herbalists, as we strive to provide compassionate care for this temporary community.  For more information on the clinic (such as how we stock it, staff it, the forms we use, etc.) please check out the SEWHC Herbal First Aid Station Manual.  This Manual is a free pdf download available at the herbalista website.  And for a glimpse inside this year’s clinic, check out our photo album.

A shot of the apotheke. The Herbal First Aid Station is a combined efforts of many -- the Herbalista Free Clinic, the Appalachian School for Holistic Herbalism, Red Moon Herbs, Traditional Medicinals, and the Clinic Crew!
A shot of the Apotheke.

The weather was lovely this year, the overall energy was so joyful, and I was particularly moved by the keynote given by Rosita Arvigo on service and the dharma of a healer.  While I am not situated to speak on the concept of “dharma,” I do know that while our work as herbalists (or any community healthcare provider) is often beautiful.  It also requires that we witness and work with deep emotional and physical pain.  When we partner with our patients through their struggles, we can be at risk of neglecting our own needs or those of our loved ones.  It can also be hard to grapple with the suffering of multiple patients all in the same day.  This is what can make a gathering like the Southeast Women’s to be so important, as it brings together a community, all of whom are dedicated to this path.  It gives us a chance to nurture and support each other, a chance for care-takers to be cared for.  We are grateful to have the chance to do just that.



Home sweet home! After a long time on the road, the Bus is once again happily parked at Herbalista Headquarters. I am excited to be back, to be wrapped in the green embrace of a vine-covered south, where our creeks rise to late summer storms. I am also honored to call Atlanta home. I am grateful to have been born in a city dedicated to the struggle for civil rights, to have been watered by the reverberating message of Dr. King, and nurtured into an adult (an herbalista, in fact) who is committed to serve. And it is in the very symbol of this city, the phoenix rising from the flames, that we can take inspiration, take up the challenge, and continue to work for the health and happiness of our neighbors, even when times seem tough. When our state closes the door of Medicaid expansion in the faces of the poor, we can open ours. When services and shelter for our friends on the streets are dismantled, we can step forward to provide. As they say at the Open Door, “We gonna do the best we can, till we can’t.

IMG_9370I have often been asked, if you need a bus to do what we do.  As you can see by the photo above, NO VAN REQUIRED!  While I was touring out west, clinics continued as usual in Atlanta.  Corinne and Todd popped a tent, pulled out a few tables, and created an “insta-clinic” to serve our friends at the Open Door Community.  Whether you have a van, a bike, or just a backpack, you can make a difference!

~Herbalista Lorna



The Herbalista Free Clinic, aka the Herb Bus, is a mobile free clinic and classroom, providing earth-based care to underserved communities. In addition to offering clinical services, we spread the health by sharing our model of healthcare with the larger herbal community through workshops and publications.

Though the Herb Bus travels coast to coast, we are hubbed in the Atlanta area. We are currently looking for an apprentice to assist both on the Bus and at Herbalista Headquarters in East Atlanta on Wednesday’s from 8am – 6pm. This apprenticeship will begin October 22nd, and requires a minimum 6-month commitment. We are accepting 2 apprentices for the current program.  There is no tuition fee.

This apprenticeship is a blend of responsibility and educational opportunity. You will be trained on and practice a variety of skills, from apothecary maintenance to clinical concerns. We are a small operation, and joining our crew will allow you to observe and participate in the nuts ‘n bolts of how we keep this healthcare initiative rolling. As a significant portion of this apprenticeship revolves around our free clinic project, we are looking to share this opportunity with applicants who hold a similar philosophy and wish to eventually service their own communities.

If you have passion for supporting and serving your neighbors (both people and plants), if you have a basic knowledge of herbal medicine, if you can dedicate your Wednesday’s to our mission and you are ready to make a commitment to our crew, please download the application at

We will be accepting applicants until September 15th.=

Thank you for your commitment to building a more vital and verdant community through herbalism. Viva la Herb Bus!

~Lorna Mauney-Brodek, Herbalista


Foot Care on Skid Row

On my final day in LA, before heading east, I visited the Los Angeles Catholic Worker “Hippie Kitchen,” located in the middle of the central city ghetto known as Skid Row. Founded in 1970, this Hospitality Kitchen is part of the Catholic Worker Movement, founded in the 30’s by Dorothy Day with the mission to “feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, care for the sick, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner.”

This center is more than a soup kitchen. In addition to meal and clinical services, they have cultivated a garden beyond belief, filled with artwork and heart, to provide a refuge from the harsh reality of living on the street.  
IMG_9392At the Open Door’s Harriet Tubman Foot Clinic we have been lucky to host, on occasion, workers from the LACW Foot Clinic.  I am so glad to now have the chance to work with their crew on Footcare Friday!  In the middle of such tragedy, the Hippie Kitchen shines like a jewel. The gardens and buildings are filled with mosaics and murals. A contrast to the encampments which line the streets of Skid Row each night.The foot clinic at the Hippie Kitchen, is held outside in the middle of the gardens.  What a healing experience for the wounded, to gaze upon flowers as their feet are tended.  And what an incredibly moving experience for the practitioner, to work in these magical surroundings.

I hope to return again next year, to visit with this community, so dedicated to caring for their brothers and sisters and friends on the street.  I look forward to getting the chance to once again, share skills and share in this uplifting work.  Big shout out to the folks of the LACW!  Thank you!



Yesterday, we had another member on our crew!  Ann Merrill, a friend and herbalist from Austin, lent us a hand at the Big House station.  While an herbalist’s work can often be a solitary endeavor, our practice on the Bus is a group effort.  The crew works together, in a dynamic back and forth, as we run the consult and customize the remedies we offer to patients.  Ann made a great addition!

Not only does the crew benefit from this communal work environment, but we have noticed that the community we serve has bonded over our monthly visits as well.  While folks are waiting for their turn, they sit together, sip tea, and talk about the herbs they are trying.  They are supporting one  another in their healthcare efforts.  This is what we mean by “Building Community through Herbalism! Viva la Herb Bus!



The Bus had a busy month.  In addition to regular clinical rounds at our Atlanta stations, facilitating workshops in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia, and the release of the new updates to the Herb Bus Service Manual, we also tried out a new project, oh-so-creatively named the Herb Cart!

The Herb Cart is our attempt to reach even greater numbers of those in need.  This April we set up a mini herbal first aid station at the morning soup kitchen of the Open Door Community.  While folks came through for morning coffee, sandwiches and clothing, we were there to provide herbal support, such as immune tonics, allergy remedies, and wound care.  We treated over 20 people in the hour we were there and hope to make this a regular part of the Herbalista Free Clinic offerings.  A special thanks to Anna Russ, of Anna Apotheca, for lending a hand!

The bus went snow-birding in early February, as we toured Florida.  The photo above shows our first aid station at the Florida Earthskills Gathering.  It is a privilege and pleasure to be able to offer support at events such as these, which preserve and promote a culture of earth protection and respect.  Working a station such as this is a chance to see herbs in action, learning by doing and by observation.  We benefit from noting our patients’ experience, from seeing herbs work and not work, and through skill-sharing of materia medica and clinical techniques with the other practitioners we serve alongside.

Next the Bus headed south to St. Pete’s to run a workshop and clinic practicum for the clinical students of the Acupuncture and Herbal Therapies Training Program.  Day 1 reviewing the Herb Bus Service Manual and making preparations for the next day’s clinic.  Instead of working from the Herbalista Kits, this time we custom built herbal kits on site. This was important for a few reasons. First, we wanted the kits to reflect THEIR style of herbalism and be filled with the tools the students are used to working with (this school practices from a chinese-western blended herbal perspective). Next, it’s just fun to build them. It makes you consider every aspect of your clinical practice– which herbs you use, in what quantities, what types of preparations, how you dispense them, how can you arrange them in an efficient way, and how can you add a little bling (it’s all about the gold duct tape). And what is really thrilling, is that when the Herb Bus rolls out of town, the kits will remain in St Pete’s, with the students, hopefully for many clinics to come! Day 2 brought severe thunderstorms, but in the style of good health we were flexible.  Instead of working out of the Herb Bus, under the elements, we held our clinic in the shelter of the center.  Click here for photos.

~Herbalista Lorna

Herbalista Free Clinic Service Report

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 8.00.20 PM


It’s hard to believe that our clinic debut was not even a year ago!  On Feburary 6, 2013 we pitched for the first time at the Open Door Community in Atlanta.  It has been a tremendously exciting year, and we hope this is just the beginning of a long and healing journey.

We wanted to share some of the highlights with you:

At our Atlanta hub we hosted 17 clinics, where we served gallons of seasonal tea blends, conducted 111 consultations, dispensed 2 1/2 gallons of customized tincture formulas (alcohol and glycerites), 8#’s of raw custom herbal and powder blends, and a variety of other remedies including essential oil sniffers, herbal capsules, and oil rubs.

We facilitated several pop-up first aid clinics around the country, including the Rainbow Gathering in Montana, the Firefly Gathering in North Carolina, the Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference in North Carolina, and the Georgia Organics Conference in GA, where we served hundreds more and put herbal healing in the hands of the people.

We spread the Herb Bus method and our love for plants and community at numerous classes and workshops.  Some of our hosts included  Ponderosa High School, the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine, Warren Wilson College, Homestead Atlanta, and the High Museum of Art.

We created the Herb Bus Service Manual to help others start free clinic projects in their communities.  This manual is available as a free PDF download from our website.

The Herb Bus Service Manual

Lorna, the herbalista who drives this sweet ol’ bus around town, was awarded the 2013 Community Service Award by the American Herbalists Guild to honor her work with the Herbalista Free Clinic and the Harriet Tubman Free Foot Clinic.

The Bus drove over 10,000 miles delivering healthcare and herbal education around the country.

And, saving the best for last, we spent time with the plants– studying their form, learning their energetics and actions, and wildcrafting to prepare sweet sweet remedies to share with our patients and community.

Thanks  to our community who supports this work, our teachers who inspire us to grow and strive, the plants who heal, and the people who receive these gifts with grace. Viva la Herb Bus!

~Herbalista Lorna

1 2 3