Category Archives: Clinics

This past year was an incredible journey.  As 2013 took her first breath, the Herbalista Free Clinic was merely a whisper in my head and a hope in my heart.  Since beginning our rounds that sunny and crisp February afternoon (captured in this photo by Jessica Horwitz), we now have two established regularly serviced stations in the Atlanta area, at which we have held 16 clinics, provided over 100 consultations, and abundantly dispensed sweet, sweet herbal remedies.  We helped to facilitate free first aid clinics at gatherings in states around the country.  We led plant walks, taught workshops, and ten trained other herbalists on our model using the Herb Bus Service Manual.

In December we welcomed a new apotheker to the Herb Bus crew!  Corinne returns to Atlanta after spending the last year homesteading in North Carolina.  During her stay in the mountains, Corinne helped wildcraft medicines for the bus, and now that she has returned to the city, she will be heaping to place those healing remedies in the hands of the people.

And as we travel these forbidden roads of free, earth-based medicine in a for-profit-pharma-surgically-controlled-country, we have discovered a most verdant underbelly.  For while forbidden, these roads are anything but lonely.  There is an ever growing number of dedicated healers, inspired teachers, generous medicine makers, and gifted facilitators, working to serve in their communities.  We are grateful for their company and inspired by this shared vision of collaborative care for all earth’s children.

Here’s wishing you a New Year filled with bliss, purpose, and herbalistic voyages!

~Herbalista Lorna

Each year the SouthEast Women’s Herbal Conference sets up camp at Lake Eden outside of Black Mountain, NC. Over 1000+ women and children attend this 3 day event in the early fall. Our First Aid Center is tasked with providing earth-based care for this temporary village. All of our services and remedies are offered free. For many, a visit to our clinic facilitates their first healing experience with herbal medicine, illuminating the vital link between true health and nature. We had over 100 visits to the center and also made a few “cabin calls.”

Our clinic is hostessed by graduates from the Appalachia School of Holistic Herbalism (ASHH) located in West Asheville, NC. I have had the honor both serving and coordinating this clinic for the past several years and share with you some pictures from this year’s clinic. I have also been working on a mini-manual filled with information on how we staff, stock, and provide this type of clinic for those who may be inspired to do the same in their neck of the woods. It is available as a PDF on the Herbalista website. www.Herbalista.org

September sure put some miles on the Bus!  Since its inception, we’ve visioned the Bus as not only a service provider, but a mobile classroom where we could teach by example, inspiring others with the feasibility of offering a no-cost, earth-based, community clinic.

Blue Ridge School Student Clinic

Last month I finally had the chance to do just that.  For their final student clinic of the year, the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine hosted The Herb Bus. After giving the students a preliminary training (using the Herb Bus Service Manual as our guide) about how to run a free, mobile, herbal clinic, we set up the bus at a community in Asheville to allow the students a chance to work in this type of health care model. We had a great time serving the folks at The Landing.

During a post-clinic feedback session, I was asked, “Do you need a VW Bus to do this type of clinic?”  And while I am clearly partial to this little Bus, the Herbalista Free Clinic would function out of the back of my Honda hatchback if need be.  Good healthcare (just like good health) requires both flexibility and creativity to serve the needs of the community with the resources available.

To see more from this clinic, check out the album in our Photo Gallery.

Just a couple of days later, I loaded the Bus for a trip to Arizona.  My final destination– the Herbal Resurgence Rendezvous.  This conference did not disappoint, from its beautiful location in the Coconino National Forest to its eclectic and deeply knowledgable class offerings.  I visited with old friends and teachers and made new connections.  Sitting under that bi, western sky I was reminded of the strength it requires to survive such impacting conditions.  Those plants have developed potent defenses from which we benefit when we receive the gift of herbal medicine.  If you would like to see some of the plants, lands, and people I spent time with on my travels, you can click here.

On my way back through Flagstaff, I was invited to Ponderosa High School to share a little bit about herbal medicine and the adventures of the Herb Bus with their gardening/permaculture class.  Ponderosa High is an accommodations school that enrolls and mentors students who have faced difficult challenges in their lives.  I was inspired by the students’ ability to transform desert concrete into an oasis of creativity and sustainability, and enjoyed sharing with them some of the herbal uses for the plants growing around their school.  In honor of the Elder tree near where the Bus was parked, we passed around a touch of Elder Berry glycerite for them to try.  For more photos of the program at Ponderosa High, please click here.  It was a lovely morning and I am grateful to my friend, Jonathon Taylor, for inviting me to meet with his class.

~Herbalista Lorna

November Herbal Happenings
Thursday, November 1, 2012

As we witness the devastation from Sandy, extending from the Caribbean through New England, it is a reminder of the importance of community. When our homes have been destroyed and our normal means of existence ruptured, we hope there is a hand to catch us. It is important not to wait until disaster to begin weaving your web of support. This support structure starts with you and includes your neighbors, your local fauna and flora, and will continue to grow as long as you nurture and care for it.

This past month I was lucky to attend two herbal conferences which filled me with abundant gratitude, not just for the opportunity to work alongside the healing plants, but also for the deeply compassionate and incredibly intelligent herb-lovers I am sharing this journey with. First came the Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference. This annual gathering of over 1,000 women and children, offers learning on so many levels. Helping to facilitate the free clinic each year is a highlight, as I appreciate the opportunity to combine passions– free health care, herbal first aid, and support for out sisters. Here is a link to photos from this year’s clinic. In an effort to “spread the health,” I put together a checklist for supplies needed to set-up a highly functioning clinic to service 1000+ women and children for 3 day events. This is still a work in progress, but I hope is helpful and can be a stepping stone to making this type of offering a more regular occurance.

Just a fews days later I hopped a plane to Western Pennsylvania for the American Herbalists Guild Symposium for 3 days of classes and plant walks. The woods were on fire with fall (the picture above is the fading foliage of Wild Yam.) The teacher-roster was incredible, and really displayed the diversity that gives herbal medicine both its relevence and longevity. The Georgia Herbalists Guild sponsored a viewing of the documentary Herbal Aide which promotes community building through herbalism. This one hour film highlights the wonderful miriad of ways in which we can support our community through our herbal work (disaster relief, United Plant Savers, free clinics, education, etc…) Here in Atlanta, one way I contribute to community building is through my work at the Open Door. Our weekly free foot clinic was featured in a beautiful photo essay in last month’s issue of Hospitality, the Open Door’s monthly newspaper (see pgs 6 & 7.) Click here to learn more about this clinic’s holistic offerings and how you can be of service.

So what’s to come? The month begins with 3 days of amazing classes at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens with Christopher Hobbs and Richo Cech (see calendar below for details.) Then, as we ease into the holiday marathon, I’m offering an herbal gifts workshop on the 10th in the hopes that we can show our friends and family how healing the holidays can be when we gift them with herbs.

Today is seen by many cultures as a day of transition. We move from summer to winter and we recognize the cycle of life and death. We have just witnessed massive destruction, and now we have the chance to rebuild and nurture.

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