It has been 50 years since the Poor People’s Campaign. Reading these historic demands we might realize that after 5 decades we could simply copy, paste, and resubmit them to the government. Our demands haven’t changed in these 50 years because the situation hasn’t– we still live in a country of great health disparity.

Herbalista believes health care is a human right. And since our government has failed to secure that right for the people, we will begin the work ourselves, serving the people, the land, and creating the world we seek.

Health Demand #3

(Poor People’s Campaign Statement of Demands for Rights of the Poor presented to the US Government, 1968)

“We demand that action be taken to assure that poor people have access to presently existing health services—either through sending medical teams or mobile health units into rural and urban areas…”

Full Statement of Health Demands…/12xLzorjQUfW1GVdtpmtVbwfWPK…/view

Health Care is a Human Right

The photo above was taken at a protest at the Georgia State Capital when the people demanded our state not strike down the Medicaid Expansion of Obamacare (aka the Affordable Care Act.) It shows the Rev. Raphael Warnock, a pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church where MLK used to preach. The quote he holds was made by Dr. King when addressing the 2nd Medical Committee for Human Rights in 1966.

‘Practice of Medicine’– This little phrase dictates our ability to access health care in a big way. The ‘practice of medicine,’ as currently defined by state law and enforced through subsequent federal rulings, creates a detrimental monopoly within our health care system. (Monopoly defined: the exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service; this lack of competition can result in higher prices and inferior products or services.)

I feel this insult on multiple levels. As an herbalist, I must operate on the fringes since caring for my community is, by definition, a crime. As a patient, my options are diminished and the care that remains is more costly.  As a person, I am offended by the privilege and perspective of some crushing the vitality and views of many.

Oh the nuances to pick and considerations to weigh.  Oh the statutes to read and legal precedent to examine. Oh how my head hurts and will I get in trouble for using Skullcap?

At the bottom of this rant is the link to an article by Michael Cohen that I found useful.  May it play a part in helping us better understand, take apart, and ultimately transform this medical clusterf#$k.

“The current regulatory scheme, embodied in state ‘practice of medicine’ statutes and related case law, reflects an outmoded view of health care, in which the physician is the sole purveyor and guardian of health…To shift from an exclusively medical paradigm to a framework that includes touch and other forms of holistic healing does not mean that the insights, discoveries, and therapeutic devices of modern medicine will be discarded or diminished. Nor does the movement from medicine to healing mean returning to the Dark Ages or succumbing to quackery. Rather, rethinking the paradigm means freeing the law from conceptual and historical limitations, and opening to embrace a broader set of possibilities for the journey into health.” 

Mr. Cohen doesn’t just offer a critique of current regulation, but shares ideas for moving forward. And while I’m not an advocate of additional licensure as an option, I do appreciate his view of legislatively redefining the ‘practice of medicine’ so that healing isn’t restricted to the pinhole through which the American Medical Association sees the world. “On a legislative level, medical practice acts must be amended to define ‘practicing medicine’ in terms specific to the medical profession, rather than in global, functional terms derived from historical notions of physician dominance.” 

Word up Mr. Cohen!

Full article here:

For those of you looking to take action, I have thought to share with you the brainstorming I have done over the last couple of years.  This dossier is just a compilation of thoughts, documents, and excerpts on what’s at issue with the cGMP’s and possible actions.  I’m hoping it helps to spark the VERY NEEDED push to  protect herbal access in this country!

For more information and regular updates, check the Good Herbalista Practices page on the Herbalista website.


GMP Pushback Dossier.pdf

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2014 Service Report


Another year of adventures in healthcare!  


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In Atlanta (our herbal hub) we continued regular services at our 2 Herb Bus Stations, 

conducting 148 consultations over the course of 22 clinics.

The Big House Station, Atlanta, GA

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At these monthly clinical rounds, we poured endless pots of seasonal tea, dispensed 6 1/2 gallons of customized tincture formulas (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), 14#’s of raw custom herbal and powder blends, and a variety of other remedies including aromatic inhalers, herbal capsules, and oil rubs.

Inside the Herb Bus Apotheke

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We served at several herbal first aid stations including:

the Florida Earthskills Gathering
the Rainbow Gathering in Utah
and the Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference in North Carolina

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

The Five Flavors Crew,  Lassen National Forest, California

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 8.00.20 PMWe shared the Herb Bus model of healthcare with classes and communities from Atlanta to California.   Some of our hosts included Ponderosa High School, the California School of Herbal Studies,  Sacred Plant Traditions, Five Flavors Herbs, Homestead Atlanta, and the High Museum of Art.

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Ponderosa High School, Flagstaff, AZ

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 8.00.20 PMWe expanded our efforts to make community herbalism sustainable by initiating new programs that combine service with education:

Pay-it-Forward Medicine Making: Teaching medicine making skills while we stock the Herb Bus with needed remedies.
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Grow A Row: Supply locally and sustainably grown herbs to the Herb Bus by enlisting and supporting local farmers in the cultivation of medicinal herbs.  A joint project with Funny Farm Atlanta.
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Herb Cart: An Herbalista service project providing herbal first aid while offering learning opportunities for herbalists and herb students.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 8.00.20 PMWe made many friends and memories:

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Talking buses, gift economy, and tea in Long Beach with Guisepi of the Free Tea Party Bus
Being inspired at the Radical Herbalists Gathering in Shropshire, England.
Spending time with special plants in special places. Anemone on Mount Shasta, California.
Harvesting and preparing medicine to share with my community and those in need.  Arnica and Osha, Utah.


Tending the feet of our friends on the street with the Catholic Workers at Friday Foot Care on Skid Row, Los Angeles, California.

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For all this and so much more, we are grateful.

We feel fortunate to have this opportunity to serve our community

and thankful for your friendship and support on this journey.

~The Herbalista Crew

Herbalista Crew (Past and Present): Lorna, Corinne, Todd, Amanda, Kaitlin, Lynda, and Anna