“TWH is the new nexus of a folk herbalism resurgence... resurrecting the spirit of Western Herbalism.“
-Paul Bergner, North American Institute of Medical Herbalism
“Folk herbalism is the people’s medicine, tried and true, shaped by the land, driven by the healthcare needs of its inhabitants, and handed down through the generations by mouth and pen. Its vocabulary is that of geography, the plants, the elements, the earth and the sky. At its most glorious, folk herbalism heals the people and the land in one motion, because we really can’t separate the two. What happens to the land is reflected in health of our bodies, minds and spirits and folk herbalism acknowledges this interdependence. Without folk herbalism, we would be lost in a vast sea of corporate, pharmaceutical care. Lost without the herbal traditions that bring balance to this one-sided form of medicine, and lost without the understanding of the inter-connectiveness of the human body.
Folk herbalism is the yin to conventional medicine yang. It’s roots are deep, feminine and, and intuitive. And though it’s form may change over time and within cultures, its roots stay strong, viable and hardy. It will never die.”
–Phyllis Light, 4th Generation Herbalist, Appalachian Center for Health Studies
Root & Branches
The Traditions in Western Herbalism Site was conceived by Anima teacher and herbalist Kiva Rose along with Jesse Wolf Hardin as the root and hub for a growing folk herbalism community, as well as a portal to help distill, further and propagate folk healing systems and place-based, home grown traditions.
Feel welcome to follow any of the three branches to:
The exciting annual grassroots gathering of folk herbalists
Enlivening The Practice, Culture & Art of Folk Herbalism
Resources for Traditional Western Herbalism
Throughout the ages there have been among us women and men who felt called – impelled – to work with plants, assisting in the healing of others, of bodies and psyches, community and the land... sometimes gladly bearing the mantle of yerbera, healer or root doctor while at other times affecting people and the world without ever accepting the honor or duties of a title, or even realizing how much medicine they provide. And never, it seems, has this insistent calling sounded more clearly in some of us, as we awaken and respond to the ascendant challenges of our lives and times.
Traditional and innovative folk skills such as herbalism are proving more vital than ever during this phase of financial uncertainty and global distress, even if it can make focusing on the study or starting up a practice seem more daunting. Trying though it may be, our present place in history can actually serve us quite admirably, by providing us with both the need – and the fuel – for reconsideration and change. It is precisely the challenges posed, that provide both the impetus for renewed healing and the most chances to distinguish ourselves. Herbalists are called at this momentous juncture to reclaim some responsibility, for both our own well being, and for the well being of our community and land. What stirs in our hearts and can’t be ignored, is more than anything else a summons to facilitate a reemergence of primal bodily knowing and folk wisdom, to limit the evident destruction, initiate reparation and contribute to balance. In heeding this call, we each become in our own ways the needed place holders and wisdom keepers, the healers and teachers for our times, and the increasingly linked elements of a long awaited resurgence of Western herbal traditions.
“Some gentle folk commented to me this could be the start of new renaissance in American herbalism. I’m less poetic. This could be the start of a well needed revolution. It is time to remember the wisdom of our grandparents and our elders and bring it back to the forefront of herbal practice. It is time to bring back the heart and passion of American herbalism.”
- Chuck Garcia, California School of Hispanic Herbalism
Western folk herbalism is first and foremost grass-roots, characteristically nonhierarchical and ultimately feral – an experiential, personally empowering, self-authorized wellness practice... drawing from place based traditions from Europe to North, Central and South America, from the Nordic Sami to the Apache of the American Southwest, and including Western Vitalism, the Wise Woman, Hispanic and Anima healing systems.
Links can be found here to free informative writings and materia medica, to various schools and avenues of study, recommended blogs and sites, and to the exciting annual Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference. Together we encourage the sensibilities and skills to better heal ourselves, each other and our world.
We also invite you to subscribe to or advertise in TWH’s new full color online magazine, serving the resurgent community of grassroots herbalists:
Plant Healer Magazine:
A Journal of Traditional Herbalism
A grassroots approach to a place-based practice.
To subscribe go to:
And check out our sister site with its free articles archives and online courses:
Anima Lifeways and Herbal School