I've been studying herbs for years now. When people ask what is a folk herbalist I always get tongue-tied. So I just begin by explaining a little bit about myself and how I started my path into herbalism and became known as The Organized Herbalist.
To sum up a long story here's the mini bio. I have been drawn to nature since I was a child, and can vividly remember the infatuation I have always felt with plant life each time my great-grandmother would go to her garden to get a herb or spice whenever she needed one for a specific issue. See, my great-grandmother relied on the old ways of healing traditional African traditional methods to keep us from getting sick. If I started getting sick or experiencing an upset stomach, or running noise, my great-grandmother would say, "Come here, gal, and take this castor oil." The castor oil would give me diarrhea and flush the toxin right out of my system. At night she would lather me with Vicks and put onions and garlic on top of my chest and then wrap me in a wet hot towel, then plastic wrap my entire upper body like a mummy by morning I would sweat the virus out.
I spent many hours reading holistic books and natural healing books learning about the power of herbs. Growing up in a rural farm town, there wasn’t much else to do but be outside working in the garden and sitting on the porch reading books while drinking a large glass of sweet tea, and I’m so grateful for that experience it taught me to be a lifelong learner as well as to appreciate the power of herbs. I lost touch with that side of myself in my teenage years after moving to Panama City to live with my mom and stepfather, but in my early twenties, I was diagnosed with multiple digestive issues and underwent an anal fissure surgery, and developed a binge eating disorders due to mom-shaming, my inability to cope as a new trucker wife and unresolved childhood trauma of abandonment and childhood emotional neglect that left me feeling anxious, depressed, and out of touch with myself.
Dealing with chronic pain due to an impacted colon, vaginal atrophy, stress, the American Standard Diet, lack of sleep, and constant fatigue every day, and not getting answers because I was considered “too young” to be experiencing vagina atrophy, I noticed the plants began calling for my attention again. It started with chamomile tea to reduce the stress I was experiencing, then licorice root and calendula which support vaginal health and lubrication.
Eventually, I took this as an invitation to start my study of herbalism, one plant at a time. After herbs that supported my women's health issues, I then moved on to nettle, sage, red raspberry leaf, and red clover. Then came the realization that there is food all around us if we only know where to look for it. Making my health a top priority and herbalism has allowed me to feel a sense of control over my health, giving me a way forward when I felt lost, and inspiring me to connect with nature and my ancestor traditions and cultures on a deeper level. I began gardening as a way to deepen this practice and care for myself, and eventually, this path led me to stop counseling in the role of marriage and family counselor and rebrand my private practice to focus on nutrition, emotional wellness, and lifestyle management and start coaching and consulting as a licensed board-certified registered trauma-informed nutritionist, recovery coach, and folk herbalist in my nutrition practice Spiced Life Conversation Art Wellness Studio and Botanical.
As you can see my own health challenges pushed me to dive deeper into learning to work in relationship with food, plants, and flowers. Herbalism is a pillar of my self-care routine and the reason I create recipes that are seasonal-based. It's the framework of herbalism that allows me the opportunity to find excuses to connect with the seasonality of life in a way I haven’t before. I enjoy sharing my herbal knowledge with others in my life via recipes, products, photography, blog posts, wellness workshops, and my VIP day services.
This allows me to bring together my work as a licensed board-certified registered trauma-informed nutritionist, recovery coach, and folk herbalist.
And there you have it. How to explain to someone you are a folk herbalist?
Explaining that you are a folk herbalist involves communicating your role as someone who uses traditional knowledge and practices related to herbal medicine for healing and well-being. Here's a step-by-step approach to effectively convey this to someone:
1. Define Folk Herbalist: Begin by defining what a folk herbalist is. Explain that a folk herbalist is a person who relies on traditional and cultural knowledge passed down through generations to use herbs and natural remedies for healing purposes.
2. Emphasize Tradition and Experience: Share that as a folk herbalist, you draw on the wisdom and experience accumulated over time within your community or culture. Highlight that this knowledge is based on traditional practices and has been refined through years of observation and use.
3. Explain Your Beliefs and Principles: Describe the underlying beliefs and principles that guide your practice. Discuss the holistic approach you take, considering the interconnectedness of the body, mind, and spirit, and how you seek to balance and support overall well-being through the use of natural remedies.
4. Discuss Healing Methods: Elaborate on the various methods you employ for healing, such as creating herbal remedies like infusions, tinctures, or salves, and how these are derived from traditional recipes or methods. Highlight the importance of considering the individual's unique needs and circumstances in crafting remedies.
5. Share Your Commitment to Health and Sustainability: Express your dedication to promoting health and sustainability. Mention your efforts to prioritize the ethical and sustainable sourcing of herbs and emphasize the importance of fostering a respectful relationship with nature.
6. Provide Examples of Herbal Treatments: Offer examples of common ailments or conditions for which you provide herbal remedies. Share success stories or experiences of using natural remedies to address specific health concerns.
7. Explain the Limitations and Collaborations: Acknowledge the limitations of folk herbalism, such as the need for caution and consulting with healthcare professionals for serious health issues. Emphasize your willingness to collaborate with modern medicine and healthcare practitioners to ensure comprehensive care for individuals.
8. Invite Questions and Further Discussion: Encourage the person to ask questions and seek clarification. Be open to providing more information about your practice, the herbs you use, and the benefits of folk herbalism.
Remember to approach the conversation with a patient and open-minded demeanor, willing to engage in a dialogue and address any concerns or misconceptions the person may have about folk herbalism.
Need Help Developing A Plan For Self-Care
Do you want help developing a self-care plan that works for your busy schedule? Do you want accountability in implementing a self-care plan? If you or someone you love is struggling to maintain optimal mental and emotional health, consider reaching out to Spiced Life Conversation Art Wellness Studio and Botanica. We are a Metro Atlanta, Conyers Georgia area. We are a coaching and counseling practice with empathetic, skilled counselors and recovery coaches who can help you set goals, develop a self-care routine, and move forward to build a more fulfilling life. Our team would be happy to work with you either just for a couple of sessions to develop and implement a Self-care plan or longer term to work toward overall better mental health within our membership site or other programs.
About The Author:
Dr. Nikki LeToya White MSEd-TL, Ph.D. RHN is the founder, director, and full-time board-certified trauma-informed nutritionist, folk herbalist, and wellness consultant at Spiced Life Conversation Art Wellness Studio and Botanica. She created Spiced Life Conversation, LLC
Art Wellness Studio and Botanica to provide the Metro Atlanta area with counseling and coaching services where clients are carefully matched with the right program for healing abandonment and childhood emotional neglect trauma that cause codependency, emotional eating, financial stress, and imposter syndrome as it relates to fear of success and being abandon. We help you begin your emotional healing journey with ease. Recently, we have expanded to include an online membership site so we now provide support to people living all over the world. All of our recovery coaches provide at least one evidence-based treatment to assist in your recovery. Dr. White is a big proponent of self-care and helping people live a fulfilling life! She has been in full remission with both codependency and emotional binge eating disorder since 2016. In living a life in recovery from sugar addiction. Loving her low-sugar balance lifestyle.
Dr. Nikki LeToya White