Teas & Tinctures

April 29, 2009

Lemon balm tea

Lemon balm tea

I’m three weeks into my internship at the medicinal herb farm. We meet twice each week, one day for eight hours of farm labor (see earlier post on barn-mucking) and one afternoon for four hours of clinical learning, where we’re taught the basics of how to make medicines from the plants we grow.

billdigs1

Bill digs valerian root for today's tincture

Bill has spent years studying herbs and running his own herbal medical practice. His passion for his work is serious, but I think it’s cool that he still maintains a lightheartedness and sense of humor while he talks about it. His teaching style is, by his own admission, rather un-linear.  (Circuitous?) After taking a quick walk around the grounds to see what’s happened with all the plants each week, we sprawl on blankets in the grass while Bill passes around teas and tinctures of a few different herbs. We roll the earthy diffusions and decoctions around our tongues, trying to get a physical sense of what the herbs are doing to our bodies before Bill can tell us. Then Bill takes the lid off his brain and years worth of information and experience and knowledge come flying from his mouth. Scrambling to capture the essence of his words and distill them into reliable reference material in my silly little spiral notebook feels a bit like trying to catch flying seeds on the breeze, but I have faith it will all amount to something eventually.

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