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Herbalism FAQ

Herbalism is the connection between plants and the creatures that consume them. Herbalists work to facilitate this connection. We seek understanding of the patterns of imbalance in each body and use the specific personalities of plants to assist the reduction of an imbalance. Here is some specific info important to understand when working with an herbalist: 

 

Currently, there is no legal licensing for herbalists. And I am actually grateful for that! (I'll explain below.) 

CAN YOU TREAT THIS? 

Nope! It's important to honor the legal definitions of these words. Doctors are allowed to treat disease. I use what knowledge I have about physiology, plants, foods, life itself and plants to educate about what may support you in your need for physiological and neuro-emotional/psychospiritual support. You are ultimately the hero of your healing journey, whether that means you are needing help with bladder pain, more energy or have anxiety...ultimately, an herbalist's goal is to provide educational tools that you can use to support your goal of reaching optimum health and quality of life and often the specific plants which are relevant. Treating disease is a different model. I encourage you to consult with the appropriate healthcare professionals in concert with any herbal treatments. Herbalists use knowledge of plants + the human body to try and restore health to the underlying patterns causing the disease. Both ways can be very successful. 

I am legally not allowed to diagnose or 'treat' disease. According to state and federal laws, only licensed medical professionals can do that. And there is no licensing for herbalists, currently. I am therefore legally not allowed to tell you an herb will "heal" you, "I can heal you", etc. And, as restrictive as that initially seems, I am actually quite grateful for the boundary. As a plant person and medicine maker, my ultimate mission is not to treat disease, but to restore health and balance. Symptoms, the reasons we often seek assistance, are one of the many songs the body sings. And when it comes to healing or restoring balance, you are the one who really heals you. You do the work. I act as guide, and sometimes inspiration maker, and sometimes ass kicker. A mentor. I am legally empowered to educate. MY PRIMARY MISSION IS TO EMPOWER YOU + SUPPORT YOUR RECONNECTION TO YOURSELF AND THE EARTH. That's one of the biggest tasks in any healing process.

Plant healers and medicine people have been serving their communities for tens of thousands of years, and the loss of these traditions is a direct result of patriarchal, racist, classist, colonial and exploitative practices that have cycled through human civilizations for thousands of years as well. I am indebted to the indigenous and animistic healers who have kept the traditions of using plants, stories and ceremony as agents of empowered healing. I am grateful to be free of licensing standards as they often (like what is happening in Europe and Mexico right now) become restrictive with oversight regulated by folks with no knowledge about the craft. 

This means you, as someone who is interested in holistic, earth based or plant powered healing modalities need to be thoughtful about who you work with. Ask good questions and trust your gut. 

IS HERBAL MEDICINE SAFE?

Plant medicines are considered to be very safe, assuming they are taken with any contraindications taken into account, sourced ethically and according to traditional knowledge and practices. According to the World Health Organization, "Currently, the majority of adverse events related to the use of herbal products
and herbal medicines that are reported are attributable either to poor product
quality or to improper use." It's important to understand that herbal medicines are not 'weaker' or 'less effective,' or 'less dangerous,' than pharmaceuticals. It just takes a little Datura or Poison Hemlock to remind humans the power of the plant worlds. Many herbs are taken for the nutritive benefits, but some plants are just as potent in their effects as prescribed drugs. Some work best for a short stint, whole others are best taken longer term. Working with plant medicines is different then taking an Advil to address a headache, though once you know the specific actions of a plant or plant medicine, you can discern when and how taking it is best. All care to note contraindications will be listed with any plant medicine I make and again, I encourage you to consult with any licensed professional as you see fit. 

DO YOU TAKE CLIENTS?

Yes! Click the 'relationship' tab in the menu up there ^^^ :)

WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR HERBS?

You can deeply trust that the utmost care, conscience and love has gone into the sourcing of the plants I make medicines with. If purchased, it would be through Pacific Botanicals or Oshala Farms or other local growers. I am in the process of transitioning away from supporting large herbal retailers (even if they have a commitment to the environment) and to supporting local herb growers and ethical wildcrafters.  If they are not purchased, you can trust the herbs I use have been specially grown or foraged by me and from an area that is road pollution and contaminant/pesticide free. I try everything I share several times before it ever reaches a client, so I trust the quality and safety of my herbs. 

HOW DO I KNOW THE DOSAGE? CAN I TAKE WHILE PREGNANT? DO THEY NEED TO BE REFRIGERATED?

Each herbal product or medicine I offer will have a comprehensive write up explaining its uses, contraindications, dosaging and care. Feel free to email me should you have additional questions after reading the write up! It's no fun to have something you are it sure what to do with and I want to you to have a magical experience with the plants :)

WHY DO YOU SOMETIMES HAVE MULTIPLE PRICES/NO PRICE FOR YOUR OFFERINGS?

Well we don't live in a world with equitable access to power, wealth and sociopolitical privileges, now do we? If you think we do, let's chat. I believe that everyone should have access to plant medicines and support and one person's penny means nothing while another person's penny means everything. So where I can, I let the purchaser decide how much they can pay. Basically, I make these medicines because I feel called and compelled to do so. I teach classes for the same reason. It's my gift that if left unexpressed, would cause me deep pain. So your participation in enjoying these medicines and classes directly benefits to my happiness. I want you to be able to participate at the level which you can because I believe ultimately, when we value something, we pay according to how it enriches our lives, which equates to different actual dollar amounts for each of us. Plant medicine making and healing has traditionally been a community supported endeavor accessible to the entire community. It is not meant to be something made wholly available to the wealthy/privileged and the fact that many modes of healing are priced out of range for lower income members of our communities, many of whom have rich cultural traditions of healing practices that have been robbed, copied or colonized and made unaffordable/illegal is outright unacceptable. So, I am doing my best to address that by offering a tiered price structure. 

LEGAL DISCLAIMER APPLYING TO ALL OFFERINGS: 

All products and writings from Kirsten Hale, herbalist, are intended for educational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. Information is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure, or prevent disease. Please consult all applicable and licensed medical personnel needed to address your personal health concerns. 

Phew! That was a lot, LOL.