I'm so honored that the first guest of the year could be my long time teacher, Herbalist Leslie Williams, RH. Amazingly Leslie and I have been working together for 16 years! She is one of the most knowledgeable Herbalists I know. I think I gravitate to her because, though she practices as a clinical Herbalist, she also practices and teaches a lot of folk medicine, works mainly with local and native plants, and includes invasive plant medicine.
As you'll hear, Leslie has quite the eclectic past. She grew up foraging, moved all over, and had many different jobs, including a bike mechanic and a Buddhist Zen cook. She, like me believes food is medicine.
"You don't have to in a Zen temple . . . to have cooking be a meditation in itself, the way you approach it with attention and . . . gratitude. . . . That's important: how we interact with our food . . . . Sometimes how you feel about your food is more important than what you eat."
Leslie goes on to tell us why she thinks local herbs are better, and shares some sustainable wildcrafting tips. She talks about how we can include invasive plants in our apothecaries, including kudzu, multiflora rose, privet, mimiosa, tree of heaven, and autumn olive. Many invasive herbs are potent medicine for current world health issues.
"There's an incredible pharmacy and apothecary everywhere of traditional medicine that, if we understand it and how to work with it, it's right here for us."
Another reason I really appreciate Leslie is for her work with and teaching of Alcohol-Free formulas. She works with many folks who don't want to consume alcohol and reminds us that medicine comes in many different forms. Speaking of which, she's graciously shared her recipe for cherry bark oxymel. If you haven't tried oxymels yet, holy moly, they're amazing!
I'll leave you with some of my favorite words of Leslie's, a simple lesson that has shaped my whole life as an Herbalist and a teacher:
"If you use herbs at all, you're an Herbalist. . . . The world really needs you to be an Herbalist, and keep learning and exploring all the trees and plants out there. . . ."
If you like the podcast, please consider supporting it, by becoming a patron on Patreon (for as little as 5 bucks a month), and get Leslie's bonus interview all about Medicinal Trees.
Folk Method Cherry Oxymel:
Start with twigs of cherry tree, or peeled bark from branches larger than a pencil. It is easiest to peel the bark when they are fresh.
Fill a jar halfway with the peeled bark and/or twigs broken up or chopped. Cover with apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar and be sure all the cherry bark and twigs are submerged. You can cover this and wait a month, or if you are in a hurry you can warm the vinegar at a yogurt temperature, Not Hot, for several hours or overnight.
Strain out the twigs and bark.
Add honey to taste. Recipes vary from one half the amount of vinegar to equal amounts to even more. Taste it and decide.
If you are not using honey, due to concerns about blood sugar issues, you can use food grade vegetable glycerin - again, to taste.
Store your oxymel in a cool dark place - it will keep for a year or more. It is useful for supporting the body in times of any respiratory conditions - colds, coughs, flus, virus.
Leslie Williams aka Leslita - I grew up in north Florida with summers in western NC mountains. Life has been a wander through woods and prairies and city streets around the world, but I always come home to the southern USA. I teach about herbal, plant and tree medicines. I am a certified bicycle mechanic and a back porch musician and also a registered herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild. Herbal medicine - for self, family, community, dogs and horses - is within reach of all of us and is empowering. I've practiced a zen sort of life for 55 years. Teaching people about holistic herbal approaches to life is my work.
You can find Leslie and all of her classes at http://www.ordinaryherbalist.com/
Facebook: Ordinary Herbalist
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