Disclaimer: Audra and I are both Herbalists, not doctors. As such, we are and will not prescribe, diagnose, treat, cure, or make claims about any herb or product. This podcast and article are not about any specific virus, they focus on our experience with herbs, especially in association with viruses, and what we've seen work in past experiences with ourselves and others.
Audra starts off this episode of Wander, Forage & Wildcraft (the podcast for sharing stories, tips and tricks from foragers and wildcrafters around the world to empower you on your wild path) telling us about her healer's journey.
She came to herbalism as many of us do, by going through a healing crisis. She's grateful for her journey with Lyme because it's made her the Herbalist she is today and able to help others. As the founder of Beautyberry Apothecary, Audra is a big believer in bioregionalism.
My favorite product of hers is Florida Sunshine, a delicious, immune-supporting bioregional tincture. She ethically wildcrafts the herbs in her herbal remedies. She tells us about the plant that her namesake business was inspired by, the beautiful beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) and its herbal magic.
Audra also talks about what it's like when your passion becomes your business and when it doesn't turn out the way you think it will. We talk for awhile about how important herbalism is right now, how it's like a puzzle, and what the definition of an herbalist is today.
Audra and I go deeper into her fabulous article, Community Herbalism for Trying Times: Herbs for Respiratory Health. We discuss how prevention really is the best medicine, how it's the simple things that we often forget, like, "focusing on what's nourishing us." I love that we mentioned how important it is to remember about how this is affecting our nervous systems and giving ourselves permission to rest and not be productive. Please allow yourselves the space to do that, and know that I'm sending huge hugs to my virtual foraged family. Give yourself the gift of nervines, as we talk and Audra writes about. Audra's floral nervine tea that she describes (so we can make our own) made me swoon!
Also included are Audra's favorite lung/respiratory herbs, recovery tips, resources for where to buy herbs, and an incredibly helpful summary of all the tips at the end. And I super apologize for saying "awesome" so much : )
If you want to catch the bonus interview I did with Audra all about demulcent herbs: what they are, why we need them, and some of her favorites; join our wild community at Patreon, support the podcast production, and get so much ongoing botanical education.
Now for two of Audra's favorite herbs as food tonic recipes:
Papa’s Chicken Soup and Herbal Bone Broth
Homemade chicken soup is my go-to food when I need deep nourishment, especially if I’m dealing with an acute respiratory infection. I also love it for times when I’m feeling generally run-down, stressed, or when my digestion is feeling a little weak. It’s just good preventative food-as-medicine! When I was growing up, if any family member came down with a cold or flu, my dad would make the whole house a big pot of chicken soup, hence this recipe’s name (and my nostalgic love for it!). I’ve since adapted my dad’s recipe to my own needs, adding herbs and mushrooms into the mix. I spent many years making this recipe regularly as a part of a healing protocol to restore my gut health and still find comfort in it seasonally. May it nourish you in these difficult times!
(This is a true folk recipe, one I’ve never written down before! It’s a two-part process that yields both a large pot of herbal chicken soup and a large pot of herbal bone broth. Use your largest stock pot and adjust the amount of water you use accordingly.)
1 whole chicken
2-3 onions, chopped
1 head of garlic, chopped
6-10 large carrots, sliced
1 head of celery, sliced
A splash of apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons butter or cooking oil of choice
Black pepper and salt to taste
Filtered water, enough to fill your pot
Herbs and mushrooms (use what you have access to, but my favorites include) :
2-4 dried reishi slices
4-6 dried astragalus slices
6-8 dried or fresh shiitake mushrooms
A small handful of dried burdock root
A small handful of dried nettle
A large pinch of calendula flowers
A large pinch of dried seaweed like dulse
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
Any fresh kitchen herbs I have growing in my garden, chopped; I usually use a rotating cast of: parsley, cilantro, rosemary, oregano, cuban oregano (Plectranthus amboinicus), sage, thyme, dill, fennel leaves, spanish needle (Bidens alba)
Audra Locicero is a community herbalist and medicine maker, and the proprietor of Beautyberry Apothecary, a seasonal, small-batch herbal products business based out of sunny Sarasota, Florida. Her passion for the natural world, her love of gardening, and her own personal healing crisis led her to pursue herbalism as a hobby and later a career. The focus of her herbal practice is two-fold: to provide information to her community about the ways gentle herbs, nourishing foods, and a balanced lifestyle can support overall wellness; and to create vibrant place-based remedies that highlight the unique plants that thrive in Florida’s many bioregions. Through this work, she aims to spark interest in earth-based medicine and empower individuals to take charge of their health; to make community-based herbal medicine affordable and accessible to all who seek it; and to foster a greater sense of connection, understanding, and care for the non-human world. Her herbal knowledge stems from years of self-study and self-healing, as well as her completion of a three-tier community herbalist training course from the Florida School of Holistic Living. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies from New College of Florida, has worked on farms and in plant shops, and has attended out-of-hospital births as a midwife’s assistant. Alongside her work as a community herbalist, she is currently pursuing a career in conservation and hopes that whatever form her work in the world takes, it is always forwarding her goal to protect and preserve the Earth’s greatest gifts. Her role as an herbalist is ever-evolving, and she’s excited to see where it will lead her next!
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