Latest Event Updates
The bus went snow-birding in early February, as we toured Florida. The photo above shows our first aid station at the Florida Earthskills Gathering. It is a privilege and pleasure to be able to offer support at events such as these, which preserve and promote a culture of earth protection and respect. Working a station such as this is a chance to see herbs in action, learning by doing and by observation. We benefit from noting our patients’ experience, from seeing herbs work and not work, and through skill-sharing of materia medica and clinical techniques with the other practitioners we serve alongside.
Next the Bus headed south to St. Pete’s to run a workshop and clinic practicum for the clinical students of the Acupuncture and Herbal Therapies Training Program. Day 1 reviewing the Herb Bus Service Manual and making preparations for the next day’s clinic. Instead of working from the Herbalista Kits, this time we custom built herbal kits on site. This was important for a few reasons. First, we wanted the kits to reflect THEIR style of herbalism and be filled with the tools the students are used to working with (this school practices from a chinese-western blended herbal perspective). Next, it’s just fun to build them. It makes you consider every aspect of your clinical practice– which herbs you use, in what quantities, what types of preparations, how you dispense them, how can you arrange them in an efficient way, and how can you add a little bling (it’s all about the gold duct tape). And what is really thrilling, is that when the Herb Bus rolls out of town, the kits will remain in St Pete’s, with the students, hopefully for many clinics to come! Day 2 brought severe thunderstorms, but in the style of good health we were flexible. Instead of working out of the Herb Bus, under the elements, we held our clinic in the shelter of the center. Click here for photos.
Herbalista Free Clinic Service Report
It’s hard to believe that our clinic debut was not even a year ago! On Feburary 6, 2013 we pitched for the first time at the Open Door Community in Atlanta. It has been a tremendously exciting year, and we hope this is just the beginning of a long and healing journey.
We wanted to share some of the highlights with you:
At our Atlanta hub we hosted 17 clinics, where we served gallons of seasonal tea blends, conducted 111 consultations, dispensed 2 1/2 gallons of customized tincture formulas (alcohol and glycerites), 8#’s of raw custom herbal and powder blends, and a variety of other remedies including essential oil sniffers, herbal capsules, and oil rubs.
We facilitated several pop-up first aid clinics around the country, including the Rainbow Gathering in Montana, the Firefly Gathering in North Carolina, the Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference in North Carolina, and the Georgia Organics Conference in GA, where we served hundreds more and put herbal healing in the hands of the people.
We spread the Herb Bus method and our love for plants and community at numerous classes and workshops. Some of our hosts included Ponderosa High School, the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine, Warren Wilson College, Homestead Atlanta, and the High Museum of Art.
We created the Herb Bus Service Manual to help others start free clinic projects in their communities. This manual is available as a free PDF download from our website.
Lorna, the herbalista who drives this sweet ol’ bus around town, was awarded the 2013 Community Service Award by the American Herbalists Guild to honor her work with the Herbalista Free Clinic and the Harriet Tubman Free Foot Clinic.
The Bus drove over 10,000 miles delivering healthcare and herbal education around the country.
And, saving the best for last, we spent time with the plants– studying their form, learning their energetics and actions, and wildcrafting to prepare sweet sweet remedies to share with our patients and community.
Thanks to our community who supports this work, our teachers who inspire us to grow and strive, the plants who heal, and the people who receive these gifts with grace. Viva la Herb Bus!
This past year was an incredible journey. As 2013 took her first breath, the Herbalista Free Clinic was merely a whisper in my head and a hope in my heart. Since beginning our rounds that sunny and crisp February afternoon (captured in this photo by Jessica Horwitz), we now have two established regularly serviced stations in the Atlanta area, at which we have held 16 clinics, provided over 100 consultations, and abundantly dispensed sweet, sweet herbal remedies. We helped to facilitate free first aid clinics at gatherings in states around the country. We led plant walks, taught workshops, and ten trained other herbalists on our model using the Herb Bus Service Manual.
In December we welcomed a new apotheker to the Herb Bus crew! Corinne returns to Atlanta after spending the last year homesteading in North Carolina. During her stay in the mountains, Corinne helped wildcraft medicines for the bus, and now that she has returned to the city, she will be heaping to place those healing remedies in the hands of the people.
And as we travel these forbidden roads of free, earth-based medicine in a for-profit-pharma-surgically-controlled-country, we have discovered a most verdant underbelly. For while forbidden, these roads are anything but lonely. There is an ever growing number of dedicated healers, inspired teachers, generous medicine makers, and gifted facilitators, working to serve in their communities. We are grateful for their company and inspired by this shared vision of collaborative care for all earth’s children.
Here’s wishing you a New Year filled with bliss, purpose, and herbalistic voyages!
The Herb Bus has driven many miles this past year. And though she is approaching a quarter of a century old with hundreds of thousands of miles under her fan belt, each time I ask her to make a trip, either around Atlanta to service our regular stations, to the mountains to gather medicines, or to provide a pop-up clinic as far away as Montana, she is always revving to go. And that is because doing this work, serving those in need, isn’t a burden. It nourishes us. With each clinic we run, we grow from the friends we make and the pain we can help to ease. This is the path of serve. And what an incredible gift that by our work as herbalists, we have the chance to serve not only the people, but the plants and the planet.
There are so many ways to spread the health; how can you feed the flame to keep yourself, your family, and your community warm this winter?
The Bus and I are humbled and honored to be the recipients of the 2013 Community Service Award, presented by the American Herbalists Guild. I am grateful that in my life I have had the chance to serve my community, that I actually had something I could offer to them. I am also grateful to this herbal path, which has taught me so many lessons and surrounded me with amazingly creative and compassionate people. Being an herbalist allows me to serve plant, person, and planet, and it is an honor.
Thank you, AHG, for having considered our little Bus for this award. There has been so much community support to help this project succeed and now we feel yet another set of hands lifting up our work, that of the Guild. Thank you. We will continue to do our best to spread the health by putting herbs in the hands of the people.
The Herb Bus turned Black Friday Green as she circled up in the museum piazza to share some herbal healing at the High’s “Go West!” exhibit.
Teachers from Homestead Atlanta demonstrated survival and crafting skills such as tanning, cobbling, spinning, herbal healing and orienteering — all skills necessary for life on the frontier. The pioneers relied heavily on plant medicine for survival during the days of western expansion. Most families would have needed to have a basic knowledge of how to use plants to keep themselves healthy as doctors were few and far between. For many, their doctor was in fact their wife or mother, and her apothecary would have been her kitchen using the herbs that grew around them. The Herb Bus is honored to carry this American tradition into the 21st Century. We spent the day crafting herbal remedies for wintertime health. I’ve posted the recipes for some of the remedies we made on the Herbalista website for your crafting pleasure. Give the gift of health this holiday season!
The Herb Bus stops at the Open Door Community on the first Wednesday of every month. In this month’s issue of Hospitality, their regular newsletter, they gave a shout out to the Bus and our efforts to spread the health and happiness through herbalism. And I would like to give a shout-out right back for the wonderful work the Open Door is engaged in on the daily.
The Open Door is a residential community dedicated to resisting war and violence, dismantling racism, sexism, and heterosexism, abolishing the death penalty and building a stronger and more loving community by nurturing all members of our community including the homeless and prison inmates. They open the house several days a week and offer many needed services such as soup kitchen, showers, phones, and medical care. There are 4 different free clinics at the Open Door — basic medical, foot care, women’s, and for the past year herbal.
I have been fortunate to have spent close to a decade of Wednesday evenings surrounded by this dynamic and caring group as I serve at the Harriet Tubman Foot Clinic, a free foot clinic for our friends on the street. The members of this community have been a tremendous influence on my work and my heart. Their encouragement and support allowed me to take on the challenges of promoting an integrative approach at the foot clinic and also to dare to dream of a free mobile clinic we now call the Herb Bus.
There is a saying at the Open Door, “We’re gonna do the best we can until we can’t.” These are simple words that make a profound point. When we are facing what seems a difficult journey, when we don’t know how we can achieve the change that we know needs to happen, this phrase reminds us that we don’t have to have all the answers, we just have to do our best. And while we are out there, giving what we can, we will be creating the community that is capable of even greater things.