100 Mile Medicine

Think global; act local! The 100 mile diet has struck a resounding chord in a world where the concrete impacts of transporting goods over vast distances is increasingly appreciated. As often turns out to be the case, however, the 100 mile diet actually marks a re-visitation, a return to a more traditional and holistic way of examining how people understand and live their place in the world. The 100 mile diet is a crucial starting point, but it is only a beginning.

Imagine having the knowledge and materials at hand to meet many of your day-to-day health needs. Imagine having the practical skills to turn native and locally grown botanicals into remedies and supplements to nurture general well-being and treat many common and rare conditions. Imagine cultivating a new relationship to the trees and plants – the natural world – around you.

Local, community-oriented herbal education is a key to reopening this forgotten relationship. Herbal education empowers individuals and communities to greater interdependence and independence. Herbs are easy to share and distribute among neighbours and friends as seeds or plants, allowing community members to grow herbs for personal and neighbourhood/community benefit.

My last garden was an emporium overflowing with therapeutic botanical materials – four decades of exploration into the possibilities of herbal medicine made manifest in a welcoming, magical and curative space. My garden was my nest, my dispensary, my shrine and my home.

Working with mentors in diverse modalities – from Traditional Chinese Medicine and first nations teachings to Ayurveda, Shamanism and Dreambody – has inflected and informed my locally-focused approach to Western Herbal Medicine. I have taught local, community-oriented herbalism, offering courses, workshops and writings in B.C. and beyond, since the early 1970s. I have run herb shops and herbal dispensaries, and have worked consistently as a Community Herbal Consultant.

Our 100 Mile Medicine Workshops provide the basic building blocks – the foundations – to nurture a broader understanding of the role native and cultivated botanicals play in the development of healthier and more holistic individual and community relationships to the places we live. They help people connect with their environment.

Being educated about 100 mile medicine is about knowing that the willow provides a practical, useful natural anti-inflammatory. It’s about knowing how to enlist the circulation-stimulating qualities of the gingko tree. It’s about appreciating the anti-depressant qualities of St. John’s Wort. It’s about valerian, ginger, hawthorn, plantain, calendula – the list goes on and on – and how they fit into your garden, your home and your healthy lifestyle.

Being knowledgeable about 100 mile medicine is about sharing the wealth of our green world with our human community. Herbalism is a generous and rewarding way of life, and one very much in line with thinking local, thinking small scale, and maintaining grassroots, green ideals. It is local-minded and practical. It brings herbs out into the community. Think about it. What a wonderful way to grow and serve your community.