An Herbal Journey

By Maggie Batt

Why Herbs?

It is said that herbs are like a key that fit in our keyhole brain receptors, unlocking our genetic code and rewiring us to our natural path. We are all coming back to the old ways. Instead of masking symptoms with prescription drugs, thereby causing more side effects that need yet another drug, people are looking for natural healing alternatives.

Herbs are Mother Earth’s gift to us. Her knowledge is inherent in every leaf, flower, bark, berry and seed. Every animal knows its remedy and from man’s observations of animals, has come most of our knowledge of herbs and their uses. All herbs and other healing plants (like aloe vera) have chemical constituents that match our own body’s systems. Each family of plants has its own peculiar habit of taking from the soil a specific group of chemical elements. By using herbs in their complete form, the body’s healing process utilizes a balance of ingredients provided by nature.

My Journey

In my early 20’s herbs saved my sanity. My passionate, emotional nature would uncork and erupt out of my head. Yep, I suffered from migraines.

Though our family didn’t visit doctors much, the symptoms were debilitating me every day. So I was put on medication. After yelling at a pharmacist over the phone for messing up my prescription, I knew the meds were affecting my moods. I weaned myself off and picked up an old book my mom had on her shelf from Adele Davis. Though not a hippy (she was from an older generation), my mom was a health food nut. I mean, e-gads, she even put brewer’s yeast in my toddler formula.

Our family has always learned to heal themselves through home remedies. Before I was born, my parents managed a dairy with my five brothers and sisters in the late 50’s. My dad took care of the cows when they were sick and milked them twice a day. While I was growing up in the 70’s, my father worked for a veterinarian supply company. So we had access to antibiotics if ever necessary. My mom then practiced organic gardening, grinding grains and whole foods cooking. We never had boxed, premade items, except for Saltine crackers (my dad’s favorite). I remember most days opening the fridge and not being able to just grab a pre-made snack. It was last night’s leftovers or you made something.

Oh and boy did my mom make things—homemade wheat bread, fresh applesauce, cabbage rolls, and lemon meringue pie from our own lemon tree. Holidays were my favorite. All the family would connect and we’d feasted all day on momma’s love. The table was always exquisite.

So I was grateful for being raised “natural” in a time where TV dinners and boxed mac n’ cheese were the norm. Eventually my mother sold vitamins for a multi-level marketing company and we swallowed everything from trace minerals to animal glandular.

So here I was now reading Adele Davis who was telling me to try herbs. I had to take them every day, but the migraine symptoms really subsided. Madame Feverfew (chrysanthemum parthenium) led me on my journey.

I quit my stressful job that I was commuting to 2 hours a day and took six months off of work. I then took a solo journey from Los Angeles to Seattle in my convertible mustang. It was an eye-opening experience as I was connecting with my own desires and beliefs. I mountain biked, jogged, hiked, swam and ate the most amazing food while sleeping in sweet B&B’s.

Around this time I began learning of more healing arts. Madame Feverfew continued to support my nervous system, while I practiced meditation, visualization, yoga and did whatever I pleased.

In 1999, I pursued a degree in Naturology from the American Institute of Holistic Theology. My first course was Herbology! My text book was Elementary Treatise in Herbology which felt like it was written 100 years ago and was a very old school curriculum with Native American roots. I began diving into the world of herbs and formulas and found my new passion. I put an herbal fever remedy in each of my Holiday cards one year and sparked a new business venture. Today I’m still creating formulas and bagging tea for clients.

Begin your knowledge of herbs by embracing one or two in your life to start. I prefer teas or tinctures to dried powdered capsules. Herbs like to have their constituents coaxed out of them via hot water or a long soak. Some herbs can be taken daily as a tonic, while others are used only in acute circumstances.

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