Working with herbs and student gardeners is a brush with buried ancient truths. Herbal medicine is human kind's prehistoric health care built on 10,000 years of collective agriculture and spanning the continents. Humans back in the day survived on natural wisdom many seem to have now forgotten or been torn from, depending on how you look at it.
But in garden class, deeply buried agricultural instincts surface. I give students herb work and watch them settle into deep rooted natural rhythms.
The busiest of third-grade boys will sit in one place to trim lemongrass for 30 minutes straight without breaks or many wiggles. Girls of all ages will gather around a bowl of dried rosemary or sage; instinctively sitting in a circle, cross-legged, talking softly about whatever, taking breaks for deep, close-eyed inhales of their wonderfully-scented hands.
This week, 11 seventh and eighth grade girls and boys sat in reverant near-silence as dried plantain and rosemary they grew, harvested, and dried was blended with other ingredients to create medicinal, herbal salve. More honor students than impossible tweens, salve-makers spoke in whispers and jotted notes absorbed from their first lesson with beeswax and a double boiler.
Students left with their own labeled jar of salve so they could medicate cuts, bruises, and rashes safely, cheaply, and effectively at will. One boy immediately put the self-made medicine with the surf stuff in his backpack while a girl spoke of the treatments she could share with her accident-prone younger sister.
What would happen if hormone-aly challenged adolesence all over America were as armed with lavendar and lemon balm as they were with Twilight and texting?
Krista Joan says:
My mission is to teach, train, and testify in resistance to the white supremacy of my ancestors. My personal choices are political, powerful, and practical. Let's trash waste.