I am totally enchanted by my herbal medicine magic class. They are eight kids strong, grades 1-5; overflowing with excitement to be in the garden and wowed by herbs.
We spent the first class making journals and collecting leaf specimens. I told them that in Hawaii the first people that grew medicine here honored garden gods and goddesses by introducing oneself and leaving an offering. The offering could be a song or a shell, but a blessing should be left whenever an herbal practitioner harvests their medicine.
We sang the first verse of "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine." as a gift for the herbs.
Little people barely able to traverse the garden without tripping because they are so small, with journals and pencils in hand rushed into our overgrown garden like they were going to the fair. "This is lemongrass. The tea is good for your brain, " I told them. Immediately, mini fingers reaching out for leaf samples. Just as immediately, "Ms. Krista can I have tape?" They secured samples into journals students made out of scratch paper.
We examined 15 herbs/weeds around the campus, and took notes about each one.
Last class, I handed out the herb collection bags I made them out of my old t-shirts (that's not gross is it?) and made medicinal infusions. Students copied down that an infusion is cooking the healing properties of an herb into another substance like water or oil. They also wrote down two magical recipes. Children gathered equal parts mint, lavender, and lemon balm to make a tummy settling, restful tea and a little rosemary and a lot of lemongrass to make a brain energizing tea.
The washed herbs were cut up and placed in a big pot on the garden hot plate by careful children. I got crazy and let them sweeten the concoctions with agave nectar (none of them had tasted it and of course they all wanted seconds). Back in the day, traditional Hawaiian medicine was often given with plenty sugar cane to make it palatable. "I like this infusion Ms. Krista!" shouted one second grader. Most treated the yummy and healthful teas like treasure and preserved them by replacing the water in their take-home bottles with their tasty new healing remedy.
My classes with these inspired young gardeners are no less than enchanting. When these kids enter the garden, butterflies are more colorful and birds more singsongy. Next week Medicine Woman Darlene and her husband Earl are coming to herbal magic class to talk about the wonders of ginger! Enchanted again!
Ms Krista says:
Everyday encounters with real garden sprites; tortuous panorama of the surf; old-growth collards; machete lessons; mantis rehab; pesto pasta. Days as a public school garden teacher on the Big Island are filled with unexpected gems of wisdom and infinite inspirations. Introducing my life as a school garden teacher...