I have been teaching my children all about plants and herbal medicine for years. They forage, mix, measure, and discuss what we are doing and why. We are big on science in this house and I have now been formally studying herbs, herbal medicine, and natural products for about three years. Numerous friends and family have left my house with handmade goodies because they simply asked a question, paid a compliment, or just looked interested in what I was doing. Any opportunity I get to share my knowledge, I jump right in. After all, this is the medicine of the people.
As my studies at MUIH have progressed, so has my desire to share the knowledge that I have learned. Not everyone needs to understand the phytochemistry or pharmacokinetics of plants (but wouldn’t that be great?), but there is no reason they can’t begin exploring the things that they can do and make for themselves. I love empowering people to do things for themselves. To this end, I decided it was time to reach out to groups that might be interested. I really wanted to teach.
I contacted the Garden Club at Washington College. My logic was that if anyone were going to love plants, it would be that group. After a few weeks of correspondence, I taught my first workshop on Tuesday, October 10th. This wasn’t a group of people that through birth, legal obligation, or friendship, are required to care about what I am doing or feign interest. They didn’t have to pretend to like me or my message. This was a group of intelligent, inquisitive college students with backgrounds ranging from Biology to Environmental Science. In other words, this group was smart and kept me on my toes.
I consider myself lucky that they allowed me to share just a little bit of knowledge with them. The workshop was very hands on, with the students measuring, pouring, and mixing while asking questions ranging from dosage of essential oils to whether particular plant oils were comedogenic. Seriously, I couldn’t spell comedogenic, much less pronounce it correctly at 18. I learned a lot from the group as they talked about what they were studying and the efforts underway at the college (which is truly fascinating so check out the Eastern Shore Food Lab).
In the course of an hour and a half the students made their own bath salts and lip balms. We discussed the role that the different ingredients played in the product, as well as how to change ratios or omit certain ingredients. Everyone left with their own products, as well as the ability to recreate the recipes. I am grateful for the experience and can’t wait to do it again.