As an herbalist, most people I talk to are seeking relief from a spot in their lives that feels out of hand; some kind of environmental, physical, or mental stress has pushed them far from the familiarity of having manageable and comfortable lives. What if instead of reacting to our lives once they reached a place of unbearable imbalance, we had the tools to avoid those places all together? This is the goal of herbalism.
My favorite part about being an herbalist is geeking out over the relationship between humans and living things — like plants and fungus – that give us life. This is probably a good time to establish that there is a difference between plants and fungus. There are so many differences, in fact, that they make up two distinct kingdoms: Plantae and Fungi. Mushrooms, molds, and yeast comprise kingdom Funghi.
You’ve likely heard the word “adaptogen” thrown around lately. But despite all the chatter you may still be wondering, adapt-o-what? So, let me break it down for you: Adaptogens are a group of plants that, put simply, help us adapt to stress. All of these plants deal with stress in their own plant lives: They respond to environmental pollutants, withstand extreme weather, and even fight off predators.