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FAQ: Herbs and the Herbalist

I am often asked, “What exactly IS an herbalist? And how do herbs work?” Literally – an herbalist is someone who uses herbs! To me, personally, herbs are concentrated foods – think of parsley, dandelion, carrots. Because every plant has a different range of nutrients (which is what gives each its distinctive flavor and color), each has something special to offer the different types of cells and organs in the body. So we say, for example, that dandelion is good for the stomach and liver, and parsley is traditional support to the kidneys.

Herbs work in two ways. The first is by supplying concentrated nutrition targeted to the specific type of cell you are trying to rebuild. Remember that you replace several million cells each day, each of which is supposed to last for about seven years. The quality of those cells depends entirely on the raw materials you supply for the body to use in their construction. The second impact is energetic. Herbs generally have one of four specific properties – they increase or reduce circulation through an area (think about the way your mouth feels when you eat hot peppers compared to custard), or they contract or expand the tissue (think about biting into a lemon versus drinking black coffee). You want the right combination of those two elements – nutritive and energetic – to strengthen the body structure and function.

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