The lists of responsibilities pile high, and when you’re feeling the drag, nurturing yourself feels like too much to think about. Prepping that overnight infusion, tending to a crockpot of broth, eating something healthy, or even lifting the tincture dropper to your mouth is among the last things you want to do. However, times like these are when we need herbal support the most! So, how do we care for ourselves when we just don’t care right now? Preparation is at the heart of herbalism. To harness the energy and medicinal qualities of herbs, we must first prepare them. To prepare herbs, we must work with their life cycles and seasons. When the herbs are ready, we ethically and intentionally harvest them, process them, and prepare them to be consumed. In this way, we are preparing for the future of inevitable dis-ease or illness. Just as early people “put up” and preserved produce during harvest time in preparation for the cold season, we ready our herbs (and food, too!) for the times we’ll inevitably need them. When we prepare herbal medicine intentionally, we are giving our future selves (and others!) the gift of our care. Not every day is sunny and 85 degrees, right? Likewise, you aren’t going to be at 100% capacity all the time or, in this capitalist society, even most of the time. Try to allow a little time when you’re feeling up and energetic for those times you feel down and out. Some planning and forethought can make a world of difference to our future selves. An ounce of prevention, or in this case, preparation, is worth a pound of cure. Think of your future self kindly, like a friend from out of town who’s coming to visit. What foods do they like? In what setting do they feel most comfortable? Which herbs are their supportive allies? Where and how can they easily access this support? Micaela Foley is a practicing herbalist and writer currently living in Providence, Rhode Island. She attended both ArborVitae School of Traditional Herbalism in New York City and Blue Otter School of Herbal Medicine in Northern California. Her herbal work is focused on accessibility, community healing, and issues of social justice. Her writing aims to be holistic, an attempt to interweave the scientific, political, spiritual, poetic, ancestral and contemporary. Follow her on IG @mickfoley_official and @quintessence_herbs.
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