Free herbal clinic helps folks to wellness naturally
In the back of the room students from The Human Path’s Herbal Medics University were pulling brown plastic bottles filled with herbal tinctures from a storage container to make formulas for patients during the free herbal clinic held at the Navajo Nation Museum last Thursday.
“Herbs can help in a wide range from the nutritive to the palliative, and the strengthening of the whole being and enhancing vitality,” said John Slattery, an herbalist from Tucson, Arizona.
Slattery has worked with a Native-led youth program called Pollen Circles that provides culturally based activities to promote holistic wellness for the past few years.
This collaboration with The Human Path, a San Antonio-based institution that teaches survival, primitive living skills and sustainability, brought him to the Navajo Nation to teach young people participating in the Pollen Circles program about local herbs and how to forage for them.
“Pollen Circles was our host,” explained Suchil Coffman, program director for Herbal Medics University and director of The Human Path’s nonprofit, which paid for the trip. “They helped us to make contacts in Arizona.”
Slattery said that though he practices in southern Arizona, “I’ve spent a lot of time (here). And I also know a lot about the plants here from my own study and working with some medicine people.”
Slattery practices bioregional herbalism, which means he tries to only use plants that can be found locally where he lives in Arizona, but has recently broadened his practice to include plants found in other parts of the Southwest.
Maria Turvin, an herbalist with Herbal Medics University, said this area is abundant in herbs. Some of them include sage, wild tobacco, dandelions, wild spinach and aspen.
“You guys have sagebrush all over the place,” Turvin said. “You guys can use that for colds and flus.”
Slattery also said dandelions can be boiled into a tea to help with liver function.