Understanding herbs is as simple as authentically interacting with them, and learning about them is as easy as using your senses. Taste is an amazing portal into understanding the properties of herbs. When you meet a new herb, whether it’s fresh or dried, put a bit into your palm, rub it with your thumb to release its aroma, then take a good, deep smell. Aroma is integral to taste, as well as memory. Once you`ve experienced an herb’s aroma, and you know it is edible, taste a pinch, slowly rolling the herb on all areas of the tongue and palate. Taste buds on different parts of the tongue pick up different taste sensations and you’ll find that information listed under each of the taste descriptions that follow. The taste of a plant indicates its chemistry and a basic knowledge of plant constituents gives you clues to the possible actions of a plant. You’ll find a chapter on plant constituents in Herbal Pharmacy.
As my life and my practice of Community Herbalism has matured and ripened over the decades, I began to notice new green growth sprouting out from the side of the venerable old wise woman tree trunk. Something sweet and beautiful began to amplify the heart message, began calling out for me to name it and give it voice. What was emerging from my depths, I realized, has slowly evolved across the years of my practice with both plants and people. The emphasis of my work is shifting to the deliberate cultivation of our open, loving, wild heart and extending that love to all of creation. This I see as key to our survival and success both as healers and as earthlings.