Returning to your Bio-Regional Herbs and Plants

Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭
edited October 2020 in Wild Edibles & Medicinals

I have been feeling very strongly that the local herbs, weeds and plants have been calling me to come back to them. I cultivated some in my own garden and green space I call home but there has always been the availability of going online and ordering what I wanted at any time.

This pandemic had me go into pause mode when so many herb shops either closed or paused business during the shutdown. I felt a slight twinge of panic that I wouldn't have what I needed. I think in a way that this was divine intervention. It made me look for alternatives at my feet. I realized that I had what I needed right on hand in another plant. So often I forget that the purpose of that fancy herb is also in other plants as well. I get caught up in the current trend of "what's hot right now!" I listened to a very good vlog ( that addresses the importance of going back to your own person bio-region and I recently purchased a book (Self-Sufficient Herbalism A Guide to Growing, Gathering and Processing Herbs for Medicinal Use Lucy Jones) that also addresses the need to know your herbs personally.

Since March when my state (Ohio) went on lock-down I have made it a point to go outside everyday and visit the sites of my plant allies and watch them grow. I watched and waited in spring for new growth, I watched as they grew. Some of the early spring harvests were the best I have yet picked and I think it was because I was really paying attention to them. As summer progresses I am watching and waiting for the peak times to harvest. I busy planning fall harvest sites.

I have made a bunch of new friends in the ground that I have overlooked in the past, not knowing their worth to me. I examine every space of green to see what might be there waiting for me to notice it. One that made itself known was cleavers. It was living under my pine trees where in the past I callously mowed the tall grass down, not knowing it was there. This spring it showed itself to me before the grass grew out of control so I watched it and I wait for it to be mature enough to offer itself to me for medicine.

As the season progresses I will remain vigilant and see what my bio-region has to offer me and while I may not be able to be 100% self-sufficient, I want to see how much I can be.

What are your thoughts or practices?


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,396 admin

    @Desiree While I do sometimes use a few herbs from around the world (ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, myrrh, etc.), I prefer what is in my environment. I think we have a relationship with what nature has provided for us in our own areas. We breathe the same air, drink the same water and we "walk" on the same soil. So energetically it is better medicine for us. Even better if we harvest and process it ourselves. All the intention that we put into making a medicine for ourselves or our families makes it a better medicine.

  • SherryA
    SherryA Posts: 314 ✭✭✭

    I totally agree. I am going through all my herb books to find & record uses and best practices for all the herbs that grow easily where I live. I think most needs will be covered by these plants, some of which are quite prolific!

  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,469 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'm a huge proponent of using local plants! It's so satisfying to find them, learn about them, harvest, prepare, and use them.

  • Acequiamadre
    Acequiamadre Posts: 269 ✭✭✭

    I heard that local plants, especially those that we have a relationship with, hold most of the medicine we need.

    I started learning herbalism this year and was so surprised by all of the medicinals that are on our homestead, and then some new ones that tuned up. Once I moved past looking at "the wall of green" more and more plant healers have reached out to be known.

  • marcy_northlightsfarm
    marcy_northlightsfarm Posts: 103 ✭✭✭

    I heartily agree that going out and finding local herbs in your area or growing them yourself is the way to go. Not only do you have a better connection but I also agree that what you need is growing around you. Though being an avid forager I have a minuscule knowledge about the majority of the plants in my region. So I don't feel bad buying a few herbs. My goal is to continue leaning about my surrounding environment as well as learning how to grow a wide variety of medicinals.

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,481 admin

    @Acequiamadre It's all about mind set. You are noticing more individual plant species, now you've given yourself the openness to learn. Knowledge is such a powerful thing. You must be very pleased with yourself and grateful.

    I came from an agricultural background and was taught, spray the weeds and pests using chemicals, they have no use. Spread the synthetic fertilizer, plough the heck out of the ground etc. I'm not sure when the penny dropped, that there has to be a better way. To think back now, I feel ashamed and embarassed. I got to learning about the interconnectedness of the environment and our place in it. I wanted to be kind, grateful and healthy. It's been a long but fruitful journey and I am proud to have turned my thinking around. Still lots to learn and that's another reason to be involved with TGN and like-minded people as yourself. Great discussion, thankyou.

  • Desiree
    Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    Thank you everyone! I am so happy to see like mindedness in this community. I am like @torey in that I do purchase some herbs/spices simply because I cannot grow cinnamon bark or cloves for example. I have just really circled my wagons so to speak around me to protect what I have right here! It has been such a wonderful process of discovery that I will continue going forward. We all know how wildlife likes to bring us new friends each growing season, some we keep and some we don't.

  • dottile46
    dottile46 Posts: 437 ✭✭✭

    @Desiree I am relatively new to most of this so I haven't really established practices. For years I've tried to study herbalism, in fact that is why I got my first computer. Neither worked out at that time. The computer wouldn't function as I dreamed and studying was a dream at that time as well. In 2019 I watched the spring TGN summit and was smitten. In the three months that followed I studied everything I could get my hands on.

    This year I have identified and watched many existing medicinal plants here. It is so fascinating to me to identify, recall a few facts about the plant and it's uses, then wait for the time to harvest. All of you here on the forums have taught me so much.

    I too felt that bit of panic when our world caved in this spring. There are several seeds I'd ordered that weren't locally grown and I am chiding myself for not getting them started this year. I'm hoping to fall sow several in hopes of a good population next year.

  • Jaylene
    Jaylene Posts: 53 ✭✭✭

    I love using the local herbs of our area and I think they hold a special place in us even if we don’t realize it. I think it has become especially important right now as our access has become a little more limited and it is amazing to discover the many benefits of the plants right in our own backyard. Although I still use many that don’t grow around here like Echinacea and Astragalus.

  • Desiree
    Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    As I have continued my visits with my plant friends I had discovered that wild yarrow had made a reappearance this year. After so many years of it not coming up I was quite surprised when I started to find it in some really odd places that I know it had never been before. I have been watching, tending and waiting for it to mature so I could harvest a bit but it has been slow growing due to our extreme heat wave. I took a walk looking for red clover (I harvested some) when I passed by an old raised garden bed that I have left to it's own devices for several (like maybe 10+) years and was planning to tear down this year if I can get to it, when lo and behold in all it's glory is a HUGE (and I mean HUGE) patch of yarrow blooming. I left behind way more than I harvested for wildlife and rebuilding growth but I truly felt that this was yet one more sign from the plant kingdom reminding me that they are here and they are listening to our needs. We just need to listen to theirs by giving them a place and space to grow. I will be re-thinking about tearing that old bed down now. I just may need to clean it up a bit because it was pretty messy. We'll see. I can't wait to see what shows up next.

  • valizona
    valizona Posts: 48 ✭✭✭

    and to think, your harverst and therfore, abundant provision all began because you took the time to observe and genuinely pay attention, to learn from what was around you all along.

    That, my friends, is the answer to the world's problems

    thank you for sharing such profound and simple wisdom available to us all

  • Cornelius
    Cornelius Posts: 872 ✭✭✭✭

    The heatwave killed most (or all not sure yet) of the plantain growing in my yard. I had just confirmed that it was in fact plantain (I like to quadruple check before I use something that I have never used before). I was trying to decide what I wanted to make with it and then it was all black. I hate this stupid heat wave.

  • Desiree
    Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    @Cornelius don't give up on it yet! I have had plantain "resurrect" itself in the fall when the temperature cools. I have had second crops of chickweed and violets as well. Just keep a watch, I hope yours comes back!

  • kfoto
    kfoto Posts: 108 ✭✭✭

    @Desiree I so agree. Everyone went in panic mode when what’s best is to return to Mother Earth. I’m an aromatherapist, studying plant based raw foods the certification with in my grasp. I’m doing a lot with herbs also. I want to plant a full garden but I’ve been supporting the local farmers market. With the amount of produce I needed I couldn’t keep up. But now I know what to plant next year. I’ve been doing a lot of dehydration so much so I had to get a second machine!! Lol. Thanks for the links. We all need to plant together. Enrich the soil both physically and mentally. I’ve told so many people please stop get bare foot and walk out side. Sometimes the simplest movements makes the biggest impact.

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 713 ✭✭✭✭

    I'm not entirely convinced that plants can hear though😏