A workshop on wild crafting or a story about the Shaker’s inspired utility of nature and Medicinal Herbalism, with a bit of contemporary herbal wisdom added Outline 1. Early Shaker History : What were their resources? 2. Native and wild crafted vs. Introduced and cultivated: Does “wild” mean “native”? 3. How to Wild Craft: What, where, when and why? Age of Herbals 1450- Considered the dawn of the “age of herbals”. 1597- Gerard wrote “The General History of Plants”. 1649- Nicolas Culpeper translated “The London Dispensary and Physical Directory” from Latin into English. 1673- “University Medicine” in England became more scientific as physicians turned to apothecaries to powder and prepare their herbs. Colonial America • 1700’s- Europeans considered Indians as “ignorant savages” except when it came to health and healing. • 1770’s- American Ginseng sells for $5/lb ($150$2,700/lb). Ginseng completely wiped out east of Appalachia. • 1774- First Shaker community established in New York near Albany. A Colonist’s Garden • Balm, Basil, Caraway, Chamomile, Comfrey, Dill, Fennel, Garlic, Hyssop, Lavender, Licorice, Marjoram, Mints, Mustards, Parsley, Rosemary, Rue, Savory, Saffron, Shallots, Sage, Tarragon and Thyme. • Almost none of the above plants were native. American Medical Herbalism • 1787- first American Herbal published by David Schopf. • 1828 – “Medical Flora” published by Constantine Ralinesque. • 1830’s- Establishment of the first Eclectic Medical Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio. • 1831 – First Shaker Herb Catalogue • 1851- Ralinesque writes; the shakers have “the best medicinal gardens in the US. They cultivate a great variety and sell them cheap, fresh and genuine. • 1880-1900- Peak of Medical Herbalists with 8,000 practitioners. Scientific Herbalists vs. Medical Doctors • 1910 - Flexner report (a survey to evaluate medical schools in the Us) condemns Homeopathic and Eclectic Medicine Schools. • 1931 – “A Modern Herbal” published by Mrs. M. Grieve. Considered the first comprehensive encyclopedia of herbs to appear since the days of Culpeper. • 1939 – Last of the Eclectic Medical Schools closes. Herbal medicines were replaced by pre-made pharmaceuticals. Eclectic medicine and Scientific Herbalism almost died… but not quite. Native vs. Introduced Wild crafting vs. cultivation • • • • The first Shaker Herb Catalogue (1831) listed 142 herbs, roots, barks and seeds. The catalogue grew to contain over 300 herbs (1830 to 1894) by diversifying their resources. Plants were wild crafted, cultivated or imported and then resold. Lesser known herbs were discontinued. Herbs most demanded by the medical profession were offered. At the peak of the herbal business, herbal production relied more on introduced and cultivated plants. • Many of the native plants which were wild crafted and sold by the Shakers are now considered “at risk” by the United Plant Savers. www.unitedplantsavers.org • American Ginseng, Arnica, Bloodroot, Goldenseal, Golden Thread, May Apple, Maiden Hair Fern, Pink Root, Pipsissewa, Spikenard, Slippery Elm, Partridgeberry, BethRoot, False Unicorn Root, Wild Yam, Turkey Corn and Wild Indigo. How to Wild Craft • Get to know one plant at a time • Know what, where, when, and how • Don’t harvest a plant if there are less than 10 in the area • Harvest with gratitude References • Beale, Galen and Mary Rose Boswell 1991. The Earth Shall Blossom. The Countrymen Press, Vt. • Castleman, Michael 2001. The New Healing Herbs. Bantam Books. NY. • Erichsen-Brown, Charlotte 1989. Medicinal And Other Uses of North American Plants- A Historical survey with Special References to the Eastern Indian Tribes. Dover Publ., Inc. NY. • Miller, Any Bess 1998. Shaker Medicinal Herbs. Storey Books, Vt.