Stinging Nettle with Rosemary Gladstar


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-- TIMESTAMPS --

  • 00:00 - Introduction
  • 03:05 - Growing up in Sonoma County and the root of Rosemary’s love of plants
  • 04:55 - Rosemary’s journey to becoming an herbalist
  • 08:35 - Why stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is one of Rosemary’s favorite herbs
  • 10:30 - Medicinal benefits of stinging nettle
  • 13:01 - Nettle’s prickly nature as a therapeutic gift
  • 17:00 - Stinging nettle’s rich history and diverse use beyond medicine and food
  • 20:07 - How nettle continues to spring into popularity over the years
  • 20:42 - Including nettle when cooking in your daily life
  • 27:15 - Stinging nettle as an overall well-being tonic
  • 33:18 - Rosemary shares about her current projects
  • 36:11 - Rosemary’s thoughts on how herbs instill hope through nature connection


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Transcript from the Stinging Nettle with Rosemary Gladstar Video

Rosalee:
Hello, and welcome to the Herbs With Rosalee Podcast. I'm your host Rosalee de la Forêt. And I am jumping out of my seat excited today to be chatting with our guest, Rosemary Gladstar. Rosemary needs no introduction, in that many of us have already been deeply touched by her offerings to the herbal world, whether it's through her direct teachings, her recipes, her popular books, or through the organizations that she has helped to found. But one thing I've realized about Rosemary over the years is that she is full of surprises; the more I know about her, and every time I hear her teach, I learn something new. So with that, Rosemary Gladstar has been practicing, living, learning, teaching and writing about herbs for over 45 years. She's the author of 12 books, including, Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide, Herbal Healing for Women, Gladstar Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Well-Being, and Herbal Healing for Men.

She is also the author and director of the popular home study course, The Science & Art of Herbalism. In 2018, Rosemary was awarded an honorary doctorate for her life work from the National University of Naturopathic Medicine. Rosemary is the co founder and former director of both the International Herb Symposium, and the New England Women's Herbal Conference. The founding president of United Plant Savers, and the co founder and original formulator of Traditional Medicinal Tea Company.

She recently moved from her home at Sage Mountain, an herbal retreat center and botanical sanctuary, where she has lived, taught and worked for the past 30 years, to a smaller haven where she plans to plant a small garden, dream more, do less, and spend time with plants. You can find more from Rosemary at her website, scienceandartofherbalism.com. And with that, welcome Rosemary; thank you so much for being here.

Rosemary:
Thank you, Rosalee. It's an honor. I always love sharing with you and being with you. So, thank you for inviting me.

Rosalee:
Absolutely. Well, interacting with you has been one of the highlights of my herbal path. So, it's just an honor to me that you're here on this new adventure of mine and taking that leap with me. So, I really appreciated that.

Rosemary:
I always like new beginnings. So, it's perfect.

Rosalee:
Thank you. Well, Rosemary, I was thinking, with all that you've done in your life, you are really like the stuff that legends are made of. Seriously. And if someone told me that you came out of the womb with a teacup in one hand and a bundle of herbs on the other, it wouldn't be that hard to believe, really. But I know that there was a time in your life that you weren't an herbalist and you made that transition. And I just think it's always inspiring to hear about that shift in people's lives. So I'm wondering if you would share about that with us. How did you fall in love with the plant world?

Rosemary:
Oh, thank you, Rosalee. Yeah. Well, I think it was a really natural thing for myself, like it is for many people. I grew up on a small dairy farm in Sonoma County, which was lush with plants. I was also fortunate to have a grandmother who was a really wise herbalist in the old sense of the word. And by that, I mean she never called herself an herbalist. But she was a plant lover, and she used the plants all the time for healing, and health and well-being. And she was also a survivor of the Armenian genocide. And she used to tell us, literally, she meant this, that it was her belief in God and her knowledge of the plants that saved her life. And I do believe that she was driven by that to make sure that her grandchildren, and probably her children as well, really knew about the plants. So, even as a young child, my grandmother was taking us out to the garden and picking the weeds and showing us which weeds were healing and nourishing; they would go into the basket, they would come into the house along with the garden vegetables.

And so that love was planted in me, seated in me as a child. And as I said, growing up in nature being on a farm, out in the fields all the time and surrounded by the hills and spending time at the coast and just being around the plants, they began to speak to me even as a young child. And I do... I always find this very interesting for myself, but even when I was in elementary school and certainly junior high, my early studies were always about plants, like native medicinals in our region where I was growing up as a Yurok and the Modoc, who were the original people of that land. And I was always interested in what they were eating and their natural ways. So some of my earliest studies were on the native uses of plants of Sonoma County. And so, transitioning into being an herbalist, you have to kind of realize in my era, that really wasn't even a term that was used freely. It was very few people that were walking around calling themselves herbalist, very few herbal books, et cetera.

So, that transition to becoming an herbalist was a slow and natural process for me. It probably began in my early 20s when I opened up my herb store and began the practice, without really calling it that, of practicing as an herbalist because in those days, in the herb stores, you were answering people's questions and helping them and giving them any advice that they were asking for, because people really actually didn't have a lot of places to go for that kind of information. And we weren't afraid at that time. We just spoke freely. So, I think it was a really natural progression for me just being seeded young, as a young child, by parents and grandparents and really by nature herself.

Rosalee:
Lovely. And so you started working in an herb store. And from stories I've heard, it was kind of like you started in one position and you grew into another and then you took the full plunge there.

Rosemary:
Well, I actually started as a cleaning lady in the Greenville Natural Food Store. I needed a job, I was actually saving up money to buy horses, so I could ride back to Canada on this horseback journey, which I eventually did, but I shortened the journey. I rode up to the Oregon border, up to the Trinity Alps in Northern California. But back to the story. So I went in to the Greenville Natural Sisters which is kind of the hub at that time of all the hippies and the natural food movement, et cetera, and inquired about a job and they had a job as a cleaning lady, which I took readily. So, we say I began my real work as a herbal practitioner cleaning toilets and sinks after hours, right? But they did have an herb section. And even at that time, I was around 21 years old at that time, I had a pretty good knowledge of plants, better than other people. At that time, there wasn't a lot to know.

So I have to say when I teach students today, I say everybody in this room probably knows more than I did when I started my herbal business, right? So very soon, I was actually filling the herb jars, and then formulating for the store. And then eventually, I started within that store, I started Rosemary's Garden, my own little herb section. But that was after I came back from my horse trip.

Rosalee:
I love hearing that. And I love that, that  you took the cleaning job, you're happy to be in the place that seemed like you should be, and it just blossomed from there.

Rosemary:
Well, you're just happy to work, get money, be able to get those horses. That was really important to me. And working in the health food store, it was really as I said, it was humming. It was like a beehive. I met many people that are still my best friends and fellow herbalists in that natural food store, including Mindy Green.

Rosalee:
Oh, wonderful. Oh, wow.

Rosemary:
Yeah. Maybe it was the first class I ever taught. When we were both about 22 years old.

Rosalee:
Wow, I love that. Thank you so much for sharing that Rosemary.

Rosemary:
Thank you.

Rosalee:
So, as I mentioned, you are the first guest here on the show. And to set things up for listeners, each show we're going to chat about one special plant. And the plant that Rosemary wanted to share about today is nettle, or stinging nettle. And so I'm curious, Rosemary, why did nettle jump to your mind for this conversation?

Rosemary:
Well, it really, truly is one of my very favorite plants. There's probably about 200 that I would say that about, but then if I had to pick the favorite of my favorite, the one that I couldn't live without, it actually would be nettle. And there's a variety of reasons for that, which I know you know quite well, Rosalee, because you also are a great nettle lover. But one is just its personality. Just who nettle is. It's tenacious, it's weedy, it spreads readily. It grows in... It just grows. Once it starts growing in your neighborhood, it's hard to get rid of it. So I love those tenacious plants. We often find they're some of our very best medicine, some of our very best food and they're needed now. Tenacity, the ability to root in, to spread, to stand strong, to be nourishing, to be healing, those are all qualities that we need to really revere. I also like that it's self-protective, I love that it has a prickly nature.

So anything that's so giving and so healing and nourishing, but it's also learned to create its own boundaries, I think is another really good thing to study and revere, right? When I went into menopause, I had to laugh and I thought, nettle really reminds me of a nettle puzzle woman; it kind of reminded me of myself, that's probably why. But you've worked hard, you have given a lot, you pride yourself on the good work you've done. There's a ton more to do. But you're also really prickly at this point in your life. And people don't treat you right, you're not always like, "Oh, okay, okay." You look at them and say, "Get out of my face." So that's a little bit how I was at menopause. I was actually more prickly than I normally am. And I loved it in myself. It was actually like, "Wow, look at this menopausal woman, this woman with zest." And that reminded me so much of nettle.

But as an herbalist, the reason that I love nettle is because it is an incredibly wonderful and potent medicinal plant that has a general medicinal effect, or many, or I would say a specific medicinal effect on many organ systems of the body. But it's also safe, it's also an incredible source of food and nutrients. So here you have a very safe medicine with a long history of use, and also a really delicious herb. Delicious. There's few green... Once you learn the art of picking and cooking nettle, there are few greens that are as addictive or taste as good as the green of nettle. I would say that as a true nettle lover. I always like to quote David Hoffman, because I remember years ago at the International, he did a very erudite lecture on possible contraindications, toxicity and chemical constituents of plants.

So it was very heady, and it was filled with facts and possible counter indications. And when he was all done, it was an hour and a half lecture. When he's all done, there was a long pause and he leaned into the podium, and he just goes, "When in doubt, use nettle."

Rosalee:
I love that. I use that quote a lot too, because I found that to be absolutely true.

Rosemary:
Yes.

Rosalee:
And I was in clinical practice for many years. And I'm not going to say that nettle solves every problem under the sun, but it was amazing how many people saw so many unexpected benefits with nettle. One thing I wanted to circle back to was nettle's prickly nature. And I love how you brought that up, especially in relationship to boundaries. And I think boundaries has been an edge in my life as I've learned how to have good boundaries and not be too rigid in boundaries and have that flexibility. But the more I have great boundaries, I realized what a gift that is to others. And I was just thinking about that with nettle, because nettle's prickly nature is also a gift in that, that sting of nettle is actually therapeutic for helping with all sorts of pain.

Rosemary:
Absolutely.

Rosalee:
Strangely enough. So sometimes I see people... Lots of people become introduced to nettle, especially in the Pacific Northwest, possibly other places, because they brush up against it when they're hiking. And it stings them and they don't like it. And of course, that's kind of a... You suddenly get stung by something if you don't know what it is. It is disconcerting. But sometimes I feel like people can be afraid of nettle. "Why would you want to work with stinging nettle, it bites you back." But that sting is actually not something to be afraid of. It can be very therapeutic in itself. Have you ever intentionally stung yourself to help with circulation or pain or anything like that?

Rosemary:
Oh, I used it a lot in that way, actually. And one of my early experiences with nettle as an adult was when I had gone up to study with my teacher, Norma Myers. She was living on a little island called Alert Bay. And to get there, you had to travel hours and hours and you traveled in every manner. There was bus, boat, airplane, et cetera. So when I arrived, it was quite late in the evening; I was hungry. And I noticed as I walked into her house that there was a big patch of nettle on the back steps. And so I went out to harvest that nettle, and she had gloves and baskets there. So I put the gloves on and the scissors and I was cutting the tips of the nettle, as I've been taught to do. And I actually literally, literally heard that plant say, "Take your gloves off." And I was like, "No way, I'm not going to do that. I know about your sting, I've been stung a million times as a little farm girl." But sure enough, I did.

I heard it say to me again, and I took my gloves off and I started picking and just as you said, first of all, my hands did welt and get really hot, but the old story about nettle, the magic part is the nettle juice is the best antidote for nettle rash. And as I continue to pick, the sting went away, my hands became very warm. I say they were like healers hands, I could lay them on people, right? And as you said, that nettle rash that's from the juice—it's actually a histamine in the little needles, it creates a histamine reaction in people. So for arthritis and joint pains and gout, and any kind of arthritic pain, that nettle can be very helpful. It's a little bit like bee stings, only you're not killing the bees, you're not having to sacrifice a bee's life.


And there's an old therapy that's still used, not nearly as it used to be, it's called urtication, where you actually take a bundle of fresh nettle if a person has very arthritic or stiff or swollen joints, you tap or beat them with this little nettle. And at first, it does really hurt. And then eventually, that hurt turns to warm, and the warmth pulls blood and actually really helps circulation, helps energy move through. So it's quite healing. Yeah. So for gout, it's one of... Gout is a prime example of poor circulation and arthritic, not arthritic, but urinary kidney issues. And nettle is one of the prime remedies applied topically as a poultice and also taken internally along with a few other good things like black cherry juice, et cetera. But yeah. It is pretty amazing in that way.

But it can also create really bad welts on people. So, there's this balance of really learning the medicine, learning to respect it, learning how to pick it, how to use it, before going out and rushing out and starting to whip yourself with a nettle because you can get a pretty bad rash. I have seen bad rashes with people. So, I think it's one of those herbs that is readily available for us to use. It's a beginner's herb, but you do have to have respect and learn how to use it before you just go out and start picking it with your bare hands. That's for sure.

Rosalee:
Yeah, thanks for mentioning that. I've seen different people having reactions like you said; there are some people who react so strongly. I have a mild reaction. So, sometimes I forget, but it can be more severe. But also the nettles themselves can be different. I've seen stingless stinging nettles, and then I've seen super stinging nettle. So there can also be these variations depending on where they grow, which—it is a beginner's herb like you said, and it's also an herb that, 45 years later, you, and me, 20 years later, are still learning more about. So there's so many secrets for the nettle to share with us.

Rosemary:
Yeah. Absolutely. And it's also fun to realize that nettle has just a long history of use, and in many parts of the world. I did a fun study a number of years ago. I was just curious to see how many. I have an enormous herbal library, as you can imagine. And I was just curious to see how many books I had, herbal books, that didn't mention nettle. And I did find a few, with the vast majority of them had not only small information, but lots of information about nettle. And in that research, it ended up being quite a long research project for me. I found out all kinds of things about nettle that I hadn't known. Lots of confirmations of what I didn't know. But some of it was that it was one of the seven sacred herbs in the Wessex or the Wale tradition, Wagulu tradition, I guess, it was considered very sacred to these people. It was also an herb that... A very famous Tibetan yoga, I suppose they lived on for years, they just ate nettle soup, right?

And also it was very famous as fabric, that we know. It still is. It's considered to be probably the finest fabric that there is, over linen, even. And probably close to silk. And thankfully, I'm glad to see there are some companies that are starting to make nettle fabric again. I have a few items. I have a beautiful nettle scarf that somebody made, a little nettle purse and stuff. I should use them all the time, it's really strong and beautiful, but they're sacred items to me. So I keep them tucked away. I don't know why I'm keeping them tucked away. I'm getting to that age, I've got to start using everything I love or give it away. But yeah, it's fun to look up the research on nettle too; again, for listeners who are just beginning, there is so much fabulous information about nettle. This common weed, right?

Rosalee:
Yeah. Yeah. That reminds me of, I was in France, my husband's family is French and still lives there. And I was in the Lascaux region where the famous cave paintings are. And so we were going to a lot of different caves. And we went to this one cave that they said the earliest inhabitants were there 35,000 years ago. And growing all around were patches of nettle. Of course, I have no idea if those patches of nettle were there 35,000 years ago, but I could imagine that they were and it was just an interesting—my ancestral heritage is French and I can even possibly imagine that 35,000 years ago, my ancestors might have been there eating nettle. Yeah.

Rosemary:
Yeah. Well, they probably really were, I think it's very easy to imagine that, but they also show there was I think... I forget which culture, but they unearth burial trials at least that old that contains linen that was or nettle fabric that was part of the shroud. So, yeah, I mean it has such a long history of being used and it's showing itself again. It's interesting in the herbal community when there's so many hundreds of just fabulous herbs. Nettle is definitely one of the most popular. I think that's just amazing to watch different herbs that I've been practicing herbs long enough now that I've been able to watch different herbs march through what I call the cover girl, but they just show up or the cover boy, they show up and they become super popular and nettle is definitely one of those herbs and I think it really deserves its place in the sun for certainly are in the limelight because it is such a giving wonderful herb.

Just eating it right, I mean we should that it's so delicious and almost any dish that you would use a spinach or deep greens or even kale. You can substitute and use nettle but the thing with nettle, you definitely want to steam it well if you're using it in cooking stuff. If you're going to make a nettle spanakopita or nettle omelet. My favorite way to use nettle actually is just fresh. I think I sent that nettle pesto recipe and that's we call it Nesto. That name was derived from my good friend Janice Schofield. But it was something that I discovered a long time ago. Because if you take the little needles that are underside of the nettle, and on the stems, and you mash those, you can eat nettle raw. Now again, this isn't something I would just recommend people go out and do because if you forget to break a nettle, then you'll get stung in your mouth.

But it was always very impressive to my students when I rolled a little nettles, when I'm pressing those little needles down and then eating it raw. But what I learned to do from that is if I took the nettle and added it to a blender, and made a pesto with it, and so you're using that blender to just whiz it all up, you could actually eat raw nettle. And it was delicious, usually would add other culinary, I might add a little basil or a little thyme or oregano, something that would add a little bit of a flavor to the deep green of the nettle. But you could create this fabulous raw nettle pesto paste. It was impressive for my herb friends, it also tasted good, and you got all the super nutrients of raw nettle. So yeah, so many great ways, what's your favorite meal?

Rosalee:
Yeah, thank you for bringing up Nesto so I want to let everyone know that this recipe is available at the beginning of this page. So you want to check that out and I'll remind you later on as well, but yes, so Rosemary's sent me this recipe for Nesto, as we were preparing for this conversation. And I had never tried raw nettle as pesto before. So I was really excited to try it and just like by chance I had all of the ingredients on hand. So that was fun. Nettle is going right now. So I was able to harvest some nettle and I'm actually growing basil starts for the garden and they'd gotten pretty big and needed to be pinched off.

So I had the basil and I guess for people who don't know, I live very rurally. So either I have it at home or it's an hour away at the store. So that was why it was a big deal that I had that already on hand. So I made it right away and it was so delicious. I think don't tell dandelion, but it might be my new wild food pesto favorite, but I've been saying, that's all I'm going dandelion it. I actually did put some dandelion leaves in my version of it because there were some there, but it was just so delicious and it was really fun to make this completely new recipe with a plant that I love so dearly. So that was really fun too.

Rosemary:
Yeah. I think my two other favorite ways of using it is just to steam it, I start to crave it in the spring because like you, I live pretty far out. I'm not an hour from shops for sure, but I'm way up north in Vermont and we have such long, long winter. So you start to crave. I mean, literally it becomes like your body craving the greens, right? So the first young nettle tip, so it's always best to use the young nettle tips, they're just healthier, better, and really tasty, though I also like, and this goes against most everything you read, I also, when the young nettle tips are passed, I still will use the older nettle. You have to be careful because some of the mineral content is so high in it, so it can pop if you ate a lot of that, it could possibly be irritating to your kidneys just because of the minerals, the minerals and the mineral salts.

But yeah, I still will steam them and use them. I just don't use them as prolifically as the young greens. And as I said, that information will counter what you'll read in most books. So definitely the tender young tips are really the best tasting and the best for us. So I'll pick them and then I just steam them. Well, so this is one of those greens, I'd say don't steam lightly, steam it well. Make sure that everything is steamed up. And then I just serve it with a little olive oil, a little lemon juice and fed up just like that, as simple as could be and it's divine. And then on the other end of the spectrum is my nettle spanakopita recipe, which I think is quite famous over the years, but it's just taking a spinach spanakopita recipe that you like, that's that Greek spinach pie and substituting pure nettle just use straight nettle in there in place of the spinach use twice as much. Right?

It was always the dish that I would serve to my students or the teachers from the International Herb Symposium or whatever, it was gourmet and elegant and so divinely nettle-rich. It was so good.

Rosalee:
Yes, I've never had your nettle spanakopita, but I've heard from many who have, it becomes a tradition in families and that's a very loved recipe. I actually just harvested nettle today to make nettle soup, which is one of my favorite things, and I make it as a puree blend. And so it's just like this green soup that I really like in them. But probably the thing we do the most with our fresh nettles is that we harvest a bunch and then we blanch it and then put it in vacuum sealed bags and freeze it over the winter. Because I think we have very similar climates, Rosemary. So for here, the snow lasts through March. And so I love those frozen nettles can make them into whatever, like you said, just any way you would spinach in January, February, that's all.

Rosemary:
What a fabulous idea. For some reason that just, yeah, I haven't ever done that. I have blended them and put them in little ice cube trays. So it's like that, but yeah, that's a new one. And when you have a good crop of nettle you find a good crop, I mean you have a few weeks where you could just continuously harvest. So it's very generous.

Rosalee:
It's very generous.

Rosemary:
... yeah, very generous and very abundant. Yeah. And you could always find local farmers. I had my eyes out for local farmers where we've moved because we're at a new place and I found two or three farmers and they're always happy when you come down, they look at you like you're a little askew, knocking on their door and say, "Do you mind if I pick some of your nettles?" And they're just like, "Honey, go pick all you want. Pick them from the roots," which we should mention too. It's always good to mention the medicinal properties of nettle and the root, the whole plant, the root, we mentioned the stem is really good for fiber. And then the leaves and the seeds are really good for medicine.

They're used, as I mentioned at the beginning, for a lot of specific ailments, but I would say just for, as a general overall wellbeing tonic, they're probably one of our, along with dandelion, one of our best herbs. But I think for like women's and men's health issues, that this is one of the herbs that I use a lot. Nettle is very, very high in iron and calcium, protein and highly rich in plant digestable iron. So, many women who menstruate or especially if they menstruate heavily, often are depleted in iron, they get very fatigued and tired, so having an iron-rich drink of bio-chelated, readily accessible iron, that's really healthy for your body.

So it's not like taking an iron supplement. It just really nourishes your body very, very deeply. So that it's noticeable, a lot of times when people stand up quickly and they feel a little lightheaded and dizzy, or they're kind of pale, those are obvious signs usually of a little bit of being iron deficient. I mentioned if they bleed heavily during their menstrual cycle. So just drinking strong nettle tea before your cycle, like a week or so, just drinking it in concentrated forms can really help with that. And then it's really good for the urinary system. It's a mild diuretic, but very excellent for helping to nourish and cleanse the kidneys.

Rosalee:
I heard a story about that in my college years. I got urinary tract infections all the time and it was just like I'd get one, go see the nurse, she'd give me antibiotics, take the antibiotics. Then I'd get a fungal infection. Then you'd take the antifungal. And it was just this horrible cycle of just perpetuating itself over and over again. But that was the only answer there was, right? And getting a urinary tract infection is no fun—for people who haven't had one before, you've got to have to pee every five minutes. It burns. I mean, just getting one and having to go to the doctor is so painful and so disruptive. And it's just amazing to me that Western medicine doesn't have a better answer for this when the answer can be really simple.

So for me, that was one of the first things that I really worked with herbs for. It was just out of college, I just started learning about herbs and I got a urinary tract infection. And I was like, "Oh, I wonder if herbs can help." And I actually used different herbs to help with the infection. But during that time, and I used them numerous times, because I would get the infection again and then I'd take the herbs. But it worked. And then I started taking nettle infusions, just enjoying them, but I wasn't taking them for my urinary system, I just thought they were so great. And so I started drinking them regularly and I really attribute not having urinary tract infections to regularly drinking nettle infusions because I just feel like it set everything right again, took away whatever imbalance was there.

And and then, when I was in clinical practice, I worked with a lot of women who had urinary tract infections. Men can get them too, but more common in women. And I worked with a lot of people who found the same thing. It's like you need other herbs to maybe address the infection, but the nettles can set things right again.

Rosemary:
And I think that's such a perfect, just an excellent example too, of how these tonic herbs are meant to be used. They're meant to be used more for health and wellness. I think there's such an emphasis on illness and, for obvious reasons, people turn to plants and medicine, whatever they can when their bodies are out of balance, but where the power of herbs are there, they're wonderful as healing agents, but their real power and their real strength is as tonics to keep us well and healthy and not just in our physical body. I mean, it's one of the things I love so much about the herbal community that, in general, people, once they start to use herbs and live what I call the herbal life, which is just using herbs for everyday wellness, there's... they emanate joy. They're happy, they're happier and healthier, as well.

So the herbs, I think, are really helpful for us in that way and using these herbs, especially these wonderful Western tonic herbs that we have that are just our weedy plants that are growing everywhere, begging us to use them actually, putting themselves where we see them and where we appreciate them and where we can love them. And they can love us back. I mean, using these, they're just the best way I know to keep healthy and also to keep happy. One of them.

Rosalee:
Absolutely. I have been saying with nettle the side effects are like beautiful hair, strong nails-

Rosemary:
Yeah. Start looking good.

Rosalee:
Strong teeth.

Rosemary:
You mentioned that it's about high calcium content is really, it's always been used for hair, nails teeth. Yeah. It's really, really good for that. Yeah.

Rosalee:
Hi everyone, Rosalee here with a short interruption. For the second part of this podcast, there is some background audio that may be a bit distracting. Rosemary is the full-time caregiver for her mother and her mother needed some help during the podcast, which resulted in some background voices. I love what Rosemary has to say in the final part of this episode. And I think you will too. So thanks for your understanding. Okay. Now back to the episode.

Well, thank you for sharing so much about nettle. I know we could talk for hours about nettle, but I think we hit a lot of the highlights there, the wonderful aspects of it. And again, for people who wanted to try some fresh Nesto, the nettle pesto, you can go to the beginning of this page and download your recipe card for that.

And moving on to our next question, one of the things that I love about herbalism and plant lovers is just all the different ways that they bring plants into their life. And so I'd love to hear from you of what herbal projects are you working on right now? Or what would you like to share about herbs in your life right now?

Rosemary:
Yeah, thanks for asking. Yeah, I mean, one of the things I'm doing is spending a whole lot more time with plants and less time traveling and teaching, so that feels really good at this point in my life. But I'm also really excited because I'm doing a lot of teaching through my home study course. I've been offering this course for something like 35 years I think. We have the online version of course, which is really much newer, but that's at least 15 years old. And it's just really exciting to be able to teach and share or bless it with so many people actually worldwide to this home study course because they could do it at home. They pretty much have their own time that they could do it on. So that's been fun and we're also adding a nurse's component to it.

So it'd be an accredited nurses program that we'll be adding, we're hoping by this winter, we should be able to launch it. So we're really excited about that. We have a lot of nurses who take the program, who take my course, but it's... my home study course is not accredited. So we're getting this nurse's program accredited for them. So that feels really good. But yeah, I would say just working in my garden and planning a new garden, this one, much smaller than the one I had at Sage Mountain because I don't have all the interns and students helping me nor the energy I had when I was 40 or 50. So, yeah.

Rosalee:
Well, thanks for sharing that. I know so many people have done The Art and Science of Herbalism course and it's something that people love when they're going through and then they refer back to it. I hear people say that to me all the time—"Oh, I'm referring to my notes from the course." And so it's a foundational course that just keeps on giving and so you can go deeper and deeper in the materials and as you get to reflect as well.

Rosemary:
Yeah. It's also interesting because of the internet so much, it's flash learning, it's like these little mini courses, but this course is really, it was patterned after my seven and eight month program. So it really takes people. It's definitely an introductory course for people who are just starting or intermediate in herbalism, but it takes them deep, both into just how to use herbs for home health and family health, but also how to develop relationships with the plants and how to deepen the relationships you have with the plants. So yeah, it's sometimes people when they sign up are going, "Oh my goodness, this is a lot of work," it's as much work as people want to do, but any study when you really want to jump into it—and I would say definitely with herbalism—it's a lifetime study right?

Rosalee:
Mh-mm-hmm (affirmative).

Rosemary:
Here we are. You've been studying for so many years, and myself—and I still feel like just a beginner, I'm just starting on the trail.

Rosalee:
That is so true. And something I just absolutely love about herbalism so much. We're never bored.

Rosemary:
Yeah. That's so true.

Rosalee:
Well, for the last question I have for you, Rosemary, this is a question I'm going to be asking all of the guests in season one and I'm really looking forward to hearing all these different answers. And so the question is with all of the challenges that we're facing today, what are some of the ways that herbs instill hope in you?

Rosemary:
In me personally?

Rosalee:
Yeah.

Rosemary:
Oh yeah. Well, I look to the natural world, almost always, for my spiritual teachings. I had a friend once, an elder named Tasha Tudor, and she used to say, "Of course, I believe in God, I just spell his name differently. I spell it N-A-T-U-R-E." And that really sums it up for me as well. I have a very deep spiritual base in myself. But I look to Nature, I think, as my primary teacher in how to be a spiritual person on this planet. And so in every way, I see the plants teaching us how to root deeply, how to be strong, how to continue to exude health and healing not only for yourself, for everything around you. We look at these most fragile little plants, like a borage, which is so curious to me because borage is about: I borage, give courage. And it's about the heart energy. It's about the heart muscle and it will crack cement to grow.

You'll see little borage plants just coming right out of the cement, that or mushrooms. We see mushrooms doing that. I mean, mushrooms live for a day, that's power and strength and resilience, right? And then you see these plants that are sometimes weeded out and sprayed and they still come back like the dandelion for instance. I mean, it's Ortho's Covergirl, for God's sake. It still blooms beautifully. It doesn't matter how despised it might be by part of the culture, and loved and revered by the rest. It's going to always shine brightly, these thousands of yellow flowers, and then the little wish balls that go sailing off into the breeze. So again, for beauty and then just this abundance everywhere, like plants are tenacious. They grow, they feed, they nourish. They're beautiful. And they've been thriving for millennia, right? Long before humans ever came on this planet.

I mean, I think about... When I think about resilience and what's going on right now in our world, it is challenging for us, but here where I live in Vermont, just 10,000 years ago, there was an enormous glacier and everything in this area was entirely different. We had huge mountains, right? And entirely different plant species. And yet just 10,000 years later, the earth has restored itself completely. And we live in this abundantly green, rich, diverse world here. And so to me, it just is really a statement about how things change and that we have this maybe 80 years, if we're lucky or 90, if we're really lucky, 100 if we're not so lucky, to be on this planet.

And so we're basically just seeing a little eye click right? We're like a little eye click, a little cell that's blinking for a moment. And hopefully our blink is brilliant. We get to blink brilliantly and absorb all that we can. And then we become part of this eternal, endless dance. And that I've learned through the plants and nature, just through God speaking to those are the goddess or whatever we want to call that great energy spirit, speaking through everything that's around me of the natural world. And I definitely feel that we're part of that natural world. We're not a part of that. We try to make ourselves a part of it, we try desperately to, but we are as natural as the cedar tree growing outside my window, we're just younger in evolution.

And therefore, acting like spoiled brats a lot of the time, not realizing that the great give and take that is required for harmony in life. Yeah. So yeah, just spending as much time as I can in nature, heal our broken hearts and repair our souls and restore us every day, I think is really the answer for not everybody. I mean, maybe some people restore sitting in front of their computers. I don't.

The more time I sit in front of this machine, the more I feel like a little brain suck, right? But as soon as I walk out in nature, kick my shoes off. And when I can take my clothes off and just roll around in those grassy areas and or bee areas, I feel whole again. I feel like I'm of purpose right? Of service. It feels wonderful.

Rosalee:
That was beautiful. Thank you so much, Rosemary. Thanks for sharing that. And thank you for your time today for all of your inspirational sharings about hope and nettles, and I'm really for all that you've done to bring herbs into so many of our lives and really appreciate you being here. Thank you.

Rosemary:
Thank you, Rosalee. Yeah.

Rosalee:
Don't forget to download your Nesto Recipe Card at the beginning of this page and see more special offerings from Rosemary. Before you go, be sure to  subscribe to my newsletter below so that you'll be the first to get my new videos, including interviews like this. I'd also love to hear what you thought about this interview. So leave your thoughts in the comments below. I deeply believe that this world needs more herbalists and plant-centered folks. So I'm so glad that you're here as part of the Herbs with Rosalee community. Have a beautiful day.



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Rosalee is an herbalist and author of the bestselling book Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients Into Foods & Remedies That Heal and co-author of the bestselling book Wild Remedies: How to Forage Healing Foods and Craft Your Own Herbal Medicine. She's a registered herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild and has taught thousands of students through her online courses. Read about how Rosalee went from having a terminal illness to being a bestselling author in her full story here.  



Choose the best herb for you!

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Get started by taking my free Herbal Jumpstart course when you enter your name and email address. 

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