Three Ways to Win Over Herbal Skeptics

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In this episode, I’m sharing three ways to win over herbal skeptics in your life.

Here’s the backstory. Last fall, I sent a survey to my newsletter subscribers to ask them what was on their herbal minds. One of the responses I saw most often went something like this: “Help! I love herbs but my (spouse, partner, friend, etc.) doesn’t think they work. How do I get them to see how powerful herbs really are?”

You asked. I listened… and here are my three best tips, compiled just for you.

After listening in, you’ll know:

► Why cultural beliefs about herbs changed dramatically in the first half of the 20th century in the U.S.

► Why there’s no single approach to dealing with herbal skeptics (and how to increase the odds of reaching the skeptics in your life)

► The one way to almost guarantee you won’t influence your skeptic’s opinion of herbs (and what to do instead)

► The power of the pleasure principle and how you can use it with your skeptic

► and more…

-- TIMESTAMPS -- for Three Ways to Win Over Herbal Skeptics

  • 00:00 - Introduction
  • 01:31 - Why is so much shade thrown at herbal medicine? 
  • 03:29 - Strategy #1
  • 04:56 - Strategy #2
  • 09:41 - Strategy #3
  • 13:27 - Herbal tidbit

Transcript of the Three Ways to Win Over Herbal Skeptics Video

Do you love herbs? And do you wish everyone else did too? This is a common problem we plant lovers face! 

Last fall I sent a survey to my newsletter subscribers to ask them what’s on their herbal minds and I wasn’t surprised to see that many people asked about how to win over the herbal skeptics in their lives. So in this episode I’m sharing three ways to win over the herbal naysayers in your life.

So why is there so much shade thrown at herbal medicines?

Those of us who depend on herbs for our daily health, and know that much of the world does the same, can be a bit perplexed by those who claim that herbs don’t work or liken herbs to sleezy cure-all fads.

Many people falsely assume that western medicine, with their drugs and surgeries, is the natural progression of medicine and that we rightly left the antiquated medicine of leaves, barks, and seeds behind.

But, while western medicine can do many amazing things, it was not actually the natural progression of medicine. Herbs were, and still very much are, powerful healers that have their place in our modern world.

The attempt to vilify herbs in the United States was actually very intentional. In the early 1900s major money interests and the American Medical Association systemically defunded medical colleges that used herbal medicines and only supported medical institutions that were teaching about the use of patented drugs. As per usual, it came down to how they could make the most money. You can read more about this by looking at the history of the Flexnor report.

These efforts were so successful that they not only shut down herbalism and other holistic therapies, they also dramatically changed cultural beliefs.

But, just because there were major cultural wars against herbs doesn’t mean they stopped working! 

Nowadays there are more and more people turning back to plant medicines. But, there are still herbal skeptics out there and that can be rough, especially when they’re your close friends, family, or colleagues.

Over the years I’ve made a lot of mistakes when approaching skeptics about herbs, and, over the years, I think I’ve gotten a lot better about how to go about this… so here’s my tips. 

How to Win Over Herbal Skeptics: #1 Know WHO you are speaking to and what matters to them

For example, many people mistakenly believe that there aren’t any scientific studies regarding herbs. I honestly don’t know why this belief continues because it’s not hard to search and find that there are countless studies on herbs. So if you’re speaking to someone who places a lot of value on scientific studies, speaking to them about those studies and using that language may be a good in. This person may not care as much about historical use or even modern day experiences that people have.

On the other hand there are people who get shifty once you mention science. They may think the studies are rigged, or biased, or whatever. (And to be honest, there are studies that are, but that’s another podcast topic.) But, if someone isn’t interested in the latest human clinical trial, I’d leave that be. Maybe they would be interested in historical uses. Maybe they don’t realize that there are countless herbalists in modern day who are working with herbs for healing.

Essentially, my first tip is to know who you are speaking to so that you can share herbal information in a way that is intriguing and convincing to them.

But, you don’t want to go into this too brashly, waving your megaphone in people’s faces, which leads me to my second tip, which is that when it comes to herbs it’s better to…

How to Win Over Herbal Skeptics: #2 Show don’t tell

Herbs are so incredible! And once you start seeing their healing potential, it’s only natural to want to share that with your loved ones, your neighbor, your favorite barista at the coffee place down the street, or anyone else who you talk to for more than three minutes.

Raise your hand if you’ve gone full-on herbal preacher on someone and they’ve basically run the other way.

Yes, it’s true. I’ve totally been guilty of this. I get excited about things, and I just can’t help but share them with others. In my early years of studying herbs, I was probably the worst.

So, I know first-hand what it’s like to see people’s eyes gloss over or perhaps the furtive glances as they look for a way out.

I’ve been an herbalist for a couple decades now and this is just one of the mistakes that I’ve made and seen other people make over the years.

For this week only I’m putting those mistakes on display so that you can learn from them. Starting January 16th, 2024, you can sign up for our free Rooted Medicine Circle mini course which includes a webinar on How to Avoid 7 Common Herbal Pitfalls So That You Can Make Powerful Remedies That Heal.

This herbal mini course only lasts a week but we are packing it full of actionable information that you can use immediately.

For example, as part of this mini course my friend and co-teacher Emily Han and I will give a live class on how to make herbal teas that actually work. 

To sign up for this free herbal mini course, you can go to Remember this only lasts for this week so get in the door today. And if you happen to be listening to this episode outside of that week-long window, you can still click on that link and sign up for the waitlist to get in the door the next time we offer this.

Okay, so back to tip #2 which is “show not tell”.

When it comes down to it, no one really likes to be lectured to. And most people aren’t thrilled to get loads of information on something they simply aren’t into. So if someone is giving you the signals that they simply aren’t interested in herbs, don’t force it!

Instead, one of the best things you can do in this situation is to show, not tell. Which basically means living your own joyful herbal lifestyle.

Here’s a story from my own life.

A little ways back I had to have dental surgery. Which, by the way, is no fun, but a great example of when modern medicine tends to shine. Anyway, after the surgery my dentist gave me chlorhexidine as a mouthwash. I wasn’t excited about using this and I knew that there are many studies out there showing that certain herbs are just as effective as mouthwashes as chlorhexidine.

So, knowing my dentist, who is an awesome guy on many fronts, probably wouldn’t be entirely thrilled with me turning down the chlorhexidine, I just kept that to myself and used herbal mouthwashes instead.

When I went back after a few weeks for a check-in my dentist was amazed at how well my gums had healed. Which is when I told him about my herbal mouthwashes. Looking at the proof of my healed gums he was curious and asked me lots of questions about these incredible herbs. My guess is that he was way more open to hearing about them after he saw the results.

And just in case it sounds kinda shady that I was ignoring my dentist’s advice, I want to pipe in to say that I am all about safety when it comes to herbs and our health. In this particular situation I was confident that the herbal mouthwash would work great and I was using common sense along the way. I could tell my gums were getting dramatically better day by day.

So yes, show not tell!

Over time people will naturally be curious about what you’re doing when you show improvements in your own health or you’re simply radiating joyful energy with your strengthening connection to herbs and nature or while enjoying herbal goodies.

Sharing stories organically about how herbs play a positive role in your life is always good: that time you took ginger for nausea, a lavender compress for a headache, a salve or cream for a mysterious rash, etc. 

This brings me to my third tip which is to...

How to Win Over Herbal Skeptics: #3 Win them over with delicious herbal treats which could evolve, in time, to them being interested in trying herbal medicines

For some people using herbs to address an illness is just too much too fast. They may have too many strong beliefs that herbs are antiquated, don’t work, or perhaps are simply not safe.

While it seems normal for you and me to turn to elderberry syrup when we feel a cold coming on or to drink ginger tea for a sore throat, other people are simply more comfortable reaching for those artificial syrups at the drugstore filled with red dye #5. I know. I don’t get it either.

But if using herbs for ailments is simply inconceivable to someone, then backing up a bit to start with delicious herbal goodies can be a great first step.

And hey, maybe that person never does turn to herbs as medicine, but they may enjoy these herbal foods and beverages and therefore may be getting some great herbs in their life, which is great preventive medicine. And who knows, maybe those initial herbal treats become the gateway for them to be open to trying more herbs in the future.

In our online course, Rooted Medicine Circle, we teach you step-by-step how to make over 20 herbal remedies from scratch. This course is more like a community event because we teach through live medicine-making classes, which are also recorded, and have lots of other opportunities for you to connect with other herb lovers and to get all your questions answered.

Students leave this class as confident herbalists. One of our students, whose name is Bliss, wrote that, “”Rooted Medicine Circle helped my competence and confidence tremendously. Having all the good information plus the little tips and tricks of experience as well as the consistency of meeting regularly to make medicine helped me to finally feel like a real herbalist.”

I love this quote because I truly believe that the world needs more herbalists!

Will that be you?

Are you excited to have a kitchen full of potent herbal remedies that you feel confident using?

If so, the best way to get started is to check out our free Rooted Medicine Circle mini course. 

Again, you can register now by going to

We look forward to seeing you there! 

If you enjoyed this video and you value trusted herbal information, then I hope you’ll stick around! The best way to get started is to subscribe on YouTube and your favorite podcast app.

One of the best ways to retain and fully understand something you’ve just learned is to share it in your own words. With that in mind I invite you to share your takeaways with me and the entire Herbs with Rosalee community. You can leave comments on my YouTube channel, at the bottom of this page, or simply hit reply to my Wednesday email. I read every comment that comes in and I’m excited to hear your herbal thoughts.

You’ve made it to the end of the show, which means you get a gold star and this herbal tidbit. 

Let’s chat about tea.

Herbal teas are some of the most versatile and strongest of our herbal medicines. 

Here are just a few reasons why…

You can often get the biggest dosages with teas, which can be important when you are really looking for results.

Teas are safe and appropriate, whether you are 2 years old or 102 years old (and everything in-between).

They are also often the cheapest and easiest of herbal medicines to make!

BUT, the reason people dismiss teas so often is because they simply don’t know how to make them well. 

Too often people use too little herbs and steep them for too short of time. Sometimes there’s confusion over when to use fresh herbs or dried herbs (and yes, this really matters). 

OR, they make horrible-tasting teas that nobody wants.

As part of the Rooted Medicine Circle mini course my co-teacher, Emily Han, and I are teaching an entire live class showing you how to make awesome herbal teas.

We taught a similar class last year and here’s what one of the participants wrote to us…“Great class. I loved the complementary energy you both had. It was like I was in the same room with you. I learnt a lot and made lots of notes. My biggest learning was the importance of experimenting shown by you both in the difference in color, smell and taste and being present with that moment of observation. I easily could have spent more hours in your classroom. ”

The Rooted Medicine Circle herbal mini course is only available this week! Go to today to get in the door.

See you there! 

Rosalee is an herbalist and author of the bestselling book Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients Into Foods & Remedies That Healand 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.  

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