Throughout history, there have been countless numbers of herbalists. No doubt most of them practiced locally, helping the people in their own towns and villages. And no doubt most of them wrote no book, left no legacy save passing down their knowledge through word of mouth to their children or an apprentice. But some herbalists have stood the test of time, bridging the gap between their era and our own by leaving us their knowledge in the form of the written word. Although there aren’t a great many of these books available today, some are still circulating and are even referenced in herbal practice.
Today we’re able to learn from herbalists who practiced even hundreds of years ago. Sure, our medical knowledge has grown and shifted over the generations, but the plants haven’t changed. They’re still capable of healing us in ways we well know and in ways yet to be discovered. So the great herbalists of this generation are no doubt leaving their own mark for future practitioners. What makes this era so different is our ability to record our knowledge in more ways than simply in the written form. I think that’s what makes the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine so unique.
As you may or may not know, I’ve been attending SWSBM through its distance learning program, watching the DVD course at home. You also may or may not know the founder of this school, Michael Moore, sadly passed away last February. But the legacy he’s left behind is something I’m appreciating more and more.
In the over 200 hours of lectures offered through the course, the majority of it is taught by Michael himself. For many years the school had a physical location where students could travel to Arizona and attend, learning from Michael and others. He filmed the final year that the school was open. What results is a class in herbalism that may very well be attended by generations to come, and I’m grateful to be a part of that. Can you imagine? It’s possible that 100 years from now, students of herbalism will be able to listen to Mr. Moore teach his classes, to see his enthusiasm for a plant, even enjoy his unmatched wit. If you’re interested in becoming an herbalist, I’d highly recommend you look into this course. I’m quite certain there is no other like it.
As for the herbalists of days gone by, I can only imagine the many great written works that have been lost over the years. No doubt herbalism would have all but withered up and blew away had it not been in great part for the work of Mr. Moore and his revitalizing of the craft. If you’re interested in checking out some of the texts he rediscovered, they’re still available online for free on the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine website. I’ve spent countless hours there myself, in wonderment over the heritage left to us from the great herbalists of this and previous generations.