Conversation with Phyllis Jaworski about the benefits in herbal medicine and tips to harvest and process local plants.
Topics of Discussion:
-How to process harvested plants at home
-Safety within harvesting including cleaning and prepping the plant
-The spiritual element within harvesting
As an herbal clinician, Phyllis Jaworski supports her clients in having pain-free menstrual cycles, and being energized and to live their best life every day of the month. Her career started out with a degree in Animal Science from University of Wisconsin-River Falls and she worked as a scientist for 13 years. After a diagnosis of endometriosis in 2015 Phyllis turned to her new hobby of herbalism for support. Within 6 months she was pain and surgery free.
In 2019 Phyllis obtained her Master of Herbalism certification from Green Wisdom School of Natural & Botanical Medicine. Phyllis focuses on using whole plant preparations to address symptom relief, as well as whole plant nutrition and energy and thought blockages to create lasting healthy patterns.
When not supporting clients you can find her out collecting plants, creating herbal products or traveling with her family.
Phyllis’s website: https://www.sacredibisbotanicals.com/
Ep 84 Herbs for Painful Periods with Phyllis Jaworski: https://wellconnectedtwincities.com/podcasts/ep-85-herbs-for-painful-periods-with-phyllis-jaworski/
How to make herbal tinctures: https://blog.mountainroseherbs.com/guide-tinctures-extracts
How to make herbal oils: https://blog.mountainroseherbs.com/making-herbal-oils?hs_amp=true
Online herbal courses for beginners: https://learningherbs.com/online-herbal-courses/
Phyllis’s favorite books: Alchemy of Herbs by Rosalee de La Foret or anything by Rosemary Gladstar
Some of Phyllis’s favorite foragers/herbalist: @blackforager on Instagram and https://www.foragersharvest.com/
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Ep 121 – Harvesting and Processing MN Local Herbs with Phyllis Jaworski
[00:00:00] Cynthia: You are listening to the Well Connected Twin Cities podcast. I’m your host, Cynthia Shockley, and I’m here to learn alongside you through meaningful conversations with health and wellness practitioners. This is your time to experience some mindset shifts, learn practical tips, and get excited about what is possible.
[00:00:22] We want you to own the power of choice in your personal well being journey. Let’s discover what’s possible right here in our Twin Cities community. Hello, and welcome to the Well Connected Twin Cities podcast. I’m your host, Cynthia Shockley, and today I’m with Phyllis Jaworski. Phyllis is going to walk us through a couple of really cool things around herbs in Minnesota that we can find in our backyards or find on a walk. And so she’s going to teach us how to look for different herbs that we can harvest, safe ways to do so, different ways we can utilize.
[00:01:02] that and process these herbs. I’m really excited for us to have such an applicable episode today, and I hope that you walk away feeling empowered to really get out there and find your own plants to work with. So Phyllis is an herbal clinician and she works with clients and having pain free menstrual cycles.
[00:01:24] She also helps them in being energized to live their best life every day of the month. Her career started out with a degree in animal science from University of Wisconsin River Falls, and she worked as a scientist for 13 years. After a diagnosis of endometriosis in 2015, Phyllis turned to her new hobby of herbalism for support.
[00:01:45] Within six months, she was pain and surgery free in 2019. Phyllis obtained her master of herbalism certificate from green wisdom school of natural and botanical medicine. Phyllis focuses on using whole plant preparation to address symptom relief, as well as whole plant nutrition and energy and thought blockages to create lasting health patterns.
[00:02:08] When not supporting clients, you can find her out collecting plants, creating herbal products, or traveling with her family. And we are here with Phyllis Jaworski. Hi, Phyllis.
[00:02:20] Phyllis: Hi, Cynthia. It’s wonderful to be here with you today.
[00:02:22] Cynthia: Yeah, so good to see you again, but also on this podcast again, it’s an episode that I’m really excited about because I know that I’ve personally walked around Minneapolis or at parks and just wondered to myself, is that a usable plant?
[00:02:41] What plant is that? So I’m really excited for us to dive in today to see. What can we access what’s available? What how do we work with it? But before we dive into that I would love to know just personally for you A rose in a thorn something that’s been going well, and maybe something that hasn’t been going so well
[00:03:07] Phyllis: Yeah.
[00:03:07] Thank you. That’s a great couple of questions there. I guess I’ll start with the thorn. Our oldest son was just diagnosed with scoliosis. That is just something that I’m having the opportunity to educate myself on. And then, reaching out to those I know in the medical world, in the holistic world to see, how to best support him.
[00:03:26] Thank you. I guess in a way that is a rose in the thorn like I’m getting some education and then getting to reach out to the people that have supported me or that I’ve supported in the past to say how do we get through this like what do we, what are the next steps
[00:03:37] Cynthia: yeah, I’m sorry to hear that but I’m glad that it’s been as a lifelong learner also something that brings you just that satisfaction and learning and growing and I think that’s an important mindset to have as you move forward so I appreciate you sharing that.
[00:03:55] Thank you very much. Yeah, your son’s lucky to have you.
[00:03:58] Phyllis: Definitely an advocate. I will do whatever it takes to get him to 18.
[00:04:02] Cynthia: Yeah, he’ll have all the options.
[00:04:04] Phyllis: Yes, yeah, he will. And sometimes that’s a little, that’s a little overwhelming, I’m sure, for him. But,
[00:04:11] Cynthia: yeah. Something he’ll be grateful for,
[00:04:14] Phyllis: I’m sure. I hope so, and it’ll set him up, for, being curious and looking into these things when he’s older for himself and potentially for his children, yeah.
[00:04:21] Cynthia: Yeah. I know. It’s a beautiful legacy to, to be able to share. I think so. Yeah. I know if anyone has been listening for a while to Well Connected Twin Cities, Phyllis might be a familiar voice. She was on our episode 85, Herbs for Painful Periods. And so if you want to check it out, that’s a really wonderful episode.
[00:04:42] It’s all about painful periods and how Phyllis works with clients around that. But for those who are new to you, Phyllis, can you share a little bit about your journey into herbalism and how you ended up in this
[00:04:54] Phyllis: space? Yeah,
[00:04:56] I would love to. Thank you. When I was pregnant with my children, I became incredibly reactive to everything.
[00:05:01] And so I started working with herbs or actually like oils and stuff like that. I was a scientist by trade. So obviously with my curiosity, just trying different things and started combining oils and Butters and stuff to get like a longer lasting not so greasy kind of thing. And then I had started taking herbalism classes as just a fun thing.
[00:05:21] Lise Wolfe had presented at a Master Gardener event that I was at. And I just thought, Oh my gosh, like all of this is in my backyard and all the plants she pointed out. I like, these are the things that I’m ripping out all the time and here I can eat them or make them into things. And I was like, this is so great.
[00:05:36] And then, like I said, as working with the personal care products and coming into the herbal classes, I, in 2015, started to get really sick. I was having incredibly painful periods. I was on the couch several days a month it was recommended to me actually by Lise to start seeing an herbalist for this.
[00:05:50] It could help. And it turns out that they suspected that I had endometriosis, maybe some fibroids and other things. Started working with this herbalist within three months. My pain, my menstrual cycles weren’t painful anymore. I was energized because I was working with plants for energy and for nutrition.
[00:06:05] That’s the biggest thing when you’re not feeling well is most likely that your body is deprived of some nutrients. And so then I decided to make that my career. So in 2017, I Started my Master of Herbalism certification with the Green Wisdom , Natural and Botanical Medicine in Chautauqua, Wisconsin with Gigi Staffney and graduated in 2019.
[00:06:22] Opened my business doors the week we got the shelter in place and promptly closed them the same week and to be home with my children for 11 months. So I actually officially started in 2021. While I’m still new to the, self employment realm, if you consider how long some people have been out there.
[00:06:40] But it’s been a great experience and I’m learning and I’ve been able to support many women into feeling like themselves again. And having pain free menstrual cycles.
[00:06:51] Cynthia: Yeah, and I know we addressed this in the last episode, how it can be all consuming for some women. And so I’m glad that you’ve been able to really focus in on that demographic and people know, okay, painful periods, Phyllis is the one go to her for some herbal support.
[00:07:10] Phyllis: Yeah. Yeah. And they shouldn’t be, they should be very minimal pain if any. And that’s just something that I feel. So strongly about, and just, women just don’t know, cause they’re told oh, you just… It’s fine. You just take some Midol or you take some Tylenol or whatever. And and for most women, like it starts out painful and it just gets worse and worse.
[00:07:29] And that’s obviously not right. If any other time your body is in pain, that means something’s wrong. It’s the same for your menstrual cycle as well, or for your pain for period too.
[00:07:38] Cynthia: Yeah, such an important message. I’m excited for today to dive into that little slice of joy you felt when you were in class and learning about the herbs in your own backyard that you were like, Oh my goodness, I am rich with herbs and I’ve been throwing them away as weeds.
[00:07:59] And so I am excited to learn, what are some of these that you might be able to find in your backyard or find on a walk. That maybe you wouldn’t think twice is actually medicine. Do you mind sharing some of the top ones that come to mind?
[00:08:15] Phyllis: Yeah, I know I could go on and on, and then go by season and go, there are just so many, but I guess I’ll start out with the first one of the first plants I learned about actually from these wolf.
[00:08:24] And that is my gateway. It’s still like my. Foundational plants like my kids always joke that we should get a T shirt that says got plantain because we’ve used plantain for everything first. If plantain doesn’t work, then we move on. Plantain, Pontago major is a plant that grows out of cracks and sidewalks.
[00:08:43] It’s it was. Called by some of the Native Americans, White Man’s Foot, because wherever white men would step, it would grow, because it’s a plant that loves compacted soil. It was brought over here from Europe. And plantain is it’s a green plant. It doesn’t get, it does have a flower stalk that kind of comes up, has teeny tiny white flowers on it.
[00:09:01] But it’s Doctrine of Signatures, which is what Western folk people use. The Doctrine of Signatures is a… Philosophy where the plant tells you how it should be used, but the leaves look like a tongue. They’ll be round. Sometimes they can have kind of an oval shape to them depending upon soil types and stuff, but it’s round with these lines in it that kind of resemble a tongue and plantain is so lovely.
[00:09:23] You can eat the small leaves. It does have a very strong taste. So the thing is with the way we’ve bred our current lettuces and stuff, there really isn’t much of a taste to them and spinach and stuff, but when you’re working with these wild plants, they will have a very distinctive taste. But you can eat the young leaves and salads.
[00:09:41] I find plantain works the best as an oil. So as an oil, it’s a great drawing agent, even as a tincture using it for stomach issues. It does still have that property. It’s great for burns. So I was helping my husband. He’s a painting contractor, and we were removing some wallpaper at a home, and I accidentally stuck my finger in the wall in the steamer, and so the skin burned right away on my fingers, and I thought, I don’t even know what I have here, and I was trying to use cold class, but we were trying to work, so I just put some plantain on, and within a few minutes, I had Okay.
[00:10:12] Fantastic relief and it actually helped it heal so that the skin didn’t completely burst open and rip off and stuff. So it’s wonderful That way I love it as an oil for my t zone or any blemishes that I have because as a drying agent it pulls out whatever gunk is in there. It is anti inflammatory.
[00:10:29] So it helps reduce the look of blemishes Same thing. It’s great for Bug bites bee stings because it helps reduce inflammation. It’s an anodyne. It helps release Or relieve pain, but also then it helps pull out if there’s a stinger or anything in there. So it’s crazy if you have something deep under the skin.
[00:10:47] And you use planting for a while. You’ll actually see it come to the top of the skin. And then you can just pull that out and then keep using it for a little while longer. It’ll help seal up the wound and that skin. It has a lot of land twin in it, which helps repair skin cells and turn them over faster.
[00:11:02] Just a lot like rosemary. Yeah, it’s just such a fascinating plant. You can tincture it, you can oil it, you can eat it you can use it as a tea it just is used for every system of the body. It’s it’s just so fascinating to think that’s out there and free to use and can do all of these different things.
[00:11:20] So I don’t know if you can see that’s why we use it for everything first is because it literally can do. Just about anything
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[00:13:27] Cynthia: that’s amazing. A question that comes to mind is because you mentioned you can use it as an oil as a tincture. If let’s see, I find plantain on the street and I want to use it, what’s that processing look like?
[00:13:43] Is that something I can do from home? Is that something I just, I need support with, I’m curious.
[00:13:49] Phyllis: Yeah. And that’s a good question. So just so you know, I wouldn’t be collecting Herbs from the street.
[00:13:53] So anywhere where there would be salt, pesticide sprayed, you do not want to take plants from there. And if they’re walked over a lot, or maybe a dog has gone to the bathroom there. You do not want to be using those plants. It has a strong flavor. Yeah. And it might, we don’t really know what.
[00:14:08] The animal has or anything. But sometimes local parks will let you collect. So if you can get off the beaten path a little bit, like I said, plantain grows anywhere where there’s compacted soil. So oftentimes a lot of people’s yards and you may not notice it until you look for it that it’s there.
[00:14:23] So the preparation for an oil and a tincture are very different. For a tincture, you want to find clean plant material. So if you’ve just mowed or it’s just rained, especially with rain, you may want to wait a day or two if you’re using medicinally because then the medicinal components are more concentrated.
[00:14:41] And you want the plant material to be as dry as possible for both tincture and oil, but for a tincture then you can just take the plant, fresh plant material, you want to chop it into smaller bits, about one inch by one inch just so that you can get a greater surface area to get more alcohol into all the little bits of the plantain, and then you literally just cram a jar as full as you can for a tincture, With the cut up plant material, and then you just pour vodka or whatever 40 percent alcohol you have, you can use brandy, you can use rum, some people use specific alcohols for specific plants because the taste of the plant is so bad that if you add an alcoholic brandy, it helps make it taste better and make it more palatable to get it down.
[00:15:23] So there’s that. And then for an oil, you want to dry the plant material for 24 to 48 hours. We definitely want to make sure it’s clean because you’re going to put it into oil. And and that takes a little bit of… learning to how to do it. But for plantain, it’s the same thing.
[00:15:38] You find clean plant material, cut it up into one inch chunks. You cram it into the jar that you want to use. And a little bit of oil goes a long way. Some people know you don’t need to make 32 ounces of oil, like eight ounces of probably, that’s about the most we as a family use in a year and we use a lot.
[00:15:56] But anyway, so you. Cram the material into the jar. You cover it with olive oil. That’s what I use. You can use whatever oil you want, but organic if you can and then you let that sit for two to four weeks and strain it and then you have your oil for the tincture. You can let it six weeks to however long you want.
[00:16:11] It doesn’t matter. It’s in the alcohol. And then again, after the six weeks, You strain it and then you can use it as needed from there. That’s a very quick overview
[00:16:24] Cynthia: to put it simply
[00:16:26] Phyllis: very simply. Yeah. But there are websites out there where you can get more information. Obviously if anyone wants to reach out to me I’m going to be working on getting some classes on the book soon for teaching people how to do these things but also Mountain Rose herbs has some great resources out there on how to do tinctures and fusions and oils.
[00:16:42] Cynthia: What’s a fusion? How is that different?
[00:16:45] Phyllis: Oh, an infusion. So this is great for stinging nettle. I think a lot of people know what stinging nettle is and maybe even have it in their yard. But stinging nettle is this great like powerhouse of nutrition and energy. It’s a nutritive herb. And it’s also astringent, so it can be used for, allergies, especially springtime allergies.
[00:17:01] It’s definitely indicated for that. But an infusion is where you take plant material and usually like a tea type material. So you want like a smaller surface area not just like whole leaves you can do it that way, but if you want to get the benefit of it, the best benefit, you want to cut up.
[00:17:16] And so you take one ounce by weight metal or oat straw or whatever into a 32 ounce jar, you pour water over it, fill it up to the tippy top, cover it, and then let it sit for 4 to 8 hours. So you’re using hot water to extract the mineral constituents out of this plant material, and then you strain it and drink it, and it is just, it’s a, it’s seriously a multivitamin in a beverage, because you get all of your B vitamins even some of your macronutrients and protein in that.
[00:17:44] And yeah, iron, magnesium, manganese, I don’t, it just, the list goes on and on. All the B vitamins, except for B12, you can get out of that infusion.
[00:17:55] Cynthia: Wow. That’s amazing. And the fact that you can get. Iron and protein out of, yeah, plant infusion,
[00:18:05] Phyllis: right? And I think, with what we’ve done with our current plants, the way we’ve bred them and stuff, some of that stuff has just been taken out of them, right?
[00:18:12] And so it’s just fantastic that’s how our ancestors got along, right? It’s like they ate way more plants than they do now. And, and we’re healthier because they were getting these nutrients and stuff from non modified plants is my suspicion.
[00:18:25] I guess I have no proof on that for that belief but I did not know that plants could have iron and protein in them.
[00:18:33] Cynthia: Yeah. Amazing. And when you talk about the infusion and using hot water, I’m here like sipping on my green tea and I’m wondering. the difference between having herbs in a tea versus an infusion?
[00:18:48] Is there a difference in, why you would do one versus the other?
[00:18:53] Phyllis: Yeah.
[00:18:53] Infusions is really about getting nutrients out. A tea is used for more potent, like when you’re trying to get medicinal constituents out. An infusion is used more for getting nutrition.
[00:19:05] out of a plant. So with a tea where you’re steeping it for five to ten minutes, you’re not getting a lot of nutrition out of it. You’re just trying to get constituents. So for delicate things like mints and
[00:19:16] I’m trying to think like elderflower, like those kinds of things, you don’t want to steep them too long because A, they’ll get super bitter and then B you get all the constituents out in just a few minutes with the tea. And then you just, you only want a small amount of those types of herbs because their action will be enough within a small cup of tea.
[00:19:35] Whereas with infusion, when you’re trying to get nutrition out of it, right? It’s just I don’t want to say the sky is the limit because there definitely is a limit to how much nettle some people can have, it’s very astringent, it just depends upon what you want to use it for, but teas are usually shorter term, and for more of a medicinal type purpose, and so you’re only going to be taking a few cups of that a day,
[00:19:53] whereas with the infusion, you can drink up to a quart a day, which is four cups of it. And then do that every day. Whereas like with the tea, typically, it’s not something that you, if you’re using it medicinally, you’re not going to be doing that every day for life. You need to switch up or take a break or whatever.
[00:20:06] Cynthia: Yeah it’s not I feel like with the infusions, it’s A meal like it’s something you can just consistently consume because it’s got those macronutrients. It’s got and you’re using the fresh plant versus the dried plant, correct?
[00:20:21] Phyllis: No, you can you can use either, but the dry plant material is usually what I recommend just because you use so much of it.
[00:20:27] So if you figure if you are taking 32 ounces of an infusion a day, you’re using roughly two pounds of material a month. And that literally looks like a bale of dried. Nettle or dried oat straw, like it looks like it is a lot. Whereas with teas, you’re using a lot less, the teabags that you get in the store, really you should be using at least two of those to a cup of tea if you’re using it medicinally.
[00:20:51] There’s just not even enough in one of those little teabags to really do much. But, yeah, so like with an infusion, you’re using a lot more.
[00:20:58] Cynthia: Okay, that’s good to know. You did touch on this, that, some plants, we want to just be careful what its history is, if it’s been stepped on, peed on if it’s, just, there’s been chemicals out and about.
[00:21:15] So I feel like our world, yeah, there’s, it’s just hard because things like Pesticides and things like weed killer. It’s just common right that this is the norm We’re going to spray these plants. They’re weeds. We don’t want them. They’re not grass It’s not manicured and so What would be some considerations that someone might want to make and think about before they start harvesting, whether it’s in their own yard or at a park?
[00:21:48] Phyllis: Obviously knowing whether or not it’s been sprayed. Recently, right? So if it’s been three or more years, and you know that something hasn’t been sprayed, then I think it’s safe to use it. You also no, do not use any flowers from a florist. So rose is a great plant.
[00:22:04] That’s super. It’s it tastes good. It has lots of antioxidants. You can even use the rose hips from a plant. But obviously you don’t want to be using anything that comes from a florist. It’s. Highly sprayed. They also spray things on them to make them look nice before you get them. So definitely nothing.
[00:22:21] Nothing from a florist. Also when especially harvesting out in wild crafting or nature or whatever, you don’t want to take more than a third of the plant because you want to make sure that plant can Go to seed if it needs to that it can get all the nutrients it needs into the soil so that it can be used again next year, unless, of course, it’s an invasive species or what people call invasive species, joyful growers, whatever you want to call them some people don’t like to use the term invasive because it gives the plant a bad name when really they’re just doing their thing, right?
[00:22:47] But like garlic mustard, right? So people are encouraged to eat as much garlic mustard as they can without making themselves sick. So they do contain a chemical in them that if you eat too much of them at one time, it can make you sick or have kidney stones. Yeah, you just, it’s not good to eat things out of ditches.
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[00:23:47] Cynthia: So now we know where not to get our plans. Let’s say you’re just. Maybe a little paranoid and you’re like, okay, but maybe there’s some stuff and I just want to be sure.
[00:23:59] What would people do? Is there a way to process it in a certain way? Is there a way to just make it as clean as possible before you use it?
[00:24:08] Phyllis: Yeah. Yeah. So if you’re collecting obviously in the. One thing I want to state, too, is that plant identification is key here, so you can use things like Google actually does really well with identifying plants, so if you take a picture of it, and there’s a way you can scroll up, and then it’ll say plant, and you click on plant and it’ll help you identify it, and I’ve had really good luck with that.
[00:24:29] There are other plant apps, but I haven’t had as good of luck with that. Any of them as I have with Google getting books for local plants, like wild flowers of, or wild plants of your state or wherever it is. And then obviously, reaching out to botanists, herbalists, anyone who in your, your circle that you can to get a good identification.
[00:24:48] If you’re not using plants medicinally and you’re going to be consuming them, you can wash them much the way you would any other. Plants like like lettuce or whatever definitely you want to, submerge it in water. You want to make sure you get all the bugs and soil and whatever else is out there off, especially say for dandelion leaves, right?
[00:25:07] That’s definitely one or even plantain if you’re going to be using it in a salad, you can dip it in water and just let it soak for a little bit. That helps like everything come off and float to the top and then give it another good rinse. and dry it before you eat it. I’m a big proponent of using baking soda.
[00:25:22] So I do, it’s like a shake or two of baking soda to some cool water, mix that in and then put your plant materials in there. That helps remove any pesticides or certain pesticides, not all of them, but some of them. It does also help kill any bugs and stuff that are on there. You will see that they’ll come off and float up to the top.
[00:25:40] And then you just rinse that off really well. And then dry it. That’s that I think is the best you can do. Now when we’re talking about flowers, so obviously you wouldn’t be able to do that to dandelion flowers, or violet flowers, or yarrow flowers, or anything like that. The flowers are very delicate, so washing them would be hard.
[00:25:57] But one thing you can do is when you… get a harvest is let it sit outside for a little bit so whatever is on it will disperse before you even bring it into your home. I guess that’s what I should have started with because we now have so many little critters living in our home because I’ll be in a hurry and bringing stuff in to process it or whatever and make tea or whatever supper.
[00:26:15] And then yeah, and then I bring critters in the house,
[00:26:18] Cynthia: yes, I remember learning that you have a ton of different animals in your home.
[00:26:25] Phyllis: Yeah, yeah, we have all kinds of different legged, number of legged creatures in our home now. So yeah, it’s always fascinating after I’ve done a harvest to wake up in the morning and it’s there’ll be a spider here or, Some sort of moth or something.
[00:26:38] We have one actually up in the living room, which must’ve come in on some plants that I brought in a few weeks ago that are drying behind me. Yeah, this is never a dull moment.
[00:26:46] Cynthia: Yeah, that’s fun. But I, and I love just the reframe of joyful growers that you mentioned too. They’re not invasive.
[00:26:55] They’re just, nature doing nature. Yeah. Yeah. It sounds like there’s just so many just little nuggets of information here. So all these different plans, ways to process them. But of course, if people like to learn it because it’s fun to learn great, but they’d rather just go to an herbalist and get the products or get the, get things from someone who knows 100 percent what they’re doing.
[00:27:21] How can people work with you or learn more?
[00:27:25] Phyllis: Yeah. Yeah. Thank you. That’s a great question. Yeah. Like I said, I’m planning some classes coming up. Next spring, I’m hoping to do more plant walks. And really there are a lot of herbalists out there or even naturalists.
[00:27:36] There are local parks and stuff that are leading plant walks and stuff to help people identify what’s growing near them. And then I’m hoping to do a make and take class yet this fall where it’s taking some either dandelion or plantain and then I’ll pre make an oil but go over the process and then everyone will be able to pour a salve to take home with them to Use and just, have it as inspiration for creating their own products in the future or just collecting plants.
[00:28:00] The other thing too is if a plant speaks to you, you can just take a little bit, you can sleep with it, see if it influences your dreams, how you feel about anything. There’s just so many great ways to work with plants besides just consuming it or using it for medicine,
[00:28:13] Cynthia: I’m so curious now. So tell me more about taking a plant and dreaming with it.
[00:28:18] Phyllis: Oh, yeah. Yeah. If you look back at time, right? Like plants and animals have grown together. Like we rely on plants. If we die, plants will still be here, but if plants die, we will not.
[00:28:29] We will not make it like we, that’s how plants really are our medication, our clothing, their home, their food, their medicine, their everything. The relationship that we should have with them should be very intimate, right? And and so part of my training was, yes, there’s medicinal, there’s food, but then there’s also a spiritual aspect to plants and and how they can support you in your life.
[00:28:53] just like anything else, like crystals, right? If this crystal speaks to you, maybe it’s trying to tell you something or there’s something in your life that it can support you with. Or even what you want to drink or what you want to eat, right? That could be a sign that you’re missing something or that your body needs this, whatever it is.
[00:29:08] And the same is with plants. So if you are out walking and a particular plant speaks to you, that often means that maybe there’s a part of what’s happening for you that they can support you with. So some of the ways that I learned to work with plants on more of a spiritual or personal level is sleeping with them.
[00:29:25] So you can take some and put some in like a muslin bag or not. You can just slide it under your pillow. I like to carry plants with me. So if I see a plant and like a leaf is speaking to me or whatever, I might just… Slide it into my pocket and feel like that is influencing me and my day, my energy, everything.
[00:29:40] Some people like to just… Taste it like over and over again. Cause that will give you the flavor of the plant, if you will. And see how that affects you. Of course, you need to know that the plant is safe to do that. But yeah, there are just so many other ways, smudging or I call it cleansing.
[00:29:59] I have a class called cleansing botanical sticks where we make like smudge sticks, but using local plants. Cause the beauty of. Of the plants that we have here is that you don’t need sage from California. We have plants that will clear and purify and bring in whatever it is that you want to bring into fruition here in your yard.
[00:30:17] The plants that I mentioned, you can use plantain, you can use dandelion, you can use yarrow, you can use catnip. All of these plants that are here for you to use in that spiritual sense as well. And you don’t need to be buying, you don’t need Palo Santo. You don’t need all of those things. We have so many wonderful offerings here.
[00:30:35] And the plants are just excited when they get noticed and like to know that people are coming back to that and realizing, that connection, that communication and that relationship is really important.
[00:30:46] Cynthia: Wow. I feel like this could be a whole nother episode. I’m, I’ve got goosebumps thinking about yeah, we, without plants, we would die without humans.
[00:30:56] Plants would. probably just thrive even more. And then to just acknowledge that there is a spiritual element, there’s an energetic element to plants and there’s a way to work with that and to make your spiritual practice even more local. I think that’s something a lot of us in well connected Twin Cities, whether it’s, Potential clients or it’s the healers.
[00:31:21] I feel like there’s that sense of minnesota pride and minnesota okay, We’re local. Let’s support local but even to be able to Use local plants. I don’t know something about that. Just really speaks to me and I feel like it’ll speak to a lot of people listening. So
[00:31:37] Phyllis: yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And it’s so wonderful when you know, when you have that knowledge, it’s so empowering to think, Oh, that’s right. I’m not, I don’t have to go out and do this. Like I can do this myself. I guess for me, that has been one of the most wonderful things about this. It’s I don’t have to go here or go there and don’t get me wrong as an herbalist. I can’t. Possibly make all of the tinctures and stuff that I recommend I will purchase from other herbalists I purchased from herb companies as well Like I could not I mean I end up using 20 to 30 pounds or recommending 20 to 30 pounds of nettles Year to my clients.
[00:32:12] I cannot possibly grow and process that amount of nettle, right? Like I just can’t but when it comes to the things that I can do, Plantain self heal. I’m just looking out my garden right now. Motherwort, like those things grow for me and I can get enough out of them and collect them and harvest, one thing that I think is often overlooked are our kitchen herbs that many people grow in their gardens. They have the same spiritual properties as sage, right? So rosemary has so many wonderful things it can bring in. It dispels. Evil, right? It also helps with that remembrance, with memory, right? So if you’re missing someone, right?
[00:32:49] So you can burn a little bit of sage, dried sage from your garden. You can dry a little bit at the end of the year. This is a great time to be harvesting what’s left in your garden. You can have just a mesh dryer like I do. And you just cut at literally just. Cut it off, maybe let it set aside for a little bit, so you don’t bring in critters, and then you put it in your mesh dryer, and then all winter, if you need stuff for cleansing, clearing, whatever, and then for food you can burn a little bit, and set your intention if you’re struggling with memory, like a loss of someone, or sadness, or grief so you have that rosemary for that, you can use it then in food, for that flavoring, but also, same intention, you can say, I’m offering this up, In memory especially if it’s a favorite dish of someone and using words.
[00:33:28] I don’t know. It’s just, what’s so beautiful about it is you can make it whatever you want and it’s your intention. It’s your thing. And like, all the kitchen herbs have sage, right? Garden sage, very much like white sage from out west. You can use it the same way. You can grow your own, you can dry it, and you can burn that plant.
[00:33:46] On your own, right? Like it’s however you would need to develop your own way to do it. So all of time, oregano, all herbs that can be used for clearing and cleansing and purification and warding off evil spirits are bringing in positive energy. It’s just, it’s all there. It’s all there. So whether, yeah, that’s, it’s just so much fun to me.
[00:34:06] And especially when people realize that Oh, I’ve had this whole time, like this. This belongs to me. It’s not someone else’s right like it’s mine. So I just love when the eyes like light up when I’m teaching my cleansing stick class and I’m just like, it’s not these plants that are far off in the Indonesian islands or wherever, or in Africa and stuff like yes, those things are good.
[00:34:27] But but we have what we need here and you don’t have to pay for shipping. You don’t have to do any of that stuff. Like we’re not harvesting them from someone else’s lands and stuff, right? We have, it’s all here. It’s all here,
[00:34:39] Cynthia: yeah, and I, gosh, I can go on about just the analogy here, right?
[00:34:45] That we don’t have to look outward to connect, right? We can look inward. We can look right where we are. It’s. Yeah, so I think that’s beautiful to bring in that spiritual element and to know that’s available, right? It’s something that we can infuse with intention. It’s something that can empower you in your own spiritual journey as well as your healing journey yeah, I’m so glad that we got to talk about that too.
[00:35:11] Phyllis: Yeah, and there’s even more. With plants, I work with flower essences, which is energetic, right? So it works on like a subtle energy that helps clear chakras. And so it’s just amazing. Most people think plants are for eating or for pulling up or for mowing or whatever. And it just, they can just be used so many different ways that we just have lost.
[00:35:31] And yeah.
[00:35:33] Cynthia: Ah, Phyllis, we’ve touched on, the local plants you can use, how you can process them, the spiritual aspect, I’m curious if there’s one takeaway that you hope people leave this conversation with, what would you hope that would be?
[00:35:50] Phyllis: Yeah, for me, that is just like I said before, right?
[00:35:53] Like the plants are here for us. We just need to know how to use them. And we can use them in any way that serves us, right? As long as it’s obviously not harming anyone else or anything like that. Like they are here for us. And and if you want to learn more, there are so many resources out there.
[00:36:12] There are many herbalists that are offering classes, including myself. There are lots and lots of books. I don’t know if I can do an addendum to this. On the website where I can list some of the books and stuff that I’ve found that I love, my favorites like Alchemy of Herbs by Rosalie de Laforet.
[00:36:27] And you just start small. So if it’s something like you want to incorporate more herbs into your life, you just start with one aspect. And see how that works for you it can be cooking more with, I don’t, it’s just they’re here for you, it’s your knowledge, it’s for you, it’s here, and if you need help figuring out what works for you, please reach out to me.
[00:36:46] Otherwise, I will create some resources that I can add as an addendum with this for people to have a place to start.
[00:36:52] Cynthia: Perfect. Yeah, so in the show notes I’ll add in everything that Phyllis has to offer in terms of further research you want to do, further learning, but also the link to her website so that you can connect with her, learn more about her services, her products.
[00:37:09] There’s a whole wealth of information there. So I’m so grateful that we got to learn from you, Phyllis,
[00:37:16] Phyllis: thank you so much. It was wonderful. Your questions are so fantastic and wonderful and they just set me up for it. It’s so easy then to talk about the wonders of plants.
[00:37:26] Thank you, Cynthia. Thank you very much.
[00:37:29] Cynthia: Thank you so much for listening to the Well Connected Twin Cities podcast. Did you learn something new? Did you feel that spark of hope and excitement for what is possible? Because so much is possible. Tell us about it in a review on Apple podcast. Not only would we absolutely love hearing from you, but these reviews help our ratings and help other curious minds like you find this resource.
[00:37:54] We are always better together. Thank you again and see you next time.