The Silver City Herb Guild was originally established in late 1997, in response to national and international trends aimed at limiting access to herbs, supplements, and information about natural healing agents and alternative therapies.
The first meeting of the Silver City / Grant County Herb Guild took place on a full moon night, October 15th, 1997 at Desert Bloom Herbs store in Silver City, NM. Twenty people showed up for the first meeting, and everyone was enthusiastic and fired up due to the impending legislation at that time, (S.830), which threatened to force the United States to adopt European Community standards and laws , regarding herbs and supplements.
Since the first meeting, it seems that herbs and supplements have (for the time being), been exempted from the "harmonization language" within S.830 and H.R. 1411. Although this was an apparant victory for herb users, we also realize that given the history of this continual battle between people who want to use herbs and people who want to control the use of herbs, that we MUST take this time to learn the herbal knowledge ourselves, and begin to integrate it into our own lives.
And so, we had a second meeting of the Silver City Herb Guild on November 12th, 1997. It was hosted by Erica Rowntree, owner of Bear Creek Herb store. It was attended by 25 people!! We decided to dispense with bylaws, dues, and all the rest of the usual formalities, and to base the guild upon two underlying principles; Education, and Political awareness / activity. These are two separate parts of the guild, and members can participate in each part as they see fit.
Each time we meet, someone will give a short talk on some herbally-related subject, which has been decided upon at the previous meeting. At the last meeting, Dr. Michael Brown gave a spontaneous presentation on the Herpes virus, and the dietary and herbal remedies to control and prevent outbreaks. At our next meeting, which will be on December 3rd, at Desert Bloom Herbs store, Monica Rude, C.H. will be speaking about Botany... the study of plants and their characteristics, (which is important to know if you want to grow or collect your own plant medicines).
We have decided to use two agreements as cornerstones of the guilds. First, we all agree to either ethically wildcraft (collect from the wilds) our herbs, or organically grow them (without artificial fertilizers or pesticides). Second, we have adopted, (as a starting point) The materia medica booklet, put out by Mr. Michael Moore, Clinical Herbalist, which lists the technical specifications for preparation and dosage of each herb. What all this means is that the format has now been established for the creation of other small community herb guilds all over the country/world. Through these herb guilds, people can continue to enjoy using the health-giving herbs, and those who are interested, but have never used herbs, can begin to become informed and trained in the correct use of herbal medicines. This is a very empowering movement, which gives the knowledge and choice back to anyone who wants to participate and learn. (power to the people). Through these guilds, we can send and recieve medicinal plants, seeds, and other items, which will allow us to grow and process our own medicines with which to maintain our health. We can create educational events, which will help everyone to experience the REAL healing power of the plants.
We encourage everyone who reads this to think about forming an herb guild in your own community. We also encourage you to attend one of our meetings so you can see how simple it is.
The guild successfully organized and presented monthly community meetings on various health-related topics, such as diabetes, hepatitis, smoking cessation, drug / herb interactions, local plant botany, growing medicinal herbs, and herbal medicine-making, for nearly 3 years.
In the last year of its previous incarnation,(described above), the Silver City Herb Guild merged with the Silver City Practitioners Alliance group, which consisted of local health care providers from all systems of medical treatment. This group included medical doctors, oriental medical doctors, ayurvedic practioners, clinical herbalists, physicians assistants, physical therapists, nurses, naturopaths, and osteopaths. The aim of this group was to exchange information about the various protocols (from each practitioners respective system of medical treatment), and discuss the ways in which the most effective and non-invasive of the various procedures could be integrated into our individual practices.
In 1998, the Silver City Herb Guild temporarily disbanded due to scheduling conflicts and the lack of volunteers needed to take on the various tasks associated with running the group.
In September 2004, several local herbalists with herb businesses met to reactivate the Silver City Herb Guild, and to chart a new direction for it. These five people who comprise the steering committee for the current guild, and are: Naava Koenigsberg, Clinical Herbalist; owner of Bear Creek Herbs, and Stefan Link,herbal apprentice and wildcrafter; Monica Rude, Clinical Herbalist; owner of Desert Woman Botanicals; Marayah Rai, clinical herbal consultant, educator and owner of Roots Woman Wildcrafting, and Richard McDonald, Clinical Herbalist; owner of Desert Bloom Herbs.
After several initial planning meetings, the members of the Herb Guild successfully presented four separate local herb walks which were well-attended. Following the Fall herb walks, a series of six evening clases were presented, covering the basics of herbal medicine-making, including making teas (water extracts), alcohol / water extracts, glycerites, infused oils and salves, honeyed herbs, cough syrups, oxymels and lozenges. These classes were full every time, and were a great deal of fun. The feedback received about the presentations was very positive, and all of us within the steering committee observed how much each person who attended learned over the period of just six short weeks! It was truly heart-warming!
Because of the successes of the Fall herbwalks and Winter classes, the steering committee group scheduled new classes for the current 2005 year. Two sets have already been given and it is June at the time of this writing.(last revision) Please bookmark the main page and check back often to see the new schedule as it becomes known.
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