Digging for the Root

(calm music) – We do it without
even noticing it. There’s some kind
of innate knowing that it improves the quality of our lives to
be around plants. (calm music) St. John’s wort and chamomile
were these two herbs that allowed me to remember
that like life, it still happens and they just brought
in this positivity that I felt like I
was really without. – I had really
incredible memories of
my Great Grandma Lupe coming over to my
house in Phoenix when I was a really young kid and kind of boiling
herbs on the stove. We had just yerba buena
growing wild in our back yard, and she saw it and
recognized it as something that was edible,
that we could drink, and even though I must
have been really young, that really stuck with
me for some reason. I’m Carla Vargas-Frank, I’m an herbalist, I
have a private practice here in Tucson, and I also do
education, herbal education. Herbalism is using
plant material from everything from food
to ritual to medicine. It can be vibrational, it
can be more allopathic, but I think just kind of
using the natural world as a way to balance
and heal oneself. Healing resource
for the community. So when I sit down with a client it’s gonna take at
least two hours. I wanna look at their, you
know, their history of health, I wanna look at their
family’s health, I also wanna hear
about the experiences that they’ve had growing up, whether or not they’ve come
to me for a physical issue or a mental issue,
that may have affected how they live in the world. And so then when I get
that initial knowledge from that person, I can sort
of kind of piece together sort of like a team of herbs that I think would be helpful
to that person in this time. And it’s kind of like setting
up two friends, you know, you’re like, well these
plants have these virtues and these strengths, and
this person is needing or yearning for these aspects
in their life to bring balance so I want them to meet. Herbal medicine and the
healing philosophies that come out of a lot
of these traditions, we look at people as a whole, and I think that people are
really yearning for that. – I’ve had experiences where
I’ve gone to a practitioner, a Western doctor, and
instead of them asking me what I’m dealing with or
what I’m going through, or how I’d like to deal
with what I’m going through, they would tell me, and so many times those
things didn’t work. It started with mental
health for sure, because when I was living in
Seattle I struggled a lot. I felt very lost at that time, I felt very depressed
and very lethargic. I had no health insurance. I started to think about
where my resources were and what I felt
like I could obtain, and it was a lot of herbs
like St. John’s wort and chamomile, and
things like that, and they just brought in this
kind of springtime feeling of kind of growing
and being like, you know I’m capable
again of leaving my house and I feel like I want
to do these things. I think there may
be a new awareness of connecting back to the earth and back to our
ancestral traditions, especially among, I think
women and queer folks, and non binary people. I think we live in a world
where we feel really secluded and sometimes ostracized. – I think that people
are feeling disempowered by being looked at
sort of in pieces, and so I think the
similarity between a lot of these traditions, no
matter where they come from is that we’re
looking for the root. We’re digging for
where it started, and it’s impossible,
really, I think, to find that root
without, you know, looking at all of the
things and the situations and the environments that
have brought us to this point. This is something that
people can afford, they can access, there are
less kind of gatekeepers in terms of at least
looking towards solutions, and this is a way that people can take their health
into their own hands.

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