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Dexter Dover Area Towns in Transition’s (DDATT) held its First Friday public discussion on Friday, August 4th at the Abbott Memorial Library in Dexter. The discussion featured local grower and herbalist Linda Tisdale, owner of Alchemilla Herbal Apothecary. Over two dozen area people learned and shared knowledge of the many foods, flavors, and medicines that surround the area. Tisdale began by explaining that isolating an ”active ingredient” from an herb (as is done by the dominant pharmaceutical industry) does not have the healing potential that the full plant possesses. Herbalist, Linda Tisdale spoke about the many benefits of herbs during the recent public discussion at the Abbott Memorial Library.
She encouraged the participants to notice what plants grow around them, learn their biological names to clearly and consistently identify them (and not depend on common names which are often confusing), and use the senses of smell and taste, not just sight, in the identification process. Get to know ten plants really well, and these will form the basis for an herbal apothecary. Different herbs have, over centuries of use, been found to help different physical and emotional ailments, but it takes a while to learn their careful applications.
A few hours before the evening talk began, Tisdale walked around her Dexter property and gathered samples of a few dozen wild and cultivated herbs to pass among the attendees. Many were familiar (such as plantain, ground ivy, burdock, and valerian), others not so much (usnea, golden thread and golden seal, St John’s Wort, mullein, and teasel, for example). Many attendees also shared their extensive herbal knowledge to answer questions about how to use each herb, which part of the plant works best for a specific ailment, and how to use moderation in all applications. When in doubt, be cautious. More is not always better. And when harvesting in the wild, never take more than you need; indeed, Tisdale has often brought threatened species home to her garden to help perpetuate them in the face of too much public pressure.
Learning more about the natural resources is a major part of DDATT’s mission, to help the area reduce dependence on fossil fuels and create a more stable rural economy. The next First Friday discussion’s topic is Grass Fed Animals, on Friday, September 1st. For more information on DDATT and future events, email to get on email news list, or contact l-277-4221 or 924-3836.