Walking the Plant Path

lindsay catfish alley

With wood betony (Stachys officinalis) in the garden

Some of you may know my story about how I got into plant medicine, but I sense that many of you do not. I went through an intense health crisis in 2000 while living in Eastern Europe. My life shattered into a thousand pieces and my health greatly deteriorated.

Depression, heart palpitations, dizzy spells, gastric issues, intrusive thoughts, panic attacks, anxiety, and debilitating feelings of grief and rage.

I went to two allopathic doctors, one in Prague and the other in the MS…and told them these symptoms. The doctor in Prague suggested I drink more green tea. The doctor in MS suggested I get on birth control.

That was it. That was all Western medicine had for me.

It was at this point that I knew I had to look elsewhere and I did. I moved to San Francisco and started to work with non-profits that focused on at-risk communities, mostly immigrant and refugee communities. Their stories of trauma and recovery were a big part of my medicine.

Also, I changed my diet. I started going to yoga classes, attending zen meditation, and got into permaculture. It was because of my permaculture course that I met an herbalist that first year in San Francisco. I got my first herb formula ~ hawthorn & passionflower ~ experienced how it shifted my body-mind-spirit and never looked back (allowed me to sleep better and calmed my heart palpitations).

One by one, I figured out what herbs I could use for imbalances and health issues I was facing. Whether it was depression, UTIs, healing ligaments & tendons, or calming my nerves…herbs never failed me. LOL, or at least they haven’t yet!

So, this is why I do what I do. This is why I dig in the dirt, collect seeds, scan the forest, and prepare plant medicine. I want other people to have this option…if they want it…it is here. And, if you want to take it a step further…you can learn to make our own.

I am not saying that allopathic medicine doesn’t have its place. It does. I was in a terrible car accident a year ago. Believe me. I was glad that I woke up in the ER under the care of trauma specialists. They knew how to dig the glass out of my head and stitch me up. They knew how to make sure I didn’t have blood hemorrhaging in my skull.

However, I knew how to clear trauma out of my system. I knew how to rebuild by HPA axis. I knew how to heal the wounds on my head and disinfect them. I knew how to rest and nourish myself with foods.

Truly, the rather controlling medical-industrial-complex is challenging us to find truer ways to administer health in our lives and communities. We are rediscovering not only how to help people come back into balance, but how to properly birth new life and steward the elderly across the great threshold.

Ultimately, we are rediscovering what it means to be human beings in a world made of matter and spirit.


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