The Sanctuary is a garden. A garden of medicinal plants. Many of the plants in the sanctuary are at risk or on to watch lists. A few of these plants are a black cohosh, blue cohosh, blood root, Echinacea angustifolia, Butterfly weed, Trilliums, Squirrel Corn and Ramps. More of these at-risk medicinal plants are added to the garden every year.
In the garden there are also common plants that one never thinks of medicine, such as the grand Sunflowers and inconspicuous Enchanter’s Nightshade. There are also plants with a long history of helping people but the knowledge of using these plants is not widely shared, such as Belladonna and Aconite.
Currently in the Sanctuary there are over 60 medicinal plants and the gardens are still growing.
The essence of the Sanctuary is not so much to make medicine from all the plants that grow here, although there is much medicine made from the plants in the garden, but to provide a space for medicinal plants to grow and for people to learn from them.
Abrah is the steward of the Sanctuary.
The word stewardship comes from old English stīweard meaning guardian of the house.
Plants sustain life on this planet. They create oxygen for breath. Change water to rain. Slow the force of the wind and cool the heat of the sun. They are fuel for fire against the cold.
Plants provide safe habitat for the humming bird with tiny cone shaped nests, the rich man with his mansion and every life form in between. Plants offer protection for the mouse hiding amongst leaf litter, the serpent coiled in the branches of a tree and praying mantis green as a leaf.
Plants invoke the grand emotions of a symphony’s soaring wood winds, violins and drums. Plants provide the paper for love poems and pigments for swirling colours on canvas. Sunflowers’ joy inspired Van Gogh, water lilies’ calm mesmerized Claude Monet and Georgia O’Keefe fell in love with the curves of iris’ petals.
Herbalists know that plants carry medicine to heal the sick, calm the anxious and bring hope to those who despair.
From space our planet, our home, is a shining blue jewel. With our feet on the ground, it is difficult not to notice the green that sways in the wind on city streets and deep forests, vast prairie and along ocean’s shore lines. Plants are everywhere there is life on this beautiful planet we call home.
To care for our home, is to care for the plants that grow under feet and overhead, spiral up telephone poles and break through cracks in the cement. Our planet’s life force is witnessed in the generous bounty of plants.
Herbalists know this. The first responsibility of herbalists is good stewardship of our collective home. Herbalist’s do this by caring deeply for the plants and paying close attention to how plants are used for medicine.
This is my personal commitment as a herbalist to stewardship of our home and its many plants.
- Encourage good relations between people and plants.
- Foster understanding of the rich cultural heritage all human beings have with plants.
- Nurture respect for traditional and sacred plant medicine.
- Support awareness of endangered and at-risk planets in the use of medicine while offering alternatives to these plants. Plant endangered and at-risk plants in as many places as possible.
- Tend to a garden of medicinal plants, both common and endangered, where people can come and learn about plants, their history and their medicine.
- Teach people how to care for plants whether in the garden or in the wild.
- Offer the medicine plants carry to help all who ask in a way that does not cause harm to the person, the plant community and the planet.
- Walk lightly on the Earth with gratitude and beauty for the great green life force that offers itself freely to the service of all.
It is a garden, a classroom and a clinic. It is a green healing space. It is a place of joy and beauty.
You are invited to visit and to tend to its care. Please reach out to ask how.