Working in an apothecary has been a total blessing for me. I practice what I'm learning by working with the herbs and helping people find plants that can support their healing-- for stomach problems, migraines, sore muscles, a sluggish liver, fever, flu, insomnia, allergies. If I can't help them right then I do the research when they leave.
I've learned that nursing mamas can take fenugreek to promote milk production, but not if they have thyroid problems. I've learned about drinking tea made of flowers to lift one's spirits. I've learned about gall stones. I've learned that arnica can help bruises and sore muscles and that myrrh is awesome in toothpaste.
I've also learned where to find ramps in the city. Someone came in to drop off some foraged chickweed for the herbalist and mentioned that she had just scored a ramp jackpot nearby. One of the first edibles of spring! Full of vitamins and flavor! The next day I took my trowel and my mother-in-law to find them, a ramp and sunflower seed pesto in mind. The lush, light green leaves are beautiful and unmistakably pungent when bruised. Sometimes people will cut the leaves and leave the bulbs, but the bulbs are the best, most potent part. It's worth easing the entire plant out of the soil and it's better to take the whole plant and then take fewer plants. I've been back to the park since to harvest dead nettles and chickweed- the only two weeds I was able to sufficiently identify on my own this early in spring.
I also "weeded' my mother-in-law's garden. She took me around to the dandelion patches that had withstood her best efforts last year so I could harvest the medicine of the roots. Unfortunately for her, but luckily for me, I did a rather awful job of pulling up the roots all the way. They'll be back.
I spent that evening by myself cleaning the plants and laying them out to dry, planting seeds, making and relishing a ramp pesto, dancing, and doing yoga. I am so happy it's spring and so happy to be spending my time working at and studying something so nourishing.