Community Herb Guilds,

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THE November 5th
MONTHLY MEETING OF GRANT COUNTY HERB GUILD!

"Come learn to be your own Herbalist!"

SPECIAL TOPICS:

"BOTANY IN A DAY" A handful of Antiviral plants A botany lesson, given by Monica Rude, owner of Desert Woman Botanicals

Presentation on a few anti-viral herbs and their usages & preparations.

Plus a simple demonstration: How to make cough drops for wintertime sore throats, given by Richard McDonald, C.H. owner of Desert Bloom Herbs.

Come spend some time to learn how to use herbs to maintain the health of your family.

For more information, call: 388-3542

The public is encouraged to attend. Come learn to become your own herbalist.

Meetings will be held at The Corner Cafe- 7:00 PM on the 1st Thursday each month.

For more information, e-mail to: Feedback & Questions

Those of us who have used herbs for any length of time know that we have had to fight a seemingly endless battle against forces which wish to prevent us from using these wonderful gifts of nature to maintain our health. These forces have had many mouthpieces the F.D.A., the A.M.A., and lately, the Codex Commission, brought to you by the General Agreement on Tarriffs and Trade (G.A.T.T. treaty).

Behind the scenes, though, are the drug companies, who are working on every front to assure their continued dominance in the health care field. They are working overtime, to help create a system of distribution for expensive "standardized" herbal medicines, which will completely eliminate the small herb store, (by implementing strict new manufacturing processes guidelines). These guidelines will require so much money to implement, and maintain, that most small herbal companies will not be able to comply, and will be driven out of business, (with FDA help).

The proposed FDA "Good Manufacturing Practices Guidelines" will require each manufacturer of herbal products to submit herbal products for expensive testing. The result for the consumer, will be a much larger price tag on the herbal medicines you will buy in the future. You will no longer see small herb stores like mine, here and there, because it will be illegal for us to sell our plant medicines, (which are made to specifications from the late 1800's United States Dispensatories...) unless we regularly submit samples of both the wildcrafted or cultivated plants we use to make the medicines, and the finished medicine itself. Testing of a dry plant sample will cost somewhere in the range of $200.00, and testing of an extract will cost more than $100.00. This move alone, will increase the prices paid by consumers by an estimated 50 to 100 per cent, and would make products produced by small manufacturers (traditional herbalists) unaffordable and unavailable due to the high cost of compliance with the new laws being spewed by the F.D.A. (current tool and mouthpiece for the pharmaceutical companies).

If you have become as disgusted with the political process as I have, then perhaps you will be happy to know that there is a way to deal with it all. First, I recommend becoming active politically. Let your Representatives (both on the state and federal levels know that you will vote them out unless they begin to listen to the people again, instead of just listening to companies with lots of money. Let them know that you value your ability to use herbs, that you believe they are safe, and tell them about a good experience you've had in using herbs. Encourage them to try using herbs themselves so they can see first hand how effective they are. Send them a bottle of Echinacea to use when they have a cold!! Most importantly, when the next election comes around... become politically active by voting . If they are listening and trying to implement what you'd like to see, then vote FOR them, and really get behind their campaign. If they haven't been listening, and have instead, been trying to help the drug companies and the FDA to limit your health care choices, then vote AGAINST them!! Get them out of office and put another person in office who will listen to you!!

Don't let yourself get lost or consumed in the political process, though. You still have your own life to live, and your sanity to maintain. So... get together with your herbal friends, (you'll be surprised how many of us use herbs these days again), and START AN HERB GUILD! That's what I've done here in Silver City, with the help of other herbalists in the area and all the folks around here who use herbs!!

The first meeting of the Silver City / Grant County Herb Guild took place on a full moon night, October 15th, 1997 at Desert Bloom Herbs store in Silver City, NM. Twenty people showed up for the first meeting, and everyone was enthusiastic and fired up due to the impending legislation at that time, (S.830), which threatened to force the United States to adopt European Community standards and laws , regarding herbs and supplements.

Since the first meeting, it seems that herbs and supplements have (for the time being), been exempted from the "harmonization language" within S.830 and H.R. 1411.  Although this was an apparant victory for herb users, we also realize that given the history of this continual battle between people who want to use herbs and people who want to control the use of herbs, that we MUST take this time to learn the herbal knowledge ourselves, and begin to integrate it into our own lives.

And so, we had a second meeting of the Silver City Herb Guild on November 12th, 1997. It was hosted by Erica Rowntree, owner of Bear Creek Herb store. It was attended by 25 people!! We decided to dispense with bylaws, dues, and all the rest of the usual formalities, and to base the guild upon two underlying principles; Education, and Political awareness / activity. These are two separate parts of the guild, and members can participate in each part as they see fit.

Each time we meet, someone will give a short talk on some herbally-related subject, which has been decided upon at the previous meeting. At the last meeting, Dr. Michael Brown gave a spontaneous presentation on the Herpes virus, and the dietary and herbal remedies to control and prevent outbreaks. At our next meeting, which will be on December 3rd, at Desert Bloom Herbs store, Monica Rude, C.H. will be speaking about Botany... the study of plants and their characteristics, (which is important to know if you want to grow or collect your own plant medicines).

We have decided to use two agreements as cornerstones of the guilds. First, we all agree to either ethically wildcraft (collect from the wilds) our herbs, or organically grow them (without artificial fertilizers or pesticides). Second, we have adopted, (as a starting point) The materia medica booklet, put out by Mr. Michael Moore, Clinical Herbalist, which lists the technical specifications for preparation and dosage of each herb. What all this means is that the format has now been established for the creation of other small community herb guilds all over the country/world. Through these herb guilds, people can continue to enjoy using the health-giving herbs, and those who are interested, but have never used herbs, can begin to become informed and trained in the correct use of herbal medicines. This is a very empowering movement, which gives the knowledge and choice back to anyone who wants to participate and learn. (power to the people). Through these guilds, we can send and recieve medicinal plants, seeds, and other items, which will allow us to grow and process our own medicines with which to maintain our health. We can create educational events, which will help everyone to experience the REAL healing power of the plants.

We encourage everyone who reads this to think about forming an herb guild in your own community. We also encourage you to attend one of our meetings so you can see how simple it is. Call 505-388-3542

With Kind Regards,
Richard McDonald, C.H.

For more information, e-mail: Desert Bloom Herbs

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