Category: Dispensing

2015 Herbalista Service Report

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HERBALISTA HEALTH NETWORK

2015 Service Report

Building Community Through Herbalism!  

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This past year the Herbalista Free Clinic expanded services by adding a new member to our fleet.  In January 2015, the Herb Cart hit the pavement to join the Herb Bus providing free herbal healthcare around the Atlanta area. 

Together these herb-stations-on-wheels facilitated 38 clinics in 2015, serving hundreds in our local community!

Duane pushes the Herb Cart towards Woodruff Park for a Sunday Clinic alongside the Food Not Bombs Crew. May 2015

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We continued to pour sweet, sweet herbal medicine, custom compounding all sorts of remedies for our patients, from teas to tinctures to oils and more!   And though we are mobile, we provide regular opportunities for refills so that we can be a service folks can depend on!  Over the course of 2015 we poured over 6 gallons of extract blends, 8 pounds of loose herbal blends, 1500 capsules blends, a quart of fixed oil preparations, dozens of aromatic inhalers, salves, spritzers and more! 

Christina in the Herb Bus Apotheke.

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We served at herbal first aid stations around the country.  At these stations, herbalists and conventional practitioners (nurses, EMT’s, ect.) work together, providing patient focused healthcare.     

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The First Aid Station at the Florida Earthskills Gathering. February 2015
Joining 7Song’s Northeast School of Botanical Medicine to serve at the CALM First Aid Station at the Rainbow Gathering in Manistee National Forest, Michigan.  July 2015.
The First Aid Station at the Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference in Lake Eden, North Carolina. October 2015.

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This year the Bus drove nearly 10,000 miles delivering healthcare and herbal education in Atlanta and around the country. The  2015 Herbalista Expedition was the Herb Bus’ most ambitious trip yet, clocking 8,000 miles and covering over 20 states during her 2 month voyage.

 Viva la Herb Bus!  

At well over 200,000 miles, this little bus just keeps on going!  The Catholic Worker’s Hippy Kitchen on Skid Row, Los Angeles, CA. August 2015

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 8.00.20 PMAnd while we do rely on donations from the greater community, we are always striving to create more of a self-supporting system, from seed to remedy!  This past year we watched Herbalista evolve from a “free clinic” into a “health network.”

( And we’re not done yet. Stay tuned for this year’s Seed Library!)

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Flow Herbalista

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And as usual, our programming combined service with education!

Processing Tulsi Basil, donated through the Grow A Row Program
Pay-It-Forward Medicine Making Workshop. March 22, 2015
Creating teabag blends that will stock the free clinic at a Pay-It-Forward Medicine Making Workshops.
The Herb Cart Service Project. Woodruff Park, ATL, GA. January 2015
Apprentices training through the Herb Cart Service Project.
Health education at the Herbalista Community Health Fair.
Health education at the Herbalista Community Health Fair. Big House, Atlanta, GA. March 2015.
It’s hard work I tell ya!  Herbalista Community Health Fair at the Big House, Atlanta, GA. June 2015

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 8.00.20 PMWe made new friends and reconnected with old ones!

Serving alongside the Foot Not Bombs Crew at Woodruff Park. Atl, GA November 2015
Serving alongside the Foot Not Bombs Crew at Woodruff Park. Atl, GA. November 2015
Atlanta Beltline Fruit Forage and Herb Ramble with Concrete Jungle. September 2015.
The Radical Herbalism Gathering, Shropshire, England. June 2015.
Botanizing in Michigan with 7Song's Northeast School of Botanical Medicine.
Botanizing and wildcrafting in Michigan with 7Song’s Northeast School of Botanical Medicine.
Picking Monarda in Montana with the lovely Kris of Hill Botanicals. July 2015.
Visiting the Olympia Free Clinic in Olympia, Washington.
Visiting Herbalist Renee Davis and the Olympia Free Herbal Clinic in Washington State. July 2015.
Serving with Occupy Medical in Eugene Oregon.
Serving with Occupy Medical in Eugene Oregon. August 2015.
Learning and serving at the Gubbio Project for the Homeless in San Francisco with Nurse Roehrick. August 2015.
The California School of Studies.
All aboard! The Herb Bus visited the California School of Herbal Studies. Forrestville, CA. August 2015.
Once again, tending the feet of our friends on the street on Skid Row. Catholic Worker's Hippy Kitchen, Los Angeles, California.
Once again, tending the feet of our friends on the street on Skid Row. Foot Care Friday’s at the Catholic Worker’s Hippy Kitchen, Los Angeles, California. August 2015.
Sitting with white sage in the mountains of southern California.
Sitting with white sage in the Laguna mountains of southern California. August 2015.
Visiting Ponderosa High School in Flagstaff, AZ, where Terra Birds is empowering youth through gardening and permaculture skills.  August 2015.

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We look forward to a new year filled with herbalistic adventures in healthcare…

Won’t you join us? ~The Herbalista Crew

 

2014 Herbalista Service Report

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2014 Service Report

 

Another year of adventures in healthcare!  

 

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In Atlanta (our herbal hub) we continued regular services at our 2 Herb Bus Stations, 

conducting 148 consultations over the course of 22 clinics.

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The Big House Station, Atlanta, GA

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At these monthly clinical rounds, we poured endless pots of seasonal tea, dispensed 6 1/2 gallons of customized tincture formulas (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), 14#’s of raw custom herbal and powder blends, and a variety of other remedies including aromatic inhalers, herbal capsules, and oil rubs.

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Inside the Herb Bus Apotheke

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We served at several herbal first aid stations including:

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the Florida Earthskills Gathering
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the Rainbow Gathering in Utah
and the Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference in North Carolina

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The Bus drove over 10,000 miles delivering healthcare and herbal education around the country.  

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The Five Flavors Crew,  Lassen National Forest, California

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 8.00.20 PMWe shared the Herb Bus model of healthcare with classes and communities from Atlanta to California.   Some of our hosts included Ponderosa High School, the California School of Herbal Studies,  Sacred Plant Traditions, Five Flavors Herbs, Homestead Atlanta, and the High Museum of Art.

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Ponderosa High School, Flagstaff, AZ

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 8.00.20 PMWe expanded our efforts to make community herbalism sustainable by initiating new programs that combine service with education:

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Pay-it-Forward Medicine Making: Teaching medicine making skills while we stock the Herb Bus with needed remedies.
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Grow A Row: Supply locally and sustainably grown herbs to the Herb Bus by enlisting and supporting local farmers in the cultivation of medicinal herbs.  A joint project with Funny Farm Atlanta.
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Herb Cart: An Herbalista service project providing herbal first aid while offering learning opportunities for herbalists and herb students.

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 8.00.20 PMWe made many friends and memories:

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Talking buses, gift economy, and tea in Long Beach with Guisepi of the Free Tea Party Bus
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Being inspired at the Radical Herbalists Gathering in Shropshire, England.
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Spending time with special plants in special places. Anemone on Mount Shasta, California.
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Harvesting and preparing medicine to share with my community and those in need.  Arnica and Osha, Utah.

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Tending the feet of our friends on the street with the Catholic Workers at Friday Foot Care on Skid Row, Los Angeles, California.

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For all this and so much more, we are grateful.

We feel fortunate to have this opportunity to serve our community

and thankful for your friendship and support on this journey.

~The Herbalista Crew

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Herbalista Crew (Past and Present): Lorna, Corinne, Todd, Amanda, Kaitlin, Lynda, and Anna

 

 

 

 

Aromatic Inhalers

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Last week, when getting ready for our annual Foot Clinic Holiday Fiesta I put together around 30 aromatic inhalers to put in our winter care gift bags.  We dispense a lot of aromatic inhalers, aka sniffers, on our Herb Bus rounds.  They are useful for so many ailments and cheap and easy to make.  You can order the blank inhalers from most any essential oil supplier these days.  I order packs of 100 in the most lovely of greens 🙂

These particular inhalers were simply 9 drops of Olbas oil  (an essential oil blend of peppermint, eucalyptus, wintergreen, juniper and clove) dropped onto the cotton insert.  We often dispense these sniffers from the bus to folks suffering from sinus congestion and find they reliably provide relief.  The blend has a pleasant smell and is also generally uplifting and energizing.

 

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This is a photo of our Aromatic Oils Kit, that travels with us on the Bus.  In it we stock around 20 different essential oils, a bag of blank inhalers, and a few other preparations (such as herb-infused oils and aromatic waters.)  We custom blend inhalers for a variety of issues.  Beyond the straightforward such as resolving congestion, essential oils also provide tremendous emotional support.  They are useful tools when dealing with a range of feelings from grief to anxiety to addiction.  One of my favorite books that I often refer to when putting together an aromatic remedy is Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit by Gabriel Mojay, a wonderful acupuncturist, aromatherapist, and teacher who travels over the pond from England to visit us here in Atlanta from time to time.

 

Aromatic inhalers are not only effective, cheap, easy, and convenient– they are a journey for the senses.

2013 Herb Bus Service Report

Herbalista Free Clinic Service Report

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2013-2014

It’s hard to believe that our clinic debut was not even a year ago!  On Feburary 6, 2013 we pitched for the first time at the Open Door Community in Atlanta.  It has been a tremendously exciting year, and we hope this is just the beginning of a long and healing journey.

We wanted to share some of the highlights with you:

At our Atlanta hub we hosted 17 clinics, where we served gallons of seasonal tea blends, conducted 111 consultations, dispensed 2 1/2 gallons of customized tincture formulas (alcohol and glycerites), 8#’s of raw custom herbal and powder blends, and a variety of other remedies including essential oil sniffers, herbal capsules, and oil rubs.

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We facilitated several pop-up first aid clinics around the country, including the Rainbow Gathering in Montana, the Firefly Gathering in North Carolina, the Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference in North Carolina, and the Georgia Organics Conference in GA, where we served hundreds more and put herbal healing in the hands of the people.

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We spread the Herb Bus method and our love for plants and community at numerous classes and workshops.  Some of our hosts included  Ponderosa High School, the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine, Warren Wilson College, Homestead Atlanta, and the High Museum of Art.

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We created the Herb Bus Service Manual to help others start free clinic projects in their communities.  This manual is available as a free PDF download from our website.

The Herb Bus Service Manual

Lorna, the herbalista who drives this sweet ol’ bus around town, was awarded the 2013 Community Service Award by the American Herbalists Guild to honor her work with the Herbalista Free Clinic and the Harriet Tubman Free Foot Clinic.

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The Bus drove over 10,000 miles delivering healthcare and herbal education around the country.

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And, saving the best for last, we spent time with the plants– studying their form, learning their energetics and actions, and wildcrafting to prepare sweet sweet remedies to share with our patients and community.

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Thanks  to our community who supports this work, our teachers who inspire us to grow and strive, the plants who heal, and the people who receive these gifts with grace. Viva la Herb Bus!

~Herbalista Lorna

The Herb Bus Summer Tour

The Herb Bus

This June and July, the Herb Bus drove cross country to spend time with the plants and serve the people. We assisted in free clinics at both the Firefly and Rainbow Gatherings and also spent time in the field, botanizing and wildcrafting for medicines. The next voyage is planned for September.

Click the link below to see more photos from our trip.  Viva la Herb Bus!

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Apothecary Wish List

Apothecary Wish List

I’d like to begin by thanking everyone who has already contributed so much to getting the Herb Bus rolling.  This herbalista feels grateful to belong to such a generous community.  There have been some inquiries about how one might make herbal donations to stock our apothecary.  This is something we are grateful for, but also need to be quite specific about.  The simple fact is that the Herb Bus is quite small.  We fit an entire clinic into that little bus and so are particular about what items we stock.  We have now created an “Apothecary Wish List” and plan to keep it regularly updated with both herbs we are low on and herbs that we seem to dispense at a high rate.

The wish list is posted as both a main tab on this blog and a pdf version on the HERBALISTA website.  We care deeply about our clients, so please– read the list carefully and follow all labeling instruction.  And thank you for caring about this sweet little bus on a mission!  Viva la Herb Bus!

Herb Dispensing Practicalities — Packaging

IMG_0803 How to dispense the herbs from a mobile clinic to a homeless population with limited funding takes careful consideration, both in terms of ease of use for patients and the cost of packaging.

TINCTURES/GLYCERITES – For a long time I would only use glass bottles to dispense tinctures, however, after my experience at staffing the Rainbow First Aid Station, Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference Clinic, and Sandy Relief Clinics, I began to use 1 and 2 oz plastic bottles that have a lined cap — no dropper. Droppers and glass tincture bottles are a bit costly, and the plastic bottles with cap come to around 25 cents a piece for a 1 oz and 29 cents for a 2 oz. And while it’s true, I am not the biggest fan of plastic bottles, they do have a few things going for them other than affordability. First, they don’t break, and second, they are much lighter than glass.

And to answer the obvious question of how I control dosage without a dropper– I use the cap as the measuring device. For example, in the 1 oz bottle, the cap holds 4 mils and 1/2 cap holds 2 mils. If I want to do a smaller dose than that, I simply dilute with water. If I fill the bottle with 1/2 tincture formula and 1/2 water, then 1 capful contains 2 mils of tincture and 1/2 capful holds 1 mil.

One bottle holds around 8 capfuls total, so if I am using a drop dosage plant such as anemone, I must decide how many drops I want for each dose and multiply by 9. For example, if I want a 5 drop dosage, I multiply 5 X 8 which equals 40. I place 40 drops in the bottle, fill with water and on the instructions say “Take 1 capful as needed.” It follows that with each capful, the patient is getting 5 drops of anemone. Or if I want more doses in the bottle, I can place 5 X 16 = 80 drops in the bottle, fill the rest with water and say “Take 1/2 cap as needed” and thereby provide 16 individual doses of 5 drops each in the 1 oz bottle.

TEA – Loose tea is an absolute pain in the butt if you don’t have the equipment to make it with ease (such as a french press or kitchen, etc) so I pre bag my teas in hopes that will make it more doable for folks. Enter the iron-shut tea bag, also known as the Press n’ Brew. These are cheap and oh-so-handy. You simply blend your tea, fill the bag, and iron shut. In the picture above, I am preparing calendula tea bags, which do double duty as both an antimicrobial for internal use (as a gentle and tasty anti-fungal for example) or as a compress in first aid for infection. Other such double duty tea bags I keep in stock are chamomile and marshmallow. We can also custom blend personalized tea formulas for clients in the bus, with our electrical hook-up, but it’s a good idea to have commonly used blends already on hand.