Whether enjoying a tulsi-based tea to help with a cold, taking a lemon balm bath to support Seasonal Affective Disorder, or adding a few drops of CBD oil to our skin for pain relief, plant-based medicines are seemingly endless. You probably already have ingredients in your pantry (or medicine cabinet) right now.
Cinnamon, lavender, peppermint, garlic, ginger, chamomile, and echinacea can all be used to support a healthy lifestyle. Through a local community education program called Reciprocal Roots, those interested in wellness can learn how to properly infuse the beneficial components of plants into teas, salves, oils and tinctures.
“Prior to the early 1900’s, we had an herbalist in every house,” she said during a recent interview. “We called them ‘mom’ and ‘grandma.’ “ The deep relationship between humans and nature coupled with generations of sitting bedside with the sick led to a rich history in herbal remedies for both preventative and diagnostic care.
Grohman makes it easy to learn, hosting seminars at several locations across Western New York including Singer Farm Naturals in Appleton, Crazy Train Apothecary in Lewiston, The Schoolhouse Wellness Center in Lockport and Burning Books in Buffalo.
During classes, new and returning students gather around a table, sipping Kristin’s tea and talking plants. Each week is different, sometimes delving into a topic such as “Herbal Support for the Winter Blues” or focusing on one plant for the evening. “I teach a healthy balance of phytochemistry along with anatomy and physiology. Being an herbalist is just as much understanding the human body as it is understanding plants. If you don’t understand how your body works, then you don’t know how to treat it,” she explained.
Hand-outs, flip charts, and herbal samples adorn the large table. Some students bring binders with years of notes. Some are sitting down without a pen and taking it all in. Everyone is brimming with questions and Kristin has the answers. Her students include children, teens, adults, business owners, retirees, men, women and even a pharmacist. She stands at the head of the table and presents information about the chemistry of plants, its reactions with our body, and even touches on the safety of herbal interactions with prescribed medications. If she doesn’t know the answer, she finds it after class and follows up with the class.
Kristin, along with the help of her husband, Kanjo, a Buddhist priest, are actively growing the reach of Reciprocal Roots. They have held two herbal conferences where vendors, guests, and speakers from around the United States gathered at Singer Farms to share knowledge and break bread.
Outside of community events, Reciprocal Roots offers retail products that are balanced to be safe and effective for anyone who wants to consume them. Shoppers can find teas, elixirs, tinctures and their magazine at Singer Farm Naturals and during select Lockport Community Markets. For a more personalized experience, Reciprocal Roots offers consultation services, where Kristin recommend recipes, blends, and practices specific to the needs of an individual. Their next endeavor is a large scale, strategically planned, medicinal garden for community use this year. On the distant horizon: a full herbal school with lots of land to cultivate.
“I just want to educate. I want people to have their health be in their own control,” Grohman said. “I want everyone to know the biggest lie they have ever been told is that they are separate from nature. We know it deep in our DNA that plants are medicine. That’s scientific. We have receptors that match the phytochemistry of plants and turn on switches of healing in us. They restore us. They do not deplete.”
For more information on events and services, check out the Reciprocal Roots Facebook page or email Kristin at email@example.com.