KNOXVILLE, Ill. — Tina Hope remembers traveling to the rural areas of Namibia, South Africa, with the Peace Corp, where the locals used herbal remedies for their medical needs. She was brought in by the women of the community who practiced healing and was able to be a part of this tradition. After finishing her stay with the Peace Corp, she returned to graduate school and began her research on medicinal herbs.
This research led to a trip to the Catawba River to study with the elders of the Catawba Nation in South Carolina. She again studied with the elder women in the tribe and one man to learn new natural methods in herbal healing. They led Hope out to various sites where special herbs were grown and showed her how to use them properly. She recalls the trip taking an unfortunate political turn, due to the sacred nature of the plants and the dangers some of them were in. She was asked not to share the sites of these endangered medicinal plants, as ethical practices in wild crafting are very important to the Catawba and are often not followed by many people who forage.
To respect the wishes of the Catawba people, Hope returned home to start a new area of study with medicinal herbs. She became enthused by the ideas of deep nutrition and herbalism, leading her to various apprenticeships in Wisconsin with bio-regional herbalist Linda Conroy of Moonwise Herbs. Through these teachings, Hope began to create her own products that capture the properties of the herbs she had studied.
Among her products, Hope has learned to create things such as balms, salves, bug sprays and even different nutritional drinks and teas. At her house in Knoxville, she and her husband have converted four acres of herbs and weeds into a usable garden in which they harvest plants for everyday use. She has begun to provide these different products for her family and has mixed them into her day-to-day routine.
“Coming here and seeing all of these different plants freely growing around us is simply a gift,” Hope said. “People are spraying herbicides on this stuff without knowing that these are nourishing herbs.”
Within many of her products, you’ll find ingredients such as dandelion root, nettle, burdock and elderberry. Her family has also begun to keep bees on the property, which leads to usable wax for the creation of some of her products.
Even with her studies, Hope stressed that she’s not trying to oppose conventional medicine. To her, these practices are a complementary addition to wellness and body health. She has taken interest in helping members of the community to lead healthier lives through her own products and explaining different herbal uses to anyone who might inquire.
Hope sells her products at the Galesburg Farmers Market and brings the various plants she uses in her products so she can instruct buyers on what they are using.
“I find it’s helpful for people, because they can point it out and say ‘Oh, I’ve seen that plant before,'” Hope said. “I think showing people that they could make these things themselves is empowering.”
In the future, Hope hopes to see a greater sense of collaboration within the community. She explained that one of her main goals is to spread a love for nutrition and wellness, with herbs being a main part of it. She believes the products she has crafted up to this point and that she will continue to craft will play a large role in aiding this effort.
“I want to see a greater awareness of how we interrelate and take care of each other,” Hope said. “I would love to see an increase in regenerative practices. I’m not just trying to push organic products; it’s much more than that. It’s relationships with ourselves and with others.”
Source: The (Galesburg) Register-Mail, http://bit.ly/2xz9QyG
Information from: The Register-Mail, http://www.register-mail.com
This is an AP-Illinois Exchange story offered by The (Galesburg) Register-Mai.