HERB - Guilds and ethics

mermayde@juno.com mermayde at juno.com
Sat Jan 30 08:24:22 PST 1999

>Concerning the ethics of Herbs and Wortcunning.... When I worked at 
>the store, you are very very sensitive to what you say and how you say
> Wenever used the words--medicine, cure, or prescribe.  We did say 
>things like.... I've used this and did this with and found it really
>get rid of this.  Or  my grandmother always used this and she never was 
	We try to stay away from pharmaceutical descriptions such as "St. John's
Wort works like an anti-depressive" and instead stress nutritive value,
ie "St. John's wort is taken over a long time as a tonic to support mood
health".  (I know, that sounds wierd to me too, but it really does work
out better.)  By describing funciton, it puts the decision for wether or
not to take something back in the consumer's corner.  (I had a customer
ask for Echinacea once.  I handed it to her and she started to walk away,
and then turned back and said "Hm, maybe I should take goldenseal
instead, what do you think?"  So, I described the function of Echinacea
and Goldenseal, and caveats about taking Echinacea every day, and
Goldenseal longer than 21 days at a time.  She said, "Oh, I have a
hyper-immune system, so maybe I shouldn't take Echinacea?"  So, by
explaining function rather than saying "Oh, this is good for this or
that", she was able to put her own knowledge of her medical condition
together with the information I gave her, and come up with an educated
decision.  That was a really good illustration for me [and for new folks
I'm training], and helps keep me from 'recommending'  or [God Forbid]
'prescribing'. ) 

>I also pulled out copies of articles from various sources, citing
>and findings.  Most good positve herbal research tends to be European 
>(I don't think it's changed since I worked at the store) or Canadian.  
>The US seems to be more paranoid about using plants for healing....

We have an entire library sitting on the counter in the herb dept. for
customers to look through.  Any time someone comes in and says "What's
good for xxx?." or "What would you recommend for xxx?"  We send them to
the books.  We just can't start off a conversation that way!  
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