gwynnie bird

faq

gorgeous royal blue sky with fluffy white clouds in background and tall stem of wild fennel with small yellow clusters of flowers

f a q

 
 

So, I get lots of questions via email and I admittedly stink at email. Here are some responses to the questions I get asked the most:

 

Did you used to be called the crazy herbalist?

Yep. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.....haha. When I first started doing herbal work/consultations and writing publicly I did so under the domain name crazyherbalist.com, which some of this site still redirects to I think. Reclaiming 'crazy' and deciding to primarily serve folks with trauma in my herbal practice was amazing. I'll admit I wasn't ready for what being an 'online,' or 'public' person would bring, mostly due to what I would discover was happening/being normalized behind the curtain in the larger white/male/cis herbal community and it got a bit overwhelming, And, deeply, the more work I did with survivors, the more I felt called to create more interdisciplinary resources and resist narrowing my work to much of the trajectory of white herbalism. Reclaiming 'crazy' was wonderful *and* slowly dissipated as I gained momentum in seeing the real 'illness' in white-capitalist-patriarchal-ableist-heteronormative crap hellbent on destroying the earth. So, there's that. But, yeah, it's me :) I took a whole year and a half away from writing to listen deeper, grieve and grow, hold myself to deeper accountability, a time of compost. The seeds from that time are just emerging :)

Did you take those pics yourself?

Unless otherwise specified, yep! With a cell phone! I'm a wannabe artist. Plus, plants are excellent models, they know how to capture the light. bahahahha. Please don't take them without permission. 

Why do talk so much about whiteness/white supremacy/white herbalism? Do you hate white folk?

I really only get this question from white folk, so: Why aren't you talking about it too? I made a resource list for you and there are many others online (better curated) by folks of color who will always know more about whiteness than those of us acculturated by it. Happy reading :)

What herb do you recommend for........?

Eeeeek. What an honest question. And, what an intensely challenging one to answer, for many reasons. First, we are sort of used to thinking of illness and prescriptions. Modern pharmaceutical interventions are usually a tit for tat: antibiotic for strep, chemo for cancer, statin for cholesterol. Its a very oversimplistic model of relating to health and good, seriously, I mean that, good herbalism does not relate to plants as replica for pharmaceuticals. Context is important. Plants are complex. People are complex and the symptoms we often want to eliminate are usually a result of complex inner physiological changes which have roots and causes themselves. So, while some questions might be pretty straight forward, like 'Hey! What herbs are good for shingles?" To which any herbalist could say right off the cuff in a response to the presenting symptomatics of shingles, "Oh, anti-virals such as St. John's Wort, Lemon Balm....." one would also wonder, does the person have any immunity compromises, take any medications, have a constitution which might be overly heated, dry, have any thyroid variances......allergies to plants themselves....." I could go on. 

I debated over this fer a very long, long period of time, but since I get these questions a lot, I made a page of already prepared things which in my practice have been great supports to folks. It isn't listed in the main menu because I really am not trying to 'sell' stuff, but instead to be a resource. So, if you want to see some of the things I have used myself or gotten great feedback from others, go to the loves page. 

I'm working in my writings to make accessible some information from my experiences here about working with trauma/mental health and plants, but honestly, what seems like a simple question via email often puts me in the position of doing a lot of work, both emotional and logistical to be in integrity with what I know about the complexity between herb-person-condition because I want to honor the connection and trust placed in me by asking, but also, sometimes feel really challenged to meet the needs behind the question. Basically, giving accurate info out via email is really challenging. But also, there is so much bad info floating around it can be tough to navigate. If you need support, don't hesitate to reach out. 

What are the best books/resources/people for my trauma work?

Another great question!!! I am doing book reviews soon for this very question because I get it a lot and check out the resources page for trauma stuff too! 

Why do you have affiliate links on your site? 

Well, this is new for me and I am trying it out. This is a valid and important question. The single most honest truth is that I am broke. 40 and low income with no access to family resources and a legacy of struggle with my mental health. In looking critically at how I could offer stuff I love creating *and* price my offerings in a way that allows for more access, I thought, how can I maximize my efforts? I would never link to something I didn't trust, love, or have personal experience with. At all. But yeah, some of the book and product links are affiliate, meaning I get a few cents if you get it on amazon or whoever. What I decided to love about this is that it is a way of circulating funds that doesn't ask something directly of the person getting the item, meaning if you are broke (many of us with a legacy of trauma navigating capitalism experience economic consequences- no shame or blame there) and treat yourself to a book, it doesn't cost you anymore to have a few of those cents help support my work which is largely unpaid.

I am acutely aware that many of the folks who might find their way to my writing or work are struggling with access to both good medical and mental health support as well as financial security. 

I often put 20 hours or more into a post, so cents/dollars help me at the grocery store. If somehow I blow up and start developing some economic security, or finally win the lottery :P I'd let them go. Then I would start a cooperative cat sanctuary that runaway youth can come and be safe and respected at and I would fund bipoc herbal communities and also get massages.  But for now, unless all ya'll email and say that it has massively broken your trust in my work, I'm trying to take advantage of what income is circulating out there without asking more of the folks who would read my posts or join in one of my creative endeavors. I do draw the line at putting ads or whatever on my site. I don't want that because that I wouldn't have control over. Anything with a link is something that would be there anyway. 

Where do you source your herbs?

Great question! First, if you are looking for retailers or lowering the costs of supporting yourself with herbs and supplements, I made a resource page for that!

As far as any potions I make, it will say in each unique description. 

Are you offering consultations?

That changes, depending. Right now no, because I am trying a few other creative things out and potion making. I want to redesign how I do consultations and I am still thinking on it. 

Do you think you know everything or have every trauma survivor's answers?

Nope, but I am a Sagittarius with a Leo rising so I can come across that way at times. 

Will you come teach at/speak at/be on my podcast for......?

Maybe! Contact me and lets put our hearts together. 

I read all this and still have a question, can I email you?

Yes, of course, here is the contact page and my email is hi@gwynniebird.com. Be forewarned, I have a love-hate relationship with email that rarely has to do with the sender or the wonderful content of the email. So give me a little cushion time to get back to ya. It's me, not you. 

Legal speak:

All images are my own unless stated. All words are my own as well, please do not theft. I do not treat disease and anything I say about plants is for contemplative and educational purposes, not meant to treat or diagnose disease. Only licensed medical professionals can do that legally. Also, any link or recommendation does not ensure or vouch for safety or quality. 

I heard you love cats. Do you love anything else?

Yes! Star Wars. Coffee. My brother. Makeup. Tank tops. Wicked senses of humor and anti-oppression poetry.