NHS England proposes ban on alternative medicines; Pagans respond

UNITED KINGDOM — A petition has been circulating around UK-based Pagan websites calling on Parliament to act in the wake of a proposed plan by the National Health Service (NHSE) England to stop prescriptions for herbal, homeopathic and other alternative forms of medicine. Up until now, the NHSE has prescribed herbal and homeopathic remedies for patients. For example, it is used for those those patients who suffer from severe side effects caused by pharmaceutical medicines or for patients who have experienced no improvement in their health from those medicines. In the UK, treatment is free at the point of delivery, although patients have to pay a basic fee (£8.60 per item) for each prescription. This chosen route has not been without controversy historically speaking.

Autumn, a time to harvest magical and medicinal herbs

TWH – Autumn celebrations are often designated as times to “reap what you sow” and for many Pagans, Heathens, and Witches that means harvest time for plants with both magical and medicinal purposes. The Wild Hunt spoke with both amateur and professional herbalists to see what’s their favorite plant to grow and what’s an easy, beneficial plant for a beginner to grow. Medicinal Herbs
Musician Bonnie Hanna-Powers says she grows calendula in her garden. She says it’s easy to grow but does prefer good soil. “This year I grew my plants from transplants, in one garden, and from direct sowing the seeds in another,” says Ms. Hanna-Powers.

From seed to compost: a conversation with Paul Beyerl

KIRKLAND, Wash. –Not all Pagans have the opportunity to live closely attuned to the cycles of nature. Paul Beyerl and his partner Gerry were able to realize that dream 24 years ago when they purchased the land which became the Hermit’s Grove, a botanical garden of just over an acre in size that’s now surrounded by upscale homes in this small city adjacent to Seattle. The Rowan Tree Church, where Beyerl teaches the tradition called Lothloriën, is also rooted to this land. Beyerl said, as a child, learning came a bit too easily for himl.

Herbalism safety: working with plants that harm and heal

SAN FRANCISCO –Last week, officials announced that a woman here had died after ingesting a toxic herbal tea, and a man who also drank a brew prepared from herbs sold at the same shop, was hospitalized in critical condition before recovering. According to local news coverage, the culprit was the herb aconite, which has a variety of common names including wolf’s bane and fuzi. While this plant can be highly toxic without processing, with proper care it is a staple of Chinese herbal medicine. The two victims in San Francisco purchased different tea blends that were mixed at Sun Wing Wo Trading Company, each of which included unprocessed aconite. Tests of both the herbal blends and the victims’ blood confirmed aconite as the toxic agent.