Saturday, December 2, 2017

30 books by POC about plants and/or healing that you should read

Tired of seeing lists and lists of books on herbalism and holistic healing written by white folks/folks of European descent? Even and especially when it’s about your own black and brown ancestral traditions? I got you. Here’s a short list to get you started in the right direction of exploring plant traditions with books penned by fellow people of color. Now please keep in mind that oral traditions and exchanging information at the kitchen table and in the comfort of our living rooms and within our communities is how we mostly roll- BUT ALSO there are enormous barriers to our books actually being published- and this is one reason why whenever you look at literature about our indigenous black and brown traditions the author is almost always white/of European descent. It gets really old and I know some of you have noticed and are probably as tired as I am of encountering this every. time. you check out an author’s bio.
So let’s get started-
1. Remedios: Stories of Earth and Iron from the History of Puertorriqueños- Aurora Levins Morales
2. A Healing Grove: African Tree Remedies and Rituals for the Body and Spirit by Stephanie Rose Bird
3. Red Medicine: Traditional Indigenous Rites of Birthing and Healing Patrisia Gonzales
4. Healing with Herbs and Rituals: A Mexican Tradition;Curandero: A Life in Mexican Folk Healing Eliseo “Cheo” Torres
5. Braiding Sweetgrass; Gathering Moss Robin Kimmerer
6. Our Knowledge Is Not Primitive: Decolonizing Botanical Anishinaabe Teachings Wendy Makoons Geniusz
7. Plants Have So Much to Give Us, All We Have to Do Is Ask: Anishinaabe Botanical Teachings Mary Siisip Geniusz
8. Cedar Songs- Keewaydinoquay Peschel
9. Woman Who Glows in the Dark: A Curandera Reveals Traditional Aztec Secrets of Physical and Spiritual Health Elena Avila
10. Coyote Medicine: Lessons from Native American Healing. Lewis Mehl-Madrona
11. A Taste of Heritage: Crow Indian Recipes and Herbal Medicines. Alma Hogan Snell
12. The Native American Sweatlodge, Joseph Bruchac
13. Delfina Cuero: Her Autobiography, An Account of Her Last Years, and Her Ethnobotanic Contributions. Delfina Cuero
14. Working Cures: Health, healing and Power on Southern Slave Plantations Sharla Fett
15. Healing with Medicinal Plants of the West: Cultural and Scientific Basis for Their Use. Cecilia Garcia and JD Adams
16. Temalpakh: Cahuilla Indian Knowledge and Usage of Plants. Lowell John Bean and Katherine S. Saubel
17. Curandero Conversations: El Niño Fidencio, Shamanism and Healing Traditions of the Borderlands. Antonio Zavaleta and Alberto Salinas Jr.
18. Curanderos: They Heal the Sick with Prayers and Herbs Trevino-Hernandez, Alberto.
19. Homegrown Healing: Traditional Home Remedies from Mexico Annette Sandoval
20. Border Healing Woman: The Story of Jewel Babb as told to Pat LittleDog Jewel Babb and Pat LittleDog
21. Plantas Medicinales de Puerto Rico: Folklore Fundamentos Cientificos by Esteban Nunez Melendez
22. Nuestra Medicina: De Los Remedios para el Aire y Los Remedios para el Alma Estela Román
23. African American Folk Healing by Stephanie Mitchem
24. African American Slave Medicine: Herbal and Non-Herbal Treatments by Herbert C. Covey
25. Secret Doctors: Ethnomedicine of African Americans by Wonda L. Fontenot
26. Earth and Spirit: Medicinal Plants and Healing Lore from Puerto Rico/Hasta Los Banos Te Curan! María Benedetti
27. 12 Árboles Amigos: juegos y retos etnobotánicos para Borikén / 12 Tree Friends María Benedetti
28. HealthQuest Staying Strong: Staying Strong: Reclaiming the Wisdom of African-American Healing (Healthquest : Total Wellness for Body, Mind & Spirit) by Sara L Reese and Therman Evans
29. Way of the Ancient Healer: Sacred Teachings from Philippine Ancestral Traditions Virgil Mayor Apostol
30. Babaylan: Filipinos and the Call of the Indigenous Leny Mendoza Strobel
*Ayo Ngozi, a dooope black herbalist who does workshops teaching about herbal history and medicine making and also writes for the online website Herbal Academy.
*Zachari Curtis is a founder at Good Sense Farm and blogs at their website about plants, social justice, growing mushrooms and honey.
If there are certain traditions you don’t see here (TCM, Thai Traditional Medicine, Ayurveda, specific African-based Traditions, etc.) it’s not because I’ve skipped them. It’s because the interwebs are oversaturated with books edited and/or written by yt folks- academics, researchers, anthropologists, and folks who became a part of those traditions and therefore “experts” or knowledgeable enough to get a book published. And let’s not forget language barriers and what might be available and what authors might be writing in English.

I am in the process of researching more BIPOC authors of more of our healing traditions. I look forward to making more lists including many more traditions of different continents. Probably not Europe, though.

Also- this is just a list of only 30 books, in no order of importance. For more books check out:

Disclaimer: I can't and won't vouch for every writer on this list or on the HFS webpage. Please do your own homework.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Buy a zine, support an island

Hey folks,

Want to help out communities over in Borikén/PR and get some dope zines to read, too? Well, guess what- if you purchase (e)zines over at the AfroGenderqueer etsy store, the proceeds will go to relief efforts in PR. I know a number of organizers there helping out some reputable organizations + I want to donate to some QTPOC fam out there who are desperately in need of resources.

So, I've discounted the Philosophactivism zines to 4.99 and Philosophactivism 3 (the missing years) just came out this weekend.

Also, if you purchase the Ultimate Afro-Genderqueer Collection, you can get the majority of the Afro-genderqueer/Philosophactivist writings (minus Philosophactivism 3). We're talkin' the latest editions of the vintage Notes from an Afro-Genderqueer 1&2, Philosophactivism 1&2 AND Queering Herbalism (yup, gift it to that BIPOC queerdo healer in your life).

You can even find some of my latest zines like Liberatory Sustainability, Partnering with Plants, Liberatory Medicine Making 1&2 and the special edition volumes of the unreleased Queering Herbalism Encyclopedia.

Soooo, stop on by and take a looksee and buy some rad zines written by yours truly and support my folks across the charco in Borikén in rebuilding their lives after Irma and María.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Support the Herbal Freedom School's BIPOC Communiversity

Help us raise $3,000 by Oct. 1 to fund 10 seats for the 3-month Fall session! And help us raise a total of $6,000 for a second session in the Winter.

Learn more here:

Support BIPOC healing and liberation by clicking HERE.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Thoughts on the Master's House OR Rumination on BIPOC Liberation from/within(?) the "Modern Western Herbalism" Movement

So, I just read an interesting article called Herbalism as a Tool for Social Justice.
And I started to think about how I'm glad it was written but how I felt something was lacking. I sat in reflection and came to the conclusion that I think where I stand right now, personally, is---

how can marginalized indigenous black and brown communities reconnect with our healing traditions (which all involve plant medicine) to work toward our liberation. And without the paternalism of our white allies who have been socialized in many ways to believe that they know what is better for us than us or that they can do it better than us. Also that their knowledge and ways of learning and understanding are superior.

How can we (BIPOC) be centered in the healing histories we are constantly exposed. How do we address that the majority of written/documented histories and research are written by those who value this written method over oral tradition? And I don't mean BIPOC didn't have written traditions, because we did. There's certain information that we don't write about because we have a responsibility as healers and medicine keepers to our communities and the medicine. And let's talk about the intentional killing of our knowledge keepers by colonizers and how once, we didn't have to worry about this sacred information being "lost" or stolen and watered down.

Anyway- good questions to think about answering are: how can our white allies work toward our liberation without

  • having us educate them
  • telling us how they think we should go about liberating ourselves or furthering their movement(s)
  • telling us we should be nicer to them or more appreciative that they are "at least trying" and that we should be giving them some kind of special recognition for going out of their way to learn about the ways in which BIPOC are oppressed.

And even when "anti-oppressive/anti-racist" white allies stop doing these things, how can we talk to them candidly about how they are still perpetuating racism, prejudice and discrimination by continuing to consciously and unconsciously uphold white supremacy, centering their colonized history, teachings and beliefs while using them as a model and standard for comparison while expecting kudos for including a few phrases about our traditions even as our knowledge is packaged as coming from a monolithic community (The Native Americans used this plant for....)

And sometimes the knowledge gained is thrown back at BIPOC and held over our head, becoming a weapon because we don't have the resources to travel to the places we're from, to study our traditions. We have to filter what is given to us from the white folks who can afford to learn from our people...our healers...our medicine makers. We have to sift through racist, white supremacist, discriminative views. We have to listen to the dominant narrative about how Europeans might not have invented plant medicine, but they perfected it. We have to listen to white folks- scholars and travelers- who put their nose in the air because they know more about our people than we do, know more about our medicine than we do. And some of us are broken open by this. Brought to our knees and we defect from your movements. Modern western herbalism and western holistic healing movements.

Anti-oppressive white medicine makers, here are my questions for you:

What good is liberation from chains when you're/we're still in prison? What good are the master's tools in our (BIPOC) hands when wanting to dismantle this peculiar house that's been built?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Invest in the BIPOC Communiversity

Hello Medicine Makers of All Varieties!

As of this weekend YOU, the community, have contributed enough for 7 seats in our BIPOC communiversity of the Herbal Freedom School. In this video I talk a bit more about the knowledge and medicine we'll be sharing in the 12-week program.

Invest and help us fund as many seats as possible!  You can do so here:

And to become a monthly sustainer of our School you can do so here:

Thank you to all who have contributed thus far, may your generosity return to you.

Healing, Liberation and Joy,


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Spring Announcement!

Happy Spring!

The School of Liberation Healing and Medicine has got some exciting news. This season we're creating a space where we folks of color can unapologetically be ourselves and share our medicine and healing.

The BIPOC* (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communiversity version of the Herbal Freedom School program is here! It's a community-supported 12-week program where seats are made available by the community's/communities' investment.

So how does this BIPOC Herbal Freedom School Communiversity work? 

The community invests, seats are funded. BIPOC apply and are accepted lottery style and each person is asked to invest $11.11 toward their seat. Some folks will be able to purchase their seat at the full cost to further support the communiversity and also guarantee a seat. There are a couple partial scholarships available.

BIPOC community please invest in this sacred healing space. And white accomplices, you've asked how you can help and now is the time to recruit among yourselves to support this life-sustaining healing mission.

Help us meet our first goal of $2,500 for 10 community seats by April 15th and help us raise double that for 20 community seats by May 1st.

You can read more about it and invest here:

If you are BIPOC-identified and would like to apply, you can do so here:

Looking forward to co-creating this sacred healing space with you!

Liberation, Healing, and Joy,


Saturday, February 25, 2017

New Moon Announcements

Hello Medicine Makers of all varieties!

A few important announcements:
1. The on-going self-paced version of Part 2 of the Herbal Freedom School begins in less than 2 weeks on March 6th. We'll connect with our ancestral healing traditions, discuss the importance of ceremony in our medicine making and medicine making as resistance. Then, we'll talk about individual, collective and historical trauma and strategize different ways to heal together.
There are only 10 seats available so apply now!
**Email herbalfreedomschool [at] gmail [dot] com if you’re interested in one of the 2 partial scholarships.

2. I’ve recently created facebook groups for BIPOC-identified folks for the Queering Herbalism page:
- BIPOC-identified folks who have taken the Herbal Freedom School program:
- and BIPOC-identified folks interested in the School of Liberation Healing and Medicine and its various programs and projects (Herbal Freedom School, Queering Herbalism, QTBIPOC Healing Legacies, Liberation Library, etc.).
3. We need your support. Support our School as we create new programs, course companions, zine series and a Liberation Library archive of POC-centered healing traditions and information. You can do so in a number of ways:
- Paypal: queeringherbalism [at] gmail [dot] com

More exciting news to come soon about our all community-supported Herbal Freedom School and private group lessons (Freedom Sessions) in late Spring/Summer.

Healing, Liberation, and Transformation,

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Resist! Join Part 1 of the Herbal Freedom School this February

[photo of a fierce black non-binary person wearing a straw hat with a raised machete in the mountains of Puerto Rico. Taken by Miyo at the QTPOC land project: Finca Flamboyánt]

In these times it's all about resistance, revolution and transformation and knowing you and your ancestors' medicine IS revolutionary. Come get liberated with us at the Herbal Freedom School.
Join our self-paced 6-week, pro-queer, trans, NB, GNC and POC-centered online knowledge share where you'll learn about liberatory medicine, decolonial health and healing and connect with traditional, ancestral healing traditions while connecting with your own medicine.
Register for the self-paced session now. There are only 10 seats and 2 partial scholarships for POC.
Register any time before 2/13. Begin as early as Friday 2/3.
Submit your application here:
*Stay tuned for more info about registration for the self-paced version of Part 2 beginning in March.