Mother, wife, acupuncturist, folk herbalist, kitchen witch, medicine maker, wild plant forager, recipe writer, teacher and forever a student. The plants made me do it. They lead me into healing and alternative medicine.
At three years old, I gathered miner’s lettuce, chickweed, natsruciums, and other wild greens and flowers for our salads. I sought refuge in the woods behind our West Marin home, and opened wild cucumber pods, squished snow berries between my fingers, and mixed ceanothus blossoms with my spit to “wash” my hands with their honey scent. The plants witness me, inspire me, speak to me, listen to me, and return me to myself when I am lost. I am forever grateful and in awe of their presence in my life. Using plants as medicine makes sure we are connected to and humbled by nature. I am in service to the plants and their survival. We have ancient memory of being in harmony with nature, knowing what we can eat, what we can make tea out of, and what we can use to heal.
This memory has guided me through my life to remind me to remain in deep relation to nature, folk herbalism and the roots of healing.
As the co-creator of the Well Women Acupuncture philosophy, for eight years I supported women through fertility challenges, pregnancy, menopause, and healing through cancer with acupuncture, herbs, open ears and an open heart. I also taught and contributed to the Seed Fertility Program.
One of my teachers, Cecilia Garcia, Chumash Medicine Woman inspired me to cultivate and share the wild within me. She passed over the Rainbow Bridge in May 2012. In our gatherings with Cecilia, we breathed, touched, tasted, bathed and slept with plants, and we always danced and we always sang. She encouraged us to cultivate our sense of pleasure and to use pleasure as a springboard for healing, a reference point to always come back to when we feel pain of body or spirit. She taught me how to tolerate myself so that others can tolerate me. I have deep gratitude for all my teachers, and all those healers that have come before me and shared their experiences and informed our current day herbalists and healers. I am an herbalist who uses plants that are available and plants that I love. I use my knowledge of the elemental energetics of classical Chinese medicine to make effective herbal remedies combining Chinese, native, and western herbs.
For four years I had my clinic in and volunteered at HAALo, a community herb shop which stands for “Health alternatives for all locals.” HAALo was pivotal in buoying me into my practice as I relocated myself from LA to Nevada City. HAALo is an amazing resource of herbs and education from every herbal philosophy…Chinese, Ayurveda, Native and Western herbalism. Many of their herbs are grown locally. HAALo is a place where everyone can benefit from the empowerment, resourcefulness and use of plant based health care and self-care.
In my acupuncture and herbal practice I predominantly treat women’s health, pain, chronic autoimmune illnesses, and Lyme disease and its associated co-infections. I am in service to the needs of our small community here in Nevada County where we have the second highest rate of Lyme disease in California. I use acupuncture, cupping, moxa, gua sha, nutrition, deep listening, and custom herbal formulations. I am grateful to Julie McIntyre, Stephen Buhner, and Heiner Fruehauf for the work they have done to heal Lyme.
I am also a contributing herbalist to the second edition of Living Wild, by Alicia Funk.
I have currently undertaken a deep study in Classical Chinese Medicine, specifically in the study of Jing Fang. Jing Fang is the practice of applying the Eight Guiding Principals-yin, yang; exterior, interior; deficient, excess; hot, cold-and the theory and herbal formulations of the Shang Han Lun to diagnose and treat. I am in deep gratitude to Suzanne Robidoux and Dr Feng Shi Lun for their dedication and teachings of these ancient principles and proving their application to modern illnesses. I plan to further my studies with Drs Robidux and Feng in China in the summer of 2016.
In deep gratitude to those who encouraged me, foremostly the plants, then my parents, then my husband Andrew and my boys, Cypress and Cosimo, and then all of my teachers, literal and virtual. Gratitude especially to Cecilia Garcia, Stacey Small, Elizabeth Bachner, Celia Dermont, David Chan, Jan Rutiz, David and Carolyn Cohen, Will Morris, Denise Numark Reimer, The Ni Brothers, Dr Lu Biao, Deborah Maghen, Danica Thornberry, Shea Smith, Kathi Keville, Candis Cantin, Susun Weed, Sally Fallon, Aajonus Vonderplanitz, Heiner Freihauf, Dr Huang Huang, Stephen Buhner, Julie McIntyre, and to the inspiring modern herbal pioneers Matthew Wood, Juliette Blankespore, Phyllis Light, Kiva Rose, 7Song, Jesse Wold Hardin, and many more spreading the gospel of plant healing and healers.
Anna Werderitsch, L.Ac.