The Enchantment of Western Herbal Medicine Herbalists, Plants, and Nonhuman Agency - Guy Waddell
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Western herbal medicine, in its engagement with living plants and with herbs, has a great relevance to those that seek to move the human from the epicenter of everything and look to new ways of working with the “nonhuman.” This book shows that hidden experiences with plants, where the boundaries between herbalists and plants meet and are blurred, are important to the herbalist’s study, practice, and narratives. This constitutes the push and pull of “enchantment,” which can be seen as a sensual energy that spreads throughout many of the narratives and embraces both scientific and traditional methods of herbal medicine. This enchantment often starts before formal study begins, frequently at a very young age. Herbalists’ meetings with plants and herbal medicines allow them to draw easily from a diverse range of influences that others may see as incommensurable.
The book starts with a look at the fragmented history of Western herbal medicine and then considers the political history of herbal practice and social science research. It examines a number of examples and then looks beyond the cases, arguing that it is the enchanted meetings with plants that allow for them to be brought into practice and into Western herbal medicine.
Guy Waddellis a lecturer in the Department of Life Sciences at the University of Westminster, London. His background is in social sciences and in herbal medicine. He has been a practitioner of Western herbal medicine for over 15 years and practices in South London.