in the absence of an actual herbal oligarchy to tell us who is a qualified “expert” herbalist and who is a freaking quack i will be providing, as a public service, a short checklist of qualities that i personally look for in an herbalist. note that i do not believe in experts nor am i telling you what to do– i think you should make your own darn list! but i provide this example merely to make a point! though i don’t actually know what that point is.
1. can your herbalist shit in the woods? yes, people, i am serious. can the peson who is making your medicine excrete out of doors without whining. it is my favorite test of character.
2. how many years of provisions does your herbalist have buried in the backyard? preparedness, baby.
3. can your herbalist be seen without his or her girdle? openness.
4. can your herbalist identify the smell of mycelium? genius.
5. ask your herbalist how many times a bat’s wings flap from the barn door to the old oak! um, math!
6.does your herbalist hang with 3 dwarves and a magical spotted dog who leaps canyons? ok, maybe that’s just me.
7.can your herbalist tell an acorn from a remote control? a puffball from a dirty sock? a honeybee from an airplane…
8. has your herbalist licked a toad?
9. can your herbalist identify and imitate an owl’s hoot? bonus points for a fabulous schnozzz.
10. has your herbalist ever killed a man with his or her bare hands?
11. ok, number 10 was kind of ridiculous. i was on a roll.