Laurie Gallant says spruce tips are great in a syrup.

Class explores plant uses

A program teaching traditional plant harvesting and herbal medicine-making is being offered at Bulkley Canyon Ranch.

Organizers of a program teaching traditional plant harvesting and herbal medicine-making hope their teachings will help nurture a community of herbalists in the northwest.

The Path of the Herbalist program, which started in April, is being offered in five instalments until October.

Delivered at the Bulkley Canyon Ranch, which is about 10km east of New Hazelton, the workshop series has been prepared by local herbalists Laurie Gallant and Jean Christian.

The series offers hands-on experience, harvesting guidelines for sustainability and plant talks on both wild and cultivated varieties.

Christian, who is based in Smithers, has been teaching plant medicine in northern communities for many years.

Gallant has been running herbalist workshops at her off-the-grid hobby at Bulkley Canyon for more than three years.

She started exploring herbalism when she moved to the Hazeltons.

“I’ve always been really fascinated with the relationship that people who spend a lot of time in nature have with plants,” said Gallant.

“I always felt that it was a personal shortcoming of mine that I wasn’t more familiar with the plants and so I decided that I wanted to change that.

“When I moved to the Hazeltons and bought a property at Bulkley Canyon Ranch it was the perfect opportunity.”

Gallant and Christian’s workshops will provide tips on how herbal medicines can be used for immediate results.

Chewing on willow bark to help aching knees during a hike or using the horsetail plant to make a poultice are some examples of how Gallant said herbal medicine can be used.

The talks will also provide information on plant identification.

Gallant’s long-term goal for the program is to create a community of herbalists who could support each other by sharing plants and experiences.

“Part of it is to speed up the learning and it’s not just the successes but also the failures, like what I did that didn’t work at all,” she said.

Gallant said her successes included an ointment made of arnica flowers, which she uses regularly to soothe sore muscles.

The program is sold out but for more information about future workshops contact Gallant on 250-847-1399 or by email at gallantlaurie@gmail.com.

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