PRESENTED BY | Lara Holland, CH . . .

Lore is defined as “a body of traditions and knowledge on a subject or held by a particular group, typically passed from person to person by word of mouth.” This passage of information has historically been referred to as storytelling.

February 25, 2020, Tuesday | 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Lore is defined as “a body of traditions and knowledge on a subject or held by a particular group, typically passed from person to person by word of mouth.” This passage of information has historically been referred to as storytelling.

Storytelling is as old as time itself. No one knows the exact beginning or origin of this oral art, but long before mankind was able to read or write, stories were shared and information was passed down from generation to generation. Prior to the written word, humans relied on memory for knowledge. The telling of stories was not only vital to survival and growth as a species but was also a form of community and connections. This is how we learned about cultural beliefs and values. This is how we connected with one another.

In the art of medicinal plants and herbalism, much of our knowledge was passed down from person to person, within families and apprenticeships. So much information about plant medicine was shared through past experiences and in the community. Women gathered, grew and harvested plants for medicine and shared stories. The knowledge they, themselves had gained as well as stories and information from their elders.

Though many of the stories and tales surrounding herbal medicine in Western Culture was lost in the time of the witch hunts as well as succeeding years with the birth of the modern medical model, some tidbits of lore and tradition surrounding plants remain.

 ‘Flowers of Fate’ refers to the medieval belief system around which flowers could be brought into one’s home and what the plants would signify for that person’s destiny. Later in the Victorian era, a bouquet of flowers could take on a whole language or message based on which flowers were delivered. Certain flowers might give meaning to marriage or a secret meeting or times or places. The recipient could then transcribe what the sender was asking and respond. One of these flowers was violet, which has its roots in the stories of many cultures.

Sweet Violets

Violet was a plant of great comfort for early colonial settlers in New England, while the Ancient Greeks used it to ‘moderate anger, to procure sleep and comfort and strengthen the head’.  Later in the Middle Ages, it was believed and used as a powerful ally against ‘wicked spirytis’. Violet was said by early Christians to ‘droop its head so demurely’1 because the shadow of the crucifix fell on it. While to the Romans, violets were the embodiment of young, beautiful women who Venus had bruised violently out of jealousy creating their color. Cupid took pity on them and transformed them into flowers along the roadside.

Violets now often take on the meaning of innocence and true love. Energetically, they are often associated with the heart, calming energy, and connection to the divine. Medicinally, violet (Viola oderata) is cooling and is often used as a lymphagogue and blood cleanser. It can be soothing to the respiratory tract as well as topically for skin irritations.

Plants have traveled with us throughout time, guiding us for illness and in cultural and spiritual ways. In this class, we will share some surviving tidbits of history and lore surrounding three different medicinal plants still highly in use today.

If you have ever yearned to know or connect more with the history of medicinal plants or even just learn about them for modern applications, I would love for you to join us for this 2-hour class.  We will be discussing three plants in regard to their clinical application and modern uses, tasting each herb in a variety of forms and exploring the history and tales associated with each. The cost is $10. Signing up in advance is strongly encouraged.

Binney, R. Plant Lore and Legend. Minnesota. 2006
Storl, W. The Untold History of Healing. California. 2017
Storl, W. The Herbal Lore of Wise Women and Wortcunners. California. 2012
Storytelling Day. 2019. History of Storytelling. 10-14-19.
CSCH Class notes.
Colonial Dames of America. Herbs and Herb Lore of Colonial America. 1970. New York.

[The content of this blogs does not necessarily represent or express the views of CSCH.]

DATE & TIME | Tuesday, February 25th, 2020 • 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
CSCH, 424 E. Simpson Street, Lafayette, CO 80026
$10. Please bring cash or Venmo @Lara-Holland.


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John Whiteman
John Whiteman