Ever wonder about the plant life right outside your door and the benefits it can have? Hannah Maguire of Wild Sage Herbals has made answering that question into a personal hobby and a new business in the Morgantown area. She has a shop in downtown Morgantown from which she provides consultations and formula pick-ups for clients. I was lucky enough to catch up with her and ask her a few questions about herbalism and her practice.

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What, in a nutshell, is herbalism?
Great question! It is very simple: herbalism is learning the uses of the plants that are growing around us and applying that knowledge to our lives. When you look outside, you see all this random green and plant life, but learning herbalism opens your mind up to the concept that they are all put there for a reason. Once you start learning about some of these plants, it starts to feel crazy to think that you had never paid attention to them before!

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How did you get into herbalism?
I have always been an extremely practical person. I’m a huge fan of “D-I-Y” and learning how to do something myself before having someone else help me. I love figuring things out and doing my own research. Saving money is naturally a part of being practical. So for me, finding herbalism was this big “ah-ha!” moment when I realized that in order to understand a physical or emotional issue I was dealing with, I just had to learn more about the issue and about myself. Using plant medicine causes you to search within yourself to find out not just what is going on in your body but also understanding WHY you’re in that position. There are a lot of health issues that arise from certain emotional or behavioral patterns and seeing a doctor, although entirely necessary at times, won’t necessarily give you the answers you’re looking for if you’re committed to well-being.

What, in your opinion, is often misconstrued when it comes to herbalism?
Thanks for asking this important question. I am approached often by people with misconstrued views of me as an herbalist and herbalism in general. First, I am not the healthiest person to ever walk the planet. Sometimes people start talking to me with shame in their words regarding their lifestyles. I love ice cream and whiskey and I go to the doctor too! Be gentle with yourself. Your cells are constantly regenerating. Which means if you make one healthy choice today those new cells only know good choices. Keep that going and you’d be amazed at how things can change.

Secondly, I like to focus on the practical side of herbalism that is to say: there are useful things growing right outside your door. They are free, they are food, they are medicine, and they are there for you! Why not learn a little about it? Our great grandparents most likely knew how to live off of their land. Honor them by learning they ways in which they made use of our amazing earth.

What are some basic techniques to prepare people for the winter months?
Look at the dandelion plant. Where there were flowers and green leaves, there is now an absence of energy. That energy went into the roots. Dig up the roots, cut them up and use them this winter. We will need them to keep our livers working to expel that winter cold that could potentially last for weeks otherwise and to help the digestive system work through all that heavy winter food. Grab some local honey, the bees worked hard to capture the energy of the sun from the flowers and now you have access to it. What is better for a sore throat (or your spirit) than that honey? And drink warm water! Lay off the iced beverages because our organs need to stay warm and functioning properly.

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If people want to learn more about this, where can they look?
I’m located right in Morgantown and will begin Fall classes shortly. You can sign up for one, two, or I’m gathering a tribe of people who want to really dive into this subject and learn how to make medicine themselves for a 6 week long course beginning in late November. Taking herbal classes in the winter always kept my spirit warm with community and new knowledge and projects!

There are also wonderful books everywhere and a ton of teachers have online courses these days. One teacher I love is Rosemary Gladstar. Just start with her books, they’re so easy to learn from! I am happy to pass along other trusted books as well but it’s important to ride the wave of excitement and passion and keeping chasing after ideas that really resonate with you. You’ll go down a rabbit hole soon enough and find your own beloved teachers!

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Hannah runs Wild Sage Herbals, which is located in downtown Morgantown on Fayette St. The business doesn’t have steady hours, but Hannah opens the doors for classes or for consultations and plant formula pick-ups. Consultations are available on request through social media; she is on Facebook (as Wild Sage Herbals) and Instagram (as @wild.sage.herbals). You can also email her at wildsageherbals@gmail.com. Finally, she will be at Bridgeport Farmers Market once a month at their winter market.



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