Seed Sistas, Kaz and Fi – “SistAs from another Mista and Mama”, chew the cud with MysticMag and recount their adventures from their humble beginnings to where they are today, how they have pursued their goal of opening up the world of herbs to as many people as possible and cultivating true change while doing so.
What can you tell us about the Seed Sistas’ humble beginnings?
We met in a North London University while we were studying for a BSc in Phytotherapy/Herbal Medicine. We soon realized that the course was more scientifically oriented and that in four years of a Herbal Medicine degree we were only taken outside once!
There are so many ways of practicing herbalism. If you simply want to support friends, family and community with plants and connect people with nature (which is a form of herbalism) then formal training is not necessarily a prerequisite.
This is ‘where’ we met, in reaction to this very formal and scientific training. We went off into the fields together and started making our own remedies, working with the lunar cycles and observing the changes of the year, what plants were more prevalent and at which times. We brought magic into the medicine; we involved our children in all sorts of ‘spells’ and ‘magic’ and followed our pursuit of true herbalism in a fun and dynamic way.
Our very first remedy was nettle syrup that we tried to sell at a car boot sale. We only swopped (not sold) one bottle for a USB stick – and we were delighted! From here we went on to have stalls at other markets, do workshops (with no or very little attendance) and eventually got to where we are today.
This is partly due to the fact that people are now starting to understand exactly what herbal medicine and herbalism is all about. Up until recently, herbalism was a very foreign concept and often confused with homeopathy. It is for this reason that our main focus is on education and reconnecting people with their birthright – nature.
How accessible (and feasible) is creating one’s own herbal remedies?
We are very passionate about community gardening and this is very popular here in the UK. Many people grow food in allotment culture here. We have been working diligently on bringing more herbs into these gardens and making them accessible as not everybody has a garden. If you wanted to make your own remedies, the most important aspect would be clearly to be able to get the identification of the plants you are using correct – and this is where we come in.
Most people are probably already making their own remedies, to a certain degree, without even realizing. Take a look in your kitchen cupboard, we use so many different herbs and spices in our food. These herbs all have functions that we may or may not be aware of. We, the seed sistas, are very much of the essence that ‘food is medicine’ and incorporating herbs and spices into your food on a daily basis contributes to a healthy practice of herbalism.
Why, in your opinion, have plants and their magic been lost, forgotten and shunned over the last century let’s say?
In a nutshell, a plant is a living creature. Mint, for example, can grow in a supermarket pot but will have a very different energy and makeup to mint growing wild on the river banks in Scotland. The plant carries the same name and same botanical characteristics but with vastly different chemical constituents.
Pharmacological medicine is standardized, meaning that if you take one aspirin or another, it will be the same across the board. The problem we see as herbalists is that the contents of the aspirin have been extracted from a plant, in isolation. All of the other constituents that buffer and potentially make the aspirin safer in our bodies have gone. For example, aspirin can cause stomach ulcers so people often take other medication alongside to counterbalance this. When working with herbs, however, there are other constituents that protect the stomach lining.
Plants are definitely more unpredictable than pharmaceuticals, and are slower to act, but are more natural. It is impossible to make vast amounts of money out of plants. Big Pharma is profit-driven and, as such a large entity, leaves very little space for natural medicine to have any kind of research and development. Plants can not be patented.
Free medical assistance has become a huge phenomenon in our society and people seek (pharmaceutical) medical help without even batting an eyelid. If we look back in history, a herbalist (or herbalism) would have been the first port of call for any minor ailment. The NHS (a wonderful institution) has been unable to sustain what it has led people to be reliant on.
Our work is really about showing people that for simple health care needs, everything is right there on our doorstep. Our work focuses on sharing knowledge and educating parents on how to look after their kids. Instilling this understanding from a grassroots level is a big part of the work that we do.
What is your mission and how close are you to reaching your goals?
Our mission is to reconnect people to their local plants (specifically) so that they can rediscover all of the tools and support that they can gain from what grows around them. This, we strive to achieve with community gardens.
How close are we? We have a good plan in place and we are committed and dedicated. The reality of the situation lies in societal culture…we have seen huge shifts in how interest and awareness has grown and recent world events have shown people that a little self-resilience and self-reliance can go a long way.
We have published two books and they have been bought by thousands of people around the world. Our workshops are now frequented by hundreds of people. We don’t know exactly what impact our work may have had but we do believe that it has been influential in some of the changes that have happened. We have always been big advocates of the common daisy for example, and we have seen a massive influx and interest in these plants since we have been ‘shouting’ about them.
We believe in creative, rather than anger, activism as our beginnings stem from a deep-seated rage at the injustices in the world and what has happened historically. We have chosen to write books, create performances, and dress up in outrageous costumes…
Do you believe we are close to a shift in consciousness when coming to health and well-being in holistic terms?
YES! People who have been previously disconnected are returning. We have within us receptors that respond to the chemical compounds in the plants – we are made of the same fiber. This knowledge can never truly be lost.
What are your most prominent offerings?
Our first book – The Sensory Herbal Handbook – is a guide to moving through the seasons, practical tips on how to connect with some very commonly grown herbs and make your own remedies to support your friends and family.
Our second book – Poison Prescriptions – has been a huge success. It is more about bridging the gap between magic and medicine and goes into some of the history of herbalism which is very much connected and aligned to witchcraft, and how women have been oppressed and maligned because of their work with plants.
I think people are really grateful that we bring our magical and spiritual connection with the plants into our works and overlay it with the scientific understanding. We always have our feet in both camps, that we would ultimately like to unite as one.
If you would like to find out more about Seed Sistas, visit https://seedsistas.co.uk/ or follow on https://www.instagram.com/seed_sistas/ and https://www.facebook.com/SeedSistAs/