285.Uncovering the Secrets of Ashkenazi Herbalism with Deatra Cohen and Adam Siegel-Herb Chat

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Candace and Patrick talked about the importance of understanding historical uses and practices in herbalism. They reflected on the power of their conversation with Deatra Cohen and Adam Siegel last week and talked about some of the cross-currents of historical Eastern Europe in The Pale of Settlement as compared to modern herbalism in the USA.

Topics we discussed:

  • Historical use of Herbs
  • Community in USA vs Community in historic Eastern Europe
  • Missing areas of study in Herbalism today
  • The Importance of Vinegar and Fermented Foods to Health
  • Languaging instinctive and deep cultural knowledge
  • Following your intuition
  • Division vs Connection in our communities now and historically in Eastern Europe

Important Points to Consider:

“As always, remember to treat the plants kindly and respectfully. They are living beings that exist in their own right.

Like us, they are part of nature and the natural world.

They’ve been very generous in all they give to us and our planet. And they don’t discriminate between peoples. They connect with anyone who is open to them, which is such a beautiful way to be in this world.

I also wanted to add that the materia medica section of our book is not meant to be read as a working herbal but rather as a historical comparative document.

And if you are going to work with any plants, please do your research and check as many reputable sources as possible beforehand.”

–Deatra, 2021

Deatra Cohen and Adam Siegel

Deatra Cohen and Adam Siegel

Deatra Cohen is an author, herbalist, and artist. She holds degrees from the University of California, Davis, San Jose State University, and the Berkeley Herbal Center. Deatra lives in Northern California.

Adam Siegel is an author, translator, and bibliographer. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, the University of California, Berkeley, and San Jose State University, and lives in Northern California.


Order Ashkenzi Herbalism: Rediscovering the Herbal Traditions of Eastern European Jews from:

  • Independent Bookstores (Bookshop.org is a good online source)
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