The Enchantment of Western Herbal Medicine: Herbalists, Plants, and Nonhuman Agency

Author(s) : Guy Waddell

The Enchantment of Western Herbal Medicine: Herbalists, Plants, and Nonhuman Agency

Book Details

  • Publisher : Aeon Books
  • Published : September 2019
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Category :
    Herbal Medicine
  • Category 2 :
  • Catalogue No : 93356
  • ISBN 13 : 9781911597568
  • ISBN 10 : 1911597566
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Western herbal medicine, in its engagement with living plants and with herbal medicines, has a great relevance to those that seek to move the human from the epicentre of everything and look to new ways of working with the non-human. This book shows that hidden experiences of meetings with plants, where the boundaries between herbalists and plants meet and are blurred, are important in some herbalists’ routes to studying and practicing and are also to be found in the later parts of these and other herbalists’ narratives. This constitutes the ‘push’ and ‘pull’ of ‘enchantment’, which will be seen to be a sensual affective energy that spreads throughout many, but not all, of the narratives and which embraces both more scientific and more traditional ways of doing herbal medicine. This enchantment sometimes starts before formal study begins, including at very young ages. Herbalists’ meetings with plants and herbal medicines allow herbalists to draw easily from a diverse range of influences that others may see as incommensurable.

The book starts with a look at the fragmented history of Western herbal medicine, and then considers the political history of herbal practice and the social science research. It examines a number of examples and then looks beyond the cases, arguing that it is the enchanted meetings with plants, i.e. with critters from another kingdom, and with medicines made from them, that allows difference to be easily brought into practices and into Western herbal medicine.

About the Author(s)

Guy Waddell is a lecturer in the Department of Life Sciences at the University of Westminster, London. His background is in social sciences and in herbal medicine. He has been a practitioner of Western herbal medicine for over 15 years, and practises in South London.

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