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 : January 2020
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 331
  • Category :
  • Category 2 :
    Herbal Medicine
  • Catalogue No : 93356
  • ISBN 13 : 9781911597568
  • ISBN 10 : 1911597566
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Through interviews with British herbalists, the importance of hidden experiences of meetings with plants is explored alongside how such ‘enchantment’ has influenced the narrative of their lives. Some herbalists have visible entryways into studying, such as personal experience of taking herbal medicine, a search for a new career or a love of nature. Other entryways are more hidden, with many noting ‘crossings’ and ‘callings’ with plants at a young age. This sensual ability of herbs raises questions about the agency of living plants and of herbal medicines, and about how the relationship between herbalists and plants may be reconceived. Meetings with plants and herbal medicines allow herbalists to draw easily from a diverse range of influences that others may see as incommensurable.

Set in context against the historical and political background of Western herbal medicine, and drawing on debates within the social sciences, vegetal philosophy and new developments within plant science, this engagement with living plants is argued to have great relevance to those who seek to move the human from the epicentre of everything and look to new ways of working with the nonhuman.

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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