Forest Medicine: Stories Happen in Forests

Forest Medicine: Stories Happen in Forests

My name’s Alison Czeczuga, I’m the Global Sourcing and
Sustainability Specialist at Gaia Herbs. Gaia Herbs is a vertically integrated herbal supplement manufacturer. We don’t just have a
responsibility to shareholders, but we have a responsibility to people and communities and ecological
communities as well. I’ve always had an affinity for nature, and I’ve always been
really connected to nature. But it wasn’t until I moved to Western North Carolina
that I really fell in love with herbs and the woods. Forests are home to traditional knowledge. They’re home to plant knowledge. The more I learn about plant medicine, the more I am convinced
that the body and mind of nature correspond
with our body and mind. I tend to be a very anxious person, and anyone who has anxiety knows that it can be crippling. And through learning more about herbs and what they have to offer, I’ve been able to get that
anxiety back in control, and I’ve been able to lower my stress. There’s so much to discover, and even though it’s teeming with life and excitement and movement, I feel most still and most grounded just when I’m sitting by a
river, listening to birds. My mom grew up in Scotland, and there medicinal
herbs is also really deep within their culture. Growing up, herbs was the
first line of defense. Whenever we were feeling unwell or stressed, my mom would take us down into our basement apothecary
and give us herbs. Now I find myself living
in Southern Appalachia, and these mountains of Southern Appalachia and Scotland used to be connected. Before Pangaea split, these mountains were the same. I automatically felt at home with the plants, the
similarity of the plants, the similarity of the landscape. I do feel like there’s a legacy that I’m carrying on
from my mom’s traditions that I hope to pass on to my kids as well. People are waking up
to the power of nature, both just experiencing it, but also using herbs for their health. It’s really important for these forests to be preserved, not only for what herbs
that are growing in them, but for people to enjoy them and to connect back to nature.

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