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The 2nd HerbFeast organised by the Community of Irish Herbalists took place at The Organic Centre in Co Leitrim last weekend. The event kicked off with the incomparable David Winston taking a herbwalk on what was a glorious evening, followed by his keynote address on Comparative Ethnomedicine in which he discussed the similarities and differences between Western, Chinese and Cherokee herbalism. Peter Jackson-Main, master herbalist and renowned iridologist, led an interesting discussion on the therapeutic relationship. Marina Kesso from Bareroot Botanicals gave a talk on growing medicinal plants while Jacquie Burgess led a meditation class.
Kes Clare from the Irish Register of Herbalists led a demonstration in herbal wine and beers – her Tanglefoot ale proved to be appropriately named! Dr Dilis Clare, president of the Irish Institute of Medical Herbalists talked about her strategies in healing with herbs. This was followed by a panel discussion with IRH President Danny O’Rawe, David Winston, Judith Hoad, Mary Kay Ryan and Dr Dilis Clare which looked at the future of herbal medicine, favourite herbs, sustainability, herb-drug interactions and the importance of building community. The first evening finished with a very entertaining presentation by TCM herbalist Mary Kay Ryan on facial diagnosis in history.
David Winston took another herbwalk on Sunday morning. Anji Jackson-Main led a practical class in drawing and painting herbs. Donna Bryant Winston, who will also be speaking at the UK Herbfest this year, gave a soothing talk on the importance of sleep and various herbal strategies to combat insomnia. The ever-articulate Dr Donn Brennan finished the event with a fascinating introduction to Ayurvedic medicine.
All in all a very diverse, balanced and entertaining weekend of lectures and demonstrations to celebrate the world of herbal medicine and to foster community to help bring herbal medicine back to the people! Until next year then…
IRH Response: This was without doubt a fantastic event. It would be great to see more IRH members attending next year! If you’d like to get involved with organising or helping at the event contact the Community of Irish Herbalists.