Saturday, January 29, 2011

Dandelioness Herbals Product List

This is a list of remedies and bodycare products available through Dandelioness Herbals, depending on the season and availability.   Products are handmade in small batches.  Please inquire to see what's currently in stock.

My herbal concoctions are all handmade in small batches, using primarily local and abundant plants grown and harvested by hand from my garden, the fields and woodlands of land in Vermont (U.S.), or at my family's farm in Central Maine. Most ingredients are local, organic, fair-trade, made by worker's collectives, or otherwise from the most ethical source I can find.
I am passionate about health justice and my ever-evolving product list, which changes from season to season, reflects my vision for accessible and empowering health care. Throughout the process of growing medicinal plants, harvesting herbs, washing roots, choosing ingredients, making remedies, and the bottling and labeling of my tinctures, elixirs, syrups, salves, flower essences, lip balms, and other herbal products, I reflect upon, learn about, and give thanks to those who've come before, those that are here now, and those that are to come that are a part of the ever-changing movements towards liberation. My hope is that my creations are a part of creating/supporting a culture of self-care and collective-care based on mutual care, collaboration, appreciation for our bodies, and taking the time to rejuvenate ourselves and each other. Whether we're organizing for migrant justice and universal health care, raising children, menstruating, taking exams and writing papers, and/or giving care to elders, may we find ways in our personal lives and within movements for social justice and the other circles/worlds that we move between to help nourish and sustain ourselves and each other so that we can be in it for the long haul!

If you're seeking a particular remedy that you don't see listed here, please be in touch, as I may have it in my apothecary. Certain products are available locally through:

-Nutty Steph's Chocolate Shop 961C US Route 2 Middlesex, VT 802-229-2090 Tues-Sat 10am-6pm, Thurs night 6-12.-Onion River Exchange Timebank
-REACH Service Exchange Network
Frances McManus, Reflexologist White River Junction, VT 802-299-5907

Plant medicine has always been the people's medicine! I have provided a sliding scale to make these herbal remedies accessible, where people pay what they are able on the scale. If the prices are out of your reach, please let me know and we can make an arrangement. Likewise, if you find these prices less than you're willing to pay for homegrown, homemade herbal remedies, feel free to pay a bit more to support my work. A portion of my garden and remedies will always be devoted to community health and donated to community health projects. To place an order, to inquire about shipping costs, or if you have any other questions, please email me at: dandelion778 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Free the Land!

Chocolate Spice Elixir at the Chocolate Ritual and Dessert Feast on Valentine's
evening. Mugwort Elixir, Damiana Elixir, and Crampease. Making "Speak Truth! Throat Spray" during the Epyptian People's Uprising!
Blends and Elixirs 
Calm The Rage~ to cool hot emotions.  Fresh ME & VT Rosa Rugosa rose petals, fresh VT Violet leaf, fresh VT Milky Oat Tops, and fresh VT Skullcap leaf and flower, Brandy, VT Honey, and Hollyhock flower essence.
Chocolate Spice Elixir ~ a warming aphrodisiac, a warming blend to stir you up. Damiana, fresh Ginger, Cardamom, Cinnamon, local Cayenne, Brandy, Water, fair-trade Cocoa, fair-trade Sugar, and Vanilla extract.
Crampease Blend~ to ease menstrual cramps. Made with VT & ME Valerian root, Crampbark, VT Milky oat tops, VT Lady’s Mantle, ME & VT Rose petals, Ginger root, Alcohol, and local Maple syrup. (Please indicate if you prefer VT Skullcap rather than Valerian.)
Damiana Elixir ~ a relaxing aphrodisiac blend that heightens the senses. Damiana, Brandy, VT Spring water, and local Honey.
Elderberry Ginger Elixir ~ for immune support to prevent getting sick or to boost your immune system and speed recovery if you already are sick. VT Elderberries, fresh Ginger root, VT Honey, Brandy, Organic Grain Alcohol, and Yarrow flower essence.
Heart Elixir~ to open, heal, and protect the heart. VT & ME Rosa Rugosa petals, local Hawthorn berries, Brandy, local Maple syrup, and Flower essences of Hawthorn from Ireland, Johnny Jump-up/Heartsease Pansy, Magenta Lotus, and Yarrow. Please click here for more info.
Mugwort Elixir~ -to invoke vivid dreams and a connection with the moon. VT Mugwort, Brandy, VT Spring water, local Honey, and Mugwort flower essence.
Relaxing Bitters ~ to take before meals to promote good digestion. VT Dandelion root, VT Skullcap, VT & ME Lavender, alcohol, and water.
Roots Tonic ~ to support the liver. VT Dandelion, Burdock and Yellowdock roots, Alcohol, and Dandelion flower essence.
Tulsi Elixir ~ a delicious and sacred herb with immune enhancing properties that also helps us adapt to stress. Fresh VT Tulsi leaf and flowers infused in Brandy and local Honey.
The Daytime Coughing Hacking Chest Congestion Get This Stuff Out of My Lungs So I Can Function Medicine ~ a soothing expectorant blend. VT Mullein, VT Coltsfoot, VT Plantain, and VT Lungwort leaves in Brandy.
Speak Truth! Throat Spray ~ mist this spray as needed to soothe a dry, irritated, and/or sore throat. Egyptian Licorice root, VT Sage leaf, VT Oregano, VT Thyme, VT Hyssop leaf, alcohol, water, and local Honey. Made during the people's uprising in Egypt with gratitude for Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, Mumia Abu-Jamal of Prison Radio, Ida B. Wells, and the many other whistleblowers and truth tellers who’ve taken great risk to raise their voice against injustices and have created space for others' voices to be heard. Please see Americans Who Tell the Truth: A Collection of Portraits and Quotes.
Volcán de la Pasión {Volcano of Passion} ~ aphrodisiac elixir.  Fresh Vermont Rose petals, special Cinnamon sent from Mexico, Brandy, Vermont Honey, Fair trade Cocoa, Fair trade Sugar, and Vanilla bean.
Whole Echinacea Immune Boost ~ strong anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and lymph-mover for immune strength.  Fresh Vermont Echinacea root, leaf, flower, seed, and bud, Alcohol, and Water. 

A Mullein stalk near blooming, Usnea lichen (a symbiotic relationship
between a fungus and algae), Hops strobiles, and Echinacea in winter.

Single Tinctures
Please inquire for current list of available single tincture. Custom blends are also available. Please let me know the list of herbs you'd like, including proportions if you have a preference.

Ashwaghanda root, Black haw, Blue vervain, Burdock root, Burdock seed, California poppy (see note below), Chaga mushroom, Chickweed, Cleavers, Coltsfoot, Crampbark, Dandelion root, Dandelion flower, Dandelion whole plant (root, leaf, and flower) Dong quai,* Echinacea whole plant (leaf, flower, root, bud & seed), Elderflower, Elecampane root, Feverfew, Ginger root,* Goldenrod, Gotu kola, Hawthorne berries, Hops, Hyssop, Kava kava root* (with coconut milk), Lady’s mantle, Lavender bee balm (Monarda fistulosa), Lemon balm, Licorice root,* Lobelia, Nettle, Meadowsweet, Milky oats, Motherwort, Mugwort, Oregano, Plantain, Poke root, Queen Anne’s Lace (aka Wild Carrot, seed +/or flower), Reishi mushroom, Shepard’s purse, Skullcap, Spilanthes, St. Johnswort buds, Sweet Annie, Thyme, Tulsi (aka Holy Basil or Sacred Basil), Usnea, Vitex berry*, Wild lettuce, Wood betony (Staychys), Yarrow, and Yellow dock root.

All above tinctures can be blended according to your wishes. I have limited quantities of other tinctures as well. Please ask if you're looking for a particular one that you don't see listed. The California poppy tincture is made in honor of former US Political Prisoner Marilyn Buck, who recently passed away, and comes with a copy of her poem "Wild Poppies."

Freshly harvested Coltsfoot, Mullein, Plantain, and Lungwort leaves for the "Daytime Hacking..." Blend, Double headed Dandelion blossom, and Burdock in bloom.

Small amounts of the glycerites (non-alcoholic extracts) available.  Please inquire for list. 

Liniments (intended for external use) 
Woodsman Liniment~ to bring relief to those with tendonitis and pain from repetitive motion. Dried Solomon Seal root, fresh VT & ME St.Johnswort buds, fresh VT Gotu Kola leaf, fresh Turmeric root, and Alcohol.
Comfrey Liniment~ to relieve joint inflammation and help heal bone injuries. Fresh VT Comfrey root and brandy. Liniment’s consistency is more like oil than alcohol.

The roots and leaves of Iron Building Syrup. Juicing elderberries for
a batch of "All Power to the People! Eldercampane Syrup."

Syrups (please keep refrigerated)  Inquire for current list of available syrups. 
Iron Building Syrup~ nourishing herbs to build your blood’s iron level, important for those with menstrual cycles. ME Dandelion root, ME & VT Burdock root, VT Yellow dock root, VT Dandelion leaf, ME & VT Raspberry leaf, VT and Irish Nettle leaf, water, local Honey, fair-trade black strap Molasses, Black cherry concentrate, VT Hawthorne berry tincture (contains alcohol).
All Power to the People! Eldercampane Syrup~ a delicious, anti-viral syrup to speed recovery during cold and flu season. Fresh VT Elderberries, dried ME Elecampane root, fresh Ginger, Cinnamon, water, local Honey, VT Apple Cider Vinegar, and whole Echinacea tincture (root, leaf, flower, and seed, contains alcohol), fresh squeezed Lime juice, and Self-Heal flower essence. This recipe was created on the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton and made with gratitude in honor of all those who’ve organized for community health!
Elecampane Deep Lung Syrup~ a decongesting syrup, especially for deep lung conditions. ME Elecampane root, local Honey, water, ME Elecampane tincture (contains alcohol).

Yarrow for protection in many manifestations, St. Johnswort with its affinity for the sun, and a "Lip Balms for Social Justice" workshop (more info coming soon!) - the lip balms we make together travel from Vermont down to No More Deaths/No Mas Muertes in Arizona.

Salves and Balms 
Global Citizen Salve ~ an all-purpose first aid salve for cuts, burns, scrapes, and dry skin. VT Calendula flowers, VT & ME Yarrow flower and leaf, fair-trade Palestinian and organic Olive oils, local beeswax, and Self-Heal flower essence. Formulated especially for No More Deaths/No Más Muertes, a humanitarian aid organization that provides emergency 1st aid care for those crossing the border from Mexico into AZ.
Tigress Balm~ a warming balm to soothe sore, strained muscles. VT Arnica blossoms, VT Dandelion blossom, Ginger root, VT Lobelia leaf and seedpod, ME & VT St. Johnswort buds infused in Olive and Sesame oils, fair-trade Shea butter, VT beeswax, Dandelion flower essence, and a blend of Essential oils.
Comfrey Salve~ a rich, thick salve for dry, chapped skin. VT Comfrey leaf and root, fair-trade Palestinian and organic Olive oils, Jojoba Oil, fair-trade Shea butter, and VT beeswax. Also available as a lip balm.
Lemon Rosemary Cuticle Balm~ for gardeners, carpenters, athletes, crafters, farmers, sailors, and others who work with their hands. Massage this anti-bacterial balm into cuticles and nails to soften dry, cracked skin. VT & ME Calendula flowers, fair-trade Palestinian Olive oil, Jojoba oil, fair-trade Shea Butter from Burkina Faso, VT Beeswax, and essential oils of Lemon and Rosemary.

Blending the oils for Tigress Balm, red St. Johnswortoil bleeding into the amber-colored oils.

Lip Balms
Around the World Lip Balm ~ a smooth blend to soothe dry lips made with ingredients from near and afar. ME & VT & Irish herbs infused in fair-trade Palestinian and organic Olive oils, fair-trade Shea butter from Burkina Faso, Cocoa Butter from Jamaica and Mexico, VT beeswax, and Essential oils. Please indicate flavor: Sweet Orange, Peppermint, Lavender, Rose, and Unscented (Cocoa Butter).
Herbal Lip Gloss ~ an herbal red-tinted lip gloss with your choice of aphrodisiac scents. Alkanet root and local Calendula, fair-trade Palestinian Olive oil, Coconut oil, local Beeswax, and Essential oil. Choose flavor: Rose or Ylang Ylang 

Infused Oils
Please inquire about the current list of limited quantities of infused oils, such as Calendula-Yarrow and Comfrey.

Flower Essences 
These flower essences are available as remedy bottles.  If you prefer a stock bottles, which you can further dilute into remedy bottles, please let me know.  Directions included upon request.

Yarrow Flower Essence ­– Yarrow flower essence (in a water and brandy base) helps strengthen our boundaries. Especially good for those who are quite sensitive and absorb the stress around them. This remedy can help support teachers, health practitioners/healers, counselors, caregivers, and others who work in emotionally/energetically intimate situations. And a must for those who work on the computer and for Facebook addicts. 

The following homemade flower essences can be bottled on their own (preserved with brandy), or added to single tinctures or blends: Blue Vervain, Cayenne, Corn, Dandelion, Furze/Gorse (from Ireland), Johnny Jump-up/Heartsease Pansy, Hawthorn (from Ireland), Hollyhock (pink), Lady’s Mantle dew, Magenta Lotus, Milkweed, Mugwort, Sunflower, Yarrow. Please let me know if you'd like to know more about these flowers.

Fresh summertime Rose petal harvest at the farm, creating Heart Elixir,
and infusing Rose petals in Coconut oil for the Love It Up Rose Salt Scrub.

Herbal Bodycare

Love It Up Rose Salt Scrub~ A gorgeously smooth rose-scented body scrub to massage in before bathing - exfoliates and softens skin, great for re*connecting with your skin in winter! Sea salt, Rose petals infused in Coconut oil, Jojoba oil, Almond oil, and Rose otto (essential oil in Jojoba oil), and Flower essences. 
Flax Lube Finally! A slippery, fun, and truly lubricant! (Note: Though this is a water-based extract, it has not yet been scientifically proven to be latex-friendly. This product is free of preservatives, it keeps for a couple weeks in the fridge or can be frozen in ice cube trays and used when desired) Organic Flax seed, Spring water, (optional: Cinnamon). Choose flavor: Original or light Cinnamon. 
ROSE LOVE! Heart Healing Gift Basket One 1oz Heart elixir; One 4 oz Love It Up Rose Salt Scrub; and One Lip Balm or Lip Gloss (specify type & flavor). 
SELF-CARE KIT: For Emotional First Aid One 1oz Heart Elixir, One 10z Tulsi Elixir, One ½ oz Yarrow flower essence, Two Rose Relaxation Bath Fizzies (Ingredients: Baking soda, Non-GMO Cornstarch, Citric acid, ME & VT Rose petals infused in Coconut oil, homemade Tulsi hydrosol, Rose petals, Flower essences and Essential oils.)  Yes, substitutions are definitely allowed! You can choose any two 1oz Elixirs/Blends and any ½ oz Flower Essence to go with your Bath Fizzies.

Zines are self-published photo-copied booklets created to share information, price includes shipping.
Mana Culture: Self-Care for Menstrual Health by Dana L Woodruff $3-5
Trans~Care: What to Eat and Supplements & Herbs to Help Prepare and Heal You Around Surgery Times by Jacoby Ballard $5-10
Holistic Care Through Gender Transition: A Nutrition and Herbal Guide to Transgender Care Jacoby Ballard $5-10
Ask First!: Resources for Supporters, Survivors, and Perpetrators of Sexual Assault by Cheyenne of the Wench Collective $3-5
Empower Yr Sexy Self: A Workbook by Cheyenne of the Wench Collectives $3-5
HPV by The Down There Health Collective (also available free online here) $3-5
Nourishing Endometriosis by Alhena Katsoff $5-7
The classic Hot Pantz: Do It Yourself Gynecology and Herbal Remedies $3-5
Please be in touch about Gift Certificates, Herbal & Health Workshops, and additional herbal products, such as custom-made Gift Baskets (Menstrual Health, Heart Remedy, Dreamtime Basket, Rest & Relaxation/Tension Relief), and more.
*These products have not been evaluated by the FDA. Seek advice of an experienced practitioner.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Images from the Young Lords in the late 1960's and early 1970's.

Community Acupuncture

Meridians and Points

I am elated that with the New Year, Group Acupuncture is going to be offered here in Central Vermont (U.S.)! I know that to many the thought of getting pins stuck in you is anything but relaxing. However, my acupuncture experiences have all been very grounding and rejuvenating, like I just woke from a nap. I was blessed enough to find an acupuncturist when I was living in North Carolina who provided a sliding-scale, making this modality accessible for me. Later, I learned about Community Acupuncture or Group Acupuncture, which is quite different than the "Boutique Acupuncture" which is more common in the States - seeing a practitioner one-on-one in a private room, having a full intake/consultation, laying down and getting needles put in points on various areas of your body.

Community Acupuncture is more in line with the way acupuncture has traditionally been practiced. People share space in one room, fully clothed, sitting or laying down, and needles are placed in the ear, hands, feet, face and/or head. While this atmosphere may be less private, it encourages a sense of community and may provide comfort to those less at ease with intimate, one-on-one, unclothed settings. Practitioners are able to see more clients in less time, making these sessions much more affordable. Community acupuncture also encourages family members and friends to come in for sessions together. More family/friends = more comfort = more healing (hopefully). My friend who was inspired by the creations of Working-Class Acupuncture clinics changed her practice and found that providing Community Acupuncture greatly diversified her clientele, in terms of class background and ethnicity. The two fabulous Community Acupuncture clinics that I've been lucky enough to benefit from are both ones that friends of mine co-created: Third Root Community Health Center in Brooklyn, NY and Providence Community Acupuncture in Providence, RI.

I'm fascinated by the routes of meridians coursing through our bodies and how areas are physiologically and energetically linked. And I'm also very fascinated by accessible healthcare. With Community Acupuncture, these two merge beautifully. I feel much gratitude for those that helped make this happen. To truly pay respect, I need to not only thank those today who are working for accessible, affordable/free, inclusive, and empowering community health care, but also those who've gone before. This includes those who've been part of such organizations as the Black Panther Party and the Young Lords. These groups, when mentioned at all in mainstream media, are usually described as criminals, radicals (as if this were a bad thing), gang members, cop-killers, and other terms used to instill fear and perpetuate separation between peoples who actually have much in common. It's rarely mentioned that both of these organizations included healthcare as a top priority - see the Young Lords Ten-Point Health Program and Black Panther Community Programs.

Having recently learned that Community Acupuncture will soon be available through Integrative Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in Montpelier, VT, I've been thinking about the Young Lords, both their organizing efforts during the late 1960's and early 1970's and those who've continued organizing today. The summer before last I was lucky enough to be home to hear Democracy Now's brilliant program "Influential Puerto Rican Activist Group the Young Lords Marks 40th Anniversary" Former Young Lords spoke about how, inspired by the Black Panther Party and other community groups organizing for healthcare, education, and self-determination, and against police brutality and poverty, collaborated to meet the needs of their communities. The Young Lords took over a TB testing van that greatly underserving the people who needed it most, and later took over the Lincoln Hospital because of the lack of access to healthcare in the community. (You really should listen to the broadcast, and hear the stories directly from people involved at the time!) I realized after the program that I'd heard of Lincoln Hospital before, because it offers free 2 week trainings in auricular acupuncture, where needles are inserted into the ear to support withdrawal (from drugs/medications) promote relaxation, and treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I had heard of this program and hoped to one day receive training there, but I had no idea that the center's history reached back to the days of radical mass movements in response to racism here and abroad, including the Vietnam War, during the 60's and 70's. I had been writing to a few US Political Prisoners (PPs) for many years, and knew that these community organizers who were targeted by the US Government, including the FBI's COINTELPRO program which used illegal tactics, infiltration, and assassination to destroy peoples' movements, have contributed greatly to my life in ways that I'm not even aware of. However, I hadn't realized that there was a direct relationship between my passion for herbalism and community health and the US PP's I'd been corresponding with, who'd been involved with the Black Panther Party, the Black Liberation Front, the Weathermen/Weather Underground, the American Indian Movement, Students for a Democratic Society, and organized with the United Farmerworkers, against apartheid in South Africa, and for Puerto Rican independence.

Wikipedia writes: "The Lincoln Hospital's acupuncture drug detoxification clinic was founded in the South Bronx by activists involved with The Black Panther Party, The Republic of New Afrika, the Young Lords, and Students for a Democratic Society. The clinic offered drug rehabilitation with a holistic approach, employing acupuncture, political education classes and community service.In the courses, participants learned about their addiction in a political context, exploring how their addiction harmed themselves, their community and family. It also explored the role of governmental institutions such as the CIA in drug trafficking and profiteering as well as how drug addiction has worked against progressive and revolutionary change. Community work was also politicized: doing work such as helping an evicted tenant find housing, welfare rights work, helping a family with transportation to go see an imprisoned relative, or attending a trial showing support for one of the many political prisoners who were being railroaded into prisons for their political work.
Eventually the center was targeted by the FBI under COINTELPRO. FBI agents would attempt to turn drug addicts involved in the center into informants, often successfully. The tension came to a head when over 200 members of the New York Police Department and their SWAT teams used excessive force to close it down. The government claimed that clinic workers were mismanaging funds, but others claim it was an excuse to close the clinic because of its revolutionary politics." The center is now known as Lincoln Recovery Center.
In a recent visit with US PP Herman Bell, who I initially met through the Victory Gardens Project in Maine which he is a co-founder of, I learned that fellow PP/Prisoner of War Mutulu Shakur is an acupuncturist. He's been politically active since he was a teenager, when he became part of the New Afrikan Independence Movement. He became a licensed acupuncturist in the 70's and worked with the Lincoln Detox Center for 8 years, as a political education instructor, counselor, acupuncturist, and the Program's Assistant Director. He was a Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Black Acupuncture Advisory Association of North America (BAAANA) and the Harlem Institute of Acupuncture and lectured before medical communities around the world. He is also the stepfather of hip hop artist Tupac Shakur. (Dr. Shakur was arrested on February 12, 1986, 25 years ago. Click here for more information on his case.)

I'm going to include excerpts from a radio interview with Dr. Mutulu Shakur, though I highly recommend that you read it yourself in its entirety. Mutulu Shakur: On The History Of The Use Of Acupuncture By Revolutionary Health Workers To Treat Drug Addiction, And US Government Attacks Under The Cover Of The CounterIntelligence Program (COINTELPRO)

Free Dr. Mutulu Shakur, Mutulu Shakur with co-defendant Marilyn Buck (Rest in Peace),
and Revolution in our Lifetime by Emory Douglas

"So the Lincoln Detox became not only recognized by the community as a political formation but its work in developing and saving men and women of the third world inside of the oppressed communities, resuscitating these brothers and sisters and putting them into some form of healing process within the community we became a threat to the city of New York and consequently with the development of the barefoot doctor acupuncture cadre, we began to move around the country and educate various other communities instead of schools and orientations around acupuncture drug withdrawal and the strategy of methadone and the teaching the brothers and sisters the fundamentals of acupuncture to serious acupuncture, how it was used in the revolutionary context in China and in Vietnam and how we were able to use it in the South Bronx and our success. Primarily because we had a love for our people and we had a commitment to our people, we started very rudimentary....

...all the fads and the health foods stores and all of the reflexology clinics and all of these things that allow to function today would not exist if revolutionary men and women did not fight tooth and nail to spread the possibilities of another form of healthcare system to the third world grassroots community.

(The 200 policemen that raided the Lincoln Detox Center). . . just controlled the whole thing and fired all of us or told us that we were to be sent to other hospitals. Right now today you can go into New York City and in those municipal hospitals within the community, with the black and Puerto Rican and poor communities, a municipal hospital, not the private hospital, but the municipal hospitals, you can now receive acupuncture treatment for drug withdrawal as an alternative method of treatment. And that exists today because many men and women were put in jail, shot and killed, had mental disorders, all the things that go with on going low intensity warfare, all the suffering that can be attributed to that is for ??. The reason why men and women now can go get acupuncture and alternative healthcare has to do with that cadre of men and women. And they need to be praised and that situation needs to be correctly analyzed.

(Dr. Mutulu Shakur uses the term "chemical warfare" to describe the intentional infiltration of communities of color/poor communities with drugs by the US government. Also, when asked to describe his use of "low intensity warfare," Dr. Shakur said, "I think a lot of times we put titles on things to cut the explanation and where we need to put the explanation, make the explanation more clear. Low intensity warfare very simply put, is the play on the weaknesses and uncovered flanks of organizations or formations that are a threat, to the powers that be or to your adversary. As it relates to us and the United States government and military government, we, the liberation movements, were infiltrated with agents, money was stolen and we were beginning to accuse each other, work that we were doing to educate and propagate to the community was being subverted and converted ’cause we did not control the media process. Our own egos were being used against us very fundamentally. Your mail was being stolen when you expected the mail to come for this, that or the other. Shoestring budgets were being stretched to the limits so we would fail to make certain deadlines. So we began to feel inconsistent, impotent, incompetent and we felt that the things were falling apart. So our morale began to weaken. So with a weak morale and a vicious military attack, an assassination of key leader, or a car accident driving him off the road, or an addiction or a supporter or something, anything that can breakdown the fundamental structure and the spirit of a formation is low intensity warfare. Where you’re being attacked everyday but it’s not the clear line that you anticipate. And it’s not haphazard attack. It’s a very fundamental, thought out, programmatic attack at the weaknesses that have been reported by the agent to the superior.")

In conversations with herbalists, acupuncturists, and other folks devoted to accessible community health, often we speak of "health justice" as a fairly new concept. A new vision of (green) healthcare that is inclusive of communities that have been excluded by the mainstream, dominant medical system that is dictated by straight, cisgender (non-transgender), upper-class, able-bodied, white men (and their corporations). However, this pharmacetical-flooded and profit-driven system is quite recent. Plant medicines and other traditional modalities such as acupuncture have been practiced much longer and their practice continues. And this generation is not the first to work for community healthcare rooted firmly in self- and community-sufficiency, a sense of empowerment and liberation (rather than perpetuating racism, ableism, ageism, mysogyny, homophobia, transphobia, classism, etc as well as rigid ideas of what's "normal"), and putting people's health before profits and ego.

My hope is that as we move forward with projects that embody our passion and vision of community healthcare, we draw on the lessons and wisdoms of our elders, many of whom are still held in US penitentiaries for their work serving the community. May we give respect to the elders who have passed, to those who are incarcerated, and those who are still working for health justice - both from the inside and the outside. Let's read up on our history! Let's correspond with those community organizers held in prison, to share our ideas, learn directly from their experiences, and receive their feedback! And let's share what we learn, especially with the youth so that they may have the knowledge that they are part of a strong movement that stretches far back in history.

The Lincoln Story by Ellinor R. Mitchell
May Day Free Acupuncture at Devi Health in Chicago (video)
National Acupuncture Detoxification Association
Acupuncturists Without Borders is a non-profit group who treats trauma victims in a group acupuncture setting, including Haiti and New Orleans post Katrina and has reserached P.T.S.D. for their Military Stress Recovery Project.
The Mujeres of the Young Lords By Erica González
The Young Lords’ Legacy of Puerto Rican Activism By Jennifer 8. Lee

Melanie Cervantes' print "Panther Power."  The lyrics to the left of Tupac Amaru Shakur, below the sea of Black Panthers, reads:  "My Mother never let me forget my history, Hoping I was set free chains never put on me, Wanted to be more than just free...Panther power is running through my arteries"  More on this print here.

Images from "Acupuncture Points and Meridians" by Davide Legge.