The Gaia School of Healing’s Herbalism As Activism branch offers education and workshops to underserved communities. Our commitment is to return earth medicine to the hands of the people, arming communities with the information, tools and skills they need to heal and protect themselves.
Thriving and healing oneself is an act of resistance, and we are stronger when we act together. Our intention is to connect, to work together to lift each other up, to let our knowledge and love spiral out. When we share resources, both physical and intellectual, we provide security against individual hardship and weave together a grassroots resistance.
Right now, it is of the utmost importance for us to be able to provide herbal healthcare to ourselves and our communities. By eliminating our dependence on the dominant system and pharmaceuticals and committing to a grassroots approach, we can rediscover what it means to live in a community-oriented culture whose priority is the vibrancy of its people. Through accessible education, skill sharing and community workshops we will return plant medicine to the hands of the people.
Nicole is an herbalist, birth worker, writer and mother. Her path to wellness and healing began 20 years ago when she started practicing Ashtanga yoga. Certified to teach Hatha yoga in 2007, Nicole became a birth doula and HypnoBirthing practitioner after the birth of her first child. This journey into the great cycles of life led her to the lap of the great mother, where she completed the apprenticeship of the California branch of the Gaia School of Healing. Nicole’s passion is the reproductive system, and, as a vaginal steam practitioner and creator of the YoniThrone, she enjoys seeing the miracles that steaming can create for fertility and women’s healing. Reproductive rights, racial justice and female empowerment are issues that are near to her heart. She is grateful to facilitate the activism branch of the Gaia School of Healing.
We have been working at “earth pace”, quietly listening to where there is a need, feeling out organic connections, so that our work might be in the flow of authentic and humble service. In the fall of 2017 we began with Sun Cider* workshops, sharing this simple, immune boosting tonic at Moonwater Farm in Compton and Hidden Gems Preschool in Inglewood.
Thriving immunity is such a vital foundation for quality of life. As such, it felt right to start our activist work at the root of health, immunity. Arming our communities with an immune tonic that’s created with affordable, accessible ingredients is our goal. This tonic can be a preventative alternative to pricier medicines with potentially harmful side effects.
Looking forward, we are excited to partner with several local homes for pregnant, homeless women. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), the United States has the highest maternal death rate among developed countries. There are various factors contributing to this ranking, but one leading cause of the complications that lead to maternal death is lack of adequate prenatal care. Lacking health insurance makes a woman 3 to 4 times more likely to die from childbirth related complications, including chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity. Racial disparities in this country mean that Black women are 300 percent more likely to die from pregnancy and childbirth related causes than white women. Inspired by the need to challenge the status quo of the current maternal health care system, our intention is to share herbal remedies and nutritive tonics with pregnant communities in need.
*It’s also worth noting that Sun Cider, aka Fire Cider, has been at the center of controversy, as a certain company has tried to copyright this name, essentially colonizing a medicinal food product that should be readily available to all. In this effort to bring plant medicine to the people, we share these recipes and remedies freely, with the support of community donations; with the acknowledgment that when we lift up others and share abundance, we are embodying the ways of the great mother. As part of these workshops, we encourage those who learn and receive to share within their communities, that these gifts and this knowledge might ripple out to those who need it.