The American Botanical Council’s historic headquarters in Austin, Texas, blossomed with more than 50 guests celebrating ABC’s 6th Annual HerbDay celebration on Sunday, May 1. Central Texas botanical experts—including organic gardening expert John Dromgoole—shared their herbal mastery with the community at this free ABC event.
ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal welcomed attendees with a warm and informative speech about ABC’s educational mission and the upward trend of herb usage in American selfcare.
Guests explored ABC’s 30 demonstration herb gardens, after which Yaoping (Violet) Song, PhD, faculty member of the Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin (AOMA), demonstrated the uses of Chinese herbs in ABC’s Traditional Chinese Medicine garden, which AOMA partially funded and helps to maintain.
Then Charlotte Jernigan, a Certified Ayurveda Practitioner with the National Ayurveda Medical Association, gave guests an engaging primer on herbal indications in Ayurveda—the ancient traditional medicine of India—among the beds of ABC’s Ayurvedic garden, which was donated by Nature’s Formulary and Organix-South. “What great energy you guys created,” Jernigan said. “I was proud to participate.”
At least 40 people attended Dromgoole’s inspiring presentation in ABC’s annex building, leaving standing room only. Dromgoole, who has hosted America’s longest continuously running organic gardening radio talk show on Austin’s 590 KLBJ-AM, spoke rousingly about the effect of climate change on gardening in Central Texas and provided invaluable constructive tips on how to conserve water while gardening in draught conditions. Dromgoole, owner of The Natural Gardener, Central Texas’ premier organic gardening center, is an old friend of ABC’s Blumenthal; they formerly worked together in both the herb and potting soil businesses in the 1980s.
ABC’s former Education Coordinator and HerbDay organizer, Rebecca Petee, said she was delighted to gear the grassroots event toward one of the most important aspects of traditional medicine: fostering community. “One of the benefits of bringing local herbalists and botanical experts to ABC for this event,” she said, “is that local HerbDay guests can now go back to visit them.”
Members of the Texas chapter of the American Herbalists Guild donated several creative and thirst-quenching iced teas, including one made with freshly-picked herbs from ABC’s gardens.
HerbDay is a coordinated series of independently produced public educational events celebrating the importance of herbs and herbalism. HerbDay was initiated by 5 nonprofit organizations with interests in herbs and herbalism (the HerbDay Coalition: ABC, the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, the American Herbal Products Association, the American Herbalists Guild, and United Plant Savers) to raise public awareness about the significance of herbs in our lives and the many ways herbs can be used safely and creatively for health, beauty care, and culinary enjoyment. Greater familiarity with herbs will increase informed use of herbal products and build public support for maintaining personal choice in the use of botanicals. More at www.herbday.org.