In the Classroom – Botanicals for Women’s Health


Most days I feel very fortunate. Yesterday was a very good day. What was special about yesterday? It started out like a regular day, I was very busy but was looking forward to the evening. Working on staff at The Toronto Botanical Garden has exposed me to many very cool things. Yesterday I was able to attend the class Botanicals for Women’s Health in the evening.  A very cool thing.

Some time past 6:00 I saw the instructor pass by my office space, arriving early for set up. I was busy finishing up with some database stuff, she was busy trying to get some final details settled.  I checked the time and finished up work for the day before heading across the hall to the class.

Morwenna Givens is a woman who instantly made me feel comfortable. Her wonderful accent didn’t hurt, I’m partial to anything from the U.K. She comes across as learned, competent and trustworthy. She is a medicinal herbalist who works out of Optimum Health Centre on Yonge Street in Toronto. She went on to tell us the first 3 years of training are like an MD and the second 3 years specialize in bio/phytochemistry, pharmacology and plant therapeutics. That’s a lot of training. She trained in the UK and let us know that this kind of training is not available in Canada. Medical Herbalists treat medical conditions with plants. She treats patients with conditions ranging from cancer to eczema, a wide range of ailments. We were given a quick history lesson and a run through of plants we could grow in our own gardens (and planting placement suggestions) that could be used medicinally.

Digestion, cognitive function, viruses, thyroid issues, cancer, hormonal actions, bacterial infections, nervous conditions, anti-inflammatory issues, antiseptic properties, insomnia, shingles, herpes infections, HIV, venereal warts, increasing milk flow, stopping milk flow, night sweats, headaches, anti-constipation, exhaustion, endometriosis, fertility, sugar regulation, anti-coagulant, anti-diabetic, ulcers, wounds, radiation lesions, reducing blood pressure, urinary conditions, PMS and even cancer. All treatable with herbs. This is not news, but it is. The Egyptians, Ancient Chinese, native North Americans, Celtic Medicine to name a few all knew there were amazing healing properties in the plants around us.

When her presentation wound down she opened up the floor to questions. People seemed hesitant to speak first. One brave soul spoke up and it seemed like a floodgate had been opened. We spent the next hour in great conversation. It was more than question and answer. We were a group of women with similar interests who had many questions. We talked about herbs and food. We talked about how the health care system is not working in tandem with complementary practitioners.

I feel like we just touched the tip of the iceberg and I will be looking forward to her return here at the garden. I sent Morweena an email last night. I had to let her know how much I enjoyed her talk and let her know that I would be following up with a consultation. I’m curious to see what ancient medicine can do for me. I’m not against modern medicine but my roots are native North American and Scottish and my curiosity has been piqued.

Note – Do not try to self-treat this should be left to the professionals.

disclaimer – TBG provides opportunities for people to learn about plant-related subjects, though doesn’t specifically endorse using herbs as a means for the treatment of physical illness

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