Neighbourhood naturopath hosts herb walk

Megan Tardiff-Woolgar teaches participants about medical plant uses and naturopathy

Attendants learned about the benefits of plants like stinging nettle and goldenrod. Savannah Forsey/Argosy

Megan Tardif-Woolgar, a herbalist who recently moved to Sackville, held a guided walk around her yard to introduce curious community members to herbal medicines that can be found in the Tantramar area. Throughout the workshop, Tardif-Woolgar taught the group about how to identify, collect, and use herbs in teas, tinctures, and foods.

Tardif-Woolgar is a registered medical herbalist from British Columbia who recently moved her practice to Sackville. Through her practice, Tardif-Woolgar consults patients about herbal teas, tinctures, capsules and creams that can be used as medicine for varying ailments.

Tardif-Woolgar explained why she is passionate about herbal medicine. “We co-evolved with plants, so herbal medicine is something that we co-evolved with too. If we can take something that is so close to us and has such a great effect on our bodies, then we can help heal each other and make the planet a better place,” she said.

Tardif-Woolgar led the attendees on a walk through the yard of her practice. Though the yard was small, Tardif-Woolgar was able to point out many plants and explain their benefits. Those who attended were also given the opportunity to sample tinctures (alcohol extracts) from each of the highlighted plants.

Tardif-Woolgar began the workshop by introducing a flowering plant called yarrow. She explained that yarrow can be used as a nosebleed cure, open pores and fight bacteria in the body. Next, she spoke about horse chestnut, which according to Tardif-Woolgar alleviates the effects of varicose veins. Tardif-Woolgar also talked about the uses of stinging nettle. She said, “The nettle is my favorite herb today because it has that mineral-rich quality to it and it’s high in protein. It’s a stimulant so it’s good to take in the morning.” Tardif-Woolgar also said that nettle is also good for the kidneys and promotes good circulation.

Next, Tardif-Woolgar led the attendees to another section of the yard to talk about goldenrod, valerian root, round ivy and Japanese knotweed. Here, Tardif-Woolgar taught that goldenrod is helpful for urinary problems, valerian root is useful as a sedative, round ivy is good for the stomach and Japanese knotweed can help alleviate Lyme disease symptoms. People who attended were also able to test tinctures of dandelion, which is antibacterial and good for digestion.

Miranda Forstall is a community member who attended the workshop and was impressed by the content. “I think Megan is really knowledgeable and she comes with a lot of info about plants. I’m floored by her ability to recall this information so quickly and so accurately,” Forstall said.

Kawama Kasutu, a second-year student at Mt. A, attended the workshop too. Kasutu connected the medicinal herbal theme of the workshop to a memory from her childhood. “I remember growing up and drinking tea that my mom would make from this tree that my grandfather brought home from Zambia,” Kasutu said. “So I definitely believe that a lot of plants are used for medicine. I think we take that for granted when we do things like mow our lawns.”

Tardif-Woolgar’s practice is located at 38 Main St., and she encourages people to further explore herbs. “Talk to your friendly neighbourhood herbalist, and see how they can use the herbs to help shift your body to a state of balance,” she said.

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