By Amie Mignatti
For many years I have been interested in plants and herbs. At university, I took botany courses for fun and taught myself about the medicinal aspects of local plants and many more. Upon moving to Munich, I dove into the Alpine forests with field guides and plant friends, and even lived at the Botanical Gardens for a stint with my gardener ex-boyfriend. I am always learning and discovering what the natural world has to hold and how our connection to it, as humans, is so valuable and important. There is just so much to learn!
I became very interested in learning about the plants of Europe and the history of plant medicine here, as it is so different from my native Texas. I’ve taken year-long courses where I’ve learned how to make salves and tinctures from local plants and herbs and how to use plants to treat small illnesses and wounds. I’ve met many very interesting and knowledgeable people through my curiosity about the plant world, and they have sparked my interest to learn even more.
Now that I have several years of experience under my belt and a daughter, I take her with me on foraging expeditions. We collect not only food from the forest and fields, but also flowers to make tinctures, herbs to make jams and jellies, and roots for teas. We just went on a Wild Carrot hunt a few weeks ago so that we could make a lovely Queen Anne’s Lace jam for her kindergarten teachers as a leaving present.
I love passing on the knowledge that I have to my daughter. I take it very slowly when I am with her, and show her a variety of different flower blooms and how to tell plants apart. It’s especially important because some are poisonous. She knows to ask an adult before collecting or eating anything from nature and I am very impressed with her ability to identify different plants and name them. She knows what plants to use for an insect bite or a nettle sting and often seeks these out when we are outdoors and someone has gotten stung.
As my own interest continues to grow, I find it important to pass on what I love to my child. Foraging and using plants as medicine is a hobby of mine that is integrated into my life’s work. One of my goals in life is to make a living doing what I love and with something that I am passionate about. This is also something I would like to instill in my daughter and so I include her as much as possible in my work with plants.
Throughout history, elders have been passing on their knowledge of plants for medicinal and nutritional uses. Somewhere along the line, we seemed to have lost this and we turn to the pharmacy rather than Grandma. I’m trying to reinstate this lineage in my family. If my daughter grows up seeing foraging and herbal medicine as normal, then it will be a part of who she is. To me, there is no greater achievement.
Amie Mignatti is a free spirited woman with her feet on the earth and her heart in the stars. After traveling the world for many years, she landed in Munich where she wears many different hats: yoga teacher, nature coach, outdoor educator for children, English teacher. She also runs personal development courses for women in nature. She and her family are happiest outdoors with friends and campfires.
Check out her blog here.