Beverley Gray knows plants.
They’ve intrigued her since early childhood and she has since accomplished a lot in the name of greenery.
Gray opened her herb shop, Aroma Borealis, in Whitehorse 15 years ago and has continued to expand her knowledge. She’s studied herbalism, yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, spiritual healing and reflexology. She’s also written a very successful book, The Boreal Herbal: Wild Food and Medicine Plants of the North. Published in 2011,the success of her book brought opportunities to travel and share her knowledge abroad in places like Ireland and Norway.
In early August she is teaching throughout Alberta before returning to Whitehorse where she will be leading an herb walk for us, free of charge.
Gray credits the Yukon’s community for supporting her endeavours, so she’s happy to return the favour.
“I love to give back to my community,” says Gray. “I feel like I can empower people to get out and be able to identify and gather plants for themselves. I think it’s really important because herbal medicine is the people’s medicine.”
The walk will begin between 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. at Gray’s booth in the Fireweed Market at Shipyard’s park on Thursday, August 15.
Gray welcomes everyone and isn’t worried about numbers.
“I can teach any size group. I’ve given workshops outside where I’ve had 60 people and I’ve given talks to a room full of 300 people. I can talk endlessly about wild plants and their uses because that’s what I do.”
The group will follow her along the river, learning identification and collection techniques for helpful herbs, trees and berries found along the way. Back at the market she will demonstrate how to properly store and create medicines from the foraged plants.
The hike will last about two hours, but she encourages everyone to check it out, whether they have to join in late or leave early.
“It’s casual,” says Gray. “You know — it’s the Yukon.”
Those who stick around should be able to walk away with something fresh and edible to try for themselves.
Gray has also recently released A Field Guide to Medicinal Wild Plants of Canada, a pocket guide for those interested in pursuing their own wild medicine. It can be picked up at Aroma Borealis on Main Street.
Inside you will find general tips for any newbie herbalist looking to try foraging, along with specific information and techniques for making use of over 20 wild plants.