The Wisdom of Plant Medicine


The Wisdom of Plant Medicine
by Dawn Petter

Join guest presenter Dawn Petter October 18-20 and discover the power of herbal medicine. Visit our Event Calendar for activity details. 

I often share with my students that I became an herbalist by accident. I had an established career in fashion as a designer in addition to running my own cashmere sweater company. But it turned out the work I really needed to do was on myself, and this is where my love of plants began.

My sensitive spirit was not built for New York City’s fast-paced corporate life and hard knocks. I was overworked, sleep-deprived, and my health and spirit were suffering. With my well-being at stake, I made the choice to follow a holistic path in search of balance and to reconnect with what it meant to be well.

I started practicing yoga and receiving weekly guidance from a healer that would continue for the next four years. Through this time, I gained a strong sense of self, started getting out in nature more, and invested further in my holistic pursuits; studying reiki, flower essences, quantum healing, and completing several yoga and practitioner trainings in a variety of healing modalities.

My determined and curious soul craved knowledge and I channeled my creativity away from the fashion world, spending more and more time with teachers who wanted to share their wisdom of nature and healing. One of those teachers also offered classes at the newly opened ArborVitae School of Traditional Herbalism in Manhattan.

It was 2013 and while my studies in flower essences were well underway, I did not know much about herbal medicine. I remember crossing the threshold of the school’s front door, smelling all these interesting new scents and tasting my first cup of nettle tea. I had never experienced anything like it and I suddenly felt like I had come home.

I signed up for classes one by one and before I knew it, I had completed the first-year curriculum. Without missing a beat, I decided to sign up for the second year of studies and of course, when that was completed, I thought I may as well do the third year, which was mainly clinical practice. So that’s how an accidental herbalist and flower essence practitioner was born!

I am now the founder of an organic plant-based skincare brand, a flower essence practitioner and herbalist working with clients by appointment, and a teacher regularly offering classes both in NYC and across the United States at wellness retreats.    

I love to offer my students tactile experiences with herbal medicine – giving them opportunities to taste, touch, smell, and feel the benefits of the specific herbs. There are always recipes and tastings in my classes and ways for students to connect with the medicine on a deep level. Seeing their eyes light up as they notice inner recognition of change from tasting an herb or a remedy is one of my great pleasures as a teacher.

The topics I will cover in my presentations at Red Mountain include practical ways to incorporate herbal medicine into daily life for a range of uses, from establishing a home apothecary for common ailments to optimal ways to support digestive health and work through the challenges of pain.

We will also discuss how plant medicine has been employed throughout history and ways to incorporate wild plants into delicious recipes and effective medicinal preparations – and most importantly, how to safely use the plants both internally and topically. My classes are engaging, fun, and speak to anyone seeking better health and a greater sense of empowerment with how to achieve it.

About Dawn Petter

Dawn Petter is a clinical herbalist, flower essence practitioner, and the creator of Petalune Herbals, a resource for handcrafted herbal skincare and luxury botanical products. You can also find her leading herb walks and teaching classes on the art of plant-based healing at the New York Botanical Garden, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and The Horticultural Society of New York, among other places.