About the Solidarity Apothecary // About Nicole Rose
The mission of the Solidarity Apothecary is to materially support revolutionary struggles and communities with plant medicines to strengthen collective autonomy, self-defence and resilience to climate change, capitalism and state violence.
The vision of the Solidarity Apothecary is to build a world of stateless, revolutionary and resilient communities nourished by plant medicines embedded in collective health autonomy. The Solidarity Apothecary seeks to strengthen people and communities on the frontline of fighting oppression, state and capitalist violence and the coming years of climate chaos. I believe that plant medicines can play a role both in survival and self-defence and in building relationships and resilience from our bodies to our ecosystems.
- Supplying those harmed by prisons and repression with plant medicines via the Anarchist Black Cross and supporting prisoners with The Prisoner’s Herbal book
- Supporting frontline organisers with herbal education and tools to overcome burnout and sustain their work
- Making and distributing plant medicines for Herbalists without Borders chapters and other solidarity initiatives
- Offering advice and support to herbal growing projects
Plant medicines for people experiencing state violence and repression
The first focus of the Solidarity Apothecary has been making and distributing plant medicines to those on the frontline of state violence. This includes people being arrested, on trial, imprisoned, detained or recovering from these experiences. Plant medicines are distributed via the Anarchist Black Cross, an informal network of prisoner-support and anti-repression groups. I also make medicines for the people doing the support and solidarity work during these times, such as organising intense support campaigns, doing prison visits, court support and so forth.
Distributing the Prisoner’s Herbal Book
In 2019, the Solidarity Apothecary published its first book, The Prisoner’s Herbal. It is written for people in prison who want to learn about the medicinal properties of plants commonly found in prison courtyards. It contains ten detailed plant profiles, as well as instructions on how to prepare plant medicines in prison. There is also a section on wound care and how to connect with plant allies. It is based on my experience of using herbs through my 3.5 year prison sentence. More than 700 copies have been sent to prisoners via different prisoner book and support projects. Please get in touch if you can help get copies to people inside.
In 2019, the Solidarity Apothecary published its second book called Overcoming Burnout. This book is about overcoming burnout, linking my journey of recovery with wider systemic forces such as classism, sexism and power dynamics in groups, poverty, chronic illness and ableism, as well as grief and trauma from prison and state repression. It is a call for models of mutual aid and collective care.
Solidarity with Refugees in Calais with Herbalists without Borders
For the last five years, Herbalists without Borders UK has maintained a presence in Northern France supporting refugees and migrants risking their lives to cross the British Border. I currently visit Calais every month as a student being mentored by senior herbalists. We see hundreds of people with upper respiratory conditions, skin complaints, digestive issues and more, as well as injuries from police violence. My plan pre-pandemic was to organise monthly medicine making sessions from my workshop. I am now focused on helping the group to make more than 4,500 medicines to distribute as flu packs to help people survive the pandemic.
I also do my best to respond to international call-outs for herbal support.
Advice for Herbal Growing Projects
I offer support to grassroots and community groups developing herb gardens and herbal growing projects based on nearly a decade of cultivating plant medicines. I use my knowledge as an agroecologist and permaculture designer to develop designs and implementation plans for groups who want to build medicinal landscapes and ecosystems, at whatever scale.
I am currently undertaking a 4-year clinical training and on graduation, I seek to support more people on a one-to-one basis. Part of being a grassroots herbalist is knowing your limits in terms of medical knowledge and so right now I focus on supplying very safe nourishing herbs until I build my confidence and experience in community herbalism.
My plans for the future are to:
- Offer accessible one-to-one consultations
- Develop a mobile clinic that can visit sites of struggle and offer herbal support
- Create online trainings for people worldwide to learn about plant medicine for organisers, herbal preparedness and medicinal ecology
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