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.
This project is run by anarchist organiser and herbalist Nicole Rose (she/her) based in the Westcountry of England. My lineages are English, Welsh and Irish. I have been studying herbal medicine informally for over a decade. I completed a four-year clinical training with The Plant Medicine School in Ireland to develop my skills as a practitioner.
As a herbalist, I focus on supporting people experiencing state violence.
For better or worse, prison has shaped my adult life. I’ve been supporting partners, friends and comrades in prison for the last 17 years. I did a 3.5 year sentence myself after a huge wave of state repression against a campaign to close down Europe’s largest animal testing company. Plants sustained me through my sentence and many years later I finally wrote the Prisoner’s Herbal book which is now distributed to prisoners worldwide.
My goal as a herbalist is to contribute to developing healthcare infrastructure that builds autonomy beyond the state, capitalism, white supremacy and patriarchy.
I believe the joy, pleasure and nourishment that plant medicines gift us can help support people survive state violence while we work to tear oppressive systems down and rebuild anew. I believe in a world without cages. I believe in collective care, autonomy and responsibility to each other and the land. I am continuously inspired by movements, revolutionaries and organisers around the world, especially Black and Brown feminists and abolitionists that share frameworks of healing justice, abolition, mutual aid and liberation.
Anarchists have always been dedicated to mutual aid – from smuggling food to prisoners to providing safe houses for people on the run from fascist regimes. The Solidarity Apothecary is herbal medicine as mutual aid. The time for revolutionary medicine is now.
Supporting people harmed by State violence with herbal medicines
The main focus of the Solidarity Apothecary is making and distributing plant medicines to people experiencing state violence and repression. This includes people being arrested, on trial, imprisoned, detained or recovering from these experiences, as well as prisoner families, frontline organisers and more. Herbal Solidarity can be in form of care packages, one-to-one support or as part of the mobile clinic. Learn more here.
I offer one-to-one support via an online clinic. The Solidarity Apothecary Clinic is a sliding scale offering where you can access in-depth personalised herbal support. Sessions are offered online and medicines are sent in the post. Medicines are grown and made nearly entirely from the land where I live. Learn more about the clinic here.
Distributing the Prisoner’s Herbal Book to people in prison worldwide
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 and more. It is based on my experience of using herbs through my 3.5 year prison sentence.
More than 3000 copies have been sent to prisoners via different prisoner book and support projects. This work is now organised with the Prisoner Herbalism Collective, learn more about us here. Please get in touch if you can help get copies to people inside or request copies here. The book has now been translated into Spanish! Read more about these editions here.
You can read some of the amazing testimonials from people in prison here.
Mobile Clinic supporting Refugees in Northern France
For the last five years, Mobile Herbal Clinic Calais has maintained a presence in Northern France supporting refugees and migrants risking their lives to cross the British Border. I regularly visit Calais most months as a Field Coordinator and Herbal First Aider being mentored by senior herbalists and doctors. Since October 2019, we have seen more than 5000 people with upper respiratory conditions, skin complaints, digestive issues and more, as well as injuries from police violence. Our medicines are made by a dedicated network of grassroots medicine makers and growers. Together, we made and distributed more than 6,000 medicines during the pandemic.
Ukraine Herbal Solidarity
Ukraine Herbal Solidarity is a grassroots volunteer project that shares herbal medicine support with refugees who have fled russia’s genocidal re-invasion of Ukraine. We are a team of Ukrainian and international herbalists who have gathered medicines grown, prepared, and donated from all over the world. Learn more about the project here.
We offer immune and distress supportive medicines rooted in Ukraine’s vibrant herbal medicine traditions. We also ship medicine directly into Ukraine. We distribute our medicines at a refugee evacuation stop in Poland. The medicines offer much needed relief to survivors of russia’s genocidal re-invasion of Ukraine: A small exhale; a familiar embrace; a soft landing amid the enormity of the grief. Ukraine Herbal Solidarity can also donate medicines to projects that can distribute the medicines within Ukraine and to refugees within their networks.
Supporting frontline organisers
Organising with others for human, animal and earth liberation can be one of the most empowering experiences alive. Yet frontline resistance comes with risks to our physical and emotional health that can lead many people to burn out and abandon social movements altogether.
In 2019, I published a second book called Overcoming Burnout which linked 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 beyond capitalist ideas of consumer self-care.
This year, I am launching a Herbalism for Organisers course, which consolidates many of the amazing ways plants can take care of us while we organise for liberation. Sign up to my newsletter if you are keen to hear about it!
Organisers are encouraged to request herbal support. I’ve sent care packages to people engaging in action from sabotaging the badger cull, to occupying trees to prevent their destruction to people campaigning against detention centres.
Mobile Clinic at Sites of Resistance
My goal post-pandemic is to be available to tour sites of resistance, offering herbal clinics at occupations, protest sites, gatherings and events. Site life can take its toll, from physical injury, PTSD from police violence, or simply the physical endurance of living outside. I like to offer immune and stress support to people whose bodies are on the line, as well as those doing invisible labour behind the scenes to make ongoing resistance a reality.
Frontline Herbalism Podcast
In 2022, I launched The Frontline Herbalism Podcast! It is a show for people who love plants and care about liberation. Plant knowledge, medicine making tips, interviews and advice on how to skill up to strengthen collective autonomy, self-defence and resilience to climate change, capitalism and state violence. Learning and inspiration from grassroots healthcare initiatives and frontline herbal projects worldwide. Listen on your favourite podcast player and check out all the shows here.
Support the Solidarity Apothecary
My goal long-term is to be able to financially survive through online courses, sales and donations so that I can serve movements as a herbalist and medic full-time. You can support that goal here.
If you’d like to be kept updated about all of these different things, events, courses, solidarity shout-outs and more then please join my newsletter (very low traffic).
Also, don’t be afraid to send me an email. Building relationships is one of the most revolutionary things we can do.