Decolonizing Health :: Hood Herbalism & Bruja Wisdom with Berenice Dimas

Sometimes we want to be doing something with our life that we feel like we have to do, and there’s something that we’re here to do that’s beyond that. And that’s one of the many reasons why some of us feel so unsatisfied.” ~ Berenice Dimas

Berenice Dimas is the brains, bruja and visionary behind her herbal medicine line "Espejos Apothecary,"  community based herbal education project "Hood Herbalism," and creative writing outlet Bruja Tip.

We dive into the important work of community herbalism and plant medicine as the people's medicine, reclaiming ancient wisdom and discuss the importance of decolonizing health, herbalism, our bodies, and our spirit. Berenice shares her story of her soul path unfolding, reminding us that life is truly a co-creation, filled with gifts and obstacles, and the importance of cultivating trust in one’s allies, guides and ancestors.

Berenice shares so much pragmatic wisdom on how to start the reclamation process, the most accessible ways to work with plants, and how wellness is often sold through a lens of “whiteness.” She speaks to the power of bringing back the spirit and soul to herbalism and health, and how looking at the spiritual practices and folk medicine of our ancestors can assist in this process of decolonization for all of us.

Show Notes

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Berenice’s journey through grad school on track to being a university professor and how her life changed

  • How being alone and silence allowed space for Berenice to dig into self discovery

  • How rejection can be a blessing, even when you don’t have plan B

  • Berenice shares how life led her down unexpected paths and how she learned to trust what the universe provided, and that her ancestors and guides were helping her get to where she needed to go

  • How being a high school teacher taught her a lot about love, compassion, patience and how to hold space

  • How Berenice’s upbringing and her mom’s practice of folk herbalism seeded the knowledge of herbalism early on

  • How Berenice’s desire to heal her relationship with her mom brought her back to her roots

  • The disconnection that happens thru colonization, devaluing folk medicine and wisdom, and her work in trying to reclaim that

  • How her experiences as a high school teacher, restorative justice worker, and herbalism teacher led to the concept of Hood Herbalism to deepen folks’ connection to plants

  • The moment she knew exactly what she was supposed to be doing, and what the plants wanted her to do

  • How Berenice is learning to find a balance between what she feels like she has to do to survive in a capitalist society and to also fulfill her soul’s purpose for being here.

  • Berenice shares some of the hardest things she’s had to work through in her journey, and how she’s grateful for her experiences despite how hard they are

  • Berenice reminds people not to get lost in the words and theory of decolonization – “…feel it, live it, and understand what it means in your life, and that’s what our grandmothers did.”

  • Part of reclamation is acknowledgement

  • How to start your own legacy for your future generations

  • The changes she sees in young people through the process of decolonizing health, and how we have to take care of the earth by starting with our own plates, home and communities

  • The most accessible ways and practices to start the reclamation process and working with plants

  • The misconceptions that a lot of communities of color have, and how wellness is often sold through a “white lens”

  • How the children are teaching us a lot right now and what Berenice hopes adult do about it

  • How Berenice uses social media with a purpose, and the question she asks herself to keep herself grounded and on the path despite the anger she feels for what’s happening in the world and move through the funk

  • Berenice’s advice for people who want to start working with plants and within their community, and why she prefers not to recommend books or online resources

  • What is feeding Berenice’s wild

  • What else Berenice is up to and all of the fun new projects she’s working on to create spaces for these important dialogues

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Connect With Berenice Dimas

Website | Instagram - @hoodherbalism, @espejosapothecary, and @brujatip

Espejos Apothecary

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