Like it or not, artificial intelligence (AI) is now interwoven into the basic technology we use daily. Like all technology, it’s only as helpful or harmful as the intentions of the people using it. Mostly, we hear about the dangers of using AI and how it can be used in nefarious ways, yet it also offers promising solutions to some of the world’s most complex problems. In this article, we’ll primarily explore the risks of using AI in herbalism, especially herbal education.
Stamens, stigmas, and anthers were my first dates in what would become a lifelong love affair with plants. Today, I plan my vacations around botanical gardens and keep random pieces of colorful bark in my pocket in case I need an icebreaker in an awkward social situation. Three decades into this journey as a plant–human matchmaker, I’ve owned almost every herbal business you can imagine: an herbal nursery, a medicinal products business, a clinical practice, and now an online herbal school specializing in bioregional, hands-on herbalism.
We’ve been growing medicinal herbs for decades, and their return to the garden each spring is still one of the season’s great joys. As early as January, cold-hardy herbs like motherwort and lemon balm will start showing off new green leaves—followed shortly by purple-tinged anise hyssop, plush stinging nettles, and fragrant peppermint. Although it will be many more weeks before harvesting commences, their presence is a grand and hopeful sign of warmer days to come.
It’s easy to become captivated by wild food and medicine. There’s a vitality to wild plants that is unsurpassed, and a nutrient load that is astonishing. More truly though, it’s connection that enamors us—a link to the natural cycles and sustenance of the earth, including a realization that a generous supply of nourishment and healing is springing up all around us.