Juliette de Bairacli Levy
Herbal Voices Interview with Featured Herbalist
by Tish Packman
Trinity Herb: Please tell us a bit about yourself and how you connected with the plant world.
Juliette de Bairacli Levy: I was raised in a wealthy family, but even as a little girl I was drawn to the wild flowers and plants. I even won a prize for the best wild flowers in a competition when I was a child. Every year when my grandfather visited he would bring my sisters gold bracelets, but he would bring me a puppy instead. The puppy would get sick and even the veterinarian couldn’t save its life. I was determined to become a veterinarian so I could cure sick animals. I found that the veterinary school didn’t teach me what I wanted to learn. I wanted to learn how the plants could be used to heal. I knew that the people that live closest to their animals would be able to teach me about the healing herbs. These were the Gypsies and Berbers and Bedouins. The joy of life was glowing in their faces.
We all learn from each other, I learned from the Bible too. And animals. And from the Gypsies, and peasants. The Gypsies and peasants have taught me much. They taught me how to grow corn, olives, all my food, and how to make medicines from plants. They taught me honesty and morality, how to live rough and be happy. They taught me what real living was. One of my first teachers was Eliza Cooper, a Gypsy teacher and prophet from the New Forest in England. She taught me many things; we were great friends. I began my nomad travels in England in the 1930s. I was greatly inspired by Matthew Arnold, in his poem, “The Scholar Gypsy”.
It is promised in the Bible that we are given the plants of the earth to heal us and keep us healthy. The first plant I ever connected with was Thyme and I’ve always loved it. I use Thyme for everything, when I have a headache I just inhale it. I also put it in with my clothes to keep away moths. I love the bitter herb Rue also. It’s the favorite herb of the Gypsies. When Mohammed was poisoned, the Gypsies gave him Rue and it saved his life. You see it hanging in every Arab window.
Trinity Herb: What are your thoughts on gardens and do you have one?
Juliette de Bairacli Levy: The main purpose of having a garden is to have the garden as a teacher and friend. If you have a problem then the garden will give you the plants you need. You are always learning from your garden. I’ve had ten gardens and miss them all. When I start my garden I always start with Rosemary and Southernwood. They are my two favorite plants. My children say I cure everything with Rosemary. It’s true. Even if they have had very serious injuries, merely bathing in a Rosemary bath has cured them. Rosemary is very antiseptic. It is beloved by the bees and the butterflies. Such a lovely name too – Rosemarinus – dew of the sea.
Southernwood, my other favorite plant, is in the Artemisia family. Artemis was a great herbalist, and Southernwood is a wonderful protector of women and newborns. I’ve done miracles with it for animals that were unable to pass their young ones.
Of all the remedies I’ve used, the best one is the laying on of the leaves. For very bad wounds on people and animals I put whole leaves direct on the wound and hold the leaf in place with gauze. Ointments and bandages, when removed, pull off the scab, but the leaves don’t, and they also draw out the toxins, and heal the wound, with no pain whatsoever. Mallow is a wonderful leaf. So are Nasturtium and Geraniums.
Trinity Herb: You love animals very much don’t you?
Juliette de Bairacli Levy: I actually prefer animals to people. I love, love, love the story of Christ in the manger. That God trusted the animals to care for his son. They kept him warm with their bodies and the lovely scents of their breathing. Animals are treated terribly now, the modern way is terrible. They want to be able to move about, they want to be taken for a walk. In the old days, the milk maid took the cows to pasture, to find the wild garlic. You know that lovely book, “Tess of the D’Ubervilles”, the milk maids would go out in search of garlic plants so the cows could eat it. It taints their milk, so now cows aren’t allowed to eat it. They have their food brought to them. It’s terrible. Cows know exactly what to graze on. They know what they need for their health. I remember that it was always a race between the cows and me to see who would reach the wild watercress first, or the wild asparagus, or the wild mint. They knew and I knew what was good for us, and they shared with me, and I shared with them, the wild plants.
Ivy is a very important wild plant for lambs. Do you remember that song: “Lambs eat oats, and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy, a kid’ll eat ivy too. Wouldn’t you?” Well its very true. During World War II there was a tremendous blizzard and the sheep were starving in the downs of Yorkshire. The sheep were dying by the hundreds. The veterinary treatment didn’t help. Earlier I had cured a farmer’s collie of canine distemper when the dog was supposed to have died. The farmer thought that since I had cured his dog, maybe he’d turn over his sheep to me. I put them on to Ivy, molasses, and garlic. We saved all the sheep that we treated.
In the 1940s I studied with Edmond Bordeaux Szekely, the great Hungarian doctor, at Rancho La Puerta. He taught me that in human medicine it is erroneous to be concerned with, and to treat, merely local symptoms of disease; the whole body must be given a basic treatment. It was also here that I learned to love cows so much. I was so close to them that they would come back from the pastures to be with me! Helen and Scott Nearing were studying there too, and we became best friends.
I first met Afghan dogs because the Afghanistan people would bring rugs and jewels to trade with my father. They showed me pictures of their dogs. They were wonderful animals. The Afghanistan people call their dogs Kushes after Kush the great hunter. Their dogs sleep in their beds to keep them warm in the winter. Isn’t that wonderful? Wild dogs eat everything. The first thing that a carnivore will eat after the kill is the intestines. It’s in the intestines that they find the berries, grasses, and seeds the animal had eaten. The carnivore loves it. Dogs eat leaves, grasses to vomit and clean themselves internally, berries, fruit, cheese, and milk, all kinds of foods besides raw meat. It’s horrible what they are fed now. A crime. I’ve trained Turkuman Afghans for many generations over more than fifty years and they are always fed the Nature Method way. Many of my Afghans have won medals and championships.
I’ve written this to speak for the dog: “I pray you who own me, let me continue to live close to Nature. Know that: I love to run beneath the sun, the moon and the stars; I need to feel the storm winds around me, and the touch of rain, hail, sleet and snow; I need to splash in streams and brooks, and to swim in ponds, lakes, rivers and seas; I need to be allowed to retain my kinship with Nature.”
There’s a big tendency now towards organic farming. It’s very encouraging that’s there’s a great wish to go back to organic farming. Sir Albert Howard is the person that gave us the word “Organic”. He taught us what true organic farming was. He was such a clever farmer; he was even interested in how the cows were sheltered in the barn. He said the floor must be made of beaten earth and not cement. The cow’s hooves shouldn’t pound on the cement; they should be on the earth. To me that is very important. The bible tells us about animals, it says we shouldn’t harness the ox and donkey together, the uneven strength of the animals is unfair. The ox will chew its cud and the donkey will get very upset thinking that the ox is getting extra food. Then the donkey won’t plow well – that’s in the bible.
I’ve been told that sometimes sellers of eggs from caged chickens, put the eggs in a box on a table in the center of a shed with the doors open and the chicken doesn’t touch the earth. And they call this “organic eggs”. It’s terrible, that’s not organic. Organic eggs are from chickens which get a normal amount of exercise running on the earth. Chickens need to run on the earth and try to find a private place to lay their eggs. You’ve got to be very careful to know what you are buying and what you don’t want to buy.
Honey. The bible calls the Promised Land “The land of milk and honey”. And now the bees are dying! It’s very, very sad. They are being exploited. They fly through the gasoline fumes from cars. When they bring back pollen, the bee exploiters put little brushes at the hive entrance to collect the pollen and often take the legs off the bee as well. I adore bees. We can help the bees by first loving them. Then we need to leave them enough of their honey so they can survive the winter. Bee exploiters take all the honey and feed them sugar water! We must stop preying on the bees. Tell your store to stop selling pollen; they support cruelty when they do. There is a famous saying in the Bible that of all God’s creatures, he loved bees the most.
When animals are raised the Nature Method way then they are seldom sick. And when they are sick, fasting and herbs are the paths to their regained health. Animals instinctively know that plants are their best medicine. I have found that animals can be some of the best herbal teachers. Rather than the college room, the fields and the woods are the best places to study herbal medicine. This is where the wild animals can be observed and where the wild herbs they seek and consume can be found. Even our cows, sheep, horses, cats, and dogs can teach us the wonders and magic of the plants.
King Solomon, in the Bible, was granted by God to have whatever he wanted. He could have wished for anything and he wanted to understand what the animals said. He knew they’d teach him wisdom, medicine and the healing ways. One of the most important things we can do is to teach our children to love the animals. Kinship with animals is natural for children. The animals will teach them so much. We need to take care of the animals.
Juliette de Bairacli Levy is herbalist, author, and breeder of Afghan hounds, friend of the Gypsies, traveler in search of herbal wisdom and the pioneer of holistic veterinary medicine. For more than sixty years she has lived with the Gypsies, nomads and peasants of the world, learning the healing arts of these peoples who live close to nature and listening to nature herself. Her books include “Traveler’s Joy”, “Nature’s Children”, “Common Herbs for Natural Health”, “The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat”, “The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable”, and “Spanish Mountain Life” among others.
Juliette de Bairacli Levy's books can be found at www.herbalmedicinehealing.com
Interviewer: Tish Packman
698 Litchfield Lane
Dunedin Florida 34698
“In Memory of Juliette the Grandmother of Herbal medicine”
This collection includes three great herbal medicine books and one video by Juliette de Bairacli Levy, well-known as the "grandmother of herbal medicine."
Nature's Children is a classic book on natural childrearing; it includes remedies, recipes, and fascinating lore.
Traveler's Joy is a unique guide to finding the wild bounty in simple living; Juliette covers topics such as travel, water, dwellings, medicine, and food.
Common Herbs for Natural Health is an essential herbal with lore and uses for 200 herbs including cosmetic, culinary, and medical recipes.
Juliette of the Herbs, the exceptional video included in this collection will delight, entrance, and inspire!
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Wisdom of the Crone:
A Deck Of Fifty-Four Wisdom Cards
Wisdom of the Crone Deck contains 54 wisdom cards.
Comes with an 8 page instruction fold out. Cards measure 4" wide by 5 1/4" tall. Each card bears a unique image of women between the ages of 50 and 100. As leaders, counselors, teachers, grandmothers and aunties, we now have wisdom and diverse life experiences to offer.
"We encourage you to defy society’s view of older women. We empower you to honor this amazing time of life. Know that you are both wise and beautiful." - Judith, Lani and Melinda, co-creators of the Wisdom of the Crone Deck
Order the Wisdom of the Crone Deck in our Bookshop
New Menopausal Years "Audio version"
New Menopausal Years
the Wise Woman Way-Audio
read aloud by Susun S. Weed
14 CD Collection
Order this amazing CD Collection in our Bookshop
New Menopausal Years
CD 1 The Beginning
Welcome to the Web
Using Herbs Safely
Is This Menopause?
CD 2 Flooding and Fibroids
CD 3 This Is Menopause
Building Better Bones
Calcium, Nourishing Herbal Infusions
Weight Gain, Weight Loss
CD 4 Menopause, Fertility
Fertility After 40
Birth Control, Sex
CD 5 Phytoestrogenic Herbs, Hot Flash!
Phytoestrogenic Herbs (part 1)
Phytoestrogenic Herbs (part 2)
Phytoestrogenic Herbs (part 3)
Meditation: Journey Into Change
Hot flashes (part 1)
CD 6 Hot Flashes, Night Sweats, Overheating
Hot flashes (part 2)
Hot flashes (part 3)
Menopause Is Enlightenment
Night Sweats and Other Overheated Conditions
Hairy Problems (Too little, too much)
CD 7 Emotional Uproar
Thoughts of Suicide, Rage, Grief
Anxiety, Fear, Nerves
Preventing Breast Cancer
CD 8 In the Midst of Menopause
Sleep Disturbances and Fatigue
Headaches, Heart Palpitations
For Women Taking Hormones
Progesterone Cream Problems
CD 9 Herbal Allies for Menopausal Women
CD 10 Menopause & Beyond
Herbal Allies: Ginseng and Dong Quai
Herbal Ally: Wild Yam
Meditation: Crone's Crowning
Postmenopausal Bladder and Vaginal Changes
Pelvic Floor Exercises (Kegels)
Itching, Burning Vulva
CD 11 Postmenopause: Down There
Vaginal Yeast Overgrowth
Post Menopausal Bleeding
CD 12 Postmenopause: Healthy Hearts
Healthy Heart (part 1), Hypertension
Healthy Heart (part 2)
Memory Loss, Dementia
Restless Legs, Leg Cramps
My Aching Joints
CD 13 Postmenopause: Strong Bones
Osteoporosis ( part 1)
Osteoporosis ( part 2)
Osteoporosis ( part 3)
Kelp: Herbal Ally for Postmenopausal Women
Nettle: Herbal Ally for Postmenopausal Women
Meditation: Crone's Ceremony of Commitment
CD 14 And The End
Herbal & Food Sources of Vitamins & Minerals
Weaving the Web of Women