Dena with dog Tux
Dena Fritz is an Arkansas herbalist who has been learning, experimenting with and creating plant tonics for about nine years. Though she doesn’t refer to herself as an herbalist, her knowledge and experience says otherwise.
She has a wealth of information she shares willingly and over a process of several days granted an interview over the internet and gave us her herbal toolkit and the Schulze Super Tonic recipe below.
CH = Me
DF = Dena
CH: How long have you been an herbalist?
DF: I started learning herbs nine years ago and made my first tincture then. I’m not sure I’m a “Herbalist” even today. There are so many different connotations to that word! To me, the Herbalist label is reserved for people who’ve had extensive schooling from an accredited source. I have not.
I consider myself more of a Plant Medicine Maker. I also migrate more to using local, native plants than traditional “herbs”, though I use those too.
CH: What started you on this path?
DF: It was a natural extension of learning self-sufficiency. Once I was comfortable in my self sufficiency knowledge, there were glaring blank spots in the medicinal herb and native plant areas.
CH: Do you sell your work or do you also treat people outside your family?
DF: I sell my herbal products. It’s illegal to treat people if you’re not a doctor or an accredited herbalist in a state that allows that.
CH: I’ve noticed online a few stories about herbalists who have had problems with the state of Arkansas. A few have been singled out and tend to have a lot of legal problems. Do you know anything about the legal ramifications of being a practicing clinical herbalist in Arkansas?
DF: I haven’t fully checked into the laws of Arkansas but as far as I know it’s illegal to claim an herb has any specific medicinal use or that any herbal treatment will cure any medical issue.
CH: I think of most herbalists as folk healers. My grandmother would put a spider web on a cut to stop the bleeding or make a cup of some nasty concoction and make us drink it when we started getting sick. Grandpa made us eat a poison oak leaf so we would never get poison oak and it worked, so I’ve always had an affinity for this kind of healing. Is this what herbalism is?
DF: That’s what it is to me. But there are so many variations. From “Folk Healer” to “Clinical Herbalist” and everything in between!
CH: What is the contemporary face of herbalism?
DF: I don’t think it’s describable, there are too many different faces. Ask a hundred herbalists what herbalism IS and you’ll get a hundred different answers.
CH: I’ve read a lot of warnings about herbal supplements and the FDA warns people about drinking herbal teas, so it seems that the average person would be a little scared to try something like traditional herbal medicine or an herbal supplement, is there a way to get around that kind of negative media?
DF: I doubt it. Others have tried, to no avail. The only way to get around it and learn the Truth is to do your own research. People that are more proactive with their health are generally more herbally inclined whereas those who only believe what the media says are not.
(I’m probably the wrong person to ask – I despise the media)
CH: Even though large amounts of ibuoprofin can damage your liver, we don’t see a lot of those types of warnings.
CH: In contrast, if you take a cup of feverfew or chew on white willow bark you may get rid of the migraine without damaging the liver. Is this kind of thing frustrating to you?
DF: Yes! An herb ‘supposedly’ injures someone and it’s banished forever. On the other hand, an established medicine (like Tylenol) is KNOWN to kill thousands and it’s a big yawn.
CH: Would it be difficult for the average person to create some kind of herbal toolbox?
DF: Not at all.
CH: What would/should they put in it?
DF: Cayenne for sure. It’s known to stop bleeding – internally and externally and halt heart attacks and strokes.
After that, it’s pretty individual depending on what the needs are. Plantain for bug bites, Lobelia for breathing and Asthma issues, etc…
CH: How accessible are herbs to the average person? I mean, can anyone just go outside and find something to help with a headache or cough?
DF: Yes! Most of my favorite herbs are yard weeds.
CH: If you had to narrow your herbal supply down to five herbs, what would they be and why?
Cayenne – it’s practically a cure-all and also works as a catalyst for other herbs.
Plantain – great drawing power for bug bites and other toxins
Mullein – an excellent lung medicine
Bugle (Ajuga reptans, NOT Bugleweed) – my favorite pain killer internally and a wonderful wound healer externally.
Motherwort – good for the heart and a miracle worker when it comes to hormonal mood swings.
SUPER TONIC (Schulze Recipe*)
Chop equal parts of:
Cayenne Pepper (or any other hot pepper)
Place in jar and cover with Apple Cider Vinegar so that you have aprox 2/3 “stuff” with another 1/3 vinegar above. Shake or stir daily and let brew 2-8 weeks, then strain.
*From Schulze –
This is my famous plague formula. My patients swore it was the cure for the common cold. They were right!
The basic formula goes back to medieval Europe and the plagues. It is a broad spectrum antibiotic, destroying both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. It’s also a potent anti-viral and anti-fungal formula. It will increase blood circulation to every cell, and kill all the bad guys.
2-10 dropperfuls (70-350 drops) gargle and swallow. Use 1 to 5 times daily as needed.
Visit Dena’s website or purchase some of her herbal recipes.