Judith Hoad, National Treasure

Its difficult to know where to start with a bio or description of this incredible lady there are so many areas that she excels in. Author, Vibrational Medicine Practitioner, weaver, herbalist, teacher, sustainable living expert and this is all just the tip of the iceberg. She has a vitality and energy that would shock people half her age.  

I was lucky enough to do one of her “Medicine for Households” courses a number of years ago. This would mean that for a weekend once a month for six months I would make the trip from Dublin to her home in the wilds of beautiful Donegal. Judith lives off grid which means no mains electricity and no running water, no chemicals and as much as she can no plastics. Almost all waste matter including bodily is composted and then eventually when broken down goes on to her vegetable garden. An old aga in the living room is constantly alight and fed briquettes. A kettle on top is always full and pots of her own foraged herbal tea blend always on the go.

   Here I learned how to forage for medicinal plants, make tinctures and decoctions, creams, balms and lotions. I learned the names of common weeds in  latin and colloquial and of their many invaluable uses both historical and current.  Long days were spent learning, note taking and out in the fields and garden. But everyday we would stop at one for a vegetarian feast usually, including greens both cultivated and wild, and afterwards we would sit back and Judith would read a chapter from the Story of Little Tree. She timed it so that we had a story every lunchtime right up until the last day. If you have never been read to as an adult I suggest to rectify this immediately.

I recently managed to ask Judith a number of questions via email. She answered with her usual enthusiasm and delight. 

1. Judith you have been foraging wild medicines and food long before the current fashion, what inspired you to do so?

I have been foraging wild plants for about fifty years and was inspired by the way the plants were so prolific and if the animal ate them ( we kept goats that ‘browse’  they dont graze, so they were eating lots of things) I thought we could and so it started. But it was always me that did the harvesting.

2. Do you think there is a rebellious streak in you?

I KNOW there is a rebellious streak in me. I have never seen any reason why I should do something solely because other people always do whatever it is. But I never do anything just to be rebellious….there always has to be another reason. I actually conform over some things.

3. Do you think that people should take a more autonomous approach to health?

I believe that each person is the World Authority on their own body. If each child from infancy, was thought how important it is to exercise ( not by being told so, but by being thought how to enjoy it and do it every day…qi gong for example, which can be made into fun, as well) and if people were encouraged to eat proper, fresh food there would be much less ill-health due to inappropriate diet and lifestlye.

4. Name two books that have inspired you.

Mrs Grieves Modern Herbal and The Energetics of Western Herbs by Peter Holmes.

For further reading, insights and invaluable wisdom try one of Judith’s books, Need or Greed, This is Donegal Tweed, Our Practical Choices for the Earth, Healing with Herbs, Hoads Herbals.

If you are interested in one of her courses or contacting her directly her email is judithhoad@gmail.com.