Herbal Guide: Liz Migliorelli


Liz Migliorelli is a western herbalist and magic maker who believes in affordable, accessible, community-based health care and the healing power of plants. Devoted to ancestral remembrance through ritual and medicinal plants, Liz teaches on the folk medicine and magic of old Europe, and her ancestral native lands of Poland and Italy. She's committed to cultivating relationship to the spirit and energetics of plants, offering flower essences lines focusing on plants of the Bay Area, of ancient archetypes, and essences to support spiritual growth.


Do you have a daily/weekly/yearly personal ritual with medicinal plants/trees/fungi/the power of the natural word? How does this help with healing yourself and others?

I connect with my ancestors daily. It's the one ritual I have that grounds me profoundly and informs my work with the plants on a deeper level. Working with ancestors is so important for me because it contextualizes spiritual or healing experiences that I have, the resonance into my ancestors is felt and received. I don't believe that I heal anyone, I don't like calling myself a healer. The plants are doing the work and I become a vessel for them and my ancestors, which heals me in so many ways. 


What long term plant has consistently supported your health and vitality. How do you prepare and consume it?

I would have to say that garlic would be my answer, although there are many. It's not a very poetic answer, but it's the truth and I feel like my ancestors would be upset if I didn't speak to the wonders of this plant.  I am lucky to have some great farmer friends who grow wonderful garlic that I eat a lot of! I definitely cook it in most meals. I like to make garlic oxymels (half honey, half vinegar infusion) and use it as a marinade for all of the fish my partner brings home from spearfishing. 


How do you gain access to the spirit realm of plants, was this something you worked to developed or inherently in you. If you feel called to share the plant that most helps with this portal of access we'd humbly love to know. 

I have to ground myself first into the Earth before I really feel open to the spirit realm of plants. I have to feel roots in the soil, earth energy running through my body. I think I always did this but I never had a language for it until I started being in community with other herbalists. I begin all my classes with a grounding and an opening, giving us time to invite spirits and ancestors that might want to join in our circle. 
I believe all plants can open the portal; there are some that are certainly my portal plants, like Hawthorn or Elder, but all plants have their roots in the underworld and their flowers in the spirit realm. 


What do you love about being an herbalist? How do you help others free their hearts through herbal medicine?
I love being able to assist in the transformational work people are doing in their lives. I love being a support, holding someone's hand for a bit, providing comfort and plants that might make their journey more comfortable, or more transformative, depending on what their needs are. I love listening to the stories of other people and matching their mythology to the energetics of the plants. The myths are guiding and so are the plants. It's a true honor to be able to step up and be in service to these larger energies swirling about. I think what is most freeing about the work is having someone identify what they need help with. Saying it aloud and identifying your trouble or transformation for yourself is profound work, I am thrilled to bear witness to that process. 


What is your favorite medicinal herb to incorporate into your food? How do you prepare it?

Besides garlic I would have to say seaweeds. Since I moved to the California coast I've been cooking and eating with them much more, and it's been such a treat. I dry it and powder it and create my own salt-like blends, but also put seaweeds in all my soups, my stocks, my beans, my grains. I think Sea Palm is my favorite at the moment and I feel like I am invoking mermaid medicine when I eat it. 


How do you create relationship with nature?

We've been led to believe that we are separate from nature, but nature is very much a part of us. This estrangement has caused so much suffering.  To connect with nature, I spend a lot of time with the plants, but I also spend a lot of time cultivating a relationship with my own body. My body is a great research partner and wild creature. With the plants, I spend a lot of time dreaming with them. Dreamwork is a large part of my practice, so much information comes through. I also just think watching the plants, showing up to observe is a great way to cultivate relationship. Watching a certain stand of plants, month after month, year after year. Not harvesting, but paying attention. You learn a lot over time. And you also grow to love them, which means you will fight for them and tend to them. 


What plant or element from the natural world has most put you in touch with your personal power?

Stinging nettle! This plant saved my life many many years ago when I was deeply ill and felt like I had no power in my life whatsoever. This plant was so giving, so deeply nourishing to me that over time it gave me my sense of power back and lead me to the herbalist path because I had such a profound experience with it. I love nettles! I am going to go drink some nettle tea right now!