blog Seminole Inn Laura Olson pouring

Laura Olson, of White City, prepares blackberry-root syrup during a medicinal-plants workshop at the Seminole Inn. Her next seminar is July 9.

There came a time when Laura Olson decided to get back to the land and set her soul free. But she didn’t join in a rock-and-roll band or head for Max Yasgur’s farm (a la Woodstock).

She began to study whole plant medicine. “It uses the medicinal parts of the plant to treat the person as a whole,” she said. “Whole plant medicine was inherent in my entire life, thanks mostly to my parents’ professions. Ever since I was very young, I would pick aloe from my back yard and use it on everything from cuts to sunburns.”

Her mother is Kris, a botanist; her father, Chuck, an environmentalist.

Olson, who lives in White City in St. Lucie County, is one of the instructors at the Seminole Inn’s Folk and Farm School, in Indiantown.

On Saturday, July 9, she will host her Florida Native Medicinal Plants Workshop from 9 a.m. to noon. She begins with in-depth profiles on two medicinal plants. Olson then does a hands-on preparation of one of the plants – making a salve, a tincture, or an oil fusion.

The July 9 class will cover the black elderberry and the black willow, how to identify them, where they grow, and their medicinal uses.

She said, “My workshops are meant to inform people about the medicinal plants that nature provides for us. It is a highly effective concept that has been around for centuries; and with a little knowledge and experience, anyone can take control of their own health.”

No medicinal claims

Olson warns against discontinuing conventional medications – those prescribed by a medical doctor – while using products from medicinal plants. Ideally, medicinal plants complement, but do not replace, prescribed medications.

Her favorite quote comes from Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

“The concept of us destroying nature – and the consequences that will follow – is all too real,” Olson said. “The quote reminds me of the importance of co-existing with the Earth and my need to guide others to do the same.”


Florida Native Medicinal Plants Workshop

  • Seminole Inn
  • 15885 SW Warfield Blvd., Indiantown
  • 772-597-3777;
  • July 9, 9 a.m.-noon
  • $40 early registration; $50 at door