Mother Nature is an interesting gal, reminding us that while disaster may be present, beauty is just around the corner. She also teaches us to respect the calm before the storm and then to enjoy her rainbow after it passes. On top of that, she has this incredible ability to sprout plants in our lands that have healing abilities and life saving attributes. A man who has discovered the power of what many of us think of as just weeds, is Herbalist and Acupuncturist Robert Linde (known as Bob or Dr. Bob), owner of Acupuncture and Herbal Therapies located at 222 2nd Street North in Downtown St. Pete.
Dr. Bob shook my hand and greeted me with a warm smile. As he ushered me into his office, I was flabbergasted by the walls that housed shelving from top to bottom filled with jars of herbs. My eyes reacted first and then the beautiful aroma made my nose dance! I was prepared to poke into the life of this herbalist and acupuncturist. (Wow this guy is amazing!)
Immediately, Linde described himself as “weird” and said that he does not like to live a boring life. Turns out that Linde began his interest in herbs when he was about ten years old, co-owned a fishing charter in his early teens, is a Desert Storm Veteran, and can even point out the healing plants that grow in Downtown St. Pete. (Yes, Dr. Bob, you are weird, but in the best way possible!)
“I hated it,” Linde said with a laugh as he described a summer camp he attended when he was a kid. Luckily he got talked into going on what ended up being an herbal walk, because that adventure quickly shifted his dislike for the camp into an interest in herbs.
When he returned back home to NYC after camp, little Linde started noticing these edible shrubs in his everyday life. (Now he realizes that he may have consumed some dog poo covered plants. I guess what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, Bob!) With his mother being a medical writer, he discovered that not only were these “weeds” food, but they also had healing properties. Herbal remedies then became a huge part of their home life.
During his teen years, Linde and his mother took a vacation to the Bahamas and ended up making it their new home. While in the islands, he decided to explore a different method of education by leaving traditional school and enlightening himself about “real life.” This gave him the opportunity to meet and work for a fisherman and herbalist, who Linde described as a modern day shaman. They would spend time together in the islands talking about the native plants. (I wonder if they found a Gumbo-limbo tree. Did you know if you boil the bark, it can be used topically for skin sores, or if you drink it as tea it can treat backaches, urinary tract infections, and even fevers? I’m telling you, Mother Nature is amazing, and so is Bob!) The fisherman saw a special quality in Bob, who was only a young teen, and this was when he made Bob co-owner of his commercial charter company.
Fast-forwarding a few years, Linde found himself as a soldier in Operation Desert Storm. While in the military, he researched plants and found medicinal vegetation in the Iraqi desert. Did you know that the seeds of the Plantago major, or Rat-Tail Plantain, are used medically as a laxative and to treat boils? He even cooked up an “interesting” lizard stew. (Hmm – does lizard taste like chicken?)
In 1994, Linde made St. Petersburg, Florida his home, but he was unfortunately found to have Desert Storm Syndrome. To assist in aiding his condition, he began seeing an acupuncturist, who also studied herbal medicine. Linde was pretty much dragged to his first appointment, but he is happy he went because it resulted in something amazing! Not only did acupuncture help his condition, but this was when Linde was introduced to Chinese Medicine, which allowed him to make the decision to further his education by going to school for acupuncture.
“There’s a system of understanding everything outside of the western concept,” Linde discovered. In school, he was nicknamed Dr. Bob because he could help almost any condition by sharing his knowledge of herbs and plants.
In 2003, Linde opened Acupuncture & Herbal Therapies, an integrated clinic that includes acupuncture physicians, herbalists, massage therapists, and a two-year clinical herb program with a reduced rate intern clinic. As if that’s not enough, his business is co-housed with St. Petersburg Health and Wellness and Vital Solutions, IV Nutrition. Wait, I’m not done yet! They also provide bulk herbs for sale, ongoing lecture series, events, and so much more. (Try saying all of that in one breath!)
Undoubtedly, Bob Linde is a key personality of Downtown St. Pete. He provides a view on medicine that much of our western world has not been introduced to. There are plenty of other things I want to share with you about him (wait until you hear about his garden), so keep your eyes on Downtownstpete.com to learn more about Linde and his business.
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