3 Herb Mamas

THE ECOLOGICAL, SOCIAL & ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY OF SUPPORTING LOCAL HERBALISM

on December 8, 2014

Rose Hips

Vitamin C-rich Rose Hips from Rosa canina in my yard

Rose Hip Syrup

Wonderfully delicious Rose Hip syrup gathered from my garden and prepared for winter colds & flu prevention. Yumm!

Herbalists are as varied as the flowers of the field so I do not pretend to speak for all. However, I am feeling so grateful, at this time of the year especially, for the support I find in my local community. This blog post has been brewing for awhile. Every person who has contacted me, ignoring my quirky lack of advertising and promotion, and accepting my simple, homemade packaging, in order to purchase soaps, salves, syrups, or other herbal preparations for their holiday gifting has been counted as a blessing. I really feel encouraged and supported. Thank you!

Supporting a local herbalist whether through purchase of herbal products, attending classes offered, or spreading the word to others who might be interested offers three major benefits and all are rooted in sustainability. They are ecological, social, and economic sustainability. They build communities as well as relationships between individuals as well as health on many levels.

Wineberry Centerpiece

A summer harvest of wild Wineberries provides a favorite fresh treat with more than enough for jam making. The Sunflowers attract pollinators, feed us with beauty, and the birds with seeds.

When we find a local herbalist to support we also support ecological sustainability. An herbalist who grows, wildcrafts (gathering where no man, or woman, has sown), preserves, and prepares her/his own herbs for a variety of purposes will automatically have an eye to conserving the resources because repeated harvests year in and year out, season after season is essential. Because local herbalists are mainly concerned with providing their local communities’ needs, as opposed to building a large, broad customer base, they will be keeping an eye on the status of wild species, planning their gardens for appropriate harvests to meet local needs, and making sure to keep production clean and green since they live where they work and will reap the benefits (or consequences) of anything used to amend or nourish the soils in which they grow.

DSCF1700

Gathering St. John’s Wort (an important herb traditionally used for addressing depression and healing wounds as well as achy muscles) for making oil & tincture on or around the Summer Solstice is an annual habit I look forward to all year. Some years the plants are abundant and productive with a high hypericin content. Other years they are scanty and less vital. I can adjust harvests accordingly and plan for alternative herbs to use if necessary.

Supporting local herbalists is socially sustainable because this is someone with whom you continue to interact well past the time of an initial purchase. Herbalists are generally dedicated to ongoing education and you can count on being able to get answers and information along with any herbal preparation whether it is as simple as a bar of natural soap or tea blend for clearing congestion. They know the herbs they use intimately, having often tended them all the way from seed to product. They know why they have included every single ingredient, its purpose, actions, and attributes. And they are usually more than happy to share that. If something is not effective or there is a problem you have someone to come back to for other options. A local herbalist is invested in you being not only satisfied with a given herbal preparation but in your optimum health and vitality because you are part of the same community that she/he lives in.

motherwort_closeup

Motherwort in flower; a local “weed” that can be wildcrafted for heart health and cyclical balance for women.

Lastly, there is economic sustainability as a byproduct of supporting a local herbalist. More money stays in your community. We live in a rural area where grocery shopping is at least 30 minutes away from many of us and the closest larger city is an hour away. A local herbalist is likely close by and/or will meet you halfway or even deliver to your door if you are somewhere along the route of her/his travels locally. Often packaging can be simple because your herbs and herbal preparations are not being shipped long distances. This encourages using recycled and recyclable materials that are at hand. I generally use canning jars and lids for most of my preparations because they are readily available and save money and natural resources over mail ordering specialty containers, professionally printed labels, and other packaging. Every dollar spent with your local herbalist can be viewed as an investment in a stronger, cleaner community.

Oats at Milky Stage

Oats in the “milky stage” which only lasts about 3 days. Gathered at this time and preserved they provide optimum nourishment for a healthy nervous system.

Think Globally. Act Locally is still a good slogan and perfectly suited to herbs. Consider this blog post my thank you note and virtual hug along with wishes for a blessed and healthy holiday season! ~Leenie

comfrey

Comfrey in all her beautiful glory in my garden!


One response to “THE ECOLOGICAL, SOCIAL & ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY OF SUPPORTING LOCAL HERBALISM

  1. Sherryrobin says:

    Nice post Leenie. sherryrobin

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