By Paris Wolfe, Blogmaster, Herb Society of America
Botanical treatments have been part of Dana Eudy’s life for as long as she can remember. When she was a child in San Antonio her father would visit a curandera [a traditional herbal healer] to address health concerns. But, over time, her connection with that natural world faded and she grew up into a professional career as an agent for commercial photographers.
That shifted when she was pregnant. “I re-discovered my interest in herbs and working with the divine energy that the plants contain. I would say my ‘formal training’ began with the birth of my two children– now ages 9 and 12. I wanted to be able to treat them holistically in our home.”
Today, in addition to her professional career, she hand cultivates about 65 different herbs – from hops to tulsi –on 1.5 acres for Field Apothecary in Germantown, New York. She sees herbal wellness as a complement to modern medicine, not a replacement. To cultivate her understanding of the synergy she studied homeopathy and continues studying Ayurvedic practices.
“I think there are many paths to healing,” she says.
As interest in her herbal products grew outside the family, she went into business. Her tinctures, ointments and more are sold individually online or through a CSA subscription. Subscribers to the community-supported agriculture program receive seasonal Wellness Boxes that are also available for shipping.
The Spring Wellness box, for example, includes … Field core remedies such as rejuvenation mouthwash, flaming cider, lemongrass lip balm, deep sleep tincture, clear thinking tincture, along with seasonally appropriate remedies such as spring massage oil, a-to-z all-purpose salve, field of flowers bitters, lemon balm tea, poison ivy liniment and lymph mover tincture.
We caught up with Dana in February 2017 to learn more about her CSA venture:
Q. How/when did your interest in herbs/herbal remedies start?
A. Quite possibly many lifetimes ago. I will always be a student. There is so much to learn and I really enjoy the intuitive confidence that builds over time from working with plant medicine. This is readily available to us all – even in our very own backyards! Last year one of my biggest plant allies was dandelion. As long as pesticides haven’t been applied we can use that as food and for medicine making.
Q. Where did you get the idea for an apothecary CSA?
A. When my husband and I spent some time at an herb farm (Goldthread) in Conway, Mass. The owner had a program called Farm to Pharmacy that I found inspiring. Our Field CSA, now called a Wellness Box, has certainly evolved from that idea. My goal is to help others transform their medicine chest like they’ve done with their food pantry
Q. What’s your bestselling individual product?
A. Our deep sleep tincture. Insomnia is a common ailment given our current lifestyles and daily demands. Sleep is so valuable. It gives our system a chance to reset and reboot. Sleep gives our body the necessary time to heal. I use the tincture from time to time.
Q. How many products do you make?
A. Too Many! This is every herbalist hurdle. It is so inspiring and information is always coming so it is easy to add new remedies. Currently we offer 10 to 11 remedies per season or 40-plus remedies over the course of a year. To create them I make many single tinctures which are then used in formulas. Some formulas might contain eight single tinctures. I would guessimate that we make around 100 single remedies and market 40 different finished remedies.
Q. Why do you do it?
A. I wanted access to locally grown medicine that is part of the bioregion in which I live. I wanted to live with the herbs as opposed to getting dried herbs that I couldn’t resonate with in the same way.
Q. What’s most expensive? Why?
A. The oils are costly to produce because they contain essential oils. Essential Oils are one of the most potent medicines available to us. They should be used mindfully because it takes so much plant material to make them; and a small amount goes a long way.
I enjoy the process of getting medicated oils into the body. I practice abhyanga — full body massage including scalp, ears and feet – as part of a daily routine from the Ayurvedic system. I apply seasonally appropriate medicated edible oils prior to showering and limit soap only to strategic parts. I am often complemented on the appearance of my skin to which I credit the herbs 100 percent!! These medicated oils keep us juicy! As we age they are increasingly important.
Q. How does someone subscribe to the CSA?
A. We have links for each season or they can also purchase the boxes annually