By Paris Wolfe, Blogmaster, The Herb Society of America
Dana Eudy, owner of Field Apothecary in Germantown, New York, sees herbs as a contributor to a healthy lifestyle and that, she says, “keep us out of the expensive, over-burdened health care system.”
“Herbs can be used in so many creative ways from healing to cooking to skincare to cocktails,” she says. “I like getting them in to my system in all forms and am always looking of ways to be inventive with them. They have the amazing power to heal us on our deepest levels.”
Thinking about it holistically, the herbal maker says, “They live in harsh elements and toxic environments but have evolved to tolerate and even defend themselves under these conditions. They also have the ability to capture our only true energy source – the sun and turn it into food and medicine. While herbs can be used for treating illness, I suggest that a person work with a practitioner if they are dealing with a complicated health issue.”
I blogged about Field Apothecary in February and sampled a CSA Wellness Box in March. This month, I return to owner Dana to learn more about the products delivered to subscribers of her Community Supported Apothecary (CSA) or sold individually on line. My figurative “place” in mainstream culture is so far removed from herbal treatments, that I asked Dana’s guidance to use some of the products such as bitters and flaming cider. Others, such as Poison Ivy Liniment, Lip Balm and Tulsi Tea, were self explanatory.
Q. How do you know which herbs and herbal products to combine?
A. I have been fortunate to have many great teachers such as Peeka Trenkle, David Crow, Dr. Vasant Lad. I use herbs like I would use food. I have many herbal books that I consider cookbooks. I keep these books stored in my kitchen and I refer to them often. It is certainly an indulgence and I have quite a library filled with herb reference books. All the remedies that we make are also used in my own home so it is a personal experience.
Q. I received various bitters in my Wellness Box. What will Digestive Bitters do for me?
A. Bitters RULE! You will notice that many European diets have an apertivo or digestif before or after a meal. Meanwhile, Eastern medical traditions consider digestion the beginning of good health. Bitters help stoke digestive fires and help us assimilate and digest our food. Because the digestive fire slows as we age it becomes increasingly important to get bitters (bitter food, too) into our diet. Our digestive system is the seat of our health. If we are digesting well, we are typically more in balance throughout our system. And our gut and mind are interconnected. A healthy gut certainly leads to a healthy mind. We literally “think” more clearly.
Q. What do Clear Thinking bitters do for me?
A. I use them before meditation but also later in the day when I am feeling sluggish and need to bring my focus back. Field Apothecary’s remedy contains the two brahmi herbs gotu kola and bacopa which we grow at Field. Brahmi herbs are a very special class of herbs in Ayurveda that are considered brain food.
Q. What does Flaming Cider do?
A. Flaming Cider as we call it is an amazing overall boosting tonic. Apple Cider Vinegar by itself is so beneficial. By adding herbs to this base we make it stronger. It is great for first-stage colds, congestion and stagnation. When our bodies are having a hard time keeping up with seasonal transitions such hot inside cold out, think fire cider. We use it as a vinaigrette, add it to cole slaw, guacamole, flaming cider margarita, bloody mary, roasted veggies . . . you can see how versatile and how I might work to get it in to my diet. A little goes a long way. Even my kids will ask me for it when they are feeling a bit off. A shot or one tablespoon should generally do it. If I am under the weather, I may take that amount 3 times per day. Flaming Cider also kick starts digestive fire with all the warming herbs such as garlic, ginger and horseradish.
All Field Apothecary wellness products are made from herbs cultivated by Dana and her family. They grow about 65 different herbs – from hops to tulsi. Her tinctures, ointments and more are sold individually online or through a CSA subscription.