Urban farming, farm to table, local and organic, sustainability-are you someone who feels these are important ideas? If so, then you are someone who will be interested in Suburban Herbals.
Where do your medicines come from? Have you really thought about it? If you use pharmaceutical medicines, you are assuming a sterile lab, and I think you’d be mostly correct. But what if you are someone who uses more natural remedies or supplements? Where are those herbs grown how and by whom? Are the farming practices, labor laws, and shipping methods fair and sustainable? And for those of you who feel intention matters, what energetic patterns are carried in your remedies? Shouldn’t these be optimized if your goal is increased health, wellness and vitality?
These are questions I struggled with within my practice of naturopathic medicine. I graduated from Bastyr University in 1992 with my doctorate in naturopathic medicine, and have been teaching and practicing since that time. I’ve been involved with organics, herbs, and whole foods since 1976, working in retail, education, farming/gardening and medicine making.
The dream when I was younger was that everyone would return to natural healing methods, At some point I began to wonder “is that sustainable?” When practicing in California, I had many patients who would visit with a Tibetan doctor when they came to the Bay Area once or twice a year. One of these patients told me that the Dalai Lama actually asked Westerners to stop this. That Tibetan medicines were important for Tibetans, that Americans should use their own medicines.
What happens when a medicine grown on the other side of the planet becomes the hot new thing for the west? Do indigenous sustenance crops grown locally in that region get ripped out for this hot new thing? And what happens when the capricious Westerners move on to the next hot thing grown elsewhere? How much fossil fuel is used to ship this hot new thing halfway across the world? Who is overseeing the quality control, and the “organic” methods? We saw with Kava that harvesting methods are important too, as are proper plant i.d. Fair compensation and labor practices are a huge issue too. Who are you trusting with your health, wellness and vitality, and what is the consequence for you, the farmer and the planet??
This is not the first time in history that these issues have been examined. In the 17th century, a young man named Nicholas Culpeper, frustrated that the common people of London were routinely swindled by the apothecaries and doctors of the time with the promises of exotic medicines, began to teach people about the medicines in their own yards and surroundings. More recently, in 20th century America, a man named Euell Gibbons, wrote books letting us know what wild foods and medicines grew all around us.
This is what Suburban Herbal offers: locally produced medicines, grown with intention and loved, harvested and processed by someone who’s been in it for 40 years, with a passion for sustainability, health and wellness and vitality.
We also plan to offer educational info, and classes. Currently we offer some classes through www.communityschoolofnaturaltherapeutics.com . As we grow we will develop more resources on this site as well. Our goal is for you to be inspired to replace your lawn with medicinal plants and/or food plants. It is the most sustainable way. Eat local, heat local, treat local.