Why use local herbs?
Are you planning a vegetable garden, buying seeds, preparing garden beds, and hoping for a big harvest, but still buying herbal remedies and herbal supplements at your local health food store or online herb supplier? There are a few good reasons to begin growing your own medicinal herbs or harvesting from local wild areas.
1. Herbs you harvest yourself are fresher
Herbs have a shelf life. Usually, dried herbs will last only a year. Preserved in oil or tincture they can last for years. When you purchase from an herb supplier, your herbs may already be several months old before you buy them. This can reduce the time that these herbs will be strongly medicinally active in storage for you.
The herbs you harvest yourself will be stronger and fresher than any you buy from your local herb store or online supplier. Growing and harvesting your own herbs allows you to harvest at the correct time in the quantities you need.
2. Herbs you harvest will be medicinally stronger
Herbs growing local to you are exposed to the very same stressors that you are exposed to. If they are thriving despite the fungal, bacterial, and environmental stress, they have the right chemistry to help you thrive as well.
3. Harvesting local herbs save money
Using herbs that are growing local to you, that you harvest yourself will save you money. Local herbs are wildcrafted or grown at home and can make herbal preparations for your herbal apothecary significantly less expensive than the same preparations purchased from your herb store.
4. Ensures a correct identification
Herbs can be adulterated. While most online suppliers make every effort to correctly identify the herbs they sell, there has been a case where herbs have been mixed up or substituted. Sometimes this has resulted in very serious side effects. When you harvest herbs yourself from local resources, you can make a correct identification before you harvest.
5. Harvesting locally protects from over-harvesting
Some herbal resources like goldenseal and American ginseng are threatened with extinction. By harvesting locally scarce herbs from your own garden you protect the dwindling wild resources, ensuring that the medicinal herbs will be there for future generations.
6. Empowers you to be a producer
Growing and harvesting local herbs empowers you to take care of your own health. When you grow and harvest your own herbs you stop the government from dictating to you what you can do to heal and thrive. The FDA won’t stop you from growing a garden. When you learn how to grow, harvest, and preserve your own medicinal herbs you can take care of many of your own health issues.
7. Inspires you to incorporate herbs into your life
When you have to buy herbs they become a scarce resource that you hoard and save for heroic actions. But herbs work best when used daily to build health and longevity. When you harvest herbs that are growing wild near you or that you grow yourself, you will find ways to incorporate them into beverages and meals regularly. Dandelion leaf pesto, nettle leaf tea, flower petal salad greens, elderberry jelly, rose honey, and cream of shiitake soup are just some of the ways to incorporate more herbs into your mealtime.
8. You understand the responsibility you have to protect them
Stewardship is good for both you and your herbal allies. When you personally harvest herbs, you care. You have an investment in their survival. You also have concerns that their needs are met. Whereas, when you purchase herbs from an online herb supplier or your local store you may not think where this herb comes from.
As you learn to use herbs more and more in your everyday life, consider also growing them and wildcrafting them, not just buying them from the health food store or your online herbal supplier.
Learn more about using herbs for health and wellness from my Book
Homegrown Healing From Seed to Apothecary
My book Homegrown Healing From Seed to Apothecary will help you grow healing herbs in your own garden. Focusing on the easiest plants for beginners to grow, Homegrown Healing From Seed to Apothecary covers 30 plants, recommended by professional herbalists, that can be grown in the temperate zone. Initial garden preparation, garden design and harvesting tips lead the novice herbalist into early success. Choose which herbs to grow, learn how to use these herbs for your family’s health and wellness using the guidance in my book . You can find out more about this useful guide to growing more herbs and using them strategically here.