Tucson Herb Store

Wander around downtown Tucson and you’ll find yourself in an Oasis of creative energy surrounded by the beauty of the Sonoran desert. 4th avenue offers the coolest looking Goodwill I’ve ever seen, a plethora of boutiques, a food Co-Op, and, of course, the gem to whom this post is dedicated, Tucson Herb Store.

From the sidewalk (click here for the map) of 4th Ave the signs call experienced herbalists and curious novitiate alike, and the shady arbor between the front gate and the front door serves up excited anticipation with pots of native plants like Yerba Mansa greeting the herbal pilgrim.

Through the red door you’re welcomed by the charm of mismatched jars filled with dry herbs, house-made formulas, essential oils, flower essences, and a big beautiful basket full of smudge wands. The shop owner Amanda runs a private clinic just beyond the shop’s walls and they offer workshops and lessons as well. I signed up on the mailing list to see what might call me back to the Catalina Foothills, sooner rather than later, I hope.

The collection of books, stickers, and other gifts things was well rounded and I found my eyes drawn to every shelf and corner of this tiny shop. Drying herbs hung from branch-bough rafters and along with the friends with whom I ventured downtown, I was mightily inspired.

I have to say that I liked everything about it, but I can’t deny it – the giant basket of sage wands made the biggest impression. Hanging over it was a sign describing the current state of ever popular White Sage, and regrettably the status is not positive. Due to over harvesting (and in my opinion, over USE) White Sage is at risk of population damage. I don’t see a lot of businesses advertising this because every new age – hippified – alternative living soul I know, MYSELF INCLUDED, is crazy about this plant.

But the Tucson Herb Store advocates some other plants to use and tips for responsibly use, minimizing waste and maximizing the lifespan of products made with White Sage – including Sage Wands. It reminded me of my passion for activism and that there are limitless opportunities to engage with others about changes that need to be made.

Whenever I visit a shop and get filled up with good vibes, either from the product or the staff or whatever the case may be, I have to support them with money. My heart hurts on the regular over the slowly dying retail industry, in no small part due the explosive growth of Amazon – which is likely to kill off every other online retailer as well if we don’t start a hardcore initiative against the company. I know that’s some inflammatory language but it’s the truth and I feel passionately about it.

It’s important to me that shops like the Tucson Herb Store get fed so that they can stay alive. There is absolutely no replacement for the connection we humans feel with other humans in a space that resonates with everyone there. When the product is actually good for you and the Earth and society as a whole. When you can refuel your soul as well as your body, at the same time.

So yea. What I was trying to say is that it’s crucial that we support brick and mortar retailers with our money. My haul included a sleep formula far different from anything I’d have put together, which made me stoked to try it out, an herbal smoking blend that I think is probably going to have a pretty interesting impact on my dream state and the Kundalini energy trying to move up my spine these days, and a couple of badass stickers.

I hope you find yourself down in the desert sometime – you don’t want to miss this cozy little treasure trove of herbal goodness.

Love,

Rebel Herbal

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The Richmond Herbalism Guild

Meet Laura B. and Allie H., the two herbal mistresses behind the magick and wonder that has become the Richmond Herbalism Guild – a group of enthusiastic plant devotees who meet regularly to educate and learn from one another, share homemade medicines, and create healing gardens.

allie-and-laura

Founded in February 2016, the Richmond Herbalism Guild (RHG) has grown from an informal peer study group to a full fledged organization – with over 500 members on Facebook and a bountiful calendar of events happening all the time and all over town, to engage every variety of budding herbalist around town.

As the group evolves, so do the activities. Lately there have been plant walks, medic training, dinner parties, an herbal book club (currently they’re reading Matthew Wood’s new book), and even Dandelion wine making!

the-earthwise-herbal-repertory

Allie and Laura are two peas in a pod, and each boasts about what the other brings to their special partnership. It’s a beautiful thing to behold, and I admit, enviable. Allie talks about Laura’s ability to make things happen, from managing the complexities of Facebook marketing to creating synergistic herbal formulas that highlight each herb’s personality.

Laura counts on Allie as the emotional core of the duo and the group, being the dreamer and ideas bearer. She says Allie’s green thumbs are invaluable to the group, as Allie brings the theory and practice of herbalism literally down to Earth.

plant-walk

In addition to organizing, coordinating, and managing an ever growing network of herbalists, each runs their own unique herbal business. Laura’s Botanicals is where Laura mentors families and teachers her clients how to make the medicines they need. Moonflower Apothecary is Allie’s project, and she grows every single plant used in her products.

Richmond was ripe for the kind of movement, and I’m proud to be in a city with an emerging grass-roots interest in a way of healing that can only be found off the beaten path. It just so happens to be the path on which I find myself most often, so it’s especially rewarding to see a celebration of my craft. I’m grateful to know these two passionate young women who are doing so much for people, plant, and planet, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for their second year in action. Do check them out,and even if you don’t know the first thing about herbs or plant medicine, you’ll be welcomed into the fold of incredible people sharing their love and joy for all things herbal. Once you learn that first thing, you’ll be hooked!

Thanks for reading, and come back weekly for interviews, reviews, and ideas for getting involved with your local plant scene!

Candice

To learn more about the Richmond Herbalism Guild and to get involved, click here.

Click here to learn about Allie at Moonflower Apothecary and here to check out Laura’s Botanicals.

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