Where can we find quality dried herbs by the ounce? By the pound? Almond oil? Salve containers? Droppers for tincture bottles? These are questions that often come up in our classes. Having a reliable source for the tools of the trade is important in any field. Fortunately for herbalists, there are good options available.
Gardens & Nature
The best way to get herbs is to either grow them in your garden or sustainably harvest them from nature. This way you control the quality, harvesting and processing from the ground to your herb cabinet.
An herb garden need not be a huge undertaking. Growing basil, mint or rosemary in a pot is easy enough to do. For folks with more space, using the backyard garden for comfrey, catnip or our native wild oregano (Monarda) is highly recommended.
Harvesting from nature can be appropriate when the herb is in sufficient quantity in your area. Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) is a good example of a plant that is not only plentiful, but also easy to harvest, effective and gentle acting.
Most people have neither the time, resources nor knowledge to wildcraft and grow all the herbs they use. This is where the local herb store is so important.
Many communities have a locally owned shop that specializes in regional herbs or hard to find herbs from other areas. These businesses provide a vital resource and deserve our support. As the herbal movement continues to grow, these family businesses are becoming more common.
In Flagstaff, the long time herb store is Winter Sun in the historic downtown neighborhood.
In the Phoenix area, the Loose Leaf Tea Market has been in business for several years.
Web-based businesses are for people who are using larger quantities of herbs (several ounces to a pound) or are looking for supplies to make lotion, salve, tinctures, soap, funnels, scales and all the other endless tools of the trade.There are many quality herb stores on the internet and you are encouraged to talk with fellow herbalists to see which ones they prefer. The following companies have been helpful in my work over the years.
Mountain Rose Herbs has a large selection of dried herbs in bulk. More importantly, they have all the extras herbalists use on a daily basis such as bottles, scales, funnels, measuring cups and more. They truly are a one stop shopping site for the herb community. Also, they have a responsive and friendly customer service department.
Pacific Botanicals and Oregon’s Wild Harvest are two other companies I have used and can recommend. Their selections are not as comprehensive as Mountain Rose herbs but the herb quality is top notch.
Remember, the more involved we are with the process of making our own herbal medicine, the more effective it will be. The healing of plant medicine begins in our gardens, in our local herb shops and in our kitchens as we prepare the gifts from the plant world.