today D and I went on a plant hunting trip in the gorge. it was the second trip of the season for wildcrafting. under the clouds and vine maples near a creek i filled my bag with wild mugwort and coltsfoot for medicine making. Ladyhawk, my line of botanical medicinals is forthcoming , and will be stocked in the shop. I am currently harvesting cultivated herbs and flowers from our garden as well as going on weekly wildcrafting adventures in the mountains, along the rivers, and around the city to find plants.
The products i will offer:
loose dried herbs
I plan to offer my medicinals in very small batches.
This is because I practice sustainable, ethical wildcrafting.
When I harvest plants in the wild, I take only a little of each plant at a time, and only a bit from each stand or community of plants.
This helps the plant to maintain itself and to keep growing. I also will not be offering any plant's root products, because to harvest the roots equals death to the plant. I will only be making medicine with aerial parts of the plants. For more reading and learning on this subject, see friends of the trees.
When you buy medicinal herbs from large companies, they are(depending on the company..) usually NOT sustainably harvesting the plants. If they have their own organic farm which they operate, they probably are. But alot of medicinal herbs, since they have gained popularity, (like goldenseal, echinacea, and especially ginseng) are harvested without regard to the plant's life cycle and reproduction process, as well, the people doing the harvesting are usually underpaid laborers in small impoverished countries(like Nepal, where alot of commercial herbs are exported from). I am interested in making medicine only from plants that I cultivate in my garden space, or plants that grow vigorously in the wild where i can get to them without leaving a noticeable impact -this means I only harvest from easily accessible places. I don't like to go too far off the beaten path and interrupt the wild... I am not an REI gearhead blazer who leaves trash and footprints along the backcountry. I also harvest plants from between city sidewalk cracks. There are tons of wild edible and medicinally important plants growing everywhere in the concrete, too. I used to be worried about harvesting plants near the city, but I realized plant's medicine is so powerful, a little urban dust is not going to erase it.
I started making herbal products way back in 1998 on Vashon Island. I was in school for landscape design and environmental horticulture at the time, and northwest native plants were(still are) my passion. I wanted to make herbal products and medicine from native plants, i studied the ethnobotany of the northwest native coastal people. I knew a great beekeeper on the island I got my beeswax from, he lived down the road from me. I made lip balm with only organic essential oils , sweet almond oil, and local beeswax. Soon , I was making small batches of tinctures, salves, lotions, and massage oils. I sold them at the Vashon farmer's market. Then I got accepted as a vendor in the Pike Place market. It was awesome.. all the essential oils and aromatherapy had a good effect on me, I made some great flavors of lip balm that became popular. I offered Thuja, (western red cedar) and Mahonia (oregon grape)tincture and plantain, black cotton wood, and yarrow salves. I occasionally made lotion and massage oil. I made solid perfume with scents I made all originally by blending essential oils together.. I never used anything synthetic. I called the line Islandula Herbals, because I infused the oil used in all the products with calendula i grew myself on the island. My dad even made me a wooden "lip balm delivery service", (LBDS), with little pyrex bottles to make my one-lady production go faster!
Then I kind of stopped being interested in marketing and selling it all, because I couldn't find an eco-friendly way to package it. I didn't want to buy plastic stuff to put the products in.
I stopped making it for sale.. but still made it for friends who asked for it and for gifts.
Fast forward to today..almost 10 years later. These days, there are tons of eco- awesome products to package stuff in. yes.I now have a place to put the products for sale, some more knowledge, and still a ton of enthusiasm for herbal crafting. I am stoked to be reviving my line of medicinal botanicals , and adding a few new products. I am calling it Ladyhawk botanicals because there is always a hawk flying over my head while i am out in the forest or near the river harvesting plants to make medicine.
the plants I am currently preparing medicine with this summer & where+when I harvested are:
Mullein-Verbascum thapsus- Columbia River, June 08
Pale Evening Primrose-Oenothera ssp. pallida- Columbia prairie, June 08
Yarrow-Achillea millefolium-Kennewick, Wa, June 08
Feverfew-Tanacetum parthenium-Portland, Or, June 08
Mugwort-Artemisia vulgaris- Portland, Or, June 08
Big sagebrush-Artemisia tridentata-Kennewick, Wa, June 08
Sweet coltsfoot-Petasites frigidus-Columbia gorge, June 08
more to come soon.
need more info? write to me.