Thursday, November 16, 2017

Newsflash – Herbs Are Mainstream!

Essential Herbal Magazine Sept/Oct '13

Now I know some of you are nodding your heads, some of you are surprised, and some of you just shouted, “thank goodness someone finally said it!”

From our earliest days standing in our renaissance fair booth, we have always striven to make herbs accessible to all, to educate and share, and it seems our dreams are coming true.  We remember the uproar and chaos caused by the “60 Minutes” segment on St. John’s Wort in ’98 or ’99.  Or how wary anyone with an herb business was to speak of medicinal uses, or even place books too close to the herbs themselves, for fear of being raided.  We remember when stevia was banned for import into the US for a few years with no explanation or reason (which coincided perfectly with the release of aspartame, by the way) and there was nobody to fight it.  The new herbal pop culture may feel that herbs are “out there” and that a trail is being blazed, but that is far from the truth.   It is typical though, to find something new to you and not realize that it existed before you arrived.  We’ve all done that.  Remember discovering sex? 

Everyone drinks herbal teas, uses echinacea, ginger, or take Ricola cough drops!  They use herbs even if they don't know too much about what they're doing.  Herbal remedies are everywhere, and the produce departments are routinely carrying fresh turmeric root and a selection of fresh herbs and mushrooms.

Every drugstore in the country has an herb section now.  Compare that to a pharmacist coming into our shop and chuckling over our offerings in a mocking way 15 years ago.  Now, I believe he’s busy compounding for naturopathic physicians.   

Last week we attended a 4 day show that had nothing to do with herbs and by the second day it was just like our mornings at faire, with attendees lined up to ask about remedies and skin issues.  Every single weekday (like it or not) Dr. Oz touts some herb or another.  If you've been reading TEH for any length of time (or our blog, or been on our Yahoo! group), you know that our goal is to make herbs easy, accessible and NORMAL.  It’s happening.

It is now paramount that we as a community choose to embrace and share with those who are looking for a better way.  It shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg, nor should this knowledge that belongs to all of us be presented as something elite or peculiar.  Who does that serve?  If anything, it increases the perceived need for regulations as the powers-that-be see people preying on the unsuspecting, naïve, newbie.  That too (unfortunately) is nothing new.  The more commonplace and every day we treat our use of weeds and plants and veggies/fruits for well-being, the better off we will all be.

Are there rules that make it difficult for us sometimes?   Yes there are.  There always have been, and we’ve always found ways to work with and around them.  I’m not making light of the situation, but do feel that as the majority of the populace now uses some form of medicinal herb (Been to the doctor lately?  They ask what herbs are being used on their intake forms) it really is up to us to claim them as responsible adults, claim this right that is little different than the right to water or air, and expecting to be heard without shouting.

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