One of my favorite old movies is Where The Lilies Bloom. The plot goes like this: Four Appalachian children are left orphaned when their father dies. The children keep his death a secret so the family won’t be split up. They make money wildcrafting to support themselves.
I doubt most of us live in an area as pristine as the children in the movie, so you may want to brush up on your wildcrafting strategies before you head out on your first great adventure.
Foraging for wild herbs is known as wildcrafting. It can be a lot of fun to spend the day traipsing through the woods looking for plants in their natural environment. Of course, since many medicinal herbs such as Echinacea, goldenseal, and ginseng have become scarce in the wild, herbalists feel you should leave the few remaining specimens alone and grow them yourself or buy them.
The extracts of wildcrafted herbs aren’t standardized simply because their environment is not standard. These are the types of herbs our ancestors used for medicine, but you can still find places whee herbs grow naturally. Whereas organic herbs are grown under very standardized environments, plants growing alongside of a busy road will have absorbed more than their fair share of car exhaust . . . and whatever toxins happen to be in the environment.
If you know what you’re doing and where to look, you can harvest loads of herbs not far from your front door. Of course if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s better — and healthier — to learn how to recognize herbs first. If you do go wildcrafting, take your herbs from an area where there’s not much automobile traffic so that it’s free of exhaust fumes and other toxins. Only gather what you need from plants that are fully grown.
Of course making your own herbal skin care products is time consuming and finding a source for wildcrafted natural skin care products is even more difficult. Luckily I found a great resource. Need something a bit more healing than wax and perfume on your lips? Try Dr.Hauschka Skin Care Lip Care Stick — you won’t find these ingredients in a tube of ChapStick®–Castor Seed Oil, Rose Hip Extract , Jojoba Oil, Lanolin, Beeswax, Carrot extract, Shea Butter, and the list goes on.
Most people know of St. John’s Wort as a mood remedy, but it is also a great burn remedy and good for stretch marks. St. John’s Wort Oil has a distinctive red color. It’s made from wildcrafted Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort) blossoms and infused in organic olive oil. I’ll be writing more about this oil and why I’m using it in a later article, but so far so good with this one.
I’ve written about comfrey before. If you’ve never used it, you’re really missing out on a wonderful herb. Equinox Golding Healing Salve uses St. John’s wort extracted and concentrated into a base of organic olive oil, beeswax, and vitamin E.
I love this formula because it can replace those smelly muscle rubs. I use emu oil all the time and it’s great for arthritis or sore muscles. Take a hot shower and rub it on before bed. You’ll wake up with no stiffness or soreness.