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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Grown Local: The Herbalist Garden Takes Root

Amanda Carpenter owner of the Herbalist Garden, LLC (Photo/The Herbalist Garden)

TOANO — Amanda Carpenter, owner of the Herbalist Garden LLC, aims to share the benefits of having a local herbalist in the community.

The Herbalist Garden was launched in October, with a focus on herbal tea blends, as well as botanical skin care products. Carpenter grows the bulk of the herbs for her teas, and that is where her love of herbalism began.

“By sourcing the herbs locally, formulating it myself, crafting the items myself, I’m able to bring something that is high quality and artisan made and really supports the ethos of herbalism,” said Carpenter. “When you speak to herbalists they will say they believe in local herbalists using local herbs to support local people.”

The American Herbalist Guild describes an herbalist as some who dedicates their life to working with medicinal plants. Some examples are native healers, scientists, naturopaths, holistic medical doctors, researchers, writers, herbal pharmacists, medicine makers, wild crafters, harvesters, herb farmers — even your grandmother or grandfather. It is a definition that aligns with her personal path as a grower and medicine maker.

Carpenter explains there are many different titles that may be used with herbalism, including certified, clinical, community and master herbalists. She is a certified herbalist, having completed training with the American Herbalist Guild.

“I always like to point out that there is not a U.S. Federal regulation that defines herbalism,” Carpenter said. “There’s not a legal set of standards. So when you come across someone who is a certified herbalist, this is an individual who’s taken the extra step to receive a formal education.”

Carpenter acknowledges that society demands credentials as a way of showing they know what they are talking about, but she also emphasizes that it isn’t the only way to become knowledgeable as herbalism is “the medicine of the people.”

The seed of her journey was planted by her love for the outdoors. Carpenter said she has moved and traveled a lot in her life and everywhere she went she would start a garden.

“I think that the more you garden the more you want to learn what it is that you are doing,” Carpenter said.

She credits an illness in 2019 as the catalyst for her pursuing what more she could do with herbs, having come to a point in her life where she was ready to do something for herself. She decided to pursue a formal certification and to take herbalism beyond being just a hobby.

In The Herbalist’s Garden, Carpenter uses non-GMO seeds that she sprouts, transplants and grows herself utilizing pesticide-free, organic methods of gardening. But she doesn’t restrict herself to just what she is capable of growing herself, as some ingredients she uses aren’t native to the area which she sources out for.

Carpenter travels to several of the local farmers markets to sell her teas and skin care formulas, as well as her online shop.

“What I like [about the farmers market community] is I live here in the area. So, before I started the farmers market I was already seeing clients, so it was a nice way that I was actually running into clients and neighbors that I already had and it was for me to offer nourishing teas and endocrine disrupter-free skincare to my community. But it’s also been a great way for me to tell them they have an herbalist in your community,” said Carpenter.

Currently, some of the markets The Herbalist’s Garden can be found are the Toano Open Air Market, Yorktown Market Days, the Hopewell Farmers Market. A schedule is sent out every month via the business’s newsletter.

For more information about The Herbalist’s Garden, visit its official website.

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