Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Our Adventurous Day with the Founder of "Goldenseal Sanctuary"

September 1st, 2011—

Our day with the Founder of  the United Plant Savers’s
‘Goldenseal’ Sanctuary (Paul Strauss)
Balm of Gilead seed pod.
Taken at the Eloise Butler garden
in North Minneapolis, MN
            Today was an incredible, eye-opening long day at Paul Strauss’ place, ie-just an hour hike over a few of our hills the ‘back way’. We spent a lot of the morning in Paul Strauss’ Apothecary as he explained how the United Plant Savers organization and Goldenseal Sanctuary started. The organization itself was started by Rosemary Gladstar, when she noticed very few native medicinal plants when she moved to her Vermont home, and she decided to gather people that had the same concern. Though let me back up a minute here, the land was originally owned by someone nicknamed “Big Lee”, whose son “Little Lee” grew up on it being pasture for horses and other animals. After his father passed, “Little Lee” inherited the land and restored it as much as possible. Eventually Paul Strauss came along and bought the land from Lee and restored it even more into a native plant sanctuary.

            Once at Paul’s he starts our long day hike around his property in my favorite place of all there, his apothecary! In his salves he uses several very interesting and specific ingredients to help improve the healing properties of his salves. These include Balm of Gilead and Propolis. Balm of Gilead it sit’s on an un-open bud, and the resin is carried by bees, it’s antibiotic and antibacterial, and sed resin is from the seeds if I remember correctly of this tree. The latter ingredient, Propolis, a part from bees carrying pollen around it creates a resin coming from plants and thus is their ‘natural sealant’ for their hive. Medicinally, Paul states, it treats herpes (the extract or tincture), and let the alcohol evaporate and apply it to sores externally. You need a high heat to break down the propolis and herb roots of 212 degrees F for 3 hours.
Goldenseal Patch at United Plant Savers
"Goldenseal Sanctuary' in Rutland, Ohio
           Paul explains that when making any medicine that the mark is the amount of herb being used, in a tincture or a salve, and the menstrum is the amount of liquid that the mark, or herb, is put into. Menstrums usually are olive oil, or another type of oil, for salves, and brandy or a certain proof of vodka for tincures. Noting the ratio in which you do this, especially for tinctures, is important if you are selling them so you know how much to charge customers. The primary reason that Paul states he makes tinctures is because, “they last a very long time, and it his the body [via the bloodstream], within 10 seconds”, whereas the tea has to go through a lot of your body first, he also goes on to suggest that all “budding herbalists” should make teas and tinctures because they understand the effect of both on the body, which one works faster and better, but teas you can taste the herb which is very good when say taking a bitter herb to aid digestion (it’s best to “let the body know” whats coming). The more  Paul got to talking, and the more I listen closely, I realize I’m in the midst of a very wise, self-taught, herbalist/woodsman/Appalachian man….another inspiring quote, that made me proud to be in the field I’m in (herbalism), he states that, “as an herbalist you’re responsible for the land” and if not us, who than??   

Stinging Nettle patch
Take at the Findhorn Ecovillage
in Northern Scotland
He goes on to talk about how amazing the earth is, and how there are so many important and very simple, yet profoundly healing herbs, such as Goldenseal, and Nettles (one of my personal favorites…see my Herb Companion blog on it was one of the top 5 of that month on the website!!). He, among many other herbalists to this day find these herbs incredible because people might take it for one specific ailment, but it helps heal so many things!! Nettle being a green, helps clean out one’s body, Strauss states, “the more greens you eat, the more cleaned out your body will be”. 

Lastly, here is the article I got published with the "United Plant Savers" journal as a reflection of my internship here.

**Here is a lovely article written specifically about the‘Goldenseal Sanctuary’, Paul Strauss and the intern program

Man-Made pond surrounded by evergreen and decidious forest of Paul Strauss's