by Jacqueline Fox, Outreach Coordinator, Doylestown Food Co-op
Last week I had the opportunity to meet and chat with local herbalist Sharon Moncrief in her charming herb studio in Upper Black Eddy. Sharon’s studio embodies what many of us have often dreamed of having — sacred space — to imagine, create, be. The studio includes an apothecary, work space for making extracts, office and consultation space. The apothecary is filled with shelves of large jars of herbs and tinctures used in making Greenbrier Herbalist products and custom-blended remedies for clients.
We sat in the consultation corner on two cushy chairs with a lovely tea table in between and discussed herbs and history. Sharon informed me that what herbs do best is activate and support the body’s innate healing in a gentle way. She makes her herbal remedies in the traditional forms of tinctures and teas, which are low-tech and as effective as they were hundreds of years ago.
So what was Sharon’s path to the herbs? She told me she has had a lifelong love of plants and flowers. However, it wasn't until sometime into her corporate work life experience that she found an herb book she started reading one evening and read all night. One book led to a few; and a few books soon became a home library. She studied at Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies in 1997 and 1998 and started her business in1999. Since her formal studies she has continued to study medicinal herbs on her own, and through workshops with acclaimed herbalists throughout the US.
One of the most engaging parts of our conversation was learning how rich our own area is in Native American medicinal plants. Sharon says Bioregionalism has been a principle of herbalism in which it is proposed that everything one needs for herbal health support is growing in our own region and probably outside our back door. She also said delving into learning about healing herbs is a way of reclaiming the wisdom of our great, great grandmothers. Sharon recently discovered a few rare medicinal plants growing wild in Bucks County: black cohosh, wild yam, wild orchids, goldenseal and American ginseng. “We have such a rich ecology and history of medicinal herbs in this area.”
Many of the herbs Sharon uses in her products come from the herb farm of Barefoot Gardens, grown by Linda Shanahan, a friend and colleague of Sharon’s. All of the herbs used at Greenbrier Herbalist are organically grown or ethically wildcrafted.
Sharon takes great pride in making her herbal blends with consciousness and integrity. “As a member of the community, I feel responsible to make herbal products with the highest level of quality for my friends and neighbors. And I developed these formulas by trying them out on myself and my family.”
There was so much information conveyed to me as we talked that at times I felt I was in one of Sharon’s workshops. When the conversation turned to the relevance of herbal medicine in our lives today, I asked her if she would write her own short article to best articulate that part of our conversation. Click HERE to read the FULL article.
Sharon will be showcasing Greenbrier Herbalist products at the Doylestown Food Co-op on Saturday, January 10, 2015, from 12:30 – 2:30 pm. She will offers ways to support and expand your personal health plan for 2015 by including locally grown and made herbal remedies, and will also take questions about anything you want to ask your local herbalist. Check out the Greenbrier Herbalist website here!