The Featherbs Apothecary is a small slice of Appalachian apple pie. This is the medicine from some of the oldest mountains in the world; these are the tried and true remedies of the ancient people re-imagined into herbals for the ladies and lords of the modern world.
The mission of Featherbs is to provide a collection of earth inspired and land hatched herbal medicinals to those who are receptive to traditional plant-based health care practices.
In an ideal world, the medicine is fresh, whole, abundant, wild, local, organic, personal, and beautiful. It is made of whole plants rather than pharmaceutical drugs which contain certain constituents extracted from those plants.
It is easily accessible to those who seek it out, it is affordable, and it is good for the inseparable soul and body of you and of the planet. It might even taste good.
100% of the plant material used in the Featherbs Apothecary is wildcrafted. Herbal medicine is the medicine of the people, and people had a need for medicine well before they conjured the concepts of agriculture and cultivation.
Wild plants are significantly higher in those constituents that the plant calls its own natural defenses against drought, erosion, wind, and so on, and that we call medicine. Some wild plants in commerce are over harvested, and Featherbs takes great care to harvest with ethic, education and intention, and with the ultimate survival procreation of that plant species in mind.
Digging a patch of roots or gathering handfuls of berries subtlely but significantly affects every aspect of the surroundings, from the soil ecology to the wildlife population. Dividing roots and sowing seeds to ensure a harvest for next year is time consuming and unnecessary to some, but is an absolutely critical part of our cycle as humans who rely on plants to survive and thrive.
Wildcrafting is not a lucrative enterprise. It takes a passion and a love to carry the dedicated wildcrafter through the seasons from cold winter to bramble whacking in summer to waiting for the autumn leaves to disappear so that you can find your stand of sumac in the brush.
Wildcrafting begins in the spring, hiking miles up into the clouds to scout for sprouts from last year's patch, and continues on to tree-climbing for chaga whilst 20 feet up an old-growth birch. Wildcrafting is not always a pastel painting of picking flowers in a field; it is the sweat, blood and tears of many generations of people relying on the land for their living. It is nearly-chopped-off fingers, wild boar run ins, and seed tangled bird's nest hair.
Wildcrafting means considering bears and birds and whether they will beat you to your hawthorne tree. Wildcrafting means bypassing a beautiful patch of angelica, because there might be one over the next hill that better stand up to a harvest.
It means scattering seeds before digging the root of a biennial, to ensure that the plant lives on for many generations. It means scrambling on to the north facing side of the mountain to find the elusive ghostpipe, and it means pre-dawn mornings of plucking red clover blossoms with the dew still on them.
All of the medicinal plants extracted in the Apothecary are wild harvested within 50 miles of Asheville, NC, in the mountains, hollers, and valleys of the western North Carolina range. Many of these botanicals are native to this precious region of the planet, and some of them grow nowhere else in the world.
Using local plants that grow a few feet or a few miles from your stoop is answering the call to traditional and earth-based health care. A century ago, many medicine men and women made house calls to care for the sick with little more than a few tools and a bottle or two with them. If they needed a plant, it would be growing there, in the back garden of whoever needed it.
Observe the connection between those with liver weakness and those with dandelions growing rampant in their lawn - is this coincidence? We think not.
Every plant used in medicine making at Featherbs is beyond organic. Most of the plants harvested are located in the middle of the Appalachian wilderness, far from any pollutants or pesticides that make plants non-organic.
When a plant grows in the wild, miles from the foot of man, it is organic in the truest sense of the word. It grows, literally organically by definition, out of soil still replete with rich minerals and color, in its own home. There is no certification and no standardization process for this kind of organic. It is galvanized by the earth itself.
Featherbs is currently a one-woman-one-dog sort of family establishment, and you had better believe that when you read "hand-crafted" this means that every root, leaf and flower has been touched many times in the medicine making process.
Every bloom is hand harvested, every root lovingly washed and chopped, and every leaf tossed and dried over a wood fire. This ensures a deeply personal connection within an exceptional quality medicine that is well known, tended to and thoroughly scrutinized during the long hours that Heather spends with each plant.