By Adrianna Daly, Staff Writer
“We have a loofah plant… it actually looks like a giant cucumber and it grows on the vine. You let the cucumber thing dry for a little bit, you essentially let it rot, until it becomes this cellulose material,” first-year student and Herb Crew member India Orman says, describing the various facets of the herb cabin. Loofahs, tea, ointments, chapstick, and herbal elixirs are some of the many things that Herb Crew works to supply Wilson students with. Herb Crew’s current line of products are Arnica (an ointment that is good for sore muscles), Hard Working Hands (an ointment for chapped skin), Wonderbalm (a balm for bug bites and cuts), salt scrubs, toner, aromatherapy spray, sea-salt hair spray, and lip balms. Most Wilsoners may have seen Herb Crew’s teas and chapsticks in the campus bookstore or perhaps seen their products at Festival on the Field, yet many students don’t utilize Herb Crew’s services for its full potential. As the seasons are changing, many Wilson students complain about having allergies and getting sick. Herb Crew members India Orman and Maggie Shellman discuss how utilizing herbal remedies has personally healed them from emotional and physical illness. Third year Wilson student Maggie Shellman suggests bee pollen if you are experiencing allergies. Drinking it in a tea or taking it in capsule form has been effective with her allergies.
“When someone comes in and is feeling sick, we give them herbs to match the symptoms they are feeling. So if someone has an upset stomach, we are going to give them a tea with fennel and mint to help soothe the digestive tract,” says Shellman. “We have so many mints too: mountain mint, chocolate mint, garden mint, spearmint,” said Orman. Herb crew doesn’t charge for tea or on the spot herbal recommendations, but they do take donations.
“Many people do know how to take herbs. With herbs it is a build-up. Your body needs to recognize it and then use it. It is gradual but it fixes the problem long-term.” says Shellman. Some herbs though, like arnica, are instantaneous. Herb Crew’s arnica salve numbs and soothes sore muscles.
“I went through kind of a depressive phase… I started using this select amount of herb tinctures and they just fixed me. Now, my mood is much more uplifted than it used to be. It can do that to depression, something that people feel is a constant thing in their life… [something that] messed me up for years…I used tinctures for two months and it was gone.”
A tincture is considered to be the easiest and most effective way to take an herbal supplement. Essentially it is the concentrated essence of the herb extracted with alcohol, vinegar, or glycerine. Although not everyone may not have an elaborate knowledge of plant use and its purposes, there are many recipes which can help with common things that may be causing pain. For relief from headaches, Herb Crew recommends peppermint oil or a very strong alcohol like Everclear. Douse the area which is in pain with either one of these for relief. For colds, Herb Crew has a “fire cider” which contains apple cider vinegar as a base ingredient. “Apple cider vinegar is the herb penicillin” Orman said.
The Herb Crew will be selling their chapsticks at many festivals including Moog Fest, and a new label designed by India Orman will be in use at these events. Herb crew welcomes those who wish to volunteer in the garden or around the cabin, those who are sick and want some herbal remedies, or those who just want to try a cup of fresh mint tea.