Reduce, Reuse & Recycle (Or Compost!)
Any Herbalist worth their salt is concerned for the environment in which they live.
Climate change is a global emergency that school children seem all to aware of. Indeed, it will directly impact this ermerging generation as global sea rises, mass migration and environmental catastrophies become all too common. Meanwhile, the leaders of our world continue their wreckless abandon to adulterate and pillage this wonderful creation we live in.
Herbalists are, by nature, in touch with their surroundings. The feeling of partnership and symbiosis is integral to them and their environment. A profound appreciation that we neeed to care for the very plants that so lovingly return to us protection, medicine, food and nourishment.
With that in mind we needed to really think long and hard about packaging. Teas, Tinctures, Vinegars and Tablets all require a bit of thought, ensuring a product is preserved, free from oxidisation and transports well. We also need to be mindful of the problems our consumption of plastic may well have on the world around us.
In a sense its easier with the medicines to be packaged in an environmentally friendly manner; amber glass bottles can be reused many many times and preserve the life of the product better than any plastic might be able to offer. Packaging teas however is not so simple. One needs to think of everything from the potential tea-bags you offer to the way they are packaged. Zip Lock pouches seem a logical answer but even the kraft pouches that look so wonderfully biodegradable need to be sent to an industrial composting facility to be broken down and many of them contain plastic or foil in their make up. Further thought needs to be given to labels too, many lables are biodegradable but to get a truly compostable label one needs to be prepared to pay substantially more.
All tea-maker's go with convention when it comes to preserving teas. An aluminium tea caddy that stops light and oxidisation. We take a similar approach with an additional caveat. Our aluminium tins are excellent for storing herbal teas but we don't wish to rely on people recycling. We like the idea of "reusing" first. We have opted to sell 100% compostable pouches for our teas which can be thrown on your own compost heap at home. You simply open the pouch and re-fill your aluminium tin or kilner jar at home.
Granted, the teas will not keep as long in these pouches and they are not as air-tight as some polypockets. They also allow light in. As our pouches act only as short term packaging and as our teas are made in small batches with little or no shelf time between manufacturing and dispatching we think they are an excellent alternative to any other product on the market. Frankly, it all boiled down to "at what cost?" Do we go for ziplock bags at the cost of the earth we are so enthusiastically trying to harness the energy of? Or, Do we make a compromise that we can all live with and offer something back to the world in return?
Throwing nature to the wind, we also opted for business cards that are 100% recycled and compostable. They have the added benifit of being infused with seeds that will germinate and offer wonderful foraging food for your local pollenators. It feels good to give something back. Take note of our details and throw the card away as you please. Litter the earth with some seeds and allow nature to fight back against Glyphosate!
And Finally, a word on Tea-bags. Many of us have now become aware of the fact that most of our tea-bags are infused with plastic. Its not good for your health, not good for the compost heap and frankly, not good for the oceans either. We spent a little bit of time contemplating this issue as we set up shop. There are lots of options out there. Plastic free, bleach free tea-bags, reusable tea-bags and a plethora of infusers available to the consumers. Firstly, despite their convenience, tea-bags do not allow adequate water to surround the herbs for infusion. If you are drinking tea to derive benifit and flavour from the herbs - Tea-bags are just not the way to go, even the ever so trendy pyramid ones. Further, T-Bags seldom offer the therapeutic doses in a tea-bag the body could benifit from. Many offer about 2g of herb per tea-bag (around a tsp) when most of the herbal teas we suggest require about a tablespoon of the herb (although many of these can be used and reused).
Some infuser pose similar problems and whilst there are nice tea-pots around online we seldom make a herbal tea for more than one person. So, we have opted for an infuser for you mug that is easy to clean, simply empty it into the compost heap and rinse or put in the dishwasher. As time goes on we will hopefully be able to supply branded lidded mugs to perfectly infuse your tea, but for now we must cust our cloth to suit our means - the infuser it is! Anyone taking a 6 month or annual subscription can get one of these from us for free by way of saying "THANK YOU!"
Vocation Vocation Vocation....
Ministry, Mission & Medicine
3 words that all share one thing in commmon: "vocation".
A sense of calling seems to seems to be associated with each. Until recently I'd spent my life focusing on the first two. Any childhood notion of becoming a doctor vanished in and around the time I dropped Chemistry as one of A'levels and took a gap year to serve the church.
In 2009, that changed. Having spent a lot of time in and out of hospitals, my mother informed me of a dream she had of me wearing a white coat. I laughed it off as a fanciful idea; aspirations of a parent wanting her child to suceed. The idea of 7 years training also contributed to my lack of enthusiasm at such pursuit. I had after all been to University twice by this stage and the thought of a repeat venture was certainly not something I would relish.
10 years later this dream has taken on a new meaning as I come to a close of my first year's training as a Medical Herbalist. Forget the 7 years of training to become a doctor. I'm in the slow reader's group! It took 9 for me to be coaxed and cajouled into something I absolutely love.
Its interesting that on reflection, my decision to do Biology, Geography and R.E may slowly be revealing itself as the smartest thing I could possibly have done. I seem to have pursued all three paths in the vocational calls of Ministry, Mission and now as a Herbalist, Medicine.
Having spent the last twenty or so years working for the Church, and mission financing the course is an issue, with that in mind, "The Wild Sage" was born.
The Wild Sage is my Crowdfunding project. A way to raise funds for an education I hope to use in the future to help those around us. To sustainably raise enough money each month to pay for my course inbetween college and clinical hours. I've never really been someone who found it easy to ask for money so I've tried to offer something to people who would like to support us whilst blessing them with good health in the interim.
The idea is to offer a monthly subscription of wonderful herbal goodness that are organic, seasonal and very very tasty. I'm offering 4 teas packed and posted to your doorstep in reusable and compostable packaging. You get to sit back, relax, receive the herbal benefit of a cuppa in your hand whilst knowing that you are also supporting our little family as we take the next step in our vocational path to serve the people we love.
We will be selling teas individually to people who cannot support us with a subscription as it will also promote "The Wild Sage" for when I do start practicing. In the interim however a subscription service is the easiest way to maintain an effective and efficient stock contro. It also permits me to buy herbs in bulk for a specific number of clients.
Further, I'm offering anyone that takes up a full years subscription of teas the opportunity to consult from a trainee medical herbalist during these next two years of training. I will not offer diagnosis at this stage but can prescribe a treatment plan for pre-diagnosed illness's and would love the opporunity to bless those already supporting us. The consultation would be free; the medicines are not - though you might find that the tea subscription could be tailored better to your needs!
So, here is to the next two years of study. I would love it if you might share in our adventure and consider supporting us with a monthly tea subscription.