Several weeks ago a customer ordered from us over 200 different herbs. Thank you, we really do appreciate the business. However, as I reviewed this order, it became apparent to me what this customer was trying to accomplish. The order was for our bulk herbs and consisted of 4 ounces each of many, many herbs. I applaud the effort to stock up and be prepared. And while I may be wrong, I envisioned them going through our list of herbs with either a reference book or a friend coaching them on what to purchase. "Oh yeah, I heard Blue Flag herb is good, get that one, and get some Sheep Sorrel and Usnea." And while this person now has a supply of a lot of different herbs, I wonder if they really know what to do with all of them. Additionally, all herbs are not the same, some are powerhouses and others minor players. It would make more sense to me, if you are purchasing herbs to make your own formulations, to have more of some (get 10 pounds of Echinacea) and less of others.As I thought about this, I asked myself and a few others, if you had a decent chunk of change to spend on herbs, would you spend it on a small amounts of a whole bunch of different herbs or would you rather concentrate on fifteen or twenty different ones in greater quantities. For me, my family and friends the issue really is not whether you will stock a supply of herbal necessities but which ones and how much. This morning I received a report from AHPA (the American Herbal Products Association) of which we are members. They are a very reputable organization in the herbal industry. The newsletter was in essence a warning of climbing and even skyrocketing food prices in the coming weeks and months. It contained a detailed reckoning of specific foods and also herbs that are expected to dramatically drive up prices in the marketplace. These changes are due to a multiplicity of factors, some political, some due to nature (flooding and crop failures) and some due to the evolving of third world diets (mainly China and India) demanding foods enjoyed by the more affluent countries of the world. (http://www.china.org.cn/business/2010-11/22/content-21392465.htm) And while prices in the market have been steadily rising, they have not yet spiraled out of control as some prognosticators are anticipating. Some in the media have been pounding the drum of preparedness long and hard and personally I feel more secure with an extra bag or two of beans and rice in my pantry than I would feel otherwise. While no one can accurately predict whether or not truly harder times are imminent, we would better serve those we shelter and love by preparing 'just-in-case'.So back to my earlier question? From an herbal perspective, what (in my humble opinion) should you have in your pantry? I look at this issue from a functional standpoint - namely what should I have on hand for this problem or for that problem. Also, if I had to live off beans, rice and oatmeal, what herbs and spices would I want for flavoring - a little oregano or cinnamon can do wonders.
I have written much about this in my recommendations for an Herbal First Aid List. Here are a few suggestions you may want to consider.
In the Kitchen, we recommend buying herbs in bulk. It is amazing the amount you can save when you purchase in bulk instead of buying little bottles of herbs and spices at the grocery store. Hippocrates taught that our food should be our medicine and our medicine our food. Herbs and spices do have medicinal properties as well as taste oh so good. Considers purchasing a pound or two of the following: Black Pepper, Celtic Sea Salt, Oregano, Basil, Thyme, Sage, Cumin, Coriander, Clove, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Cayenne, Garlic and Ginger. Chances are we have it, just give us a call.
We live in uncertain times. We know that the world is changing. As we prepare, as best we can, for the continued and coming turbulence, we will be better equipped to bless and help ourselves and others. Become part of the solution as you anticipate and prepare for come what may.