Herbalism is an approach to health and healing that addresses not only the discomfort of disease but the concept of wellness. Herbs are used as natural alternatives to over-the-counter and prescription medicines. Herbs can be used as medicine in many forms: they can be dried or used fresh and made into capsules, extracts, herbal teas, oil infusions, salves and ointments, and tinctures.
The people at Shining Mountain Herbs, a farm located just south of Ridgway, are specialists in high-quality, high-altitude herbs and herbal products. The farm is family-owned and operated. All planting, cultivation, harvesting, and processing are done by hand. The farm is at an altitude of 7,000 feet. They grow 50 different herbs, comprising approximately 80 percent of the herbs used in their products.
When we visited Shining Mountain Herbs owner Sheila Manzagol showed us around the farm. Shining Mountain has two greenhouses, a mini-greenhouse and a large one. Inside the greenhouses we watered, planted and helped harvest salad greens. We really liked the children’s paintings in the greenhouse, especially all the peace signs!
We also got to press an echinacea tincture. A tincture is made out of alcohol, water and herbs. The chopped herbs had soaked for two weeks in the alcohol and water, and then we helped press the mixture using a hydraulic press. We labeled bottles with the labeling machine, which runs off of compressed air. That was really neat. Visiting Shining Mountain Herbs was a very interesting learning experience.
For more information on herbs and herbal products, visit www.shiningmountainherbs.com and www.regaininghealthnaturally.com.