I was working on some herbal product last month, and one of the herbs I was using was Rosemary.
I went to my herbal cabinet and pulled out my jar of labeled Rosemary from a well known herbal company. While I was measuring, I remembered that I had some dried rosemary in my herbal drying rack. I decided to gather some of that to use as well. When I put my home grown rosemary next to the rosemary I ordered from the store, I couldn't believe how drastically different the two were. One was fresh smelling, green, and lively, while the other was dry, crunchy, and not very pleasing to the eye. I checked the date on bag and it was only a month old. It wasn't old or stale, but it was terribly sad looking compared to my home grown herb. I've always ordered from this company and their products are always top quality.
I always try to grow my own plants to supply my herbal needs, but we can't possibly grow all of the herbs we need at home. Then again, the comparison between the two really led me to do some thinking. It really is worth the extra effort to grow exactly what you need, if you can, on your own property. If that is not possible, then maybe we should do our best to buy local.
We can buy a few plants to supply us with our needs, or buy from a local farmer, and never have to deal with ordering, packaging, or the energy it takes to get the herbs from one side of the states to the other. I'm sure the rosemary from the company was well taken care of, but did the soil need a little extra something? Was it not dried fast enough? Did it get dried out during shipment? What about all the plastic the herbs are packaged in? I don't want to be responsible for all of that plastic, even though we recycle.
It took a good visual cue to reassure me that the work we do in our garden really does make a difference in the quality of the medicine we make. We can simply just use our own two hands and plant it in the ground. Use our hands to nurture it, harvest it, and then use those garden grown herbs to prepare remedies for our friends and family. It really is a rewarding experience, and I am thankful to have had this lesson. <3