Herbal tea anyone? Natural medicine? If you’re keen to know more, a herb club is starting up in Shawnigan Lake. (Submitted)

Column: Herb clubs: no, won’t cause the munchies

No, not THAT kind of herb.

Who wants to be in an herb club?

No, not THAT kind of herb. (Those kinds of clubs are popping up everywhere these days and every now and then police ask them to close up shop until the feds regulate it.)

What I’m talking about are the other kind of herbs. You know, the ones used in natural medicine and other applications like witch craft and wizardry (but Celle Rikwerda, the owner of Stark Natural Herbs, a soon-to-open botanical dispensary in Shawnigan Village, says the latter is a whole other story.)

Rikwerda grew up on Saltspring Island and made the big move across Sansum Narrows with her family of seven in December of 2016. After taking some time to settle in, she’s about to open shop.

Once open, her store will offer organic tea blends and spices, herbal and clinical aromatherapy consults and will specialize in women’s health, fertility, elder care and more.

A second generation herbalist, she’s studied at Dominion Herbal College and the West Coast Institute of Aromatherapy.

“I was on the board of directors for the Canadian Herbalist Association for four years, and one of my colleagues has successfully ran an herb club for quite a few years now, and I really want to do the same; I thought it would be a great way to share my knowledge and help others, and also meet new people,” she said.

Rikwerda put the call out recently, asking if anyone would be interested in monthly meetings to “share herbal remedies, recipes, book reviews of our favourite herbal books, picture plant IDs, seed exchange, barter and trade table, and pretty much anything else related to herbal medicine and plants!”

It turns out quite a few people think that would be a great idea.

“I’ve had an overwhelming response,” she confirmed. “I think I have about 18 people already wanting to join and it hasn’t even been 24 hours. I couldn’t be more excited to start this group!”

Who knew herbs were so popular?

They’re for more than spicing up a bland dinner, from what I understand.

“They are traditionally used to help the body return to a state of health,” Rikwerda noted. “They can be used in recipes for remedies such as cough syrup, tinctures, teas, poultices, salves and ointments, liniments and infused oils.”

The herb club will help folks with like minds find space for growing and gardening and seed saving to save the important medicinal plants from environmental factors, and over-harvesting, too.

Rikwerda hopes to set a date for the first meeting in February, followed by monthly meetings thereafter.

“I am hoping to organize an herb walk for one of the meetings,” she said.

So, if you’re keen to learn more about natural medicines and/or herbs in general (or you’re a witch and need ingredients for your potion…hey I’m not judging you, we all struggle to find good quality ingredients sometimes!) check out Rikwerda’s Facebook page “Stark Natural Herbs “Herb Club”.”

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