Natural Health Products and Herb Gardening Expo

| 10/29/2009 11:51:15 AM


Marguerite Dunne is a city girl and traveler. Visit her website at or listen to her radio show, The Urban Herbalist, on Marguerite was also the third place winner in The Herb Companion's essay contest, "Looking Forward to Herbs."

When the herb spirit is alive, roots mature, vines unfold and souls blossom, reaching out with a fragrance of subtle energy. The herb spirit increases with each herb gardening task: planting, tilling, pruning, gathering, infusing, decocting, tincturing, compounding, dyeing and the wistful sundown delight of simply watching the garden grow.

For a millennium, the herb spirit has grown as gatherers have bundled, blended and applied precious herbs. Father Time's laws have never ordered Mother Nature's gardens and so her gardens have continued to grow. Every herbalist carries this intense energy of the vine, which reaches and pushes upward. And when each garden wall is scaled, the vine simply develops, adjusts and flourishes.

herb gardeners
Photo by angavallen/Courtesy Flickr

How did our holistic health garden grow? Expo East, an extended vine of the herb spirit, is an annual event in Boston where health food companies can display their wares for the benefit of  storeowners  So in September, several hundred health food industry vendors carried their boxes and set up their displays. Meanwhile, curious independent store owners and chain-store buyers busily sampled new flavors, dabbed crèmes, collected cute samples and carried out stacks of scientific reports. The “old-timers” wanted to show off their newest merchandise while the “newcomers “ proceeded with caution, ever vigilant for the show’s discount specials. The “old, old-timers” mused pensively about the olden days (the late 1960s) when we still sold bunches of wild-crafted herbs from the backs of battered station wagons and traded addresses for where to get authentic brown rice and good local clover honey. I miss the days when our herb-talk was a secret code among friends, who took the time to put their hands in the dirt, do some digging and do some thinking too.