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Gail Faith Edwards

Blessed Maine Herbs

Personality Spotlight


    Q  &  A :

Creating all natural beauty products is just part of what you do. You have an amazing reputation as an herbalist. People come from far and wide to visit your farm in Athens, Maine to apprentice with you. How did your interest in Herbs begin?

I was raised in a big Italian family. My grandparents had a magical garden out behind their brownstone in Hoboken, New Jersey, where I grew up, and it was in that garden that my love of plants and all things natural began. As kids we were taught to have a healthy respect for natural remedies like garlic, honey, and salt water soaks. Pharmaceuticals were considered highly suspect. We rarely took so much as an aspirin! In my family a cup of chamomile tea could remedy just about anything. As a young adult I began studying wild plants in earnest, and gardening became a passion. Through the years I’ve read anything and everything I could find on the subjects of herbal medicines, natural healing, women’s history, and spirituality, and I’ve had the privilege to study with a few excellent herbalists. But it is the plants themselves who have been my greatest teachers! I’ve been working with herbs now for over thirty years; they have become my true friends and allies.

 

We choose our Spotlight Manufacturers for the wonderful beauty products that they bring to the market. What types of beauty products do you offer?

Blessed Maine Herb Farm offers herbal beauty products of impeccable quality, all made from the certified organic herbs we grow in our gardens or wildgather from the pristine wild all around us. Our herbs are hand-harvested at their peak, processed immediately, and blended with the finest and purest natural ingredients we can find to create beauty care products that can be used with confidence in their purity and effectiveness. Some of our beauty products include infused oils of rose, lavender, calendula, rosemary, and St. John’s wort, our rich and creamy Feed Your Face Cream, and a line of Floral Waters made from rose, lavender, elder and chamomile flowers. We also prepare a fabulous Flower Powder, made by hand grinding roses and lavender flowers, and mixing them with clay, cornstarch, and essential oil, and produce a line of exquisitely scented Body Balms made with our infused rose oil, pure beeswax and essential oils. We also offer After Shave Lotion and Mouth Wash.

 

What kind of guidelines do you use for the beauty products that you create, and why?

First of all, the herbs we use must be certified organically grown in our gardens or respectfully wildgathered.  Secondly, anything we blend with our herbs, such as olive oil, cocoa butter, aloe vera gel, glycerin, hemp oil, beeswax, essential oils, green clay, etc., must be the finest and purest we can find. We aim for purity and simplicity, do everything in small batches, and attend to our medicine making and beauty care preparations with utmost care, attention, intention, and love.

 

What do you see for the future of your beauty products as well as the "all natural" beauty business in general?

I see a very bright future! People are basically wise and they have been rapidly educating themselves regarding the term “all natural”. Our customers insist on safe, pure and effective products. I think it is up to those of us who are creating natural beauty care to continue to educate and honestly inform our customers about product ingredients, what works and what doesn’t, what is safe and what isn’t, what builds health and what negatively impacts it. It is our responsibility to provide our customers with the best possible “all natural beauty care”, and if we do, we will be in business for a very long time, as a happy customer is a customer who comes back forever and brings all their friends with them!

 

You are also a lecturer and author. I know that you have two very timely books about important health issues. Please tell us about your first book "Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs"-

Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbsis a richly illustrated herbal that gives detailed information on 125 herbs and trees including traditional uses, scientific studies, personal experiences, magical and spiritual uses, and flower essences. There are very thorough directions here for growing and harvesting herbs, what parts to use, drying, processing and storing herbs in a variety of ways, as well as making herbal medicines such as oils, tinctures, salves, beauty care products, and a wealth of information on wildgathering, wise woman tradition, ceremony and earth awareness. I’ve had many women tell me it is their very favorite herbal!

 

Please tell us about "Traversing the Wild Terrain of Menopause; Herbal Allies for Women and Men"-

This one is just off the presses! In Traversing the Wild Terrain of Menopause, I’ve attempted to illuminate the way through the deeply spiritual and transformative journey we call menopause. I challenge the reader to consider midlife to be a shamanic journey, and then beckon her/him to join me on this path wrought with wisdom, grace and beauty, as well as discomfort and pain. The chemistry of menopause in described in great detail, you’ll discover how hormonal changes affect both women and men, and gain many insights into how our shifting chemistry affects our lives together as couples. You’ll find comprehensive information on dozens of herbs that will help ease menopausal woes, enhance physical, emotional and spiritual health and well being, and increase sexual pleasure and performance for both sexes. You’ll also find plenty of herbal ways here to protect your heart, bones, and brain, nourish your immune, endocrine, digestive, and nervous systems, alleviate chronic pain, and so much more. I’ve tried to take the reader on a poetic journey, sharing my life and dreams, with the intention that the book inspire and empower the reader to walk a beauty path through midlife leading to the door of rebirth as a wise and healthy elder person with many, many gifts still left to offer. This book is also richly illustrated; there are lots of herbal scans right from our gardens, my own watercolors, and lots of photos too.



Your wonderful products are all created from your "Blessed Maine Herb Farm". It seems like you've created your own herbal paradise there. What's it like to live there?

It’s a lot of fun! You all need to come here for a visit sometime. It truly is an herbal paradise! My family and I live very simply, we tread lightly on the earth. Solar panels provide what power we need, and most of our gardening and medicine making work is done by hand. It’s been a happy lifestyle, a good way to make a livelihood, and deeply soul satisfying. All four of our kids were born and raised here on Blessed Maine Herb Farm. Lots of dedicated and sincere herbal apprentices have learned to connect with the earth, and with the plants, by working here over the years. It’s a life of service inspired by Great Goddess, and I love it!

 

What other kinds of natural products do you offer?

In addition to our Beauty Care Products we also offer a complete line of medicinal herb products such as simple Tinctures and Compound formulas made with our certified organic and wildgathered herbs and organic grape alcohol. Grape sugar is unique in all the plant kingdom, and produces an extract that is a particularly safe, effective, and fast acting herbal remedy. Our 13 Sisters Restorative Elixir, formulated to nourish women through their midlife years and beyond, has been very well received, and is now being used by women all over the world. We also carry nourishing Herb Teas, sweet and delicious Syrups, make a seriously effective and pain relieving All Purpose Salve, offer Lip Wax and Massage Oils, incredibly fragrant and magical Dream Pillows, and herbs for sacred uses, such as Smudge Sticks, hand rolled Incense, and Smoking Herbs.

 

What kind of apprenticeship opportunities do you offer?

I’m passionate about teaching, and love sharing my knowledge of medicinal herbs. Training apprentices is a big part of what I do. We usually take on up to four full time apprentices each year. These dedicated individuals live in the apprentice house, work very hard, learn an enormous amount, and ground it all with daily, hands-on application. We offer a Six Month Apprenticeship Class which meets two Saturdays per month from May through October; a Weekend Apprenticeship Class, meeting four weekends from May through August, and have a big Medicine Making Weekend each year in July. (July 11-13, registration is still open.) We also offer an informal Herbal Study Vacation for folks who would like to come and camp out on the farm for a week at a time.

 

Why do you feel that it is so important that people get closer to nature?

Oh Boy! Well, for one thing, nature helps us feel good, feel happy. To be close to nature is very therapeutic, it is nourishing to the spirit. There is a lot of love available to us, coming at us 24/7 from the natural world. We all need this love. We need the comfort, the calming effect of nature, especially in today’s world, where many people feel isolated and alone, or much too busy and stressed. Working in a garden, walking amidst the trees, or tending to plants on a windowsill, can do so much to relieve tension and inspire a sense of well being. It’s also important for us to be closer to nature for nature’s sake. To return the love. To be conscious of our interconnectedness. To honor and respect and care take the earth. These are our responsibilities. This is a sacred trust, a sacred commitment, and why indigenous peoples remind us that “We are all relations.”

 

               

Order your autographed copies of Gail Faith Edwards books today!

Come to Gail's Web Site at: BlessedMaineHerbs.com 

 

 About"Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs"- Susun Weed wrote the introduction and says the book “Delivers what it promises” and Rosemary Gladstar said it is a “jewel written by an accomplished herbalist, and destined to become a classic.” It was illustrated by two of Gail's friends and former students,  Tess Hartford and Lynne Harwood, and published by Ash Tree Publishing. It’s available on Gail's web site and in stores nationwide. For more information come to:www.blessedmaineherbs.com/opourwilhear.html

 

 About "Traversing the Wild Terrain of Menopause"- Rosemary Gladstar wrote the foreword, and it’s published by Bertha Canterbury Press. You’ll find it at:www.blessedmaineherbs.com/travwilterof.html

 

 For more details on apprenticeship opportunities visit: www.blessedmaineherbs.com/apclas20.html

 

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All views expressed in this Spotlight are those of the various participants, they are presented here for your enjoyment and enlightenment.  These views do not necessarily represent the views of SharAmbrosia or the "all natural beauty" website. 

 

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