Meet Sarah Richards, owner of Homegrown Herb and Tea. Three years ago she opened a tiny herbal tea apothecary between two coffee shops in the sea port town of Portland, Maine. For months afterwards she served tea to sympathetic friends and family who gently urged her to give up her shop and return to teaching and a regular paycheck - not to mention benefits. An herbal tea shop would never catch on.
But slowly it did. First in Portland where within a year she had developed a loyal following of herbal tea drinkers and then online, where her site http://www.homegrownherbandtea.com has been reaching herbal tea buyers all over the world. Why the sudden popularity?
"People are opening their minds," explains Sarah over a cup of Herban Cowboy, a robust blend of sarsaparilla, ashwaganda and astragalus root with orange peel and schisandra berries, which, she tells me, is one of her more masculine blends and a favourite of local contractors, carpenters and craftsmen who now frequent her shop or find it online among the specialty blends. "So many of my customers were hardcore coffee drinkers. They didn't realize the value of drinking herbal infusions whether it be for energy, focus, health, depression, detoxing, pregnancy, colds, headaches... you name it. Nor did they realize how good a cup of herbal tea can be."
But why not just go to a grocery store and buy a box of herbal tea? Or better yet, pop an herbal supplement and not have to fuss over making tea? It is at this point one realizes how serious Sarah Richards is about her tea. Her voice, rising with evangelical spirit, admonishes the habits that thoughtless consumerism has bred in us. Drinking herbal tea - specifically, drinking herbal tea that has been made from fresh, organically farmed herbs and blended with a philosophical intent to heal and balance - is exactly the opposite of buying that box of machine manufactured stale tea dust that has been sitting on a shelf in some big box retailer depot for God knows how long or a bottle of dead herbs that have been crushed and extracted to be put in a pill wrapped in bovine intestine and marketed by people whose only intent is to make as much money as possible by exaggerating and sometimes outright lying about the medicinal value they claim for their products. Herbal tea, real herbal tea, is all about intentionality. The thoughtful reflection that goes into its preparation and consumption, the farming of the herbs, the blend itself - all are created with the intent to heal and nurture, to care for the earth and the individual. This is something entirely different. Making herbal tea a part of your day, your life - is something that over time will greatly enrich you spiritually and physically. This, she concludes, is what our ancestors did for thousands of years. And just when you think that this "thousands of years" comment was a bit of unnecessary hyperbole, she clarifies: "Twenty five thousand to be exact - that's when archaeologists have dated the first evidence of using herbs for medicinal purposes."
And if there is any question whether her message is getting through, one needs only to look around her shop. No longer is it just full of friends and family. Instead, it is packed with people from all walks of life, each enjoying a freshly blended cup of herbal tea.
Visit her site at http://www.homegrownherbandtea.com
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Homegrown Herb and Tea is an herbal tea apothecary located in Portland, Maine and online at http://www.homegrowntea.com. We serve wellness tea, Ayurvedic teas and specialty teas.