Currently residing in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, jes is the creator behind Good 4 You. Since 2004, she has been hand blending original herbal recipes. She hand draws each label, packages and ships her gifts in biodegradable and recycled material and bicycles to the post office. One peek at her shop and you know its something special.
What was your first inspiration to become an herbalist? How have you learned about herbal medicine?
I had no prior knowledge of herbal medicine other than my grandmother giving me peppermint tea to sip at only two months old! I drank peppermint out of a bottle until I eventually grew out of it. It became my life-long remedy to soothe my tummy, blending with my soul. I eventually went to college and took a basic course on herbal medicine. One day, I wandered alone into the medicinal herb greenhouse on campus that was part of a class experience. In an amazing moment of silence with them I learned : the ancient plant world speaks with no words, but a language that is transferable to open hearts.
From that moment, I haven’t stopped working for the plants. We are their helpers. Sometimes I wish the human race as a whole was evolved enough to go back to nature and realize it’s gifts. I’m not sure I would call myself an herbalist, but rather a plant worker. I work at keeping the spirit of living off the earth alive. I create to inspire future generations to carry forth the ancient relationship we have with plants.
Learning about plants, is a lifelong effort and journey. I am never satisfied, there is so much to learn. I take it day by day. I first started out by reading tons of books, constantly cross referencing, because one book generally never says the same as another. I took all the herbal classes offered at my university, but I knew it was only a start. Today, the plants are my main teachers. The quiet silence with them, gathering and processing them into medicine, it’s all I need.
So, I would say my curiosity with plants started when my heart was open to it. The textures, smells and uniqueness of each plant is what awakened me. The potential of medicinal plants inspired me to explore deeper and started this fire in me. My life and has evolved into a path of the herbal arts. I have gone from being overwhelmed, with so much to learn, to a more intent place that is focused on the local offerings around me.
Tell us the inspiration behind your herbal products on Poppy Swap?
The herbal teas I make are the roots of good4you’s creation. They were the first herbal remedies I made when I started out. I use to run a koffee haus in the basement of my dorm, and it was the love of my friends that inspired me to refine them and make them delicious. I am super inspired by the idea of sustainability, and so my tea packaging is 100% earth friendly and bio-degradable.
About 3 years, later I took a class at the women’s herbal conference on how to make salves. I think of my salves as the trunk and stems of my work. My first salve was salve-ation. This salve was later followed by heal-all, an even more powerful salve to help eczema related issues. A lot of my herbal creations are inspired by people’s needs. Heal-all was specifically made for one of my mom’s friends, and now it helps many more!
The leaves and blossoms of my creations are tinctures, honey tonics, lip balms, sunscreen, superfood mixes, tooth powders, bug spray and shampoos.
I am an artist at heart, when I learned about herbal medicine and the potential of plants, I combined these two worlds into good4you. I knew this was a way to express my soul to the masses. When I meet a new plant, or just see them placed together before me, I feel the synergy of their gifts and have visions of how I can present them to the world. I believe my gift to represent the plant world is being able to express them through my art. Each item I create is a piece of herbal artwork, as unique as each plant itself . My blog is where I share my creative process.
What herb or herbs have rocked your world?
If I could work for just one plant, it would be Queen Annes Lace. I feel Queen Anne’s Lace tincture, specifically, has the ability to give women empowerment as a natural contraceptive. I stand behind it 100% from my own personal experience. I think wonderful birth control exists (in pill form), however, I really don’t think women should have to endure the side effects when an alternative exists that is more gentle and completely natural.
Nettles, I believe are a cure all. I call this plant the seaweed of the land. There is so much potential in it. It is a nutritional powerhouse, that everyone can benefit from. I believe a basic infusion of 1 oz of nettles to one quart of freshly boiled water, steeped for 4 hrs or overnight is one secret to a long and healthy life. I once had a dream of having a warehouse full of wild harvested nettles! It was amazing. If you know of a patch, harvest them in the spring before they flower. You can also gather them a second time late summer or early fall, when their seeds produce another crop! Adding heat to them will take away their stingers. They are great in soups for the soul.
I call Autumn olive, known as russian olive, the goji berry of the west! It is known as an invasive species, but I believe it is a gift of anti-oxidants and its delicious in pies! You can harvest the amazing tiny red berries in late summer or early autumn and go nuts! This year, I can’t wait to make autumn olive wine. When you are first starting out, making jams and jellies is the best way to go to preserve them for the winter. I love gorging them fresh off the tree.
Finally, beach roses and peppermint. Roses of the future, peppermint of the past. The aromatics of each herb holds a dear spot in my soul. Honestly though, all wild medicinal plants I can find around me, inspire me and fill me with such a surge of purpose.
What is one secret about you that will inspire our readers?
I have a few! Some you might already know. All these secrets are part of my efforts to live more sustainably and in balance with nature. I only use my car if I am carpooling with friends or going a long distance. I try to bicycle everywhere! All my packages are brought to the post office by bike and all my wild herbs are found on these adventures! I live outside in a hut in the summertime. I have another hut for packing packages up! I also walk barefoot in the summer!
Where do you see yourself with herbs in the next 5 years?
I hope to have a sacred plant landscape that people can visit, and I can help show them how plants communicate with us. Plants will love and want to help you, because you love and want to help them. For now, the world is my garden.
To anyone new to herbs, what is one thing you’d like to share with them?
If you are just starting out, I would recommend opening your heart to the local plants around you. I believe this is the heart of where the herbal movement lies. Also, it is super easy to get overwhelmed with all the information and different herbal paths you can take. Herbal conferences are a great way to take a handful of classes from a handful of teachers, so you can truly learn what interests you . I remain a student always, with endless learning ahead. This path can potentially be a lifelong one of learning. Use plant identification guides. Cross reference healing benefits with books and human teachers. Plant medicine is based on ancient tradition that has been passed down, but plants can be the most important teachers. Your body is your greatest tool. Heal thyself first. Live in nature. Breathe inspiration. Help those around you!
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