Orenda Herbal with Emily Ruff

by Libby Jennison

    What follows is an email ‘conversation’, if you will, between myself and Emily Ruff, the director of the Florida School of Holistic Living and the co-founder of Orenda Herbals.  I have learned so much of what I know thanks to Emily, and I wanted to share some of her abundant knowledge directly with you.   Thank you Emily!
     You can see her influence in my own approach to herbs in the home in my post on Hibiscus Tea.

1. What herbal formulas do you prepare for your family?  What things do you like to have around the house?  

     My favorite herbal formulas are prepared as a daily tisane (herbal tea) for my family.  I prepare them a gallon at a time to ensure there is always tasty medicine on hand for my family.  I try to prepare a nutritive blend (like Orenda’s Harmony) or a blend for the nervous system (like Orenda’s Stress Less) because these types of teas are useful for everyone in the family, no matter what is going on with their health.  I will add a smidge of honey to make sure everyone will gulp it down and usually keep it in the fridge for a refreshing summer brew.

 2. Can you share one or two accounts of how herbs have been effective in treating you or your families symptoms or the root of your health issues?

      Every cold and flu we’ve experienced in the last decade has been successfully treated with herbal remedies – not minute clinics or doctors.  It is inspiring and empowering to connect with the plants and use their gifts to heal our families.  In fact, it is our birthright!  I am always amazed at how simple herbs can shorten the duration of these common illnesses and bring us back into balance and brightness more quickly.  I have also been amazed at the use of daily herbal blends to treat inflammatory conditions like arthritis and digestive concerns.

3. Tell us a little bit about Orenda Herbal. 

       Orenda Herbal is an herbalist-owned company that has been making herbal medicines since 2004.  Jackie Feasel and I tested all our formulas with our families, and it was this rigorous feedback that led us to our most popular blends.  We use strictly organic ingredients, and strive to use as many from the Orenda Herbal gardens or from local growers as seasonally possible, to support our local agricultural economy and ensure the purity and potency of our products.  Our primary focus is tisanes because we believe it is a great and tasty way to take our herbal medicine, and useful for all members of the family.  You can use tisane blends in the bath tub too, which creates a delightful atmosphere.   In addition, we offer seasonal blends of elixirs, made from locally grown ingredients, to honor the cycles of the gardens we tend.  Elixirs are more concentrated, and great for portability in a diaper bag or purse.  We also offer topical preparations with the herbs from our gardens, like our Ouch Ease line, which provide healing for cuts, bumps, and scrapes without the use of petrochemicals.  The best way to achieve radiant wellness using herbal remedies is to use herbs on a daily basis.  Find one herb, or one blend, that you can make by the gallon for your family, and drink several cups a day, instead of a soda or a coffee, for instance.  Optimal health does not come from finding a quick fix to a health issue, but from using tonic herbal allies to prevent those health issues in the first place.

4. Why herbs?

      Like I said, it is our birthright!  Humans have always wandered the fields and forests, nibbling along the way.  Just a few generations ago, every family had an herbalist – a grandmother, a father, an aunt – who would provide primary healthcare and preventative medicine to their families.  We’ve lost that way of life, but fortunately, just by going into our backyards, we can reclaim this way of life for ourselves and our loved ones.  Herbal medicine provides us balancing, nourishing tools that avoid the common plethora of side effects of our modern pharmacopeia, and best of all, they are available right outside our door, offering a sensible approach to preventative wellness that is affordable and accessible, not to mention more environmentally responsible.  At a time when our modern medical system is attributed as the cause for over 800,000 deaths in the US each year, it is more imperative than ever to find a more natural, harmonizing way of health.  This is where herbal medicine fits in so beautifully.  Certainly in acute health situations, we should rely upon the technologies of modern medicine, but we can look to the plants to prevent those situations in the first place, and provide an arsenal of tools for those common but less serious illnesses, like the flu.  If your grandmother would have cared for an illness from her kitchen, you can too!

     To learn more about Emily Ruff, the School of Holistic Living, and Orenda Herbal I encourage you to visit some of these links!