Journey the Herbalist's Path of Elise Higley of Oshala Farm

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Melissa Mutterspaugh sits down with Elise Higley, owner of Oshala Farm, a 50-acre farm in southern Oregon in its eighth season. They discuss what it means to be an herbalist and maintain integrity within your own business while providing quality product that empowers others to explore herbs for mind, body, and soul.

Elise’s herbalist path began decades ago in California when she randomly picked up a beautiful, pictorial herb book, inspiring her try herbal remedies. When she did, she was blown away and has been using medicinal herbs since.

Then, at the California School of Herbal Studies, Elise recalls a teacher saying, “We need more herb farmers...” This stuck with her when she moved to Oregon, making her own herbal products, she found a shortage of local sources. She & her husband, Jeff, decided to incorporating herbs into their farm. Now, years later, Oshala is producing some of the highest-quality herbs available. Melissa notes that the Oshala products she uses are dramatically more fragrant, whole, and potent than previous suppliers.

Elise is part of Our Family Farms, an organization working to protect small farms and create GMO-free seed sanctuaries. A 2013 push to ban genetically-engineered crops in Jackson Co, OR, brought about a ruling that “deemed GE crops are an economic harm to traditional seed farmers”. OFF continues to support these ideals.
This is a crucial time to return to our historical, herbalist roots. Everyone can feel empowered to use plant medicine. Some considerations: know where your herbs come from. What grows in your region? Growing your own is best, but if you can’t, find a farmer near you; pay attention to who & where your herbs are coming from. Happy medicine come from happy people & plants.

Elise & Melissa faced challenges growing beyond at-home, folk herbalism. Elise explains that farming is challenging. So many unpredictable variables: nature, fire, water supply, wages, equipment costs, etc. You start small or plan on a huge investment to farm a product to be proud of. You have to want it, heart & soul.

But a person can start with education. Melissa & Elise share some fun and practical knowledge of favorite plants, plantain & nettle (for more information on plantain, check out The Herbalist’s Path Episode 5, “The One Herb Everyone Should Know”) And favorite books such as James Green's "The Herbal Medicine-Maker's Handbook". Elise notes, a good teacher teaches in a way that makes material approachable with a “do what works for you” style. Jump to 45:40 for a moving story about how Cascade Anderson Geller opened Melissa's herbalist’s path. Herbalism is here for everyone and is meant to be shared!

Hop on over to and use code THP15 at checkout to receive 15% off just for listening.

Please share this with your friends! Together, we can help herbalism #spreadlikewildflowers.

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