Herbalist Suki Roth Takes Healing Back To The Garden

By Mark Schultz
The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) This profile takes a look at 67 Year old herbalist Suki Roth who believes that when administered properly, herbal medicines are safer than pharmaceuticals. There is certainly a growing market for what Roth is offering. The World Health Organization estimates 80 percent of people worldwide include herbal medicine in their health care.

GRAHAM, N.C.

A sign in Suki Roth’s basement says “Make Tea Not War.”

And across the room, in jars lining floor-to-ceiling shelves, Roth has just the tea for what ails you.

“This one’s excellent for the heart and high blood pressure,” she says of the jar labeled hawthorn.

“Ground ivy’s excellent to dry up the runny mucus we get all allergy season,” she continues, moving down the line. “Gingko’s great for the brain.”

She could go on, partly because she has a lot more jars, but also because the 67-year-old herbalist likes to share what she knows.

HERBAL MEDICINE
People have been using plants as medicine, well, since there were people.

The World Health Organization estimates 80 percent of people worldwide include herbal medicine in their health care. In Germany, between 600 and 700 plant-based medicines are prescribed by 70 percent of doctors, according to a report by the University of Maryland Medical Center.

In the United States herbal medicine is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration as supplements. Manufacturers don’t need FDA approval before putting them on the market.

The FDA requires labels to give a complete list of ingredients, serving size and active ingredient, and the name and address of the manufacturer or distributor, according to the Mayo Clinic, which encourages talking with a doctor or pharmacist before taking them.

Roth is careful to say she’s not a doctor, but she says when administered properly herbal medicines are safer than pharmaceuticals.

It’s one of the reasons she doesn’t sell online.

“It takes a long time to understand these plants,” she says. “I want to talk to the people that are using the medicine we sell here.”

VILLAGE MARKETS
Roth’s love for all things green pours out as she walks the rows of her garden and bends down to rub a lemon balm leaf between her fingers.

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