By Faith Bemiss
The Sedalia Democrat, Sedalia, Mo.
Nichole Wade has been working with herbs for years using them for her family, but four months ago she took her knowledge a step further creating a faith-based business, Maranatha Herbs, and is planning to soon receive a degree in clinical herbology.
“In August/September, I decided to do it officially, the business side of it,” she said. ”
She began making small batches of herbal salves, for family and friends, over eight years ago in North Little Rock, Ark. The family moved to the Windsor area three years ago and Wade’s herbal remedies began to blossom.
“I moved up here and I thought, you know there’s all these Amish stores up here and they use a lot of herbal products,” she said. “And, so I thought I’m going to just make up a big batch and put a label on it and take it out to the stores and see what they think.”
She gave Neal Miller, owner of the Kountry Bulk store, in Windsor, a sample and waited. Miller liked the salve and asked to carry it in the store on consignment.
“He started carrying it, and that was really what sort of launched me getting into making salves for profit,” Wade added.
Wade works from the family’s farm on state Route 2, just west of Windsor, where she sells eggs, raises goats, grows herbs, heirloom tomatoes and home schools her children, Kara, 16, and Danny, 14. Her Husband Mike works for Trane Heating and Air Conditioning.
“I thought, one of these days my kids are going to be grown and what am I going to do with myself?” she said. “I thought if I’m going to do this herbal thing, I need to get some more schooling. For years I’d wanted to take Shonda Parker’s courses called Naturally Healthy.”
Wade had read Parker’s books for years and use the different herbal remedies on her children when they were small. She decided to contact Parker and enroll in the two year, online tele-class. She should complete her degree in a year or less.
“My goal is, to make products for one,” she said. “But I’ll be able to meet with people and do dietary evaluations and nutritional assessments, as well as try to go through their family history and basically ask what are you taking, what are your aliments? And try to match that up with some (herbs) to improve the immune system, to try and give them an alternative for their health care. What kind of herbs will help support, not replace necessarily medicine, but give them an option.”
In the future, besides producing the soaps and salves, she hopes to provide tinctures, and glycerites for people who need them as well as bulk herbs.
“My goal is to really work mostly with women and children,” she added. “Men as well, but you see women with all their reproductive issues, and nursing mamas, there just seems to be a lot more need.”
Wade said she never liked to overuse antibiotics and other medications when her family is sick.
“Even if you get sick, using herbs can help reduce the amount of time that you’re sick and reduced the symptoms.
Not that you can always prevent something, but you can help your body fight back a little bit better.”
Wade’s herbal products progressed from being sold only in Miller’s store to being picked up by Leonard and Dora Gingrich, owners of Lilac Lane Amish store, also in the Windsor area.
Dora Gingrich told her, “We have such a need, if you make it, we will sell it.”
“That’s what opened the door for me to make all the new salves,” Wade said. “Up until a couple months ago, I only offered the Healing Salve, that is what we started with. And now we have five different ones.
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We have the Calendula Burn and Wound. That one has been phenomenal. I have a friend who just finished radiation treatment for breast cancer and she had blisters upon blisters. I gave her a jar and I said, ‘Look this is a new product, and I know what its supposed to do, but will you try it for me?'”
After she finished her treatments the woman started using the salve, and within a week the blisters were gone.
“I though this is amazing, I love that one,” Wade added. “It has a special oil, it has tamanu oil in it. I believe its a Hawaiian nut oil–it has really great healing properties.
“What’s so great about herbs is that we’ve been given so many things in nature, and we’re still exploring. Just to know what they do, and actually make the product, and then to see it work is just the biggest reward. I’m trying to learn to use what God’s given us to help our bodies.”
The Herbal Healing Salve is Wade’s biggest seller. Some of the herbs used in making it are echinacea, plantain (a wild weed) and comfrey.
She also makes and sells Rose-Lavender Herbal Ouchie Salve, Calm Balm and a new one requested by over 40 customers, Eczema Out!
Her eczema salve has olive and coconut oils, chickweed, calendula and chamomile in it, just to name a few. Salves take three days to infuse and one day to melt the bee’s wax and pour, in all it takes close to a week to create one type. Online, a four-ounce jar of salve costs $7.50 and a two-ounce jar is $6.50.
Wade’s interest in herbs began with her mother’s garden but she had another reason.
“When I had my own kids, you start looking at things differently,” she said. “I didn’t like what modern medicine was saying I needed to give them … and I thought there has to be something different, there has to be something natural. So I started researching and I found the book, ‘Mommy Diagnostics,’ by Shonda Parker and I used that book until I wore the spine off of it, and I think that’s what started the whole thing–it was just what can I do for my kids? My goal for my family was to get us healthier but in a safer way.
“This is such a vast field, I spend hours researching before I do any product,” she added. “That’s a big part of being an herbalist, is research. What do these herbs do, what are the contraindications, when do you not use it, who shouldn’t use it? So I’ve went from just a real basic knowledge to now I’m really into the chemical makeup.”
Wade also makes a Flu Tea that helps eliminate the symptoms of the respiratory flu. She combines eight different herbs such as peppermint, raspberry leaf and yarrow in a cheesecloth and then steeps it for 20 minutes.
“I think a lot of people have a lot of preconceived notions about what an herbalist is,” she said. “I’ve actually had someone call me a a green witch. What I really want people to know, is that I’m a Christian and I serve God, but I use the herbs he’s given us to do what they are meant to do.”
Wade accepts orders online from her website where she also sells goat milk and herbal soaps; she also has a shelf of products at the Dar a Luz Women’s Center in Warrensburg, a midwifery clinic.