The Botanicals Times

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Tour the Farm

Food for the Soul

"Once a man had thrust his hands into the soil and knew the grit of it between his teeth, he felt something rise within him that was not of his day or generation, but had persisted through birth and death from a time beyond recall."

~ Martha Ostenso

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation..."

~ Thoreau, Walden

God is not a continent, like Antarctica, lying off somewhere, inert, without relations to human life till some Scott or Amundsen or Byrd finds him. God is not a mountain peak to which travelers most go and which they climb step by step. God is like the air we breathe or the earth beneath our feet. To discover God is simply to awaken to reality. It is like a plant discovering the sun and the rain that drew it from the earth or like children discovering the parents who gave the birth and love and nurture.

~ Luther A. Weigle

Take risks: if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise.

~ Source Unknown

Man stands for a long time with mouth open before roast duck flies in.
Chinese saying

I tell you, the more I think, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.

~ Vincent van Gogh

Envy is a con man, a tugger at your sleeve, a knocker at your door. Let me in for just a moment, it says, for just one moment of your time…The antidote to envy is one’s own work. Not the thinking about it. Not the assessing of it. By the doing of it. The answers you want can come only from the work itself. It drives the spooks away.

~ Bonita Freedman

The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.

~ Rita Mae Brown

Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.

~ Wallace Stevens

In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty, lively may I walk. It is finished in beauty.

~ Navajo nightway chant

My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-three today, and we don’t know where the hell she is.

~ Ellen De Generes

Greetings from the Heart of the Applegate Valley!

I hope you and your families had a good holiday and found time to rest and renew as you prepare for the New Year. That is what we are up to here at the farm. We are resting, renewing, and preparing for the new growing season. Resting the land is important on the farm. We work so hard during the spring, summer and fall that these three or four months of winter are crucial to rest bodies, repair equipment, and do all the mountains of paperwork that are always waiting for attention.

But here by the fire in the house the outside world seems to recede and I am thankful for the rest and a chance to reflect. Resting is good for the land. We put different fields in fallow and seed them with soil building plants like clover and mustard and let nature take its course to replenish the nutrients in the soil.

I walk from my house to the mill two or three times a day in the winter. It is part of my ritual. It is what keeps me in rhythm. I have done it this way for a long time. As I walk along the furrows on the barren fields I can see that they are not as barren as you might think. All along the rows, in between the dried up stalks of the plants, you can see many birds who are looking for seeds, mice running through the fields, and above a lone kite may be hovering trying to find a tasty mouse for lunch. Even in winter the land is alive. The green shoots of oats are beginning to come up even through the snow. And the shadows that blow across the fields from the clouds and wind give the impression that the land is restless even in sleep.

We had a good year this year at the farm. More and more people seem to be discovering the power of healing herbs. And I am happy to say we continue to send our herbs all over the world. We are glad that we can offer some of finest quality herbs grown on earth. I know that our employees sense this and they have shared how good it feels to be a part of such good work. I appreciate their hard work and commitment. So much good for so many comes from the earth, rain, sun, and good hard work! It makes me feel so grateful.

So many of our customers, who provide herbal healing products for the world in many forms, come back to us year after year. This makes me grateful as well. Our commitment to quality, expertise, and service is something they depend on. I am glad to be able to provide botanical products to them that they can trust.

This year I encourage more and more of our customers to consider contract growing. Contract growing means working together to plan ahead to have us grow specific herbs for each customer’s specific needs. Contract growing will guarantee supply, quality, and freshness. For all the fine products our customers make getting the best primary ingredients is of utmost importance and contract growing is the way to assure that. In a world full of unknowns it is a way we can take some of the risk out of sourcing your herbs.

Well, I guess that’s about it for now. By the way, this will the last issue of the Botanical Times in paper form. Our newsletter will now be published online. I hope that all of you who have enjoyed the newsletter over the years will go to our new website at and sign up to receive the online version. It is very easy to do. I hope you and your families are well, happy and hopeful as we adventure into 2009. Warmest regards and Happy New Year, Mark.

~ Mark Wheeler, Founder, Pacific Botanicals Medicinal Herb Farm

Toni's Farm Update

Good Friends,

Here is what is on my mind for the coming New Year here at Pacific Botanicals. This year we are happy to have our new website and online store up and running! Our mission here at the farm is to “empower people everywhere to experience the miracle of good health” and we are always striving to find ways to implement our mission not only in quality of product but also in customer service. Our new website is helping us reach out to even more people with opportunities to purchase our botanicals for healing support. The online store makes shopping more convenient for many as you can order herbs any day of the week and any time of day.

One of the concerns we have in the New Year is the rising cost of shipping. Once again shipping costs are going up by 5%. I want you to know that we are doing everything we can to keep shipping costs down for our customers

We are also making an extra effort to accept only the highest quality products from our vendors. To accomplish this we are working proactively to educate our vendors about our strict quality standards so that we can provide a better quality for those herbs not grown on our farm. This may mean that we are out of stock of some items some of the time. It is our philosophy that we would rather be out of stock than accept and stock inferior product. Our customers can be assured that they are receiving not only the highest quality but also the freshest botanicals that we can find.

It is a beautiful winter day here in our little valley. The rain has stopped and the sun is out. It is a good day to be alive. And, it looks like the New Year is ripe with promise. May your new year be filled with blessings of vibrant health and well-being.

~ All the best, Toni

Safeguard Your Quality and Supply with Contract Growing

Let the experts here at Pacific Botanicals support your business by helping you set up a contract growing schedule for the herbs you need. We have grown a vast variety of botanicals for many clients over the years. From rye flour for organic whiskey, to proprietary ingredients for botanical creams and medicines, Pacific Botanicals has the experience to help you create a growing plan that will guarantee the quality and consistent supply of the products you order.

We have the ability to contract grow over one hundred different herbs. Our catalogue contains a list of the herbs that we currently grow on the farm highlighted in green. We also can help you plan to grow items that may not be listed in the catalogue. Growing to order is one of our biggest strengths. Give us a call at 541-479-7777 and we will figure out a plan to deliver the freshest, highest quality product to you at a time when you need it most. Don’t wait. Plan ahead to safeguard your quality and supply.

Nine Herbs For a Good Night Sleep
Adapted from an article by Christopher Hobbs, L. Ac., A.H.G

During the cold nights of winter when our natural tendency leans toward hibernation most of us savor a good nights sleep. Fire in the hearth, down comforter on the bed, our “winter’s naps” are crucial for rest, renewal, and rejuvenation, and for keeping our immune systems strong in the face of winter colds and flu. There are few things that are more unpleasant than a poor nights sleep or insomnia.

Insomnia, lack of a healthful, restful sleep is a common problem experienced by as many as 20-30% of American adults and half of American seniors have difficulty falling asleep on any given night (Reiter and Robinson 1995). The most prevalent sleeping disorder is chronic insomnia, which is experienced by 15% of adults.

Here are some wonderful herbs that support a good nights sleep.
  • CHAMOMILE (Anthemis nobilis)
    Chamomile is a time-honored herb which can be used to support calming and a good nights sleep in adults and children alike. Chamomile tea is commonly used in Europe, South America, and Mexico to promote sleep and equanimity especially in children. In addition to teas and tinctures Chamomile oil can be put in the bath to support relaxation and peace of mind.

  • HOPS (Humulus lupulus)
    In the early 1990’s eclectic physicians used hops as sleep promoting method especially to relax worry or nerve weakness. Hops, a major flavoring component of beer, has a long history of use for sleeplessness, nervousness, and restlessness. Hops pillows are sometimes used to contribute to a good nights rest.

  • LAVENDER (Lavandula officinalis)
    Lavender is a gentle strengthening tonic for the nervous system. A few drops of lavender oil added to a bath before bedtime are recommended for persons wanting to improve their sleep. Additionally, the oil may be used as a compress or massage oil or simply inhaled to promote restfulness.

  • PASSION FLOWER (Passiflora incarnata)
    Herbalists consider passion flower an important herb for improving sleep. Sleep can be disrupted by worry, overwork, or nervous exhaustion. In England it is an ingredient in forty different commonly-sold sedative preparations. Passion flower is used for minor sleep support in both children and adults because it is very mild.

  • VALERIAN (Valeriana officinalis)
    In the U.S., herbalists use valerian extensively to support a restful sleep, peace of mind, and relaxation. It is recommended for people who have a hard time getting to sleep, because it shortens sleep latency. It also promotes staying asleep. It has not been shown to have negative side affects common to valium and other synthetic sleep promoting products. It works well in combination with other sedative herbs, such as California poppy, skullcap, hops, and passion flower.

  • CALIFORNIA POPPY (Escholtzschia californica)
    California poppy is one of the most popular calming and sleep-promoting herbs which can be found in a variety of herbal preparations available in the U.S. The herb can promote sleep, relaxation, and calm. It also supports relief for muscle aches. It promotes getting to sleep quickly and staying asleep.

  • KAVA KAVA (Piper methysticum)
    Kava is the national drink of Fiji and is popular throughout the South Seas. It promotes a calm feeling, relaxes the body, and sometimes enhances communication and dreaming.

  • ST. JOHNS WORT (Hypericum perforatum)
    This common yellow-flowered weedy herb from Europe is rapidly becoming a big part of modern wellness. It has a long history of use dating back to ancient Greek times. Modern scientific studies show that it can support a good nights rest even when it is very difficult It can also promote a more positive mood.

You can find all of these herbs online in our online store at, or in our catalogue. We sincerely hope that you get a good nights sleep every night this winter so that your body can renew its strength and fight off sickness. If you would like a free color catalogue simply call us at 541-479-7777, or download an online copyfrom our website.

14 Tips for Sleeping Well
Adapted from an article by Christopher Hobbs, L. Ac., A.H.G
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule. Arise at a specific hour each morning, regardless of the previous night’s sleep to help set your biological clock.
  • To consolidate and deepen sleep, restrict the amount of sleep to only as much as needed to feel refreshed during the following day.
  • Exercising regularly will help deepen sleep; however, strenuous exercise should be completed three to four hours before going to bed.
  • Arrange the bedroom so that it is a comfortable setting. Insulate it against sound and light by using carpets and curtains; earplugs and eye masks may also be helpful.
  • Keep the room at a cool temperature. Excessive heat disturbs sleep.
  • Avoid liquids before going to sleep to minimize nighttime trips to the bathroom. If liquids are not a problem, try drinking a small hot beverage, (dairy, rice, or soy milk) at bedtime.
  • Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and caffeinated beverages (especially in the evening. Note: although alcohol may help a person fall asleep, it causes subsequent sleep to be fragmented.
  • As far as possible, work out family or job related problems before going to sleep.
  • Use the bedroom for sleep and sexual activity only.
  • If you can’t fall asleep, don’t get angry at yourself; get up, leave the room, and engage in another activity like reading or stretching.
  • Hide the clock if you find yourself waking up to see the time.
  • Avoid napping longer than one hour after four pm.
  • Turn off the telephone.
  • Try a relaxation technique, such as biofeedback, meditation, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, or massage to prepare the mind and body for sleep. Sweet Dreams!

The Price of “Whatever I Want”
An Editorial

As I was driving in to work today, sipping my home made orange juice banana coconut smoothie, I was thinking about the rising price of food. I was thinking about how expensive it is becoming. Toni and I try to eat the best healthiest organic food some of which we buy from our local farmer’s market. We know for that we must pay more. I remembered a few weeks ago when I was in LA visiting my daughter I went to Whole Foods and I saw a little bunch of organic radishes for three dollars! Three dollars for radishes?! But as I thought more deeply it came to me that the high cost of food cuts deeper than just the money. It cuts to the core of who I am as an American. I know that for myself I am used to getting whatever food I want whenever I want it. From sun dried tomatoes packed in herbs and olive oil, to baked garlic and rosemary rice crackers, Italian flavored soy burgers, wild Oregon salmon, organic dark chocolate from the rain forest, and early Muscat desert wine from a local vineyard.

I am spoiled. Let’s face it. Perhaps in America many of us are. We have become accustomed to having whatever we want and we don’t have to wait. We pay other people to plant seeds, weed, worry, harvest, process, and package so much of what we eat. Even if it is organic, which is wonderful, there is a whole huge industry that exists to bring that food to me. Whenever I want it. I like the diced tomatoes, and pizza sauce from an organic company when I make spaghetti sauce. That little bit of chopped tomato or sauce that has been seasoned perfectly and packaged by workers at the company costs almost 3.00 a can at my local health food store. If I bought four cans of that it would be almost12 bucks! The point I am making is that there is probably 25 cents worth of tomatoes in there. But in order to have whatever I want whenever I want it takes energy. Mostly somebody else’s. And I have to pay for that expense of energy. I am paying more and more for others to grow, clean, chop, season, cook, package, advertise and sell me the food I eat. As Americans we are in many ways disconnected from the cost of production because we do not produce we hire somebody else to do it. And now with more competition from other cultures in the world who also are beginning to feel entitled to whatever they want too, there are more and more human beings wanting and expecting whatever we want and the price for whatever we want is growing higher and higher.

I live in a lovely little house in the country on a small lot. We don’t have much space outside but we live surrounded by the largeness and beauty of the Southern Oregon Cascades. We have made our modest home comfortable. But here is the thing. I still want more. From decorating with new furniture, to getting new ceramic pots for our container gardens in the back, to a faster computer, to the latest camping gear for our yearly camp trip to the coast, I am always thinking about what we might acquire to make our lives more comfortable. Pretty normal, right? But as I am sure you are thinking, no matter how little or much I have, I still seem to want more thinking that someday I will finally have enough, even though somewhere inside of me I know it never will. Maybe we all are still cave men at heart programmed to think that if we don’t get more we may run out, won’t have enough, and eventually starve. But maybe this rise in prices has a lesson for us; as gas goes up, and food goes up, and plane fares, and organic tomatoes go up, and there are more people reaching for an every more limited amount of golden eggs, maybe it is our attitude of entitlement to
“whatever I want” that must change.

Thinking that we should have anything we want just because we want it may be the problem. But wait…all that wonderful stuff is out there. Right?.... Yes, and it will always be out there, but is there a part of our brain that will kick in and tell us when enough is enough? Reminding us that the pursuit of all of this plenty is draining us of our life spirit. Addicting us in a co-dependent way to crazy countries that have the resources we crave. What if we desired less? What if we just allowed ourselves to not expect, or demand, so much materiality out of life? What if enough were enough? Would this go against our genetic code?

Somehow I don’t think it would. I know this change is happening for me. I am not suggesting that we smash our computers and return to little thatched huts, ox driven plows, and peat bricks for heat. I am only reflecting on my own part in a country gone mad with wanting. With a mind that expects everything and that feels entitled to have whatever I want. Can I bring this part of
me under control? Maybe we are at a turning point in our own evolution as a culture in the United States. With all of the greed that is at the heart of the financial meltdown of 2008 maybe the richest country on earth is coming to a point of profound self-evaluation. Perhaps we might see in this moment of elevated anxiety the diseased part our collective American culture; the incessant drive to having anything we want.

When I was camping on the Oregon Coast this summer my wife and I met a couple from Denmark. The wife was very friendly and said she and her family loved the big open spaces and wonderful scenery in our country. She told me her country was a bit cramped. They were having a fantastic time exploring the tide pools and enjoying the raw beauty of the wild coast. I asked what her impression was of the Americans she met. She said that she thought we were very kind but also very anxious. We talked about that and many other things but that phrase had a ring of truth to it and stuck with me. I have thought about it many times since then. We are anxious. We still live with a mindset of having to have everything we want. Everything that is advertised to us on television, everything available at the click of a mouse on the Internet, everything set before us at eye level at Wal-Mart, or stacked to the rafters Costco. We live in a culture of rampant consumption that runs our economy. This is the price of having to have
“whatever I want:” you can never relax with the peace of knowing that you have enough. Even our country’s economy depends on our confident consumption! What a burden we carry.

But maybe we are beginning to become aware of the real price we pay for the endless pursuit of
“whatever I want”. The price is a never ending and ever expanding level of personal and cultural anxiety of constantly wanting more. Perhaps more and more of us are hitting the wall of absurdity and we are stopping to take a breath, look around, and maybe laugh out loud. What has all of this stuff gotten me? What is the real price of whatever I want?

What if we decided to make a change in our own individual selves? What if we decided to seek more peace of mind, closer relationships, a more relaxing pace, a sense of living lightly, slowing down and savoring time together, letting go of what is superficial, and learning to sleep deeper with any easier conscience. Maybe this could become the new American attitude: Moderation, simplicity, smaller quantities, ease of living, grace of spirit, making instead of consuming, cooperation, and down to earth joy, instead of the manic pursuit of
“whatever I want.” Maybe we can look at each other and say, “Been there, done that! And what do I have to show? A house full of stuff, debt up to my ears, and acid reflux disease! What’s next?” Maybe we can sit down and laugh and cry together and decide to make our country a garden. Maybe we could all learn to “can” again and make homemade pie. Turn off the TV and get together with friends and find out how we are really doing and what would really give us peace and satisfaction. A peace that we could grow like a garden in the hearts of our children and theirs? What might be next for the country that has paid the price for “whatever I want?”

~ D.E.

Hymn to the Rainy Land

I love the rainy land. The layers of fir trees on the ridges above the resting field embraced with mist moving in mystery. The fall leaves clinging moisture heavy on the thankful boughs of maple and oak. I love the music of rain. The rhythm. The drip and the patter down the spouts and on the roof. The expanding patterns on the pond. The explosions of wet splash against the window. The steady silent rolling vibe of the great grey cells coming and going, bringing the pounding, the drizzle, and the darkening sky. Parting, forming, and coming again.

I love the inside place that the rain moves me toward; the sitting down, the listening, the stillness, the steeping imagination that rises in me like the steam of a fragrant tea. The looking out the window with peace at the hills that appear and disappear like memories through the breathy fog.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I love the sunshine too. And believe me, I am sure I will miss it sooner or later. All that heat and the expanding and the pore opening sexiness of it. The take your clothes off feeling. Yes…but if I were to choose the land I would prefer as a steady friend it would be the rainy land. With sunshine only as a casual acquaintance. A flirtation. A spicy flavoring. A heated chance encounter.

I love the way things look in the rain. No nonsense. Nothing flashy. The old rusting blue truck with its tires turned inward in the mud, the pensive lawn chair still under the bare arbor, the lonely folded umbrella, and the trellis frazzled with long withered grapes. Everything sits. Taking it in. Resting. Sunshine just a radiant memory, a glittering promise to be found only with waiting now through the months. The land stretches out. Rusty stalk and furrowed field naked to receive. Love is made coming down from the sky to the waiting brown body of the ground, who like a hungry lover in the opening glow takes in every drop.

Cool rain. Coming rain. Rain of promise. Rain of change. Cleanse my mind. Wrap me in your mist. Freshen my house with your moist clean air. Turn me downward to the quiet place. Guide me to the small radiant fire of myself, and to books, and close conversations, and the tender touch that lives in my house. Rain all night. Rain all day. Rain be my comfort. Mist be my blanket. Bring me home. Make me thankful for shelter.

~ D.E.

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