This week I had the pleasure of visiting the 5-acre Herb Farmacy farm, neatly tucked away along curly country lanes in the Herefordshire hills.
After spending a few days in the area: nearly getting blown off the summit of Hay’s Bluff (while Roo tried to sneak off to investigate the sheep), and eating Shepherd’s ice cream in the rain, I was expecting to need wellies and waterproofs for the farm visit……..but as you can see from the images below, friday afternoon was a stunner ☉☉☉ and for me, the highlight of the trip 👌
Herb Farmacy is an award-winning skincare brand, certified organic by the Soil Association (which considers ingredients, composition of the final product, packaging and environmental impact). All products are made in the UK and no animal testing is carried out at any stage of development or production.
We congregated in the centre of the first field to start the tour: with marshmallow, mullein and a little St. John’s Wort below and echinacea, comfrey and a little calendula above. Paul Richards, Herb Farmacy’s founder was our knowledgeable and inspiring guide.
Primarily using echinacea for its astringent properties in the Rose and Echinacea Toner (which I purchased in the farm shop), you’ll also find Herb Farmacy grown echinacea in Neal’s Yard tinctures and in Viridian Nutrition’s echinacea products.
All of the herbs are hand-sown, given time to grow (Herb Farmacy are proud to be a patient and ‘slow’ company), hand-picked and products are hand-made in small batches to ensure the best quality.
Moving on to the second field……how breath-taking is the vibrant orange calendula, contrasting with blue cornflower and the Black Mountains in the background? I could have sat for hours in this field!
Calendula has anti-septic properties and I look for it in salves and hand creams. It features in a lot of Herb Farmacy products, along with mallow. Both are present in the Mallow Beauty Balm. I’ve been using a little sample pot of it as a lip balm as it’s small enough to carry about in my pocket at work.
Roo was particularly interested in the purple pansies…which will be featuring in a new herb farmacy product currently in development.
We learned a little about how the herbs are processed: some are dried out first (we saw trays of cornflower in the dryer) while others are best used fresh and immediately infused in oil or water.
My husband suffers with skin allergies so he picked up a jar of Chickweed Balm to help calm his itchy skin. Along with my toner, I received a Dandelion and Burdock Fresh Root Extract which I’m really intrigued about and can’t wait to try and the brand new Calendula and Peppermint Lip Reviver!
Following a discussion with a fellow Herb Farmacy-enthusiast over lemon cake and elderflower cordial about extemporaneous dispensing of unlicensed medicines in pharmacies and why this practice has almost ceased (I had to bring up the Peppermint Water case!), I started thinking about how it would be useful to learn a little more about herbal medicine as part of my pharmacy degree. I’ve only heard it mentioned in a law lecture covering licensing and the only herb we’ve been introduced to is St John’s Wort, as it can interact with a lot of prescription drugs.
Phytotherapy is the science-based use of plant-derived medications in the treatment and prevention of disease (distinct from homeopathy- “dilution increases potency” doesn’t make logical sense to me!)
Pharmacognosy is a branch of pharmacology concerned with medicinal drugs obtained from plants or other natural sources. Drugs like digoxin, atropine, aspirin and the opiod analgesics originally came from plants.
As herbal medicine use is on the increase, and we’re selling more herbal remedies over the counter, such as herbal nytol and bronchostop it’s definitely an area pharmacists should know more about.
Thank you Herb Farmacy for allowing us to enjoy a wander through your brightly coloured fields and learn more about your processes. I definitely have a new appreciation for the hard work and care that goes into each one of your products and you’ve sparked an interest in me to find out more about the use of herbs in skincare and medicine 🌱💊