Growing Western Herbs at Banyan Farm
Nestled in the verdant valley of the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains of Southern Oregon, Banyan Farm is a refuge of tranquility. Far removed from the hustle and bustle of city life, the land vibrates with a sense of quiet stillness that immediately calms the mind and soothes the soul.
Any time spent on this land quickly reveals that it is also alive with the vibrant hum of life. Bright sunlight streams through tree branches, birds and squirrels chatter overhead, and honeybees create a buzzing chorus as they zoom from blossom to blossom.
Then, of course, there are the herbs themselves.
Centered amongst a wild and abundant border of native plants, old growth apple trees, towering sunflowers, and creeping rosebushes, the Banyan Farm team has nurtured several fields of both Eastern and Western herbs into thriving growth.
In the words of Tyler Wauters, Banyan’s Vice President of Sourcing and Product Design and Banyan Farm Director:
“Growing all of these herbs together creates a dynamic experience and diverse farm system. The collective alchemy brings about magic and infinite learning.”
The Synergy of Eastern and Western Herbs
Because Banyan is rooted in Ayurveda and specializes in traditional Ayurvedic herbs, it may come as a surprise that our partners at Banyan Farm are growing several Western herbs.
Working in partnership with Banyan Farm provides a beautiful opportunity to cultivate even deeper relationships with these Western herbs. This comes with several benefits, above and beyond their potent health-supporting qualities.
As the reality of climate change so rapidly shifts the world we’re living in, incorporating more locally grown herbs into our product line reduces our carbon footprint and environmental impact.
The use of Western herbs also allows us to diversify our sourcing to be more sustainable in the long term, as well as enabling greater diversification in our product offerings.
Perhaps most meaningful, working with the local plant wisdom of our bioregion puts us in greater connection with home, with nature, and with a rooted sense of place.
“From seed to harvest, every moment with these plants offers the potential to inquire and holistically understand the human-nature relationship.”
This relationship, which may be referred to as bioregional Ayurveda, speaks to the very root of this ancient lineage—reconnecting us as humans to the living breathing tapestry of the natural world of which we are a part.
A Peek at the Herbs
Day in and day out, the dedicated farm team is out in the fields infusing the plants with loving care and patiently preparing the herbs to be incorporated into our Ayurvedic offerings. In Tyler’s words,
“We are grateful to have the opportunity to collect each plant with intention and care. And knowing that care is passed forward to support somebody in mind, body, and spirit is truly a gift.”
Here’s a peek at a few of our current farm crops, as well as the products that benefit from their magic. These formulas feature Banyan Farm-grown herbs when possible, or carefully-tended herbs sourced from other domestic farms with whom we have strong partnerships.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
Found in: Detox Digest CCF Tea.
Harvesting calendula is a sensually delightful activity—the bright golden flowers are collected by hand early in the morning during the summer months. The bees will often take refuge in the flowers overnight, so when the morning harvest happens, everyone is waking up and buzzing to work in the fields together.
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
Found in: I Sleep Soundly, Sleep Easy Oil.
The chamomile plant, with its small and delicate blossoms, is planted in the fields in the late fall. Deceptively hearty, it survives well over the winter months and bursts to life with a head start over the weeds in the early spring.
When it comes time to harvest, the plants respond to the flower collection by producing even more flowers. This harvest is a team favorite thanks to the sweet floral aroma that wafts through the fields.
Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
Found in: Nasya Oil, Shirodhara Oil, Mental Clarity, Tranquil Mind, I Sleep Soundly, Sleep Easy Oil.
Skullcap is a dainty and delicate plant that grows close to the ground. Because of its tender nature, the farm team stays as hands off as possible until it’s time to harvest the flowers and aerial parts in late summer.
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
Found in: Vata Massage Oil, Mahanarayan Oil, I Sleep Soundly.
Valerian requires at least a year’s growth before it begins to produce the roots that are so renowned for their medicinal properties. In its second year, it also produces beautiful white flowers.
Harvesting valerian root is an olfactory experience—the distinct scent is faint until you break soil and harvest some roots, at which point the scent reveals its full power.