For centuries, healers treated ailments through herbal and flower treatments. Whether it was a rash, a cough or a headache, usually a garden herb would do the trick.
Flourish Herbals and Aromatherapy on Laurel Street in downtown Garden City is making herbs available to southwestern Kansas communities. Erica Kuhlmeier opened her herb, aromatherapy and bodywork practice last fall. Kuhlmeier was raised in Garden City and wanted to make these natural remedies easily accessible.
“It used to be the grandmas in the family knew what to pick when someone was sick,” Kuhlmeier said. “We kind of lost that tradition.”
In addition to jars of Echinacea, rosehips and calendula, Flourish Herbal carries elderberry syrup, teas, herb-infused vinegars and salts and Kansas-grown lavender products.
“Kansas lavender is really good lavender,” Kuhlmeier said. “Lavender supports relaxation and is very supportive for the skin.”
Many farmers and kitchen gardeners grow several of the herbs Kuhlmeier has on hand, but they no longer know how to dry them or use them effectively. Kuhlmeier is teaching classes on making potpourris, tinctures and sachets. Eventually, she will teach classes on making salves and creams. During December, Nourish Herbal is holding workshops on making holiday gift baskets, bath salts and tea.
Herbs may be taken through many methods — as a salve, cream or tincture. Nourish Herbals also features herbs in honey, vinegar, salt, lip balm and baking extracts.
“We’re trying to get people to go to their spice kitchen,” Kuhlmeier said.
In addition to the herbs, Nourish Herbal has a blending bar for massage oils. Customers pick a carrier oil — avocado, coconut or grapeseed — and pay by the drop for the essential oil, such as neroli, rosemary or patchouli. She also sells dozens of essential oils that can be placed in diffusers as well.
“When somebody tells me that their kids started sleeping again or the issue they’re dealing with has been improved, that’s what drives me to keep formulating and learning,” Kuhlmeier said. “There’s tremendous healing in plants; it’s all about finding the right one for you.”