News Feature

Brooksville
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, August 7, 2014
Herbal remedies shared at Good Life Center talk

Herbs as medicine

Salves made by Stephanie Tourles to accompany her talk at the Good Life Center.

Photo courtesy of Kelley Buck

by Kelley Buck

Nestled in the woods of Brooksville, the Good Life Center, inspired by Helen and Scott Nearing, is dedicated to “living responsibly and harmoniously in an increasingly complicated world,” as described in its mission statement.

The teachings of Stephanie Tourles, called a “national figure in the herbal realm” by Warren Berkowitz of the Good Life Center, correspond closely with these ideals, and on July 12, Tourles returned to the center for the second year in a row to teach a group of eager individuals about the herbal remedies nature has to offer.

Although she now resides in Orland, Tourles is originally from Georgia, where she grew up watching her grandfather concoct remedies and salves from Earth’s natural ingredients. Some of the earliest patients she saw treated by him were family members, as well as local dogs that would show up with bites and sores. In the heat of the Georgian sun, Tourles’ grandfather began to instruct her to use the roots, leaves and milk, or sap, from the plants around her.

Tourles’ formal education came from three years of training in Chinese medicine, as well as studies to become an aesthetician. She describes her views has primarily holistic, and sees the cultivation and use of herbs as a way of maintaining a “mutualistic relationship” with her environment.

At the workshop, participants engaged in an in-depth conversation concerning natural remedies and relievers to everything ranging from bug bites to fungal infections, and got a chance to taste herbs, smell fragrant leaves, and apply some of the salves Tourles makes. “Many culinary herbs also have healing properties,” Tourles explained to the group. It is possible that some of the things in your cooking cabinet really belong in your medicine cabinet. There are five herbs in particular that she identifies as “essential to have”—geranium, lavender, peppermint, tea tree and anise. Lavender is a relaxant, a salve can soothe cuts and scrapes as well as help insomnia, while tea tree is a strong antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral agent.

For easy, common use, a peppermint tea can help clear congestion, and a lemon balm bath can help babies with colic, as it is one of the strongest natural antivirals, Tourles said. In addition, as she informed the group, catnip oil sold in the form of Mosquito Ban by Aromatherapeutix was found by Iowa State University to be 10 times more effective than the mosquito repellent DEET.

Tourles lectures at four fairs a year, spreading the word about healthy living. As dedicated to the earth as she is, Tourles considers herself primarily an author. She has written 11 books, including Hands-on Healing Remedies and Organic Body Care Recipes. Her newest book, Raw Energy in a Glass, has just been released and is now available both online and in stores.