Bloem Botanicals is an apothecary in the heart of the Beaver Valley where Sarah Tacoma practices her art as a herbalist and healer. Sarah’s experience with medicinal herbs and plants shines through in the teas, tinctures, salves, and more, as well as the knowledge she shares with others in the community.
Can you tell the story of how you found herbalism?
I officially found herbalism in 2008. I had always loved plants and had herb gardens. I had even started a botanical business making soaps, bath bombs and such a few years beforehand, but the word “herbalism” was mentioned by a friend one day as we were walking through Kennsington market and I stopped dead in my tracks knowing it was exactly what I needed to pursue. I went directly home and found a correspondence course right away and haven’t looked back.
How has your practice expanded in recent years?
I’d been planning to make the switch from a career in photography to herbalism full time.. although until that point I’d only been making things for my own friends and family and the occasional market. In 2019 I made a three year plan, did my research and spent the winter developing Bloem Botanicals. I registered it a few weeks before the pandemic, not knowing it would go full time in it’s first year since photography would come to a standstill anyways. It was perfect timing. People were eager to learn about supporting their health with natural products and were excited to boost their immune systems in safe and simple ways.
What’s your current favourite offering?
My current favourite offering is our Mineral Drops Oxymel, infused with stinging nettle, horsetail, hibiscus and more. It’s fuchsia in colour from the hibiscus and sumac, tangy and sweet. A half dropper a couple times a day and I feel great.
If you had to pick your top 3 herbs, which would you pick and why?
Ooh, it’s like picking my favourite child!! But I do have favourites (herbs that is) and they cycle yearly. This year I’m feeling really drawn to Hawthorn for it’s ability to soften the heart, break open that armour we put on and let some light in.
I’ve also been in a long time love affair with Motherwort, a herb that soothes the nerves and calms anxiety, overwhelm and irritability while supporting digestion and hormone balance.
Marshmallow is another superb herb that grows tall with little purple and white flowers and soft, fuzzy leaves. This herb is amazing at cooling the body and moistening mucus membranes.. think throat, stomach, intestines. So it’s wonderful for digestion, dry coughs, irritated lungs and so much more. Externally it’s used in a similar way for the skin, cooling and moistening sun burns and dry tissues. And, the whole plant can be used: flower, leaf and root!
What are the best herbs to add to your garden in Grey County?
Some of the best herbs to add to your garden in Grey County includes natives like Blue Cohosht and Wild Ginger. But if you want to add some easy to grow and use herbs, I suggest Lemon Balm, Catnip, Calendula, Holy Basil, California poppy, Mint (any kind), Bee Balm and an Elder bush or two.