We spend the hour talking with Ann Armbrecht, first about her new book, The Business of Botanicals. It’s the first book to explore the interconnected web of the global herb industry and its many stakeholders.
Then, we revisit a part of our 2009 conversation with her about her memoir, Thin Places.
From tulsi to turmeric, echinacea to elderberry, medicinal herbs are big business—but do they deliver on their healing promise, the promises. made not only to those who consume them, but also those who provide them, and the natural world?
Using herbal medicines to heal the body is an ancient practice, but in the twenty-first century, it is also a worldwide industry. Yet most consumers know very little about where those herbs come from and how they are processed into the many products that fill store shelves.
In The Business of Botanicals, author Ann Armbrecht follows their journey from seed to shelf, revealing the inner workings of a complicated industry, and raises questions about the ethical and ecological issues of mass production of medicines derived from these healing plants, many of which are imperiled in the wild.
The Business of Botanicals is the first book to explore the interconnected web of the global herb industry and its many stakeholders. It’s an invaluable resource for conscious consumers who want to better understand the social and environmental impacts of the products they buy.
The Boston Globe called it “An eye-opener”.
Ann Armbrecht is an herbalist and the Director of the Sustainable Herbs Program of the American Botanical Council. She’s also the Producer of the documentary Numen, which is about plants
We last spoke with Armbrecht all the way back in 2009 about her first book, Thin Places. Later, we’ll play an excerpt from that interview.
When Ann Armbrecht went to a small village in Nepal to research her dissertation in anthropology, she thought she would find answers to her questions about Nepalese land rights.
But she also found answers to questions in her own life–questions about community, relationships, and trust. Through her friendships with women in the village, including an old grandmother and a young woman who dreamed of a different life, Armbrecht learned to see beyond the narrow confines of cultural expectations to the common bonds between human beings.
She worked in the fields beside the women, talked to the shamans about the spirit world, and went on a grueling pilgrimage to a cave high in the Himalayan mountains. But her real pilgrimage was toward the center of the human heart. Her memoir is THIN PLACES: A Pilgrimage Home.
Monday, July 5 at 10:00 PM and archived.