An Herbal How-To For The Average (Broke) College Student

by Victoria Cymbal

A college student’s budget can effect the quality of care for their body while experiencing an illness. Medicinal herbs are effective and affordable for the average New Paltz student. Personal health can actually be easy for the local student who just spent the last of their paycheck on the $3 breakfast at Main Street Bistro.

Whether you want to buy locally made tinctures, meet with a holistic doctor or make herbal remedies yourself, the down-to-earth town of New Paltz allows you to pursue any of these options and enhance your health while you stay under budget. 

Where do you start?

You’ve heard of the benefits of medicinal herbs as a way to treat those frequent headaches. Regardless, deciding to try a new way to maintain your health will result in a lot of research. As stated from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, herbal medicines are particular and different for each body, so research in this area must be intensified. First, you have to decide if you want to make your own medicine, see a holistic professional for advice (this will be the most costly decision) or if you want to buy the herbal remedies yourself.

Source your products

Your two options here are to buy locally or online. Luckily, New Paltz has a local herb farm, Tweefontein, right outside of town. Tweefontein runs as a collective farm, sharing the responsibilities of the property. The farm managers, Jill Battista and Chris Boelsen, are usually found around the property to answer any questions. The property has a new greenhouse that allows for year-round growing. You could find calendula, lavender, echinacea, and so many other herbs growing throughout the farm. 

Tweefontein makes their own natural organic products using their knowledge of permaculture, biodynamic farming, and homesteading to ensure for the most medicinal benefits. The products for sale range from fire elixirs, elderberry syrup, digestive bitters, to an array of herbal tonics that help improve your immunity and overall well-being. 

An herbal blend of Lemon Balm, Valerian Root, Damiana, Lavender, Mugwort, and several other herbs, before adding the liquids and sitting in solitude for two weeks. photo by Victoria Cymbal

Amethyst, Clear Quartz, and Blue Lace Agate were thrown in with an herbal blend photo by Victoria Cymbal

Although buying products already crafted is the more common way to pursue herbal medicine, the option still stands to create your own tincture, tonic, tea or salve. It takes patience and time, but it is possible for anyone to achieve as long as they have the will to learn. 

Ultimately, you need to gather the herbs, throw it in a jar half filled with water and the other half a pure grain alcohol, Everclear is commonly used. Let the herbal jar sit alone in a dark, dry space for two weeks and then you can enjoy your medicinal creation. 

Talk with a professional

It is a lot of new information to take in all at once. If you have a good relationship with your primary doctor, take a moment to talk to them about your interest in holistic and/or herbal health. 

If you don’t have a relationship with a health practitioner you can do a quick search online at Healthy Ulster County. You can find the type of local medical professional that you are searching for and are comfortable with. 

New Paltz’s Student Health Services is another option for professional assistance. The department provides quality medical care whether it be an emergency, a check-up or advice on an issue.

Educate yourself

Start off with finding an informative book to help guide your newly desired herbal interest. Take a visit to one of the local bookstores in town and explore your options. 

There are numerous ways to use herbs such as salves, tinctures, elixirs, balms and many more remedies. Each herb has a different harmonious benefit from the different parts of the body, and the same goes with how you consume the herb. Each of us has a different anatomy and so that further proves the importance of our own journey towards health and healing. So, go ahead and get cozy with a book that sparks your interest and start to absorb that knowledge. 

Ready, set, go!

The herbal world is your oyster. The Pew Research Center reported that about half of Americans believe that natural plant products are perceived to be healthier than manufactured medicines. As you move forward in your medical exploration you need to be safe and knowledgeable. Reference books, expert advice and extensive research are essential to make the right steps in experiencing the benefits of herbal medicine.

Another angle of the herbal concoction where it is seen that an

Photos by Victoria Cymbal

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