Local apothecary serves as herbal health resource for Ithaca community

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Bramble is a store in Press Bay Alley in downtown Ithaca that provides locally sourced herbs and herbal health consultations for the community. Bramble is co-owned by four herbalists: Darcy Black, Amanda David, Ciele Gladstein and Jennifer Whitmore. Black is a birth doula as well as an herbalist.

“The most unique thing about this store s that everything here is made by local herbalists, so if you begin learning about how plants work in the body and plant medicine then you can go into your own backyard and in your region and create your own medicine.”

Black said herbalism has roots in ancient history and has been passed down for generations.

“Plant medicine is accessible to everyone. It’s the people’s medicine. It has been used as long as humans have been alive and it has been passed down through tradition and through what works.”

Franziska Dellinger works part-time at Bramble, and said she learned about herbalism at a young age, from community elders in her hometown in Germany. Dellinger said she sees herbalism as a way to promote healthy living.

“I see [herbalism]more as a way to sustain good health,” Dellinger said. “We wanted to open an herb shop and it’s developed into this sustainable medicine model… alternative medicine, but we’re not practicing medicine here.”

Customer Teukie Wallaroo said they came to Bramble to support the local business and obtain herbs for medicine-making.

“When we moved out here we wanted to seek out a place… We heard about Bramble and wanted to come and support the shop,” Wallaroo said. “It’s really important to have ready access to people who are trained and know what they are doing.”

Bramble offers classes and workshops to teach the community about the benefits of herbalism. People have used natural resources to treat minor ailments for thousands of years, and some ingredients in modern medicines have been derived from plants. These workshops operate on a sliding scale pay system in order to be more accessible. Participants can pay as much as they are able.

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