Where to buy more unusual herbs?


I’m interested in experimenting and learning more about certain herb combinations for more natural remedies for common ailments.

But, I find these herbs hard to find locally. Any suggestions for where to look? I’m interested in herbs like cat’s claw, wild cherry buck, slippery elm powder, lobelia root, pleurisy root…etc. There are plenty more but those are some examples.

If you recommend an online merchant please state whether or not you have used them personally.



Abby, have you tried to order from Alvita? They carry a wide selection of herbs, but I don’t know if they will sell to individuals retail. There is no online order form, so you would have to email them or call them to ask.

I only know about them from a health food store I once frequented. If they will not sell directly to you, perhaps they can recommend a merchant who will.


How are you going about learning about herbal medicines. I’ve always wanted to learn this.

Both my great grandmother and great, great grandmother were herbalist and midwives, but my grandmother never wrote any of their remedies down.


There is an herb shop that we shop at locally for the herbs that we dont grow on our own…I do not know if they have a web address but I will check and repost…
in the mean time you can check this place out my dh has used them in the past before we found the local herb shop…(bulkherbstore.com/)
Also as another side note…have you tried growing /drying the herbs yourself?! .



Do you grow your own herbs in containers or in the ground? Also, do you grow them indoors?

I’m interested in creating an indoor “herb garden” so to speak, growing them in pots in my sun room and then using them for cooking. Do you (or anyone else for that matter) have any advice on how I could get started: what sort of soil and lighting work best, herbs that do well indoors, and the like. Also, in order to save money, I’d like to start with seeds, so if anyone could recommend a brand or seed company that would be great. At our local health food store and upscale nurseries, herbs run about $2.50 per 4" pot, which is alright, but if I can start a number of plants from seeds that would be more economical.

I’m most interested in growing the herbs we use the most: oregano, basil, thyme, sage, rosemary, mint, etc. Is cilantro an herb? Can anyone provide any web links that would describe this process for me?

Finally, how do you process the herbs that don’t go into the cooking pot fresh? What are drying techniques? I’m sure that they are simple, I just don’t know them.

Thanks ladies!


DH and I are very big into herbs and essential oils. These sites are some of our favourites:





Have fun with it!



Oh, I forgot to add that the magazines: The Herb Companion (www.herbcompanion.com) and The Herb Quarterly (www.herbquarterly.com) are great resources as well :slight_smile:



Thanks for the great links. With just a quick overview, the Mountain Rose link looked the most interesting. Would you second that?

Also, has anyone bought spices (herbs) in bulk and then frozen the extra for future use?

Thank you!


Hey Cup -

I think Mountain Rose will offer you the best deals and the best quality. We use them a lot and have never been let down.

I don’t see why you couldn’t freeze herbs so long as you use them within 4-6 months or so. Found this on Google and it looked like they had some good advice on freezing and drying herbage:



Thank you so much, all of you, for the suggested links and advice!

Cup, I would love to start growing my own herbs. Right now, our space is not so conducive to doing so, which is why I wanted to buy them already dried and ready to use. But, I was in a nursery earlier today and it just looks so fun and tempting…I might try it. I’d have to research more about how to do it though so I can’t really post too many suggestions about how to go about doing it.

Deb, I’ve been on different ‘natural mothering’ websites and some personal websites of big homeschooling families which offer very specific recipes for things like cough syrup, etc. Since the OTC remedies contain stuff I don’t want to ingest and studies show they are minimally effective anyway for cough/cold issues, I thought something natural might be interesting to try. I’m also interested in boosting my immune system naturally and other anti-inflammatory remedies.

I’ll post some links later for you! :slight_smile:



Thanks for the new link. It was very encouraging to read.


After reading the links in Jessica’s first reply to my questions, I’m wondering if it really is economical to grow herbs that you plan to dry, because the prices are so reasonable especially if you buy over a pound of the dried spice.

Next, Abby I hate to hijack your thread, but can anyone recommend a good yogurt maker? I just read about the process in the “Tightwad Gazette” but the author recommends using things like heating pads and gas ovens to keep the yogurt warm as the cultures grow in the milk. Well, for heaven’s sakes, since I don’t have a gas oven, a heating pad, a radiator or any other tightwad means to keep something warms for 5 or 6 hours, I thought I’d buy a yogurt maker. And any yogurt making tips as well. Thanks!

Oooh! One last yogurt question. When I go to Whole Foods, I’ve noticed that they sell capsules of live yogurt culture/bacteria to take strictly for health reasons. What health reasons? Flora and fauna of the digestive tract? So here’s my question: do the live cultures found in certain brands of yogurt, like Dannon, die during digestion so that one would need a supplement in order to have this bacteria present in their system? Or would that supplement provide the cultures to people allergic to dairy? I don’t understand. TIA for your help.


My SIL is big into herbs. She started with herbs because she is VERY sensitive to medications. She can’t even take tylenol and other basic OTC meds, they make her sick. I know she uses Mountain Rose Herbs Company, mentioned previously. She is actually in the process of completing a correspondence course, at the end of which, she will be a Certified Family Herbalist. Basically, she will know alot about herbs and such, but cannot market herself professionally as an herbalist.


Not sure of your location specifically since you just state Midwest, but if your town has a China-town that will likely have an herb store – though there may be a language barrier.


You’re not hijacking! I am totally interested in making my own yogurt too so it’s funny you mentioned that…I’ve seen AnnaTherese talk about making her own, so maybe she’ll see this thread and weigh in.

The only part of your question that I can answer might be the bacteria portion. Our bodies have trillions of bacteria living in our intestine and some of it is good for us and some of it isn’t. Using things like antibiotics kills ALL the bacteria–good and bad, however it is obviously necessary sometimes to get rid of a dangerous infection like staph or strep–and then a naturally occuring bacteria like candida takes over and causes a yeast imbalance. Taking a probiotic like acidophilus replaces healthy bacteria and as you fortify your body with the ‘good stuff,’ it leaves less space for candida to overgrow.

Most yogurts have ‘active cultures’ of healthy bacteria–acidophilus is one of them and I can’t spell the other one so I won’t even try. :slight_smile:

The most successful probiotic I’ve tried has been Culturelle. It’s available online through Walgreens and at SOME pharmacies elsewhere, you could probably Froogle it. The problem with some brands is that the amount of bacteria in the capsules or liquid is not enough to withstand the acidic stomach environment and they die before it ever reaches the intestine to do it’s good work. Culturelle is fortified with enough to actually reach where it needs to go, and it definitely worked for me.

A good way to use a probiotic is when one is using an antibiotic and doesn’t want the ‘good bacteria’ to be snuffed out. It can help keep things in balance. I also will take them when I travel to keep my immune system up.

I’ve noticed that live cultures in yogurt are NOT enough to keep things balanced for me personally, but I also was on antibiotics for three months following the c-section and it’s been a long road to restoring everything to balance. Breastfeeding causes us to pass it back and forth so I have to be careful to order Culturelle and I take it sometimes 2-3 times daily, though now I’m down to about once daily.

Anyway, just my perspective, hope that helps a bit, Cup.



Your reply helped a lot. it sounds like most of us can benefit from taking Culturelle, sort of like a booster shot of good bacteria. I wonder if taking it with a large quantity of food would help the bacteria make it through the stomach, because there would be more stuff in the stomach to absorb the acid. These things are a huge mystery to me. I mainly wonder whether having lots of good bacteria make it harder for a “flu bug” to invade your digestive tract and cause illness.

I do hope that AnnaTherese chimes in about the yogurt maker. My computer is malfunctioning so I might be away for a few days while we get it repaired.

Thanks again!


Here’s a link to a yogurt maker from Williams-Sonoma. Although things are pricey at W-S, I must say that they have a return policy that is the best: they’ll take anything back regardless of purchase date or reason.W-S also sells starter cultures and extra jars.



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