MiVT: Rogue Herbalist
MORRISVILLE, Vt. (WCAX) - Inside one Morrisville shop sits a world of possibilities to learn about and to try out modern herbalism.
“We are trying to be an herbal resource for the town of Morrisville and the greater Vermont region,” owner Charles Riffenburg said.
We’re talking about Rogue Herbalist, an academy and apothecary shop opened by Riffenburg.
“We have a really good selection of A through Z bulk herbs, all kinds of tinctures, teas, specialty supplements, so vitamins and unique ingredients,” Riffenburg explained.
After studying and working in his field for nearly 20 years, Riffenburg is working to offer the community natural health education and resources. Inside, he spends his days making products, teaching classes, and trying to figure out new ways to connect with and help people.
“What’s fascinating is a lot of these are still in use, but a lot of them have kind of fallen away from use, as well,” he explained.
Riffenburg says he’s noticed an uptick in customers and people interested in herbalism in the past few years, even before the pandemic. He also notes many people come in for CBD, and he’s working to show them the other healing properties of other plants.
“Every indigenous culture around the world, every human culture has an herbal tradition. And it’s only been the past hundred years that we’ve kind of gotten away from that,” he said.
He explains that there are many advantages to using the products, but now, we have access to modern medicine as well as historical evidence to keep in mind.
Most products are made in-house by Riffenburg. The shop offers bulk herbs, award-winning tinctures, and salves, as well as supplements and other items. His wife, Lesley, makes soaps to sell as well.
When we went, he was in the middle of making their popular elderberry syrup, which contains Reishi mushrooms.
“The main word to know is adaptogen,” Charles Riffenburg said. “Basically what that word means is it helps you adapt to stressful situations, makes you more resilient to stress.”
This ingredient, like many Riffenburg uses, can be found near and far. He says it’s immensely popular in the herbalism world.
“A lot of these things you can go out and find in the woods or in the fields. We have abundant resources all around us and people don’t recognize them because they haven’t been taught them,” Riffenburg said.
That’s what Riffenburg is striving to do, with workshops on tincture making, harvesting and even a rose-water making class.
For this Rogue Herbalist, it’s not so much about sales, but about spreading the word that he and many others believe-- some health hacks could be right outside your door.
“Not only do I want to provide these things for folks, but I want to teach people how to make them themselves. So we teach them about phytochemistry, we teach them about contraindications... all these different things that are important for health,” he said.
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