Herbal Renewal at Elderberry
At the Elderberry, Charlottesville’s first FDA-approved custom herbal apothecary, owner Jan Wolfe is bursting with enthusiasm. After opening in January, Wolfe has been customizing herbal remedies to treat a wide range of conditions, from headaches to indigestion.
What people particularly love about the Elderberry is that Wolfe grows about 10 percent of the herbs herself, and procures much of the rest from local farmers and growers. According to Wolfe, the way in which she and manager Heather Wetzel handle them is what makes all the difference. The ingredients are taken to the on-site kitchen, where they’re pressed into extracts. “Ours are different from mass-produced herbs,” says Wolfe. “They’re prepared here with special care, in small batches, and the results are magical.”
Wolfe focuses not on prescribing medications or diagnosing an ailment, but instead on recommending an herbal-therapy plan that may also include suggestions for nutritional and lifestyle changes, taking the customer’s entire health and history into account. It’s a holistic approach that Wolfe finds to be especially effective.
In addition to the products for sale, the Elderberry also hosts a variety of hands-on classes, taught by either in-house experts or outside specialists. Topics this spring include how to identify medicinal and edible plants, a lesson on creating flower essences, and an exploration of stress’ role in holistic weight management.
“My goal for the Elderberry is that it will be a safe and fun way to experiment with herbs,” says Wolfe. “Whether you have extensive knowledge or no knowledge of herbs at all.”