Enterprising duo plant ideas for wellbeing
Medical herbalist Garreth Falls and wife Carla, a qualified aromatherapist, are creating a novel range of herbal foods and drinks, all organic, at Wild Sage, their recently established small business and herbal clinic in historic Greyabbey, Co Down.
Among the products they are now handcrafting under their Wild Sage brand are unique herbal teas. vinegars, jellies, cordials and supplements from natural herbs foraged from their own garden and also sourced from a group of growers in the local community.
The dedicated couple’s original products are increasingly attracting the interest of people in the picturesque Ards Peninsula and from further afield keen to find out more about the health benefits of locally grown and blended herbal and plant-based foods.
Both are keen cultivators of herbs and other plants and also regularly spend time foraging the local country for edible herbs that can be used in developing other natural and healthy products for the well-stocked shop on Greyabbey’s Main Street.
Wild Sage is a unique community-focused micro business that’s a reflection of the couple’s longstanding commitment and deeply held faith. It’s approach they’ve shown over many years in parts of Northern Ireland such as Dungannon.
Garreth and Carla met while they were both involved in faith and charity work especially with young people in an area which also has an extensive Portuguese speaking community involved in many food processing operations there. Garreth has an inspirational background and successful track record in pastoral work. Carla, who is fluent in Portuguese, first came to Dungannon on a faith project.
In addition to his vast experience as a medical herbalist, Garreth is qualified in diagnostic medicine, specialising in phytotherapy, the study of the use of natural extracts as medicines or health-promoting agents, and pharmacology to prescribe and treat people. He a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists, the leading body of professional herbalists around the globe since 1864.
“The launch of our Wild Sage venture in 2019 was an essential part of our vocational call to help people throughout the community,” says Garreth. “It’s our wish to serve the community by creating high quality herbal treatments and products as financially accessible as possible to as many people as practicable.
“We see a growing interest in plant-based products with provenance and traceability among people now anxious to eat as healthily as possible. People, of course, have been using plants for thousands of years and over that time many have revealed themselves to be potent influencers on the body’s systems. The recent National Food Strategy recommendations, for instance, urged greater consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthy plant products.”
The enterprising husband and wife team’s herbal teas include hawthorn, cinnamon and tilia; hawthorn, linden and sage; adrenal; and green. All of the teas and other products are produced in plastic-free packaging. Oils and vinegars, also produced on-site from locally sourced ingredients include: rose elixir; strawberry; elderflower in apple cider vinegar; thyme sage and clove syrup; raspberry in apple cider vinegar; thyme and liquorice syrup; and marshmallow syrup. The range of handcrafted jellies includes rose blossom; sage; and redcurrant.
In addition to these products, Carla, originally from Sao Paulo in Brazil, has created a range of herbal soaps, skincare, bath salts and body creams. A skilled and qualified aromatherapist, she also has a degree in hospital management and has been making organic soaps and skin-care products for over 12 years. Carla was the leading soap artist in Ireland before moving into organic skincare and making cosmetics specific to certain skin conditions.
The couple first met while working to support the Dungannon community in 2006, married and now have three sons aged from six to 12.
Garreth, a native of the Ards Peninsula, describes Wild Sage is “a culmination of a life-long pilgrimage”.
“It’s the outcome of our faith and a vocational call to serve the local community and see lives changed for the better. We have a profound respect for nature and its ability to nudge the body into full health in conjunction with good emotional, physical and spiritual care,” he adds.
They opened the quaint. shop, production unit and herbal clinic in Greyabbey village earlier in the year as the central element in strategy to expand awareness of the vast range of community-focused services and plant products.
As well as providing scope to market existing plant-based products and developing new ideas, the venture enables Garreth to expand his successful herbal medicine consultancy which also now includes Claire Bailie, an expert in holistic medicine and a certified systematic kinesiologist and bioresonance practitioner, and Joy Harrison, a registered nutritionist and nutritional therapist specialising in weight management, thyroid conditions and gut health.
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