Natural Remedies: Changing an Herb Hobby into an Herb Business

The Natural Remedies column showcases Sweet Annie's Herb Store, a hobby that turned into moneymaker for gardener Ann Marie Wishard.


| June/July 1996



156-023-01

Now a local celebrity, Ann gives "on-the-air" herbal advice every week.

PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

The Natural Remedies column this month shares information on store owner Ann Marie Wishard and her herbal remedies. (See the herb illustrations in the image gallery.)

Homemade Natural Remedies

Women stand mixing dried roots, barks, berries, and flowers in washtub-sized crates, their dust masks caked with herb dust, bags crunching as they pour more ingredients into the crates and restock. Whatever the season, Sweet Annie's Herb Store smells of drying plants, reminiscent of fall.

Once a mere hobby, growing, preparing, and storing herbal medicines has become a booming business for Ann Marie Wishard. She turned a sizable profit in her second year of selling herbs, and every year it got better. A two-woman operation in 1976, the herb store now employs 15. More than half her business is mail-order, though plenty of curious people stop by to browse at Sweet Annie's and to see the store's proprietor.

A middle-aged, fairly tall woman with dark hair and eyes and a penchant for black clothing and digging around in the dirt, Ann Marie Wishard is used to being considered an oddity.

"Everyone calls me a witch," she says. "You must have heard I was a witch from someone. Any time a woman uses her gift to heal another person, is seen digging in the dirt, or collecting herbs, people immediately think that she's a witch."

Although she doesn't in fact practice witchcraft, she does believe that if people take responsibility for the health of their minds and bodies, there are few things that cannot be alleviated by herbal medications. "Herbs and modern medicines can be combined with very few side effects to the patient when compared to modern medicines alone."





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