By Luka Starmer,
Amanda David is one of GreenStar’s coolest members. She is vivacious and always laughing — positive vibes emanate in a ripple effect, her compassionate heart at the center. Pair those traits with her green thumb and anyone can see the conduciveness of her chosen life path. She’s the magician behind Rootwork Herbals, a line of herbal medicines and remedies sold at GreenStar.
In her words, the principal aim of her business is “to continue serving the local community by providing quality herbal remedies that give folks a more sustainable option for their health care needs, and to continue honoring plants by lovingly tending, harvesting and creating good medicine with them.” She does just that.
“Amanda puts so much care and so much quality into her products that I am thrilled to carry them,” said Gail Gumbert, Wellness Department Assistant Manager at the West-End store. “We carry some of her specialized tea blends and there’s nothing else much like them.” GreenStar also carries Rootwork’s herbal tinctures and baby care essentials.
For some, Rootwork Herbals has become a household medicine cabinet staple in only four years of business. However, Amanda has had her hands in the earth since she was young. Her childhood interest in plants blossomed into extensive farming experience. From there she went on to formal education at Dominion Herbal College before apprenticing with renowned herbalist and author Susan Weed.
Her products have been described as appearing too professional to be local, but they are as connected to this area as she is. She’s originally from down the road in Elmira, NY and has a sage-like knowledge of the local flora. All of her ingredients are either grown in her own greenhouses or gardens, or they are collected in a method called wild-crafting, wherein she harvests abundant, naturally-growing wild herbs and plants.
“It’s a simple process,” she says. “The art is knowing when to harvest.” She has spent a long time perfecting the art and has begun to share her passion with her two sons who help with the planting, harvesting and wild-crafting. They have grown up with diets infused with their mother’s herbal care as a means of warding off tummy-aches, allergies or approaching sicknesses.
One of Rootwork’s top-selling products at GreenStar is the Fire Cider supplement. It is a zesty herbal vinegar geared toward immune function, digestion and cold symptoms. All of the ingredients are locally harvested or purchased and bottled in her aesthetically-appealing amber droppers. Amanda recommends drizzling it over greens in a salad as one would with an oil and vinegar dressing. “It’s a good way to incorporate the herbs into our lives rather than taking medications,” said Amanda.
As these summer months cycle, she will continue to harvest and produce her existing remedies and teas, but she’s sowing the seeds for the future of Rootwork Herbals. She wants to add more focus on women’s health. She’s begun to develop a product line designed for women, providing local herbs prepared to address common women’s health concerns throughout all stages of life.
She is also currently in the midst of a three-year program studying herbal medicine for women. Her mentor is herbalist, author, midwife and MD Aviva Jill Romm. After completing this course, Amanda plans to offer herbal health consultations and educational classes and workshops for women looking to incorporate plant medicine into their lives.
Much of her interest in women’s health stems from her certification with Doulas of North America. According to Amanda, “a doula is a woman trained to provide physical, emotional and informational support to women throughout pregnancy, labor and childbirth.” It’s refreshing to meet a woman with such a genuine sense of humanity. Perhaps in sharing her goods and services, she will be able to share her worldview.
In a sense, Amanda David has embodied the positive spirit of Mother Nature, and she is creative enough to convert that spirit into wonderful teas and tinctures. Her methods are non-exploitative and sustainable, and her intentions are kind and nurturing. This is exactly the kind of healthcare plan America should be looking for.
GreenStar recently installed 18 solar panels on the roof of the receiving area on the southern side of the store, and as of mid-September, they’re providing clean, renewable power to the store. The 4.05 kW grid-tied system, installed by Ithaca’s Renovus Energy, is made up of 18 SunPower 225 Watt panels. The system is designed to generate an average of 11.1 kWh per day, or 4,038 kWh per year. Of course, energy production is both weather- and seasonally-dependent. General Manager Bini Reilly estimates that the system should provi...