Paul Strauss, who has lived on his Rutland Township farm for 40 years, says this herbal Mecca is one of Meigs County’s best kept secrets.
Strauss explained there are also ginseng, bloodroot and countless other medicinal herbs found in the county where the soil has a unique underlayment of limestone and calcium magnesium, not to mention a climate made for an extended growing season from April-November.
Strauss has taken this biologically diverse area and turned it into a business and botanical sanctuary, along with the help of some friends; the first sanctuary in the United States dedicated to protecting at risk medicinal plants.
Strauss’ Equinox Botanical Farm joins with The Braverman/Neidhart Farm and Joe and Wendy’s Art Farm in Rutland Township to form the United Plant Savers’ Goldenseal Sanctuary and Talking Forest Trail System. The trail is 13 miles long over 1,200 acres of Appalachian foothills and is meant to not only preserve medicinal plants but provide education about their habitat.
Strauss said students from all around the world have traveled to the preserve to study the unique ecosystem contained within an area which is 90 percent forest.
“It’s not just how much of the trail there is but how much there is talk about,” Strauss said.
Most of the plants along the trail are labeled repeatedly, trails and plants are clearly marked in the sanctuary which is part of an area that has more species of trees and shrubs than almost any area in this country (or the world) with exception to the planet’s rain forest.
In addition to being a steward of healing herbs, Strauss also makes his living harvesting these herbs into medicinal products he sells through his green company, Equinox Botanicals. All the herbs used in the products are grown organically or ethically wild crafted and harvested at the peak of their medicinal potency.
Strauss’ signature product is the Golden Salve which uses propolis, goldenseal root, comfrey root, yellow dock root, calendula flower and balm of gilead bud. The Golden Salve is used for various skin conditions including wounds, abrasions, dry skin, chapped lips, burns, etc. Strauss also produces a variety of herbal extracts for everything from ear infections, respiratory problems, building the immune system, promoting calmness, and others for general well being.
For information on Equinox Botanicals, go to www.equinoxbotanicals.net or call 742-1144. For information on the United Plant Savers and the Goldenseal Sanctuary Talking Forest Trail System go to www.unitedplantsavers.org or call 742-3456. Permission is required to hike the trail.