Herbalist, veterinarians join forces for health

Garden Fairy Apothecary is labor of love for three women

Geraldine Smith
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 8/5/19

Advertised Herbalist classes caught Margie Ashura’s eye, which was often engaged in reconnaissance seeking out new volunteer opportunities even before the last event finished. This new educational …

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Herbalist, veterinarians join forces for health

Garden Fairy Apothecary is labor of love for three women

Posted

Advertised Herbalist classes caught Margie Ashura’s eye, which was often engaged in reconnaissance seeking out new volunteer opportunities even before the last event finished. This new educational adventure required a different kind of commitment competing with volunteer hours. It was too late to save herself — Ashura was soon a devotee.

After receiving her Certified and Master Herbalist Training, she began to haunt the Garden Fairy Apothecary to learn even more about herbs and their healing properties, eventually working full-time immersed in medicinal herbs and tinctures.

Each day brought new inquiries and health problems to be addressed and exciting victories that stimulated her active and creative mind. And then the unthinkable happened — Garden Fairy Apothecary’s owner decided to close the shop. Ashura felt closing the shop would leave clients adrift with a debilitating void in their lives. Inspired and fortified by the positive response from clients, Ashura asked to buy the shop and continue the tradition. Thus, Ashura found the perfect partner, Ursula Eckert-Peterson, and Garden Fairy Apothecary lives on.

The traditions of the shop continue with some innovations. Longtime clients can still get the products they have always purchased, and Garden Fairy Apothecary does carry body products and a large variety of medicinal herbal extracts for clients. However, the biggest need Ashura and Eckert-Peterson saw was the introduction of alternative treatments and medications for animals, now their key focus

This is not an eye of newt, and toe of frog, wool of bat, and tongue of dog operation, but is owned and run by two accomplished intelligent women. Ashura completed the Certified Herbalist and Master Herbalist Training from the North American School of Clinical Herbalism in 2011 and was once a commercial pilot, and her wing person (ahem!) with equally impressive credentials is Eckert-Peterson, who owns and operates Coppergate Animal Clinic in Loveland. Ursula was named 2012 Veterinarian of the Year by Colorado Veterinary Association for her advocacy for treating exotic species along with domestic pets and animals. She grew up studying herbalism in Germany with her grandmother and brings with her time-honored remedies.

A third party in this progressive group is Christa Bruns, also a veterinarian, who has used alternative treatment in tandem with conventional medicine in large and small animals. Bruns is not currently practicing veterinarian medicine hands-on but researches the latest studies and shares information with pet owners and any other interested parties. Her main focus is combining nutrition, acupuncture and herbalism to treat the whole animal. She also provides direction to animal owners on the purported benefits of cannabinoids (CBDs).

Bruns says she follows CBD treatments for animals very closely and is inspired to use these treatments in her own practice. Extensive research is being done by neurologist, Dr. Stephanie McGrath, at Colorado State University who has had positive results in small-scale studies treating epileptic dogs with CBD by reducing the frequency of seizures. “Positive results can be believed,” Christa says, “because animals don’t fake it.” Christa hopes, armed with successful research, to introduce these medicines into independent clinics that attract clientele who are receptive to innovative medications for their animals.

The herbs the apothecary uses in the tinctures and other herbal medicines are obtained from reputable suppliers and some come from Germany the women say. Every product or byproduct they sell is thoroughly researched and carefully prepared to optimize the benefit of the tinctures while being certain of the client needs and their tolerance level. For instance, many tinctures are made with alcohol, but alcohol is dangerous for animals and other suspension mediums (liquid in which the medication does not dissolve but is suspended) are used for animals. It is important that medicinal herb extracts come from knowledgeable producers.

All three agree it is possible to buy products similar to theirs off of the store shelf but buyer beware. Ashura warns that with products found in any venue, it is important to be aware of just what is in it. All herbal products are not created equal, she said, being especially careful to advise clients that conventional medicines or other herbal products may interact poorly and as a precaution consulting your doctor before taking anything is necessary. Ashura never advises going off of prescribed medication without a doctor’s permission.

Ashura, Eckert-Peterson and Bruns want to share their knowledge to bring an awareness of the benefits of alternative medicinal herbs for both animals and their owners. Garden Fairy Apothecary is a place you will want to tell your like-minded friends to visit. Besides it is just fun to say.

For more information see Garden Fairy Apothecary at: GardenFairyApothecary.com or call 303-648-3088 or 303-618-4917.

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