Learn more about Woodspell Apothecary and the founder, Valerie Alcorn's story.

For Valerie, the answers are in the forest…

We’ve heard it since childhood, the ancient and often mystical stories of forests that hold secrets and treasures from Snow White, to Robin Hood, Grimm Fairytales, Baba Yaga, and Gilgamesh. It was only as an adult that I learned that these fairy tales are more true than we were led to believe. I started to see the enchantment in the elusive ghost pipe and lady orchid when I would stumble across them in the wild. I felt the chilling magic at nightfall when an owl would hoot in the darkness. The trees felt as if they were reaching out to me as bejeweled flowers bloomed at their feet.

This hidden world before us started opening doors. I began to see how the forest could provide a sustainable restorative agriculture approach by growing food in the forest such as nuts, berries, mushrooms, and perennial vegetables. This in turn would help the fight against climate change through carbon sequestering that the forest does naturally. I saw how this could be an opportunity to cultivate common and at-risk woodland medicinal plants to heal the earth and the body. And yet this was just the beginning. The forest can also provide wood for eco-friendly building supplies, habitat for woodland wildlife whose habitats are quickly disappearing, and a vast tapestry of hobbies including plant dying, wildcrafting, birding, basket weaving, and bee keeping. The possibilities could be endless.

Thus, Woodspell was born. Out of a love for this land and a desire to delve deeper into the gifts of the forest, I began crafting herbal medicines that spoke to me as a way to share this magic with the world. The 12 acres my husband, dog, and three cats dwell on in northern Michigan sustain beautiful plant communities from pine and hardwood forest that is home to trillium, wintergreen, and violets to a wetland marsh that hosts gentians, boneset, and milkweeds.

Mission

My goal is to show the wondrous relationship between magic and productivity; healing and progression, and how we can tap into that to live a more sane and beautiful life by crafting the most potent and enjoyable herbal products possible. I create products that are dear to my heart; that come to me in dreams or stories. I focus on bitters tonics because I believe their medicine is so lacking in our sugar-obsessed world, and to have a healthy digestive system is to have a prime base for holistic health.

Values

Health & Social Justice

Herbalism is a holistic practice and not just when we think about the body, but when we think about all of creation. We are all intricately linked to the overall well-being of the planet and the human race. Here at Woodspell we care deeply about nurturing all parts of this web. We pay regular reparations to our local tribes whose land we devote our lives to and tend. We also offer discounts on Woodspell products specifically for BIPOC folks. We continue to donate to causes that will further the movement to fight racial inequalities throughout society.

The Highest Quality Herbs

Not only do we believe in organic medicine, but here at Woodspell we also utilize Biodynamic growing practices to work in rhythm with the cosmos. Every herb in a product is either grown organically to the cycles of the moon here within the Woodspell gardens or sourced sustainably from a reliable source. We go the extra mile to practice biodynamics because we find the herbs and products we make to be much more vital and potent this way, and even infused with a bit more magic from the moon.

Environmental Regeneration

Modern agricultural practices are huge sources of pollution and environmental degradation. We look for another way. We commit to communication and research to further the practice of growing food and medicine in the forest. Working as a part of nature rather than a separate force upon it, we follow intuition to heal the land in the ways it sees fit.

Sustainability

Starting this business was an ethical dilemma. Did we really want to put more “stuff” out into the world? We sat with this for about a year before the plants intervened and gently told us this medicine was needed in the world. So moving forward, we vowed to only produce the most sustainable and earth conscious products possible. To do this, we use local companies as much as possible to reduce shipping pollution, we use recycled glass bottles and aluminum caps (you won’t see any plastic droppers here), and all of our shipping materials are 100% recycled with no plastic bubble wrap in sight. All shipping packages and their contents are also completely compostable.