Cheryl Karcher


Cheryl Is an Herbalist, herbal educator and level 2 Reiki practitioner located in Bloomsbury, NJ. With love and respect for Gaia, our plants and their spirit she infuses her business and lifestyle with herbal delights and stewardship practices. With 15 years in the culinary industry, and 10 years in horticulture, she brings these worlds together in her programs, gardens and recipes with her business. Cheryl loves to share herbal knowledge with children and young adults and is working with project U.S.E.- Urban Suburban Environments in Newark, NJ., presenting herb classes to inner city youth. She is a member of United Plant Savers and a named steward to the section of the Hunterdon County Land Trust’s –Sweet Hollow Preserve – which borders her property. Cheryl is a graduate of David Winston’s 2 year certification program at the Center for Herbal Studies and the 1 year Herbal Therapeutics program, preparing for the graduate program in the fall. She is the current treasurer for the NJ chapter of the American Herbalist Guild. A member of the AHG, she is pursuing her professional membership through an internship at the AHG clinic.

Her company, Hilltop Herbals LLC, offers an integrative approach to well-being with health consultations, herbal formulations, medicinal food coaching, botanicals, skin care and Reiki sessions. Cheryl is available for workshops, lectures and herb garden designs. She feels it imperative to stay updated with the latest clinical information and attends herbal conferences and workshops of renowned and skilled Herbalists in NJ, PA, Mass. Cheryl is Staff Herbalist at Valley Integrated Pharmacy located in Bedminster, NJ where she shares herbal knowledge, gives educational programs and assists customers with their holistic health choices. When not serving clients or preparing herbal concoctions, Cheryl can be found in the garden or “not so found” in the woods, learning and listening to our green allies.

Her favorite herbal work is helping clients’ reach their optimal level of wellness. “Working with a client is much like being a health detective”-gathering info then piecing the puzzle together to create a protocol to best fit the client.

Her favorite herbal pastime is growing herbs, reading about herbs, and developing recipes…..and listening to Eric Clapton.  See below for her blog posts!


September 26, 2017
Hello Friends!
 I will not be at Nature’s Way this Saturday but instead will be attending the MidAtlantic Women’s Herb Conference where I will be sharing space and learning from the great Rosemary Gladstar!!  I will return to Nature’s Way Saturday, October 7th, with new and interesting herbal gems to share!  I will also have samplings of Elderberry gummy bears – made for kids – and chocolate avocado pudding which is gluten-free and a superb food medicine.

September 21, 2017

Autumn and Immunity-
Here we are-on the cusp. One of the in-between times of the
year, the space between an end and a beginning. Some call it
Late Summer, Indian summer, Early Fall. It is for me, a time of
pause. A time after the rising heat of summer with all of its
wonderful, vibrant outdoor activities, dinner parties on the patio-
lasting late into the evening, being serenaded by the toad song
and a lunar glow, not quite Autumn, but certainly not summer. As
the calendar shifts with autumn equinox, so do we, the energy of
the earth is again calling us to transition with Her. It is at this time,
this pause, that I am able to take a much needed breath-to reflect,
let go and make space for the coming season. Mother Earth
shows us how it’s done. Releasing the petiole from the stem, the
“goodbye call”of migrating birds, the curling, brown tips of my
perennial plant allies calling me to savor the last bits of goodness
and gather the grounding roots for medicine making. The waning
sunlight is pushing me indoors earlier than I’d like. Going in, going
within ourselves to reflect on the past season, letting go of what
no longer serves us to make space for new .It is a pause to
empty, unburdening our homes, our thoughts- to make space to
simply “be” so that we may take in new again.
The shifting of it all, going back to school, starting new projects, a
new cycle, preparing for a new season can cause stress to the
body and mind causing our immunity to falter if we don’t take care
of ourselves. Rest, Rest- the “doing season” is coming to an end.
Eating whole foods, eliminating simple sugars, including
fermented foods, breathing deeply and moving our bodies in the
fresh cool air will help to keep us well.

Using herbs, in syrups, food, teas and tinctures will nourish our
body and soul to build resilience for the coming season. The plant
roots and berries ground us to keep us firm and strong in the
coming months. Dandelion Root, Burdock root, Elderberry, Rose
Hips, Hawthorn Berries are the sustenance we crave now. The
root vegetables are harvested for tasty fall meals. All giving us the
grounding energy we need to become strong in our own roots,
“rooted” in our dormancy so that we too can have the energy
needed to produce in the Spring.
Here are some Herbs for boosting immunity – Available at
Nature’s Way-
Elderberry Syrup- anti-viral, immune stimulating- great for kids
too- a locally made, version is available for a limited time made
with local honey, elderberries, Echinacea rose hips, cinnamon
and ginger
Hibiscus syrup- made with local organic hibiscus flowers, tulsi and
lemon balm- a great anti-inflammatory, circulatory and stress
tonic.
Medicinal mushroom Soup- a tasty mushroom bisque with shitake
and cremini mushrooms- vegetarian
Dandelion Root tea- to aid our liver and digestion.
Burdock Root- dried- a great addition to soups and stews- an
alterative to help our bodies release and let go of toxins.
Astragalus Root- a slightly sweet herb to build a deeper immunity
and strengthens our lung health- add to soups and stews then
remove before serving- or tincture.

Wishing you well.
Happy Autumn,
Cheryl


September 7th, 2017

Elder Tree
I LOVE THIS TREE

This time of year my workshop is humming and I am fervently harvesting herbs for syrups, elixirs, teas,
infusing oils and tinctures. I find a peaceful rhythm to this hustling as I joyfully prepare my herbs for the
fall and winter medicine chest. In Western NJ, September is the time to begin the harvest of roots, berries and bark. And so begins the making of the syrups……

While no means a stately or gigantic tree, it possesses many unique characteristics that speak to this Herbalist’s heartstrings.

*The leaves are compound with 5-7 leaflets attached to each twig with serrated edges and small hairs
underneath.
 The sweetly scented flowers appear in large clusters in the spring, creamy colored and delicate
 The fruit of the tree are Elderberries. The ¼” berry range in color from black , blue, dark purple depending on species.

 Bark- while it starts off brown and smooth, as the tree ages, it becomes dark brown, and rough.
The branches and twigs are strong, lined with a pith that when easily removed, the branches are used for pipes, tools and traditional spikes to tap maple trees for sap.

PLEASE NOTE: THE RAW UNRIPE BERRIES ARE TOXIC- ONLY CONSUME BERRIES WHEN COOKED AND
RIPE. YOU WON’T DIE UNLESS YOU CONSUME MORE THAN A HANDFUL, BUT YOU WILL FEEL LIKE YOU ARE DYING, Elderberry syrup, jelly, jams are fine.

Sambucus nigra , Sambucus Canadensis are two species of the Elder tree, with Nigra being the
most widely used medicinally and Canadensis being the most widely found in our Eastern North
American region. Of the thirty species, Elder is most often found in the temperate northern
hemisphere, with a few species found in subtropical regions. This tree grows easily and
profusely in hedgerows where there is moist, fertile soil and a lot of sunlight. It loves nitrogen
and a neutral to slightly acidic soil and prized for its shrub-like shape, ease of pruning and
cultivation, growing to an average of 15’ tall and occasionally to 30 ‘.It’s pretty blossoms and

gorgeous green leaves brings beauty and elegance to yards and parks.

The elder tree is rooted in Celtic folklore and traditionally the entire tree was used purposefully
for either medicine, tools, food and ritual. Surrounded in magic and witchcraft, the elder tree
ruling time is in the cycle of the 13 th moon, the time of Samhain, or Halloween. Unfortunately,
the Elder Mother, who had once been a peaceful feminine figure, most likely an herbalist, came

to be feared as a witch in early Christianity. One would have to ask permission of the Elder
mother, if one wanted to cut from its branches or else be doomed, as Eldermor was believed to
reside in its trunk. . The fairy’s name is Eldermor and is a protector of the garden, so an Elder
tree was traditionally planted in the center of the garden as a protector. Its symbolism is
reflection, death, renewal, transformation. In Ireland and Scotland, it was planted to ward off
evil spirits. It is now commonly thought of as the fairy tree as the belief is that fairies reside in the tree.

The medicinal value of this tree is unrivaled in the Herbal world. The berries, which are
produced from the flower and bloom in September are antioxidant, antiviral,
immunoprotective and immunostimulating. They can be slightly laxative and diaphoretic. They
contain 87% of the daily value of vitamim C, high in vitamin A, iron, potassium and fiber. The
constituents: flavonoids, quercetin, volatile oils, triterpenes, tannins, proanthocyanidins are
responsible for the medicinal activity of the berries. The berries are cooked into a syrup and
used to treat bronchitis, colds, flus, and upper respiratory infections. The proanthocyandins
don’t actually kill pathogens, but an enzyme in the berry deactivates the protein that the flu
virus needs in order to attach itself to cells, shortening the duration of symptoms and boosting immunity.

The flowers bloom in May and June with a sweet vanilla scent. Elderflowers are a popular
remedy for reducing fevers and cold and flus in children. They are diaphoretic and used for anti-aging skin tonics as well.

Click here to get Cheryl’s recipe for elderberry syrup!