To the unobservant eye, the many plants and weeds that dot the forest trails of Appalachia are nothing more than part of the scenery, something perhaps to be admired, yet certainly not utilized.
To skilled herbologists like Crystal Wilson, however, those plants contain the keys to good health, just waiting to be unlocked.
Late last month, Wilson officially opened the Rockford based Mama Lucy’s Mountain Ways, a small herb farm and homestead that specializes in collecting medicinal herbal blends found and grown in the mountainous regions of East Tennessee.
A native of the mountains of Southwest Virgnia, Wilson is an eighth generation Appalachian with deep roots in herbology. Introduced to the world of medicinal weeds and plants by her father, who also coined the nickname “Lucy” for which her business is named, she picked up further knowledge of the craft in Eastern Kentucky before relocating to Tennessee nearly 25 years ago. A firm believer in “the people’s medicine,” her business offers customers the chance to choose any blend of locally grown herbs they want before picking them up at their Rockford location at 4088 Blazier Rd.
The variety of herbal blends offered by Mama Lucy’s is as varied as it is shocking to those ignorant of herbology. Dandelions and dandelion roots serve as a vital source of vitamins. Catnip, though popular among felines, also has a “calming” effect if ingested by humans. Black cohosh, a flowering plant native to the area, can be used to treat hot flashes in women.
Though she doesn’t diagnose customers, Wilson remains a firm believer in the medicinal benefits of the regions plants.
“I always say it’s the people’s medicine, because anybody can do it,” Wilson said. “Anybody go into their backyard and get some things that will help them, even the simple stuff … It’s taking charge of own health and taking care of yourself.”
For more information on the business or to request a list of herbs, visit Mama Lucy’s Mountain Ways Facebook page at acebook.com/mammalucysmountainways.

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