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Superior woman takes reins at Superior Mountain Herbs

by AMY QUINLIVAN
Mineral Independent | February 23, 2022 12:00 AM

Seasonal influenza viruses strike year-round in the United States, but most cases of the flu are accounted for during the fall and winter, according to the CDC. Influenza activity often begins to increase in October, and peak sometime between December and February. Research from 1982 to 2020 found that during this 38-year period, the “peak month of flu activity” was highest in February.

Hearty Montanans know well, that winter drags on in these northern climates, less daylight and fewer time spent outdoors can have an impact on the immune system. Coupled with spending the better part of two years socially distancing, masking, and living in highly sanitized environments, catching the common cold in these days can even feel brutal.

One ally to staying healthy is to improve the body’s natural immune system. Wellness experts often turn to clean eating, exercise, and things found in nature. Returning to historical medicinal roots is becoming more and more common, walking the aisles of a local pharmacy you’ll find cough syrups made with honey, and elderberry. In today’s modern medicine, traditional is often best.

Summer Young Drey has found this to be true, the Superior resident operates Superior Mountain Herbs.

She shared, “I'm all about preventative medicine and less about reactive medicine. While I help people in dire conditions, I'd rather help those in our community to prevent illness and disease the old-fashioned way.”

Her business is an offshoot of Dr. Ron Greene’s, a naturopath who once lived in Superior. Drey recalled, “About 10 years ago I was introduced to Dr. Greene, he was a naturopathic doctor and a chemist with tons of wisdom and a great spirit about him. He was a treasure to work for.”

In January 2021, Dr. Greene’s wife informed her that they were closing their doors and moving back to Utah. Finding herself unemployed in a small town with few career opportunities, the single mom of three children, asked the Greene's if she could take over the business and service his many lifelong customers herself.

Drey said, “After all, many of our clients we had single handedly helped get into remission from terminal cancer, saved their foot from amputation, prevented heart attacks, balanced their hormones and so much more and to leave them high and dry was not something I was willing to do.”

After 10 years of building relationships with the clients and being so vested in their healing process, she stated, “I re-created the business under new ownership and name as Superior Mountain Herbs. Two years later, I’m still servicing the same clients, and offer many of the same products Dr. Greene worked with like our Herbal Mending Salve, our American Indian Tea, our Adrenal Support and so much more.”

Recently they have added new products like Rosemary and Cedarwood herbal candles, bath sachets to promote hydration and elasticity and Nettle Tincture to help men with prostate issues and urinary health.

At Superior Mountain Herbs Drey explained, “We wildcraft a botanical that we use in our American Indian Tea that boosts the neutrophils and the killer T cells within the body. They are your true first line of defense against major disease and infection such as COVID, cancer, heart disease and more.”

Most of her clients drink this special tea, four days at a time and then take a three-day break. Drey noted, “As with any serious immune booster, taking a break is necessary to give your body a chance to rest and repair. I compare it to running a marathon. While marathons are great for your body, you can't do that daily. You're asking your body to do a lot of hard work and it needs time to rest.”

Another native medicinal plant found in Montana is the Elderberry. Sambucus Canadensis a member of the Honeysuckle family, produces hanging clusters of blue-black, fleshy berries. The berries are toxic when raw, but edible when cooked. They are commonly used in syrups and tinctures. These shrubs and bushes can be found in many spots around Mineral County.

Though Drey doesn’t use Elderberries in any of her herbal remedies it still has major health benefits. She described, “Elderberries are a decent immune booster, and if taken prior or at the very early signs of a cold coming on, it's a mild, yet good preventative for most people when taken properly.”

But Drey added, “In my opinion, the common cold is the least of our problems.”

When holistic and natural health medicines become popular it can be a positive and a negative thing. Drey said, “When an herb becomes main stream, it's a catch-22 for herbalists. It is slowly exposing natural remedies to the general public that might not otherwise be savvy to herbal healing but it also creates a market frenzy where companies like Walmart carry it and then it's no longer sustainably harvested and soon the cost of the herb goes up substantially to make because there isn't enough of it left in the world.”

Some examples she mentioned were the trend in using Rodiola, and Goldenseal, St. Johns Wart and many other herbs. “Fads are everywhere but it is nice to stimulate the minds of those that typically wouldn't know about the herb. When they start seeing it at Costco and Walmart, that's when people start to take notice,” continued Drey.

In her own personal experience, it wasn’t until she was an adult that she discovered the power of herbal medicines. Drey shared, “I did not grow up knowing much about herbs. As a child, my mom always feed me healthy foods but herbs were not on the radar. It wasn't until I had my first child and wanted to make homemade foods, use herbal remedies instead of pharmaceuticals on my children and avoid growth hormones in chickens and more that I actually began to become more aware of the power of herbs.”

While exploring how to treat her sons recurrent ear infections, Drey realized there were so many other natural ways to help them without the long-term side effects of medications. She expressed, “While I absolutely believe there's a place for medicine, especially in emergency situations, I think far too often people reach for the quick fix without considering the long-term impact it will have. Antibiotics, Ibuprofen, topical steroids and more all can have horrible long-term side effects and there are so many other natural alternatives that actually work!”

Drey is a big proponent for healthy a lifestyle that includes being active, getting outside, fresh air, and eating healthy foods. But she added, “While all of the above is great...wellness is a puzzle. All of the pieces need to be put in place. Like I've said before, arm your children and yourself before sickness sets in. Regular immune boosting will save your family tons of missed work, school, vacation time and more.”

Her recommendation for anyone who's interested in long term wellness should contact her either by phone at 406-274-7579 or email at summer@superiormountainherbs.com. Or if you’re knowledgeable and use herbs regularly they can shop directly at Drey’s business, www.SuperiorMountainHerbs.com.

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