What are Simples?
Simples are concentrated plant tonics, made with nourishing herbs that are brewed over a period of hours to extract the maximum amount of vitamins, minerals, and constituents. We call them by their traditional name, Simples, which means using a single herb or plant in a medicinal way. When beginning to explore the world of plant medicine, traditional herbalism holds that it is best to start with them one at a time to fully experience the taste, the essence, and the benefit of a single plant. Here in our shop, we hand brew eight of these Simples to support and encourage this exploration. Our eight Simples represent a broad spectrum of traditional herbal remedies, each selected for their high nutritional profiles, their tonic effect, and their established use and proven safety.
What are nourishing herbs?
Nourishing herbs are a category of plants made up primarily of weeds, or common wild plants, that are deeply nourishing as they are full of bio-available nutrients which our bodies can easily assimilate. They all contain abundant amounts of vitamins, minerals, and healing compounds, and are the primary source of medicine in folk herbalism. Nourishing herbs are time-tested, widely used and completely safe. In our experience, when someone consumes these nourishing plants, prepared as Simples, over time incredible healing takes place. The body soaks in the abundant nourishment, and a sense of vitality, health, and wellbeing is restored and supported.
What is a weed?
Weeds are hardy plants, fast growing, and naturally strong competitors. They can thrive in even the harshest conditions and contain an unsurpassed powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. They are a readily available, sustainable food source for the planet. At Simples, we love to work with these plants for this very reason. They build strength and resilience in those who consume them, and since they are such an abundant and concentrated food source, utilizing them leaves a very minimal environmental footprint.
What kind of herbalists are we?
At Simples we are herbalists whose work is rooted in traditional folk medicine practices, cultivating a deep relationship with the plants. Everyone who works at Simples, either brewing, bottling, or helping you choose a tonic or an apothecary item, has several years of study and experience. And as we are still on our joyful path of cultivating more wisdom and exploration as eternal students, we look forward to sharing knowledge and recipes with you, as we do with each other.
As devoted plant lovers, we are intentional and reverent in every aspect of our brewing, medicine making, and business practices. We believe in honoring this tradition as the medicine of the people, with the goal of sharing the plants, the wisdom of ancient practices, and the understanding that health and nourishment are everyone’s right.
What is a tonic?
A tonic rejuvenates and restores all systems of the body, promoting overall good health and balance. They fortify and nourish, creating resilience, vigor, and wellbeing. Tonics are agents that work cumulatively and support long-term health benefits, and with prolonged use encourage graceful aging and longevity.
What is the difference between our tonics and herbal tea?
Most of the nutritional components of medicinal herbs and plants come from their different flavonoids, alkaloids, vitamins, and minerals. For humans to assimilate this nutrition, some parts are water-soluble, where some use different menstruums, such as alcohol, vinegars, and oil. So, while both tea and Simples rely on water extraction, teas are steeped for short periods of time and extract a less potent medicinal dose. A Simples tonic uses a much higher quantity of plant material, and steeps covered for a long period, resulting in a dense and powerful serving of plant nutrition. At Simples, our tonics are brewed daily by hand as infusions to extract the maximum amount of nutrition and health benefits.
How are Simples made?
Using the highest quality water that is completely chemical and fluoride free and organic plant material, each batch is hand brewed daily in prayer with intention. All of this happens in house where the infusions then steep over a period of hours to next be bottled and served fresh to you.
Where do we source our plants?
We only work with organic plant material that is sourced as locally as possible using ethical farming standards and following the laws of nature. Within this rhythm comes times of limited availability or seasonal restrictions. We use these times as platforms for inspiration to use what is abundant and available.
Do they taste good?
There’s obviously a little bias here. We are head over heels in love with these plants and enjoy each of their unique flavors, as there is a lot of information about the healing properties of their tastes. Some Simples are slightly sweet or perfumed, some grassy, some are slightly bitter, but the taste and flavor is a critical key and aspect of their healing nature, which is why we suggest exploring them individually. We feel confident that one of our eight will suit your palette and our staff can help educate and direct you towards the best one for that moment.
Can you drink too much?
The nourishing plants we have chosen to share with you are exploding with nutrition and by definition safe, mild, and in no way poisonous. These plants work cumulatively so, the more the better. Warning. Once you begin to feel the energy and vitality that comes with deep nourishment, you will become addicted. And that’s good for you!
Can I drink if I’m pregnant or nursing?
In the world of pregnancy, it is important that the mother feel confident, supported, and safe. With this in mind, always check with your physician first, as none of the information we provide is intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. What we can share is what has been learned through study, research, and also from personal experience. These plants provide such a powerhouse of nutrition that we believe they are an incredible supplement to feed a growing baby and nurture a tired momma. Our founder relied on Nettle, and Red Raspberry leaf throughout her pregnancy and credited them with a healthy pregnancy and efficient delivery. But again, everyone is different, so check with your doctor and make the choice that’s right for you.
How do I have access to these plants if I don’t live in Los Angeles?
Right now, prepared Simples are only available at our store in Santa Monica. But until we open an outlet in your neighborhood, there are many ways you can begin to explore the healing effects of these plants. We do ship many plant vinegars, tinctures, and herbal medicines from the Simples Apothecary, which is another great way to incorporate these plants into your daily regimen. We are also working on a home brewing kit, so watch for that coming soon. We also suggest checking out www.mountainroseherbs.com. This is an excellent source of information on making your own tonics and other herbal medicines as well as a great place to purchase high quality, organic plant material.
What if I want to learn more about these plants and traditional folk medicine?
There are many wonderful books, blogs, and websites devoted to these plants and traditional herbalism. Mountainroseherbs.com is a great place to start, as they offer a wealth of information, books for sale, blogs, and profiles of some of the most influential folk herbalists that have incredible knowledge and information to share. Another great online source is Learningherbs.com, as they offer many great videos and free recipes. We also recommend any and all books by Susun Weed, the grand dame of traditional folk herbalism. Also check out our Simples blog for information about specific plants, healing modalities, and profiles on herbalists who we think are rocking the plant world.
What is the shelf life of the tonics?
Kept refrigerated, Simples tonics can be enjoyed for three days.
Do you have to drink the tonics cold?
Not at all. When you are ready to enjoy your tonic, you can bring it down to room temperature, or even warm them. Just be sure to consume them right away.