Local herbal medicine biz relocating to Tennessee

Sweet Gum Springs Apothecary is moving to Chattanooga after starting and residing in Starkville for four years. (Submitted photo).
Staff Writer

Sweet Gum Springs Apothecary, a local business that educates the community on Mississippi's flora and provides herbal medicine from local greenery, is packing its bags for Chattanooga.

Sweet Gum Springs Apothecary celebrates its fourth birthday on March 20th. It was started by Lindsay Wilson from Louisville and Mandi Sanders from Tupelo. When Sanders decided to devote her time to her children and family, Wilson took up the reigns and started heading the company solo.

"We are based out of Starkville, and have a booth at Boardtown Gardens and More," Wilson said. "I'll be breaking down that booth at the end of this month. I have offered people 10 percent off of products.”

Wilson has taken the apothecary and its business to farmer's markets in Starkville, Jackson, and Oxford. She sets up shop at the Cotton District Arts Festival every year, sharing a booth with Robin Whitfield, an artist from Grenada who does art with plant pigments and earth and clays from around Mississippi.

Wilson said the community market served as an incubator for her business, giving her the opportunity to sell her products and get her name and herbs out to the residents of Starkville.

What inspired Wilson to open the apothecary was her own experience with herbal medicine.

After Wilson graduated from the University of Mississippi, she joined the Peace Corps and moved to the Ukraine. It was then that she encountered a severe health crisis.

"There were lots of symptoms," Wilson said. "I had heart palpitations, dizzy spells, insomnia, intense gastric issues, GI issues, and I was also going through a depression, at the time. When I moved to Prague I went to a doctor, and I also went to a doctor in Mississippi. They were both clueless."

After visiting both doctors and receiving little advice, Wilson said she threw her hands in the air and decided that she would try and find a solution on her own. She moved to San Francisco and met an herbalist, who gave her a formula of Hawthorne and Passion Flower — two plants, Wilson said, that are local to the Starkville area.

In just two months of taking the formula, Wilson and was able to rest and get relief from the heart palpitations that had been haunting her since living in Ukraine.

"I had a door that opened for me, then, and I stepped through it," Wilson said. "So, that was the beginning of my herbalism, my journey with plants … It was only a matter of time that what helped me during a health crisis became what I did."

After four years of serving the Starkville area, Sweet Gum Springs Apothecary will be moving to Chattanooga.

"I just got married, and my partner and I were trying to find a place that was a good balance for both of us," Wilson said. "We wanted to move to a place that felt good for both of us. I wanted to stay in the south — this is where my roots are. His family is in the Chicago area, my family is here, and in Chattanooga, we would be in the middle."