The Big Herbs
A life made turning strip-mined land into botanical sanctuary
by Paul Strauss
The Big Herbs is the inspiring story of one man’s quest to go back to the land and nurture it to an original wild and abundant nature. Arriving in Appalachian southeast Ohio in 1970 — after Woodstock, after a long sojourn in the desert U.S. southwest learning about healing plants from native experts — Paul hitchhiked across the U.S., heading home to his native NYC. Detoured on route to Athens, Ohio, he made his place in a land scarred by mining and poverty, and has spent 40 years bringing land back to life and bringing high-quality botanical medicines to a growing audience. The Big Herbs tells that story in Paul’s own words — how finding friendship amid adversity and making devotion to a life of hard physical work can deliver one — and through one, many — to a real-life paradise.
Paul conducts classes on his land and in his lab at Equinox Botanicals, and teaches at Xavier University in Cincinnati. A recent feature film, Blis DeVault’s Sanctity of Sanctuary, tells Paul’s story in another way. It has won numerous film festival awards in recent months, taking the top Environmental Film prize at the Byron Bay Festival in Australia. Purchase the film here.