Meet the Staff
The question I get asked the most is, "how did you get into all of this," as people gesture around the store. My "story" below describes how I got started on the plant path, but it isn't the entire picture. The reason I have stuck with plant medicine for over sixteen years is because I have witnessed plants heal people in miraculous ways. I am here to share what I have learned over the years as a mother, an herbalist and spiritual seeker in hopes that it can benefit others. All of our ancestors used plants to heal. As humans, I believe plant healing is a special birthright and an essential ingredient to wellbeing.
Samantha was sick from a young age and biomedicine doctors were never quite able to help her. While obtaining her finance degree, she hit a wall. Severily sick and depressed, Sam finally found alternative medicine and holistic healing. She began to experience life and health in ways that she did not think possible. Since she has dedicated herself to helping others feel good both mentally and physically.
Sam is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She is also a certified yoga and fitness instructor who is passionate about meditation and spiritual practices. She assists me in managing the store.
My oldest son Alec had terrible asthma when he was little. It began when he was three months old and lasted five long years. He frequently caught colds that severely affected his lungs-- he was constantly wheezing, coughing, and struggling to breathe. We went through numerous late night emergency room visits, multiple extended hospital stays, two 911 calls, many doctor visits, several specialist appointments, and prescriptions for heavy duty drugs including albuterol, steroids, and antibiotics. We even had his tonsils and adenoids removed.
My breaking point occurred after a 2-day trip to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. My son received 25 allergy testing pokes as well as an aerosol “irritant” in to his lungs that caused him to cough for six weeks straight. Their conclusion was that he would have asthma and allergies for his entire life. As a last ditch effort I asked the doctor about diet and supplements. I was told that neither would have any impact on asthma-- rather, I should load up on prescription drugs and prepare an action plan for future asthma attacks. When we left Rochester, our son was so much sicker than when had arrived. I felt angry, frustrated and hopeless.
Up until then I had been an obediently “good” mother, following everything the doctors told me. But eventually, I realized that I needed to try something different. So I started doing research. In 2001 I did not have access to the internet so I went to the library and the bookstore. One of the first books I found was about a water cure for asthma. (Seriously.) We tried it. It didn’t work. I found books on maintaining healthy homes and clean air. I learned about the toxicity of my cleaning products. I read about the vitamins asthmatics were often deficient in. And then I stumbled upon herbal remedies.
Shortly after I took my first herb class, taught by Lise Wolff. She gave me an analogy that stuck with me. She told me to think of the immune system like a cup. Just as a cup filled past its limit will overflow and lose its functionality, an immune system overloaded with too many toxins cannot do its job properly. She told me that this will show up in some as asthma and allergies.
We made a lot of changes. Some were easy, and some were hard. We gave away our dog. We moved to a 'healthier' home. We installed air and water filters. We went dairy free. We quit using harsh chemicals in our house and on our lawn. I started driving 30 minutes to the grocery store to buy organic food. We spent more time at home and avoided anyone with a cold. Of course, we received pushback from our friends and family-- but this didn't stop me. I began to think for myself and question everything the doctors told me. I watched my son closely and really tried to notice what helped as well as what harmed. I noticed which foods turned his complexion pale, gave him dark circles under his eyes, or made him cough. I could tell by the little tweak in his voice when he was coming down with a cold. I learned to trust my observations and intuitions.
We consulted with Lise for my son’s asthma (which was already showing signs of improvement.) Alec started on low doses of herbs daily. Within months he came down with a terrible chest cold accompanied by coughing and heavy mucus. When the cold had run its course... that was it. No asthma ever again. I continued to use herbs and vitamins to build up his immune system. At the first sign of a cold, I gave him more herbs and modified his diet to help fight off the virus. We stayed away from prescriptive and OTC drugs. And it worked. Today my son is 21 years old, and his immune system is stronger than ever. The changes we made in the process of helping Alec become healthy are now a part of our everyday family lifestyle.
Looking back on the experience, there are two big shifts that occurred. The most obvious is that my son went from “un-curable” to cured. The second is that I went from ignorant to educated. I learned that the doctors only know what they know. They can be awesome, helpful and amazing. but I no longer go along with what they tell me simply because they have an MD behind their name. I need to do my own research. I need to trust my own intuition. I need to observe my children (as well as myself) and recognize the messages bodies communicate. Sometimes, adjusting to what a body is saying can be inconvenient, expensive, or simply confusing. It might mean letting people down or doing something considered "weird." Do it anyway. It is this deep listening as well as consciously responding that brings about true healing.