March is Women’s History Month I’m taking the opportunity to celebrate two women who have deeply impacted my own herbalist path and the founding of Little Woods.
Based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa she has spent her life fostering a community of herbalist with her apprenticeship program, classes, and open door nature at her shop. She’s a clinical herbalist and holds a masters in psychology and is one of the few herbalists in Iowa that holds the American Herbalist Guild Clinical Herbalist certification – a rigorous peer reviewed process that has to be renewed regularly though submitting case studies and showing excellence in client work, research, and herbal knowledge. Her shop is named Healing Green Angles and if you are ever driving through and catch it during opening hours, it’s a treasure. In addition to her educational efforts, she has also stood up here in Iowa and helped organize efforts in our local government to keep herbalism open and legal.
For me, spending a year working with her helped set me on a solid foundation of making herbal medicine, integrating it in my own home, and emboldening me to start my own botanical supply company. Little Woods would not exist without her encouraging that “just go for it” attitude or helping me to see the need here in Ames for an apothecary. I discovered that while I do not want to be a clinical herbalist, I love working with the plants and want to be a supplier for those who are working with clients in this direct way. Thank you!
I’ve never met her. Someday maybe. But it’s okay if not. She’s already given me so much through her books, interviews, classes, and advocacy. The book Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health was my first herbal recipe book and is still holding a well-used place on my bookshelf. She has a practical, straight forward approach to herbalism that I love. She melds scientific research and historical lore in that way I resonate most. The expansiveness of her life gives me hope it’s not unattainable to do all the things I dream of in my one short lifetime.
If memory is serving me correctly it goes something like this:
- started teaching classes and doing workshops,
- opened an apothecary,
- apothecary grew into Mountain Rose Herbs,
- spun off to create Traditional Medicinal Teas – one of the first tea companies to navigate being FDA registered dietary supplements and having their nutritional facts panel, creating sage mountain retreat center,
- created one of the first online comprehensive herbalist courses,
- fought to UN-trademark Fire Cider (and WON!),
- now has her sights set on Thieve Oil (another traditional formula name a company trademarked and is suing small herbal product makers over),
- has published numerous books (I’m proud to be published by the same company, Storey Publishing), and lectured internationally.
- That’s just off the top of my head! I know there is so much more.
- Whew. She’s awesome!
Who has inspired you?
Who’s your herbal mentor, friend, favorite read? Let’s show these women some love — local unknown to historic giants. Leave a comment and link to what they are up to and where to find their work, shop, teachings, or even just their instagram profile so we can all get to know them too.
Until next time!
Kristin M Roach