How did you find your way into the world of herbal medicine?
My daughter became very ill from a chronic bout of streptococcus and tonsillitis that lasted on and off for a year. I had no working knowledge of herbal medicine at that time so I followed her pediatricians’ orders. After being treated repetitively with antibiotics, her condition did not improve much and worsened at one point to where her hair began falling out and she developed tiny polyps on the white of her eye. I refused further antibiotics for her and called other doctors and specialists. The protocol at that time was to not remove tonsils—even though I felt she was an exception.
After several calls, I found a specialist who took one look at her, admitted her on the spot and removed what was left of her tonsils. While I was thankful, the doctors still did not have much of an answer when I asked them how I could restore her health. Flintstone vitamins?? I think not.
I had begun planting herbs at this time for culinary purposes. I was enthralled with my herbs, their scent, their usefulness, and loved spending time with them. They truly spoke to me as I learned as much as I could about herbs through books and workshops. I soon found herbs to improve my daughter’s health along with good vitamins and diet, and was eternally grateful. Herbs literally changed my family’s life.
What impact has studying with David Winston had on you?
The clinical herbal knowledge is fascinating and drives me to continue research and learning, and to spend time with the herbs themselves as teachers on a greater level. David has inspired me to be so much more than I could have imagined on my own. To do and be the best representation of myself, to look deeper into the darker areas of myself and to work on those areas that need improvement, and to grow beyond my comfort zone so I can provide the best results for my clients and excel as a representative of the Herbal community.
What’s next in your herbal education?
Currently, I attend the local AHG chapter guild and clinic where I gain experience and knowledge from herbal mentors Kerry Adams, David Harder, and Jennifer O’Hagan. I am excited to take David’s 2016-2017 graduate class beginning in November.
Do you blend your culinary experience with your herbal medicine practice and if so how? What kind of a response do you get?
Blending my culinary background into herbal medicine is my favorite way to work with herbs —culinary herbalism! Through workshops and protocols, I encourage people to think about the medicinal value of their culinary herbs and how to include medicinal herbs in their recipes. Sharing recipes for tea, vinegar and oil infusions, soups etc. and teaching herbal cooking classes is a relatable way for people to become familiar with herbs. When attendees feel that they can take the information home and use it for themselves (children love this concept also) then I know I have had a successful class!
How are you using your herbal education and knowledge with clients?
I am Staff Herbalist at Valley Integrative Pharmacy, where I share herbal knowledge with customers and clients and assist them in choosing healthful wellness options for their individual needs. I give educational programs and workshops, which are as enjoyable to me as much as it is for my clients.
Through my own company, Hilltop Herbals, I see clients at the pharmacy and other locations throughout Hunterdon County, offering herbal protocols to help them reach their level of optimal wellness. Other services include medicinal garden design, my own herbal creams and salves, and herbal weddings.
I can be reached at email@example.com, or on Facebook: facebook.com/www.hilltopherbal.