Harvesting Sustainable Health Care

by Rachel Berry

HAALo-herbs-signFour years ago, a small group of determined women began meeting to discuss what sustainable health care could look like in Nevada City. We all had been personally transformed and empowered by herbal medicine, and were passionate about making this sustainable, earth-based medicine more accessible in Nevada County. Quickly, we learned that there were many others with the same vision, and a small community formed around what has now become the HAALo Herb Shoppe.

I am reminded of the importance of this work every time I teach at HAALo. Students will tell me how a common garden herb relived the pain of a child’s headache, or how an herbal salve made in class unexpectedly healed a chronic skin condition, or how an herbal vinegar eliminated the need for a prescription pharmaceutical for leg cramps, or how supporting the liver with herbs evened out debilitating PMS symptoms. Each of these instances were powerful healing moments where people experienced first-hand the potential of plants as primary health care. This is why I love to teach — so I can be around these defining moments where people get transformed by the healing power of herbs and reclaim the practice of folk medicine for everyday health and wellness.

My own journey with herbal medicine has empowered me as a mother, giving me the tools and confidence to ease painful earaches, stings and bites, emotional distress, the itch and pain of chickenpox, the threat of a high fever, rattling coughs, and more. I also have many tools to even out the inevitable imbalances in my own body, including my nervous system, digestion, emotions and sleep cycles. When I had a severe case of chronic Lyme disease that was unresponsive to Western medical treatment, my familiarity with herbs gave me the confidence to leave the conventional model and seek an herbal specialist who helped restore my health and vitality.


Herbs have played a central role in my health and wellbeing, on a physical, energetic and emotional level. I don’t believe this is a unique experience — plants have so much to offer all of us if we just tune in and take the time to learn what they can do. For this reason, I am SO excited to be working with HAALo to bring a full weekend of practical herbal trainings with nationally recognized teacher and herbalist Juliet Blankespoor in September! Juliet is an accomplished teacher, herbalist, gardener and forager who will be offering a selection of workshops for beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. She has a wealth of experience and will be presenting on three very practical topics for both the laymen and clinical herbalist:

Juliet brings the kind of education that is critical for all of us who want to be empowered in our own healthcare and practice sustainable, ecological medicine. It is in the true spirit of HAALo, and we hope you will join us for one or more of these special events. Learn more about Juliet and the Chestnut School of Medicine here.


Hope to see you there!


Rachel BerryRachel Berry is the Educational Program Manager for HAALo. She teaches regularly at HAALo and around Northern California, and she helps plan classes and invites teachers to share their gifts with our community.

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