This month’s Nectar Spotlight belongs to Janet Wilson, an herbalist-in-training and professional gardener with a deep connection to plants and the natural world. When I met Janet, I felt an immediate connection. From new gardening projects, fermenting in her kitchen, growing new plants, or brewing up new potions, Janet always has something new and interesting to share. We love having her vibrant and genuine soul as a part of our community at Nectar. Here’s more about Janet in her own words.

Would you share a little about yourself, your background, where you’re from, etc.?

I grew up in Vermont and moved here in 2008 to attend Prescott College. There I explored my interests in education, environmental studies, and adventure education. Over time, I was drawn toward deepening my plant studies and last year I enrolled in Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine’s Immersion Program and started a gardening business.

What did your family do for healthcare when you were growing up?

We had a conventional family doctor. Antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals were commonly used. We had teas and some natural remedies around but were often encouraged to use “the stuff that really works.”

How do you fit herbs and essential oils into your daily routine?

I drink lots of tea! Every morning I start with 1-2 cups of jasmine green tea, and often I will brew up something to drink throughout the day. Chaga mushroom, reishi mushroom, hibiscus, and CCF (cumin, coriander, fennel) are some of my favorites. These are all good base teas to add other herbs to. Recently I have been making big batches of hibiscus tea, then adding some mint and storing it in a pitcher in the fridge—very  refreshing in this heat! And even though it’s hot these days, I’ll still bring a thermos of hot CCF tea with me to work to sip on throughout the day; it’s a great gentle, detoxifying beverage.

What else do you do to take care of yourself and the people around you?

Cooking and gardening are both very therapeutic for me. I love cooking meals for friends and family, even more so as I learn to cook nourishing meals with locally grown, fresh ingredients.

Why do you like to shop at Nectar?

We are so fortunate to have Nectar in our town. Suzanne and the staff at Nectar are very knowledgeable and approachable. All the herbs and products are of the highest quality. You can really tell how fresh everything is. The bulk herbs have vibrant color and the tinctures really taste like the plants. Whenever I’m traveling, I make a point to visit local herbal apothecaries; I still have yet to find one that offers all that Nectar does. Shopping at Nectar inspires me to deepen my herb studies, and is a wonderful resource for anyone learning about herbal medicine.

Have you taken classes at Nectar? What was your class experience?

I have been taking the Materia Medica classes as often as I can. They are a great addition to my medicinal plant studies. The downside of the online program I am enrolled in is not interacting with all of the herbs I’m studying. The Materia Medica series is thorough and informative, and gives me the chance to interact more with these herbs. Suzanne has created easy to read packets with charts and information on the herbs most useful for all of the major body systems. She passes around dried herbs, tinctures, and tea to taste and smell, which helps us familiarize and connect more with the specific herbs we are discussing.

What type of DIY herbal projects do you have in the works?

I have a lot of tea blends I have been trying out. Many recipes are from Rosemary Gladstar’s books, which you can find at Nectar, and some are my own creations. I’m also growing more medicinal herbs each year. Some new ones in the garden this year are hops, Echinacea, four varieties of tulsi, lemongrass, hibiscus, gotu kola and comfrey.

Do you have any advice for someone, just starting to explore natural remedies?

Connect with others who are dabbling with herbs! It’s fun to hear about what other people are learning about and creating. Spend time in Nectar and chat with any of the staff. Classes are a great way to create new connections with other budding herbalists! Also, make sure you’re using credible, up to date resources. Casually researching on Google can lead to misinformation. Nectar offers a great selection of books, and ask about Suzanne’s resources recommendation list!

What else would you like to share?

It is empowering to delve into herbal medicine and learn how to take care of yourself. A holistic approach to health and healing will have much greater results than a purely pharmaceutical health plan. Take your time, connect with your local herbalist community, and be open to what the plant world has to offer.

Thanks so much Janet, for participating in our Customer Spotlight and for being such a radical part of the Nectar community. Hopefully you get the opportunity to meet Janet yourself. You’ll likely run into Janet at the Prescott Farmer’s Market, in a class at the shop or getting her hands dirty in garden beds around town. She is truly a great friend and resource in our brilliant herbal network.

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