Zach and his sweet dog Rowan have been popping into the shop to share tea and stories for years. Whether we’re catching up on astrology, our favorite herbs or natural pet care, it’s always a treat when this duo makes an appearance. Zach is kind, calm, and grounded. He’s often asking about herbs to help a friend or family member. His calm, steady presence are perfectly suited to his chosen career as a dog trainer. Since Zach went to work with our next door neighbors, Whiskers Barkery, we have gotten to know him even better. We hope you’ll enjoy learning about Zach, too!

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

My name is Zach Dominguez, and I work in pet retail and as an apprentice dog trainer. I moved to Prescott five years ago from San Francisco, but I have been visiting the area since I was young due to family here. Though working with dogs is my profession and a passion, I fill my time with various hobbies I’ve collected over my 25 years. I’m a piano player, a mountain biker, a reader, and an avid fan of watching downtown Prescott’s family of ravens.

How have natural remedies like herbs and essential oils made a difference in your life?

It’s no exaggeration to say that meeting the people at Nectar and learning about all of these wonderful plants has changed my life for the better. I have more independence when it comes to my health, a deeper understanding of how the body functions naturally (and how to listen to mine), and overall a greater appreciation of our planet.

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

I usually incorporate herbs into my day through tea and tinctures. I have a personal tincture blend of Eleuthero and Saw Palmetto that I take daily, and I usually make time around the end of the day to relax with some kind of sleepy blend of tea. Beyond that, I’m always thinking up different batches of tea based on what herbs might help me in that moment. I keep a wide variety of bulk herbs at my home. I don’t use essential oils very much, but I do try to remember to use my diffuser every now and then while I sleep–especially during allergy season.

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

I find myself often suggesting to friends and family certain herbs to look into for their ailments, especially given the fact that many people I know either don’t have medical insurance, or a doctor, or the money for a prescription. I also incorporate my love for herbal medicine into my work. More often than not, customers whose dogs are having health issues are told by their vets that they need a certain drug. I’m by no means as knowledgeable as a veterinarian, but I am a believer that most mild ailments dogs experience don’t warrant the usage of a heavy prescription that taxes the body in other ways. I think many people would agree, but they don’t have the knowledge themselves to make any other decision than what their vet tells them. When I’m explaining to a customer exactly how the herbs function in the natural supplements we carry at Whiskers Barkery, they are better equipped to make an educated decision.

Why do you like to shop at Nectar?

In general, I just love being in the space! There’s always a sweet scent of some essential oil and a cup of tea to welcome you. I’m lucky enough to work right next door, so I often pop in to utilize the library in the back corner, just to look up some herb I’ve been thinking about. I appreciate that I can either help myself to all the bulk herbs and form a relationship with herbal medicine of my own, or trust in the blends and products that Nectar has created.

What’s your favorite herb, essential oil or tea, what do you like about it, and why do you use it?

I guess I’m one of the weirdos who loves the smell and taste of Valerian. Sleep has always been a struggle for me. I can lie awake for hours with endless brain chatter. One day I met this volatile herb and it was love at first sip. Well, maybe third cup. I’ve spent so many late nights relaxing and stretching before bed with a cup of Valerian filling the room with its funky gym socks smell. I read somewhere that it smells like “bubblegum from Jupiter.” Lovely! It is, of course a sedative, but also an antispasmodic and a carminative. I think it’s a great herb to keep on hand for any kind of late-night restlessness, whether it be body or mind. As a tea, I enjoy mixing it with Chamomile or St. John’s Wort, but I have also seen Valerian suggested with Cramp Bark and Wild Yam for pain and cramping.

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

Pick just a few herbs and learn them inside and out. The 101 class at Nectar is perfect for this. I think the way I got started was by learning the herbal actions that would most benefit my body, and then learning the herbs in those categories.

What else would you like to share?

A pivotal moment in my acceptance and belief in the power of herbs came when my dog Rowan was having some kind of digestive disorder. She vomited bile three times in twenty minutes her abdomen was bloated and hot, and she wouldn’t let me touch her—very unusual for her. Of course, I’m panicking, looking up my vet’s phone number. I remembered reading about rubbing lavender essential oil down the spine to calm a dog. After a few minutes of doing so, she went from nipping at me when I tried to touch her belly, to laying sideways with her head on my lap. From there, I held an acupressure point suggested by a wonderful book Four Paws, Five Directions, and she quickly woke up, made a contented sigh, stood up and gracefully walked to the water bowl. No vet call needed. I guess I’m sharing this because I always held onto the fear of, “What if these herbs don’t work when I really need them?”, and I was so relieved and thankful when the Lavender made a real difference on my dog. Animals don’t experience the placebo effect.

What a great story about the healing power of plants! Thanks so much Zach, for sharing your time and energy with us, for participating in our Customer Spotlight and for being part of our community. It is an honor to serve and support you in your herbal journey. Hopefully the rest of our community will have the opportunity to meet Zach in person. You’ll likely run into him next door at Whiskers Barkery, riding his bike on the trails or sipping tea at Nectar. Here’s to you, Zach!

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