About

infusing herbal oilSierra Botanica was created in 2009, as a line of fresh, local, and organic herbal skin and body care, free of chemical stabilizers and preservatives.   As I created these hand-crafted products from my garden and local farms, I realized that I couldn’t bottle my experience with the herbs in a line of products, and I really wanted others to be able to feel the joy and wonder of healing plants, and that happens when people can get first hand experience themselves.  So I began offering herbal classes in my community, and they began to flourish! In 2012, I closed my line of Sierra Botanica herbal products and have been focused primarily on teaching and empowering others to live a healthier life with herbalism ever since.

 

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My approach to teaching is practical and hands-on, building confidence step by step so participants feel empowered to safely and effectively use herbs for health and healing.  I partner with my feral husband Matt Berry, in several of my wildcrafting endeavors, as well as enjoy a lot a field time with our sweet daughter, Amara (who is a skilled mushroom hunter, by the way).  We are based in Nevada City where we live and explore the beautiful foothills of the Sierra Nevada.  I teach most frequently in Nevada City, but also at other locations in California, and private classes by request.

Aside from my work with Sierra Botanica, I am also engaged in community health through my non-profit work.  With over ten years experience managing health, education, farming, and sustainability programs in Arizona and Northern California, I  provide organizational planning and project support to various non-profits.  My primary work right now is with a fantastic, visionary local food organization, Sierra Harvest. You can read more about my background below, or visit me at LinkedIn.

 

My Journey With Herbs

IMG_1958My passion is promoting health and wellness from a multi-disciplinary, holistic perspective. I’ve approached this through my study and experience in health psychology, public health, medical anthropology, sustainable living, permaculture, agriculture, and herbalism.  If you’d like to read more specifically about my formal education and professional experience, you can learn more here.

I also have a strong passion for teaching, and have taught various health and wellness courses (at Northern Arizona University, Coconino Community College, as well as private schools and retreat centers).  Since 2009, my teaching focus has been empowering individuals to safely and effectively use herbal medicine at home for health and wellness. Read my class reviews from recent course participants.

I’m grateful to have participated in several formal herbal training programs from various Northern California herbalists, including Donna d’Terra, Kathi Keville and Candis Cantin.  While these programs provided me with an amazing framework, my deepest herbal knowledge has come from my direct experience with the plants and using them as medicine.  Many of these connections were made during the passage of two major life events: being pregnant and becoming a mother, and dealing with a severe, chronic illness that was unresponsive to Western medicine.

While I am grateful to have access to so many healing options, both traditional and modern, the modality that holds the biggest place in my mind, heart and soul is herbalism. I have been enchanted (most willingly!) by how the plants offer themselves to us and how simple and incredibly complex they are in their capacity to heal. Herbal medicine brought me out of the depths of severe, chronic Lyme disease, and it has been like an ambassador, connecting me more deeply to the treasures abound in the natural world. Herbs have been like a faithful friend and companion, spending time together outdoors and helping me take care of myself and my family. They have empowered me as mother, and provided me tools to take care of everyday health needs for my new baby and growing child in a healthy, sustainable, and chemical-free way.  I can’t express how much herbalism has enhanced my health and well-being for myself and my family.

RachelI am deeply grateful to all those who have helped me on this path in reclaiming my own herbal heritage.  And thank you for joining me on this journey! May it bring you more joy, appreciation, self-empowerment and nature connection as it has done for me.

In celebration of the plants,

Rachel Berry