Earth And Spirit
by Kari Champoux
Hello! Welcome to Earth & Spirit Botanicals, the manifestation of my lifelong dream to share the healing power of plant & mushroom medicines with the world. My name is Reishi, and I'm happy you're here. Hi :)
My herbalism journey began in my homeland of Appalachia, which is deeply steeped in the traditions of the mountain people who have lived off the land for centuries, finding medicine and sustenance in the plants.
My relationship to plant medicine deepened when I was in my first year of college and began to experience deep depression and anxiety attacks. I tried to find healing in traditional Western medicine, but found that system of healing to be ill-equipped to handle the type of psychospiritual crisis that I was experiencing. I began my own healing journey, seeking natural medicines that helped me to understand my emotions, instead of trying to numb myself to them. In the dark night of my soul, I was able to climb out of the darkness on the roots of plants like Valerian and Kava Kava. The magical nervine properties of Reishi and Mugwort helped me experience the magic that becomes perceptible with a calm and nourished nervous system, and the nurturing, relaxing properties of Lavender helped me remember what it feels like to be held and taken care of. With the plant's help, I began to heal.
I decided to drop out of college and dedicate my life to studying herbal medicine, so I could try to equip myself with the knowledge needed to connect people to the plants that could help heal them. I mostly learned through self-study, various Appalachian teachers, and the plants themselves. I felt very connected to the experiential and intuitive aspects of plant medicine, but not so much the science of plant constituents and how, exactly, they interact with the body.
I searched for an herbalism program that weaved together both the science and spirit of plant medicine, and eventually found Bastyr University, an accredited University in Seattle that is the only school in the world to offer a Bachelor's of Science in Herbal Sciences. I made the difficult decision of leaving everything I had ever known in Appalachia, put everything I owned into my minivan, and drove across the country to enroll in Bastyr's Herbal Sciences program.
Two years later, after taking classes in Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Ethnobotany, First Aid, Herb/Drug Interactions, Disease Processes, Anatomy, History of Herbal Medicine, and more, I have finished my program. Even though my learning will be lifelong, I feel confident enough in my understanding of both the science and spirit of plant medicine to actualize my dreams of offering these medicines to the public.
My prayer is that these medicines bring about deep healing for the planet and her people, and help to meaningfully connect humanity to the healing power of Nature so that we may restore harmonious relation with the natural world.
Thank you for reading, I am so happy to share this moment with you :)