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54. Enjoying a cup of tea with Herbalist Laura Ash

Updated: Sep 13


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Today’s guest is Laura Ash, a clinical herbalist, and owner of Scarlet Sage the iconic herb store in San Francisco. We discuss how she found herbalism and how she used her experience to document herbal practices for indigenous tribes in Africa. She discusses how she came to own Scarlet Sage Herbal Company which has been open for twenty-six years. Laura also shares the most common ailment and herbal recommendations for Scarlet Sage customers. Spoiler alert: it's all about sleep and taking care of our liver. We finish our chat talking about her daily ritual of making tea and how she makes this a practice of self-care. Listen to the episode to learn more about herbalism and our place in this larger ecosystem.


After living overseas in the UK and East Africa, Laura has felt a sacred obligation to support Indigenous People in their health sovereignty, and in 2011 she started a nonprofit called Herbal Anthropology Project which has protected Maasai Traditional Medicine in Tanzania through the framework of the Traditional Knowledge Division of the World Intellectual Property Organization. In 2015, Laura purchased The Scarlet Sage Herb Co. in San Francisco, built their online presence, and launched The School of Traditional Healing Arts (SOTHA), while keeping it profitable and community-centered.


Laura's professional specialties and passions are helping build profitable female-owned health and wellness companies, empowering female entrepreneurs that work in the healing field, herbal medicine product discovery and branding, supporting appropriate cross-cultural relationships, and achieving a feminist business model triple-bottom-line.


Show notes:

Scarlet Sage on IG: @scarletsage

Scarlet Sage Website: https://scarletsage.com/


Resources Discussed:

Book: The Practice of Aromatherapy - Jean Valnet


Quotes from Laura Ash:

“I might be just more sensitive to someone's experience if they are not a European descent person like me, that there is this other piece that is very sacred and very hard to share with people that especially if you have a history of your ancestors [being] part of the problem of taking so much.”


“I do teach a less human-centric point of view at this point because of what I've learned from the indigenous communities I work with is that human beings are not at the center in these communities. They learn from animals that they are, they have plants that are more sacred than they are. They have mountains that need to be asked permission to walk upon or to gather plants.”


“It is a very real experience when half the forests are being burned down with the medicines that we normally gather.”


“The origin of the most common thing people come in for is stress. What I think the thing people generally say is they have a hard time sleeping.”


“I really love supporting women and women-identified people in having their self-care, not have to be an entire day and a half of their week in order to get it in because that's not a reality for a lot of people, especially as a mom.”


“I think if you can be in your own body and in yourself and be peaceful in any moment, I think it does change your experience of this small life that we have.”


“So when I drink my tea, I warm up the water. And while it's warming up, it takes a while, you can take a deep breath and feel your feet and ground and check-in with yourself.”


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