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What is an herbalist?

An herbalist is a health practitioner who works with plants to help heal the root causes of illness or disease, often referred to as “disharmony”. Disharmonies lead to unequal status of health and can cause symptoms. The herbalist looks to the root cause of these disharmonies to help support the body’s innate sense of healing. Through asking questions about diet, lifelong health patterns and how their health conditions affect their life, the herbalist is able to see patterns that build up or take away from one’s health. 

Suggestions are given in the form of a “protocol” where the client works with specific herbs suggested by the herbalist for a period of time. The herbalist acts as the “bridge” or “matchmaker” between people and plant medicines helping to facilitate relationships.

 Additionally, an herbalist can be one who works with plants by growing them and making medicine in the form of teas and steams, tinctures (alcohol preparations), oxymels (vinegar and honey preparations), baths, lotions and creams (oil based preparations). Often there are diet and lifestyle recommendations as well.

What sorts of conditions does someone see an herbalist for?

Since herbalists look to the root causes of illness, there isn’t always one specialty that they help support. A client can see an herbalist for support with any condition from skin health to digestive upset, menstrual difficulties and fertility, kidney disease and diabetes, chronic GERD or allergies, anxiety and depression, cancer and autoimmune conditions as well as something such as “low energy” whether it is new or chronic.

What do I get out of a consult?

An herbal health consult consists of an estimated 90 minute, in depth conversation about the client’s health and concerns, followed by an email containing herbal, diet and lifestyle suggestions to help the client improve and optimize their health. The consult will include discussion about what types of herbal preparations the client is willing and able to incorporate, taking into account the client’s time, finances and personal preferences. 

As the herbalist’s role is to uncover patterns and make suggestions, the client’s role is to enact the protocol suggested to the best of their abilities and be honest with the herbalist and themselves about what they are able and willing to incorporate into their daily habits so that the herbalist can make suggestions that make sense to the client. Each protocol is client-specific and personalized. 

How many appointments do I need?

The initial consult is to discuss the health concerns that the client is ready to focus on, with follow-ups, allowing the herbalist and client to sort through what has been working and what parts of the protocol need to be changed. 


It’s recommended to schedule at least one follow up with the herbalist about a month after the protocol is started, even if all parts of the protocol aren’t included. These follow-ups help the client to feel supported in their healing journey and provide valuable insight into the effectiveness of the protocol for the herbalist, so that they may learn with the client what is helpful and what is not. 


Auntea Sam will be offering an initial consult with two follow-ups built in as a package deal to help encourage follow-ups. 

How soon can I expect to get better?

This is very variable! The herbalist should provide one formula that will help with acute (in the moment) symptoms as needed as well as suggestions that will more subtly help realign the client with wellness over time. It is said that however long the issue was present with the client, it will take at least half that length of time to notice a difference and improvement. 

It should be noted that herbs are not “quick fixes”. Instead, they help support a whole body wellness, shifting one gently from a point of disharmony and dis-ease with support and nourishment to allow the body and mind to function more optimally. 

In short, please be patient and consistent with your protocol and suggestions. Even the small ones can produce lasting impacts. 

How long do I do the protocol?

The herbalist will clarify with you how long the protocol should be enacted, and this is where follow-ups come in handy. Having a follow-up conversation with the herbalist helps to see what’s working and what isn’t, so that changes can be made to make the protocol both more accessible and effective. Please be in touch for clarification from the herbalist, and be honest about what you as the client are willing to incorporate into your life. 

How do I find the herbs?

Auntea Sam makes it a goal to not suggest any formula or herb that is inaccessible to the client. All formulas are researched, and sources to buy it are found and provided to the client in their protocol. These may include the herbalist’s own apothecary ingredients, or come from other herbalists that are known and trusted for their quality medicines. 

If finances are an issue for the client this is a conversation to have with the herbalist. There are ways to work with herbalists to ensure that the herbs the client needs are accessed. 

Where do you source ingredients?

For Auntea Sam’s products, most ingredients for the herbal preparations are home grown or sustainably foraged. Some dried or fresh herbs are sourced from trusted herbal sellers and credit is given to them as needed. The oils used are most often organic, and Auntea Sam is in the process of moving to working with organic grain alcohol for the tincture preparations.

I’ve tried everything, how will this be different?

Herbalists do not look solely to the symptoms and the surface manifestation of illness. We search deeper for patterns and look to remedy the root causes. With patience and commitment, improvements can be seen over time with the suggestions the herbalist makes. Again, please keep in mind that herbal medicine is not a “quick-fix”, it takes time to notice a difference.

What if I don’t want to change my diet?

The herbalist will take this into consideration and work with you as the client to try to find balance and offer some relief of symptoms. It is worth noting that the food we consume is the fuel our body uses to heal and function. If we are not nourishing our bodies in the way that they need, we may not see the types of improvements that we are hoping. The client should understand that there may only be so much that herbs alone can do without some dietary suggestions being taken into account. 

What if I don’t want to take herbs?

Again, the herbalist will take this into consideration. There are herbal therapeutics that work on a deeply subtle level, such as homeopathy and flower essences, where very little herbal constituents (the active parts of the plants) are ingested. However, through mindfulness, diet and lifestyle changes there are many avenues to improved health that the herbalist can incorporate and suggest to you

I am sober/alcohol-sensitive/have other restrictions. Can you still help me?

Yes! Since all protocols are client-specific the unique needs and requirements of each client are taken into consideration. Non-alcohol based herbal preparations are often available and will be suggested, and options for more food based herbal suggestions that are more accessible to the client’s needs. As long as the herbalist is made aware of your specific needs, they will be accommodated.

I am vegan. Do your dietary suggestions include animal products?

Animal products do not have to be a part of the dietary suggestions, there are numerous forms of non-animal products that can help support one’s health and wellness. Depending on the severity of the client’s condition there may be a conversation about therapeutic use of some animal products if the client’s condition warrants it; however, nothing will be forced on the client if they are not interested in it. 

I’m pregnant or breastfeeding, is it safe to consume herbs?

The herbalist will take this into consideration and suggest herbs that are considered safe to consume during pregnancy and breastfeeding. As always, there is room for conversation,  to ensure the client will feel safe with all suggestions. Some herbs are secreted through breast milk and this will be taken into account.

I’m seeing an allopath (general medicine doctor) and they don’t approve or know about herbal therapeutics, what should I do?

As a Registered Nurse, I am happy to either have a conversation with you or your primary doctor about the work that we do together. As a believer in health sovereignty it is your decision as the client to choose what health care looks like to you. I am happy to help you think of ways to discuss this with your doctor or support you in the conversation with them. It is also important to know that no herbal suggestions will be made if they could have an adverse reaction with your medical treatment or pharmaceuticals. 

Can I take herbs with my medications/pharmaceuticals? Is it safe?

The herbalist has done research into pharmaceutical and herbal safety in combination and will take into account what medications/pharmaceuticals the client is taking. Some herbs are contraindicated with some medications and some make the medications work more effectively, facilitating the need to reduce the amount of medications the client takes. Some people see an herbalist with the hope of moving away from some medications, and the herbalist is happy to help with that process as well, especially when the primary care doctor is aware of this. 

Should I still be seeing my doctor?

The herbalist is not a substitute for primary medical care; the client should continue to see their primary care doctor or specialist as needed. The herbalist’s aim is to work as a complementary option in addition to your medical care. 

Will all of my information be kept private?

Yes, this is an essential part of care, all your information will be kept private, only the herbalist will know your personal details. As a registered nurse I am familiar with HIPAA protocols and seek to maintain them. If we know one another personally, or you have friends or family who also see me, your identity, personal information, and even the fact that you see me as a client will not be disclosed by the herbalist; that is your business to disclose as you see fit. The only information that may be discussed will be general information about your health if I need to discuss your case with other trained and trusted herbalists in order to come up with a more thorough protocol, and I will obtain your consent before doing this. Again, your personal information will never be disclosed to anyone. 

Is this safe for children?

Yes! Children are often very much benefited by herbal medicine, and developing healthy habits at a young age is always a gift! All herbs recommended to children will be safe and gentle herbs, as well as specific dosing for the child’s age and weight. 

Is this safe for the elderly?

Yes! Elderly people also can be very much benefited by the complementary care of an herbalist. Similarly, all medications being taken will be researched and herbal recommendations will reflect the individual client’s needs. As a nurse, the herbalist has worked with many elderly client’s and would love to see more natural medicine being utilized by this demographic to optimize health and wellness.

What if I am late or have to cancel or postpone my appointment?

The herbalist understands that life happens! If cancellation or rescheduling is communicated 34 hours in advance of the appointment it will be honored free of charge. If the client needs to cancel or reschedule the day of, a 15% rescheduling fee will be requested. If you are late to the appointment, the full 90-minutes cannot be guaranteed, as the herbalist may have other appointments or commitments that day. Thank you for understanding. 

What if we don’t work well together?

I am lucky to have a large group of herbalists that I call my colleagues. If it turns out that we are not a good fit I am happy to recommend another herbalist who may work better with you; the ultimate goal is to help you optimize your health!

What if you don’t know much about my specific health condition?

I am happy and excited to research any and all health conditions that are presented to me as a clinician, and I will be upfront and honest if I don’t know about your condition, and happy to be provided with information from you or trusted sources. Additionally, having a network of trusted colleagues and teachers allows me to ask for advice on health conditions I may not know about. I will always ask your consent to get counsel from other herbalists on your case.