Our current collective:
Rachael Reeves is a North Carolina native who is deeply at home in and inspired by southern culture, especially its rich history of herbal healing. Growing up on a farm, food justice and nourishment are at the forefront of all her work. Running around in the woods, she was drawn to plants in their natural setting and began her journey learning and steeping in plant medicine for over 20 years. Her mentors and teachers are story tellers, joke makers and tear jerkers. Much respect to Nature, Colette Gardiner, Howie Brounstein & Steven Yeager, Michael Moore, Phyllis D. Light, family and community.
Rachael co-founded the plant medicine program at Common Ground Health Clinic, a free clinic with the core belief of solidarity not charity, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, where she resided as staff herbalist for eight years. In 2011, Rachael started the collectively run Maypop Community Herb Shop for folks to have access to plants as self-care & healthcare. She is deeply rooted in the belief that plant medicine is the people’s medicine and belongs in our hands. Rachael works as a community/clinical herbalist, health educator, radical mother and community member. Her work is informed by bioregional practices and southern folk plant medicine. She offers health consultations, workshops and classes, and uses her background in first aid & plant medicine to support radical movements, social justice & community liberation. Her greatest joys are connecting nature, people & plants, playing in the garden and heading into the wild with her incredibly supportive partner and two amazing & inspiring young beings.
Jen Stovall grew up in the North Georgia piedmont and spent her summers in the Southern Appalachians surrounded by the verdant abundance of medicinal plants. Although she didn’t know it at the time, some of those plants would grow to be some of her most significant allies. Driven and inspired by her thirst for autodidactic education, she left Georgia at seventeen and traveled extensively throughout the US and internationally. As the wind blew her hither and thither, she became entranced by the beauty and mysteries of plant medicine and sought more formal training with many amazing teachers including 7song, Michael Moore, Phyllis D. Light, Patricia Kyritsi Howell, and DeAnna Batdorff.
In 2004, Jen moved to New Orleans and has spent the years since then learning to love the swamp and getting to know the sub-tropical plants that grow in it. In 2011, Jen opened the collectively run Maypop Community Herb Shop, which many people in the community rely on as their primary source of healthcare. She also graduated with a BSN-RN from Louisiana State University School of Nursing and obtained her NADA Ear Acupuncture Detox Specialist & Trainer license, both of which continue to inform her herbal practice.
At present, Jen works as a Community Herbalist & Health Educator, using a blend of Southern Folk Medicine and Western Herbalism in her classes and with her clients. She has found herbalism to be both a potent tool for pursuing social justice in the world, and a powerful manifestation of the ethical and ideological path she walks in her personal life. She believes that health care should be accessible to everyone and that the most powerful strategy for this is educating and empowering people to choose their own path to health. She is constantly renewed and inspired by witnessing the magic spark that occurs when people are introduced to plant allies through consultations, herb walks, medicine making, & health education.
Meet our staff:
Ash studied Community Herbalism at Terra Sylva School of Botanical Medicine in the Summer of 2016. They also studied briefly with Phyllis D. Light. Ash is particularly interested in herbs for mental health and trauma-informed practices. Ash is also a Conflict Mediator and is currently in graduate school to become a Licensed Professional Counselor. You can contact them for mediations here.
Educator, Poet, Doula, Asc3nding Herbalist, Reiki Master III, Food Literacy Educator, Artist and Designer- Ellenie Marie Cruz uses her given and learned talents to promote the art of ancestral practices to heal self, family and community. Motivated by social justice, she has shifted from being a high school English teacher to a free agent and entrepreneur promoting radical change through holistic wellness, self-care and community building. Ellenie received her Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary English Education and has a strong focus on her research of Spoken Word as a method of Social Change and Education. Now, mostly through her small business, Asc3nsion Art, she serves and impacts her community by providing a pop-up apothecary, herbal consultations and classes focused on using natural practices for self-care and wellness. She is the sole Organizer of the NOLA Herb Gathering, has most recently published her first poetry book, Saturn Return I: Glimpses of the past. Currently she is expanding her offerings to provide introductory herbalist classes in New Orleans for self-identified BlPOC through the Roots Institute and teaching a few classes at the Samara School of Community Herbalism. Her online platforms include asc3nsionart.com, poppinpistils.com – a lifestyle blog, the podcast- Oshun’s Garden on sound cloud, @asc3nsion art and @nolaherbgathering on Instagram.
Justine Diamond works behind the scenes at Maypop performing administrative and marketing duties. She also makes natural perfumes through her business, Elspeth’s Airs, some of which can be found in the shop! Find out more about her offerings on the website, Facebook and Instagram. She is currently completing an aromatherapy certification program and is available for consultations and custom products. She loves being in the world of plants and looks forward to studying herbalism more formally at Samara School of Community Herbalism in 2019. Justine is also available for bookkeeping and Spanish interpretation work, if you’re looking! Contact her here.
Our original collective:
Wendy Hounsel has been working with plant medicine for 15 years as a community and clinical herbalist. She is also a registered nurse, and works within both the herbal and biomedical communities to foster mutual understanding and to increase collaboration between them. She believes that health care is a fundamental human right, and that working with plants can play a vital role in regaining power over our health. She has studied with herbalists Corey-Pine Shane, 7Song, and Phyllis Light, as well as distance-learning with Rosemary Gladstar. She co-founded the herbal program at the Common Ground Health Clinic in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and was a staff herbalist there for three years. Before graduating from Louisiana State University School of Nursing in 2011, she helped found Maypop, where she worked as a shop herbalist, taught classes, and had a private herbal practice. Wendy has received training in NADA ear acupuncture and is a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild. She left New Orleans in 2013 and currently lives in Eugene, OR, where she is an herbalist at Occupy Medical, a free primary care clinic. She also works as a cardiac nurse.
Amy Seifert has been studying and practicing western herbal medicine since 2004. She worked for 7 years co-running the herbal program at the Common Ground Health Clinic and has incorporated this clinical experience into her private community herbalist practice. She is passionate that all people should have access to quality healthcare and that this includes accessible education about disease, health, nutrition, and wellness. Amy grew up in Girdwood, Alaska and spent her formative years tromping through the rich, dark woods and mountains of alpine tundra. Her love of nature eventually led her down the path to plant medicine and holistic health. She has studied at the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine, the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine, the Appalachian Center for Health Studies, and the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism. The countless brilliant herbalists Amy has learned from over the years, in schools, brief encounters or writings, continue to challenge and inspire her work. She is a registered professional herbalist with the American Herbalists’ Guild. She has also been trained in NADA ear acupuncture. Amy believes that when people begin to learn about plants as medicines they gain empowerment in their own healthcare, which is essential in truly holistic medicine. Knowledge of herbs can be the beginning of a healthy body, mind, spirit, earth, and global community. Amy feels strongly that herbalism has always been a folk medicine and must continue to be a tradition that belongs to the people.
The place in New Orleans for high quality medicinal herbs, culinary spices, and teas