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by Faye Sakellaridis
August 07, 2018
Sophia Rose is the founder of La Abeja Herbs, an herbal apothecary that marries the foundation of traditional herbal wisdom with the healing power of aesthetic. Each remedy is crafted in alignment with the lunar phases - begun at the time of the dark Moon, then pressed and bottled when the Moon is at its fullest, pregnant with the completion of a cycle and more potent than at any other time.
La Abeja Herbs creates medicine for the Dreamer, the Visionary, and the Lover.
Read on to learn more about Sophia's lifelong love for herbalism, her spiritual relationship to plants, her every day herbs, and her relationship to the heart-opening herb Damiana.
How did you get interested in herbalism?
For as long as I can recall, I’ve always felt most at home in the company of flowers. However, around my twentieth birthday, the plants called out to me in a way they never had before, and I could not resist their luscious invitation to enter into a new phase of life. In 2010 I began my formal herbal studies at the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism in Boulder, Colorado. During my two years there, I completed an in-depth clinical training and had the opportunity to apprentice with local herbalist and wise woman, Laura DiNardo. I also had the good fortune of serving as the resident medicine maker for the school’s clinical apothecary, which took me deep, deep into the forest.
The countless hours I enjoyed gathering plants in the wild woods and high alpine meadows of the Rocky Mountains left me forever changed. Through the time spent in communion with the green and growing world, I began to see plants as my teachers, friends, and most important relations. They are wise beings with a sentience and sovereignty all their own and I am honored to share a deep kinship and sense of reciprocity with them. For the last eight years, I have devoted my life to their continued flourishing and in turn they provide for me as well in ways I’d never imagined possible. If you’d like to read more about the path that led me to plant medicine and my journey with La Abeja Herbs, you can do so here.
Can you tell us about your spiritual relationship to the plants you work with?
Plants are multidimensional beings with incredible wisdom and healing to offer the world. Wherever I go, I feel connected to the plants because they speak to me in a language I can understand and relate to, with greater fluency even than I am able to communicate with most humans. Plants have an uncanny ability to get straight to the heart of things. And they always tell the truth. When my heart is feeling heavy, or I am confused or overwhelmed, it is to them I go for consolation and guidance. When we spend time getting to know specific plants and places, their timeless wisdom and deep presence become a part of us and we are then able to be express this same wisdom in our own lives. Working with plant medicine sincerely, changes you on a fundamental level which allows you to see beyond the short-sighted timeline of modern humans and gives you access the ancient awareness of real Earth Time.
How does La Abeja Herbs source its plants?
More than ever before it is essential to understand where and how the plant medicine we use is being cultivated, harvested, and processed. We use mostly simple and abundant medicines which grow close to home. All herbs not gathered or cultivated by me or someone I love are sourced from organic and biodynamic growers who engage in practices of reciprocity. We are always looking for more folks to partner with and ways to further improve the regenerative possibilities of our medicines and particularly interested in supporting businesses owned and run by LGBQTIA+ and BIPOC folks. If you are a small herb grower and would like to connect, please get in touch with us about possible collaboration.
What herbs do you incorporate in your every day routine?
The plants I call upon changes with each new season and the setting. As I write to you today from the Portland library on a chilly and overcast midsummer’s day, it is Comfrey and Lemon Balm, Red Clover and Lavender that have been nourishing my body and settling my soul. I regularly take what I call Medicine Walks, where I meet and greet the plants and place wherever I am and see which nourishing herbs are available to gather. These walks are an opportunity to connect with the plants and place where I am and to offer them the medicine of my presence, as I am receiving theirs as well.
Can you tell us about your personal experience with your Damiana tincture?
Damiana is one of my favorite herbs of all time. It is well suited to my cool constitution, which tends toward stagnation and melancholy. Damiana is sexy, sensual, warming, and playful. It helps me to set aside my sense of seriousness and connect with others in a way that feels natural, despite my often anxious nature. Damiana settles us into ourselves in a way that is grounding and expansive and creates space for us to enjoy the here and now in a way that is subtly mood and mind altering I’ve written about Damiana extensively over at Garden Party and for folks who are interested those words are available for subscribers in our Archives.
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