We caught up with our friends and fellow herb-lovers: Star Feliz, Alexis Smart, and Luke Simon on what medicinal herbs they love and how they make herbalism a part of their daily routines. We loved getting a glimpse into their past and present herb encounters! In their answers, we hope you’ll find that there are so many herbs to love and so many ways to make them a part of your day that feel special, relevant, and nourishing to you.
What are your pronouns and where are you based?
STAR FELIZ: My pronouns are they/them and I am based in Los Angeles, CA, the traditional lands of the Tongva and Gabrieleno peoples.
ALEXIS SMART: She/Her. I live in Joshua Tree, California (the California Desert).
LUKE SIMON: He/him based in the Hudson Valley, NY
We love hearing about first encounters with herbalism. What were your gateway plants?
STAR FELIZ: My earliest encounters with herbalism were early in life in the kitchen with either my mother or grandmother, so naturally my gateway plants were the kitchen herbs. I became fascinated with herbs like star anise and anise seed for their multi-purpose uses within our culture. Star anise and anise seed are both powerful aromatics, but beyond herbal medicine they’re also tasty enough to cook with everyday, and energetically they lend clearing support for healing-magic rituals.
ALEXIS SMART: My first encounter with plants was pretty miraculous. We lived in Cuernavaca, Mexico, when I was four and I developed a very high fever with delirium. I was starting to slip away and I told my mother not to be scared, but I might die! It was a Sunday and there were no doctors available. My mother, who is also an herbalist, found a medicine man and brought him to my bedside. He had a big jar full of bright pink tea with flowers floating in it. It was so magical looking. I drank it and my fever went down immediately and brought me back to life. When I started walking around again, my mother pointed to the pink Bougainvillea bushes growing around our house and said that was what the man made the tea from…so whenever I see the beautiful pink blossoms, I quietly thank Bouganveillea for saving my life.
LUKE SIMON: Marijuana was the first herb that showed me how strong and fun herbs could be. It's too intense for me now though.
What does doing herbalism morning, noon, and night look like for you?
STAR FELIZ: I’ve been adding dandelion, chicory, ashwagandha, and different mushroom powders like reishi and lion’s mane to my 50/50 decaf and regular coffee blend every morning. I reallyyy love the taste of coffee.
Noon time rituals really depend on what kind of day I’m having. If my stress levels are high and mood is tanking then I’ll reach for my tulsi, motherwort, nettle, moringa, or hibiscus tinctures. Gravitating towards the nutritive herbs that can refill a depleted well and brighten my outlook without sedating my nerves just feels right for the afternoon.
Lately, my herbalism at night has included the lovely california poppy or blue vervain. I’ll usually light some herbs or tree resins to smoke my spirit body after a long day, lately it’s been rosemary. Then I’ll take a few drops of the flower essence I’m working with for that season which right now is Violet.
ALEXIS SMART: Because I am a flower remedy practitioner, my flowers are always close at hand. Though not herbs per se, they are the subtle, energetic version of plants. I take my own custom blended flower drops four times a day. It may be just one minute out of my day, but it is a time where I check in with myself and give myself what I need. The flowers do feel like my friends, here to support me.
LUKE SIMON: Morning I sip some dew off flower petals. (Substitute coffee when flowers aren't available). Afternoon I drink cacao as an uplifting heart opening pick me up. I add some ashwagandha for strength and stress relief. I am big on drinks all day. Healthy drinks are my emotional support, cheering me on with their flavor and vitality. Evening I take sleep herbs to wind down, like oatstraw, passionflower and skullcap.
What routines and practices keep you reminded that you are part of nature?
STAR FELIZ: It’s hard to ever forget that I’m a part of nature because even though I live and work within human constructed environments, my connection to the ancestral and spirit realms constantly reminds me what’s truly real. I’ve mostly always lived in big cities but the nature elements and the plants that surrounded me were always the most enchanting part of life lol. Going for short walks (and going barefoot when I can) and only paying attention to the plants is one of my favorite ways to ground and connect.
ALEXIS SMART: The flower remedies can make you feel much more connected to the plants and trees around you. I notice that I can feel the energy of trees so much lately. I try to stand under our big Palo Verde tree with my shoes off every day to ground and feel the peaceful strength it gives. I live in the desert now, away from city lights and chaotic EMF stuff and that has made me feel so much more connected to nature. I wake up every day and fill the water dishes for the wild rabbits that come to visit me around that tree.If they are lucky, I leave fennel fronds, their favourite. The rabbits are a gift to me. We have a silent communication that is so special. I take walks through the chaparral and cactus here and appreciate the ever changing dramatic clouds. I have discovered that there is way more nature and life in the desert than I imagined-big hawks, jack rabbits, snakes, little chipmunks, they're all part of our land.
LUKE SIMON: I chose to move to the country in 2020, and have been learning how to live in a more simple way. The seasons give me structure- growing food in spring and summer, chopping and stacking firewood in fall and then resting and writing in the winter. I do yoga and breathwork year round and that helps soften my mind so I can receive the life force around me. There's an elegance to nature and it guides us to shift our desires for the simple beauty and gifts of life. Yellow changing leaves are rustling out my window as I type this.
What medicinal herb are you loving on these days?
STAR FELIZ: Ooooh if I had to choose I’d go with reishi. I grew up on the east coast, but now I live in dry Southern California where medicinal mushrooms don’t grow so plentifully. Maybe it’s ironic that I’ve been deepening my relationship with them during this time, but it’s felt so grounding. With reishi in particular, there are days when I won’t take in any other herb or medicine but reishi. It’s so powerful that it can hold you up through different transitions all on its own.
ALEXIS SMART: I’m loving marshmallow these days. I am Vata Dosha in Ayurveda (which means we actually don’t do too well with dry climates/dry food). So I am using marshmallow to help keep the moisture inside and counteract the desert. But my desert island herb may be Milk Thistle. I am taking it long term and really feel its benevolence.
LUKE SIMON: Medicinal herb I am loving these days is Calendula. it thrived at our garden at Maha Rose North this season. I dried the flower for tea and am also infusing them in olive oil that I will use as a face serum. The smell has grown on me, sharp and buttery, the tea and oil turn a cheerful golden yellow. It feels very beauty giving and happy to me. Also, the seeds are shaped like alien princess goat horns. Look up image of the seeds and I think you will see how special and magical the seeds, and plant are.