The eWriting Herbalist: An Interview with Author Lori Bell

    Nov 16, 2013 1:07:00 PM

    holistic nutrition“I want to try natural remedies for healing and holistic health, but I don’t know where to start.” Lori Bell (an American College of Healthcare Sciences alumna) often heard this lament at farmer’s markets while selling natural products through her homegrown business, Sun Kissed Herbal. In response, she began showing novice natural medicine users that there’s a bounty of healing products right in their own spice racks. As Lori received more and more requests for natural remedies, she began teaching a class in basic herbal remedies, and the eBook, Remedies In Your Spice Rack, was born. Lori graduated with honors from ACHS as a Master Herbalist: Diploma in Herbal Studies in 2003 and was selected as the ACHS Outstanding Graduate in 2004. I caught up with Lori to discuss herbalism, natural healing, and her recent book, Remedies In Your Spice Rack. It’s such a pleasure to watch our graduates succeed and continue to help bring holistic healing to a greater audience! 

    ACHS: What sparked your interest in herbalism and natural remedies?                  

    LB: It was actually my daughter, our oldest of four. When she was under two, she had many reoccurring ear infections. I was a new mom, I didn’t know a whole lot, so I put my trust and faith in the doctors. I felt little hope when they put Jessika on an adult-strength dose of antibiotics, and they wanted to do surgery. I felt that was wrong, but I didn’t know what else to do and didn’t know where else to go. I was on my way home from an emotional doctor’s appointment with my daughter, and I saw a health food store, and I pulled in. I’ll never forget the wonderful lady who gave me my first remedy of garlic and mullein oil and told me how to make the little rice-packs for her ears, and she told me to give her probiotic yogurt. In less than two weeks, [my daughter] did a complete turn-around! She never had an ear infection again, because anytime I saw one little symptom, I would do the eardrops. I was completely hooked after that. I was constantly going to the library, going to bookstores, trying to find teachers in my area to take any kind of class I could find about herbal remedies. Out of all my four children, she’s the only one who has ever had antibiotics. I was very vigorous. You hear your kids sniffle, and it’s like, Let’s catch that sniffle before it gets to a cough or before it gets to the chest or the throat. And if it does, there are other things you can do with herbs to turn it around so it doesn’t go far enough and you really have to take them to the doctor.

    ACHS: What is one herb you should always have in your herbal spice rack?

    LB: Why just one? My first thought is always garlic or honey. But I really do use oregano a lot. I use it for steams and gargles. I put it in all the different dishes at home. Especially if there’s a little cold or a sniffle in the house, when you use an herb in a dish, you don’t need to make the remedy. You can load up a soup with oregano, basil, garlic, and all these wonderful herbs that help boost the immune system. But I do use oregano a lot in gargles and steams when the kids have any congestion, so I guess I would say oregano!

    ACHS: What made you decide to put your home remedies into a book?

    LB: I started selling all my products at a local farmer’s market, and right off the bat, I noticed a lot of mothers, women of all ages, and dads, too would ask me questions about how to naturally care for their kids, loved ones, or themselves when they’re sick. But when I gave them advice about an herb they weren’t familiar with, I could tell they would were unsure about the safety or how to buy it and how to make the remedy. So I started thinking, Hmm, maybe I should start teaching people about the herbs they already have in their cupboard. They’re already using them in their cooking, so let’s start there. I started giving advice at my booth about that, and I got a lot of requests for classes. Remedies In Your Spice Rack is actually the curriculum for a class that I teach. I noticed when I was giving my classes that my students were writing notes down feverishly, and they weren’t really soaking it in the way I wanted them to. So making it available as an eBook was for them. They can have it and download it. They can sit and relax in class and drink some tea. Now they get involved in my demonstrations, and they don’t worry about taking notes. And that’s how it came into a book. I would also like to springboard this book into something like a series, with the next one being, “Remedies From Your Garden.” When you go to your local nurseries or the garden center at Home Depot, you see many plants that are there consistently, year after year. [These are] herbal plants that you can use. There’s echinacea, calendula, and lavender to name a few. That’s my next step: to teach what is really accessible. Not mail ordered, not online. A hands on “how to grow it, how to harvest it, how to make it,” is what I want to do next.

    ACHS: Can you talk about the benefits of self-publishing through your herbal product company, Sun Kissed Herbal?

    LB: When I was writing my eBook, I talked to Phil Graham from www.ebooktemplate101.com (who has a wonderful website that makes it easy to publish an eBook). I asked, “So what do I do as a publisher?” And he advised me: “Well, Lori, you basically are the publisher. You’ve done everything for this book. So what do you want as the publisher? Do you want to bring more traffic to your site? Do you want to [promote your business name]? So for me, it was to have Sun Kissed Herbal be more visible. And that’s the only reason I used my company’s name as my publisher’s name…to make my website more visible. 

    remedies in your spice rackACHS: Remedies in Your Spice Rack is an eBook, and you completed your program with ACHS online—what are some of the benefits and challenges of pursuing a career in the digital world?

    LB: I published a children’s book in print form. I did the writing and the illustrating, and it was quite expensive, actually. So knowing that, I didn’t want to go that route again. I wanted to do something that was affordable for me and make it affordable for everyone else. That’s what I did, and it’s so accessible. A majority of people have some type of device where they can download the book, even if it’s just their home computer. I will have it in print form as well, so you can order it (soon) on createspace.com—it’s a service that Amazon.com offers. So for those who don’t want to download it, they still can order it in print form. I wanted it accessible and easy. It’s so nice! If a student is in my class and wants to buy my eBook, they can just pull it up on their phone, and boom, they have it! 

    ACHS: How do you feel your online studies with ACHS helped prepare you to write a book? 

    LB: I don’t know if I could have done this eBook without having the dedication that I learned while taking the Master Herbalist course at ACHS. I was actually pregnant twice when I was taking an herbal master’s class. And I had two toddlers as well. With four kids, it’s good to have a good schedule. I would have my due date, and I just divided my due date into the months I had left, and I would proportion my time. I did the same thing with my book. I had a due date in mind, so I broke up the eBook in sections. Every time I finished a section, I would celebrate my mini success, then start my new section! 

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    ACHS: Do you have any advice for aspiring herbalists and/or writers?

    LB: Just keep your interest strong. I know a lot of moms who say, “I want to do this, but I am going to wait until the kids get older.” And for me, I just couldn’t do that. I think we all need to keep our interest and passions alive. That gives you something to strive for everyday. We all have laundry and dishes; we all have errands; and most of us have our kids in sports or other activities, which can leave very little time for what is important to us on a personal level. I think it’s important to keep your passions, interests, and hobbies alive. It’s very fulfilling to be able to do that, even if you’re only spending 20-60 minutes here and there—it’s getting done. I think that was one of the biggest reasons [behind my success]. Some days, the steps you take may seem small (especially when the kids were young). Looking back now, those small steps I took [seem like] MILES from were I started!

    ACHS: Can you talk about your plans for future books or projects? 

    LB: [I do have a few ideas for some books and other projects.] I love, love, love calendula! It’s one of my absolute favorite herbs to grow, to look at, to use—I just love it! So I am working on another eBook for that. And there are not too many calendula books out there. I’ve looked! I’ve even gone to those old [book] stores and asked, “Do you have any calendula books?” and they’re like, “What? What’s a calendula?”

    I’ve also been making my homemade cleaners for years. I teach a class in that as well: how to make homemade cleaners out of safe things you can get at the grocery store. I know that’s very popular right now—it’s been a fun class for me to teach. So right now, it’s in a class form. It’s not in book form, yet. I am working on that. [I am also working on] teaching people about carrier oils. Not just herbs. There is so much healing that can happen with a nice blend of oils that offer your skin different minerals and vitamins and antioxidants. To me, that’s really exciting! So those are all my projects in various degrees of completion. I would just love to teach people about all those different things! 

    ACHS: If you were stranded on a desert island with perfect soil, what three herbs would you choose to grow? 

    LB: Definitely calendula! And I think you would have to have garlic. You just have to. So that’s two. I said oregano earlier, which is a really good one. I’m thinking an aloe would be great, or a lemon tree. You can do a lot with that. I use lemons in a lot of my remedies. So calendula, garlic, and let’s say a lemon tree. That would be good!

     

    The American College of Healthcare Sciences is so proud of Lori and her success! She is a testament to ACHS’s mission to provide leadership in holistic health education and to preserve and share knowledge in natural medicine. You can download her eBook, Remedies In Your Spice Rack, here, and you can also visit her website SunKissedHerbal.com. Also, make sure to swing by her Etsy page

    Start YOUR holistic health success story! If you’re interested in studying herbalism and natural remedies at the American College of Healthcare Sciences, be sure to explore our accredited online programs: Master of Science in Herbal Medicine, Master Herbalist: Diploma in Herbal Studies, and the Graduate Certificate in Herbal Medicine.

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    This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.

    Authored by Dorene Petersen, ACHS Founding President

    Dorene is the Founding President of the American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS). She has over 35 years clinical teaching and lecturing experience in aromatherapy and other holistic health subjects. She has presented papers on essential oils and clinical aromatherapy at the International Federation of Essential Oils and Aroma Trades Annual Conference (IFEAT) in California, USA; the Aroma Environment Association of Japan (AEAJ) in Tokyo, Japan; the Asian Aroma Ingredients Congress (AAIC) and Expo in Bali, Indonesia; the International Center of Advanced Aromatherapy (ICAA) at the WonGwang Digital University in Seoul, Korea; as well as the AAIC Expo in Kunming, Yunnan, China. Dorene currently serves as Chair of the Aromatherapy Registration Council (ARC), and she is also active with the Distance Education Training Council (DETC). Dorene is a travel junkie, and has led ACHS Study Abroad programs to India, Indonesia, Greece, and (in 2018) Hawaii!

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