Alumni Highlight: Taking Care of Mind, Body, and Soul |

Feb 5, 2021 12:29:31 PM | alumni highlight Alumni Highlight: Taking Care of Mind, Body, and Soul |

ACHS Herbalism alumni Jacque talks about her experience opening The Prana House, a holistic wellness center and new-age apothecary.

jacque maldonado blog header

Jacque Maldonado graduated from ACHS with a Certificate in Herbal Retail Management and is the owner of The Prana House, an Organic new-age apothecary and holistic wellness services center.

Rooted in Holistic Health

Starting as a child, Jacque was familiar with holistic health and herbalism. "My family is originally from Mexico and Guatemala so it was something that I grew up learning. Folk remedies and kitchen remedies and healing was a big thing in our household," she says.

Later in life, Jacque became interested in learning more about holistic health as an adult. "I came back to a lot of these modalities on my own with my own interest and redirection into what health and wellness is for me," she says.

herb day photo-jpg

Choosing a College

Jacque always wanted to run her own business and originally took business courses at Drexel University. At the time, she wasn't sure what type of business she wanted to open. "My previous career was something completely different. But in the quest to decide on what business I really wanted to create for myself, this kind of came about in a very serendipitous way," Jacque says. As a yoga instructor and someone who already used holistic wellness in her personal life, it made sense to create a business out of it.

When searching for a school, Jacque says that one of the biggest things was to find one that was accredited. Back at the time when she completed her degree at ACHS in 2013, holistic health education was less common than it is now and fewer options were available. "Back when I did my training it was still considered one of the pioneer things. It wasn’t really as widely known as it is now. I think there is a lot more awareness and attention on holistic health certifications and degrees today," she says.

Jacque also says that she appreciates the resources that ACHS offers to students that they can refer to even after they graduate. "At one point in time I hope to come back to ACHS as a student to continue my education even further," she says.

The Prana House

During the time that she was studying at ACHS Jacque also opened her own wellness business. She wanted to make sure she had the proper education to sell herbs in her store and provide information to clients. Her business, The Prana House, is an Organic new-age apothecary and  holistic wellness services center. "We offer over 100 different varieties of herbs for education, for wellness, and all kinds of aspects from medicinal to spiritual," Jacque says.

The Prana House also offers a service called Mind, Body, and Soul: "It’s discussing past history with clients and what their goal is for themselves and their path of healing for all three of those major components," Jacque says. "And then we discuss what would be beneficial and also reasonable for them to incorporate into their lifestyle. Because sometimes it can be very overwhelming, especially with how many varieties of herbs there are. So taking it slow, and trying to create more of a second nature approach."

Jacque originally started by working with friends and family to get her her name out, and then once she graduated she was able to go full time with the Prana House. "We’ve been building ever since. It’s been a very wonderful and amazing journey so far," Jacque says.

Prana House Website Screenshot

One of Jacque's most popular products at The Prana House, Be Well Syrup, was created during her time at ACHS. Her son was in daycare and she wanted to create something that would support a healthy immune system. "I didn’t want him to be that child that was constantly sick all the time. I created the elixir when he was 3 and I think that would be one of the most popular things," she says.

Jacque's favorite parts of her job are working with people and plants. "Just like people, plants have their own personalities and it’s really great to be able to see which plants would blend well with certain individuals based on their constitution and their personality. The education piece and getting to empower people with plant medicine is one of my favorite parts by far," she says.

Jacque maldonado be well syrupPictured: Be Well Syrup


Herbal Education

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Prana House was temporarily shut down for several months. However, Jacque says that it actually created an opportunity for her to educate people about herbs. "I think that when the pandemic hit, a lot of people wanted to really empower themselves with their own health and wellness," she says.

Having an herbal business and the knowledge from her education to back it up has allowed Jacque to be a trusted source of information for those who want to learn more about herbalism. Since the beginning of the pandemic, she has noticed an increase in awareness and desire to learn more about holistic health and has also seen more people wanting to make their own herbal tea, medicinal tinctures, and more.

jacque maldonado apothecary

Pictured: The Prana House

Virtual Events

The Prana House offers virtual events to educate the community on herbalism and more. Jacque is currently in the middle of a class series about folk herbalism. "I started doing that in the summertime with one class per month where we concentrate on one system in the body and explaining herbs that can not only help with acute symptoms but that can be used in a nurturative way," she says. The next class in the series focuses on the skin and will take place on February 13, 2021. Visit The Prana House events page to learn more and register here.

jacque herbalism event

Business Advice

Starting her own business has taught Jacque some valuable lessons. If you are planning on opening a holistic health and wellness business, this advice may help you along the way:

  • Know your strengths. "Are you more creative, or more administrative and like to research the laws and all the background that’s required? Really knowing what your strengths are in that aspect of becoming a business owner is truly important," Jacque says.
  • The easiest way is to just begin. Things may never feel perfect, so the best way is to just start with what you have. "Family and friends are going to be the biggest pool with which you can start, too. They can be your biggest advocates in spreading the word," Jacque says.
  • Try to get in a beginner's mindset. You are likely an expert in holistic health, but some of your clients might be unfamiliar with it and it is important to not make them feel negatively for not being aware. "I really had to come into the mindset of a beginner and not make people feel bad for not knowing. Everyone’s experience is very different," Jacque says.

If you want to keep up with Jacque and The Prana House, you visit the website here or follow her on Instagram here.

New Call-to-action

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am the social media & PR specialist for the American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Institution that publishes this blog. However, all opinions are my own. This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

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. 

About American College of Healthcare Sciences

ACHS Founding President Dorene Petersen with three studentsAmerican College, founded in 1978, is a fully online accredited institute of higher education specializing in holistic health. Based in Portland, OR; our goal is to make research-driven and science-based holistic health education taught by industry-leading experts accessible to anyone anywhere while still giving students a hands-on experiential learning experience like a traditional college and a strong sense of community, school pride and student bond.

This commitment to our students and graduates reflects in our current survey results that reflect 98% of our students would recommend ACHS to a friend or family member.

We believe education is the most powerful tool for changing an individual and the world around us. 

When a person enrolls as ACHS, it is vitally important that they graduate with tools they need to forge their own holistic and sustainable missions, build up their communities confidently and changing the face of healthcare with knowledge.

Gillian Turner

Written By: Gillian Turner

Gillian joined ACHS after graduating from Linfield College with a BA in Mass Communication and a minor in visual studies. She grew up off the grid in rural southern Oregon and spent time exploring the forest surrounding her house and teaching gardening classes to other children in her garden. While at Linfield, Gillian gained valuable experience in public relations, social media management, and digital art. She was awarded a strategic communication scholarship and inducted into Kappa Tau Alpha, a national college honor society “that recognizes academic excellence and promotes scholarship in journalism and mass communication.” When not at work, Gillian can most often be found making art, enjoying nature or drinking coffee with her husband, Preston. Her interests include sustainability, mental wellness, and trying to stay connected to nature while living in the city. She studied abroad at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and has traveled to over ten different countries. Her favorite place that she has visited is the Scottish Highlands, and she hopes to visit many more countries in the future.