In this series we are talking with experts in the fields of health and wellness, herbal medicine, foraging and more! Learn what it’s like to be part of these professions along with some of their favorite tips and tricks!
In this second interview of the series, we are talking with Angelina Shuman of Wild Earth Herbals. Angelina and I met many years ago when she had an herbal shop in Spartanburg, SC called Herb ‘n Renewal. I had the amazing opportunity to work with her there before she moved on to bigger and better things! I am so excited to share with your her amazing answers. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
- What is your name, and the name of your company or organization? (please include website and social media handles and any other contact information you wish to a potential customer to have)
Angelina Shuman, Wild Earth Herbals. www.wildearthherbals.com
Facebook: Wild Earth Herbals and private group: The Herb Garden
2. What made you choose the career path that you are on?
As a child I always had an affinity for playing with plants. I would mix up potions from weeds in the yard and make hideouts behind hedges and blackberry brambles. My maternal lineage is German and herbalism is a pretty mainstream medicine, and we have always used basic herbal remedies growing up-using food based medicines, mostly-onion tea, sage, chamomile, rich broths, etc. Of course in my teen years, I eschewed anything and kind of went on a little self destructive path until I found
myself pregnant at the cusp of 19/20. At that point I became hyper aware of
everything I was putting into my body-knowing that anything that I was
consuming whether it be food or medicine would also be consumed by my child. Throughout her younger years, I started really diving into home remedies and an all around more natural way of living. It wasn’t until I became a doula that I really started seriously looking into herbalism as a career. Moms like myself were looking for more natural ways to treat common pregnancy related ailments, I was making herbal teas for mamas, and as I was looking into what remedies would be appropriate, I found that the teacher of my doula training also ran an herbalism school that had distance learning options-which was really ideal for me at the time with two young daughters.
3. How do you describe what you do?
I consider myself a folk herbalist. I make herbal medicines based on seasonal offerings of my specific bioregion. I moved away from mass producing large quantities of items because I was having to order herbs from all over the world, and that didn’t sit right with me. So now I create small batches of seasonal goods in limited quantities. I also teach an online course called The Herbal Hearth & Home which integrates herbalism with learning how to live in tune with the seasons and reconnect to nature.
4. What is your greatest accomplishment having to do with your business?
That’s a hard question! I suppose being able to reach people all over the world and give them support on their healing journeys. Giving people the space to grow on their plant path, and providing medicine from the earth is really all I could wish for.
5. What is your greatest personal accomplishment?
I am able to fully support my family and am purchasing a home with my business. I never thought I would get here!
6. What is one health secret you wish everyone knew?
Getting outside. Being outside, in the sun, feeling the earth beneath your feet is the one thing that everyone can do. We were not meant to stay inside and sit.
7. If you could sit with one person alive or dead for a day who would it be and why?
My German grandmother. There is so much history in my family that is lost. So much information that I didn’t think to glean from her when I was younger. She was an amazing woman and gardener, and I wish I had half of her talent. I want to know what it was like growing up during the war in Germany as a teen. I want to know what it was like for her to forage for mushrooms in the forest she grew up in. I want to know what her parents were like.
8. Who has had the most influence on you and your journey with health and wellness?
That seems to change as I grow older. But honestly, the constant influence is my children. The need to set a good example for them, to create a healthy lifestyle for them from the beginning, to give them a childhood that they don’t have to heal from is what drives me.
9.Where is one place that you traveled (or visited locally) that has helped you on your Journey?
The Blueridge Mountains of Western NC. Whether it was for the SE Wise
Women conference, or just camping or even just driving through-those ancient lands are so healing.
10. Is there somewhere you would like to travel that you haven’t had a chance to yet?
I definitely want to go to the Pacific Northwest.
11. What one herb or plant do you identify with the most?
Just one? I feel like this changes based on the mood that I am in or what day it is. I guess the one that wins most of the time would be tulsi/holy basil (Ocimum sanctum). I always have to have it around me in large quantities. Fresh, dried, tinctured, etc. Just smelling it instantly creates calm.
12. Who is someone in your field that you look up to the most?
I don’t really have someone that I look up to “the most”. Again, I fluctuate on this based on what I’m personally going through. Right now, I’m really digging on Milla Prince.
13. Is there a malady that you get asked about more than others? What do you recommend for it?
Probably either gut health or stress. I don’t really give “this for that” recommendations because it changes from person to person. I do like to
focus on nutrition and lifestyle medicine before even beginning to give an herbal recommendation.
14. Because shopping locally is so important, what is a place local to you that you like to shop and why is it your favorite?
Well, I just moved to my area during the pandemic, so I have not been able to support local businesses or explore all that my area has to offer yet! So, I will recommend my friend Bethany’s farm – A Little Morr Farm. I get fresh meat and eggs and goat’s milk from her. Supporting our local farms is integral to a sustainable community!
15. Where do you see alternative medicine in 10 years?
Oh wow. I can see it going one of two ways. First of all, I cringe at the term alternative medicine-it is the medicine of humans for 99% of history and herbalism is still used in the majority of the world. So, 1-modern western medicine will totally stamp it out due to big pharma lobbyists. OR 2-people will wake up and see that it is not a competition, and that all forms of medicine can complement each other. I use herbal medicines plus take a daily pharmaceutical for my thyroid. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
16.0What is your biggest challenge in your business?
Technology. I spend more time on the computer than doing what I want-which is work with the plants. I didn’t expect that I would also be a web designer, graphic designer, social media manager, and marketer.
17. What other jobs have you held or has this been your only profession?
Food service, accountant, and non-profit administration.
18. What would you say to someone who wants to go into alternative medicine?
I would say to go for it! I know a lot of branches of alternative medicine requires certifications and specific schooling, but the beauty of herbalism here in the US, is that there is no certifying body and you don’t HAVE to take a structured program. There is enough information out there that you can teach yourself. I will say, that having a structured program is amazing-it isn’t easy gleaning information on your own-especially when you don’t know what is real. But it is possible.
19. What is something that you would like our readers to know about you?
I am obsessed with thrifting for vintage household items and clothing.
20. Who are some of your favorite bloggers and podcasts?
This might take a while.
Medicine Stories (podcast & blog)
The Woman Who Married A Bear
So You Wanna Be A Witch (podcast)
The Hormone Lifestyle Zone (podcast)
Asia Suler (One Willow Apothecaries)
Chestnut School’s blog
Dr. Sharon Blackie (her podcast is This Mythic Life)
Herbal Radio (podcast)
The Plant Path (podcast)
The Marie Forleo podcast
Love & Liberation (podcast)
The Holistic Herbalism podcast
Earth Speak (podcast)
Garden Party (Sophia Rose’s website-it’s paid access though)
And probably more that I’m forgetting!
Thank you Angelina for your answers! That list of podcasts is something to be envied. Now I know what I will be doing over the next few months! If you want to find out more about Angelina and what she offers, visit her website http://www.wildearthherbals.com