Heart of Herbs Student Profile – Kristena Haslam

Tell us a little about yourself and your business

I was a young mother, at age 17 I had my first child and through 2 marriages, completed my family at 7 children, which is not what I would have expected for my life. I always thought I would have the perfect husband, 2 kids, the sweet house, be the domestic goddess and live happily ever after. My first marriage was a very rocky road, in which my children and I were abandoned a few times. As a single mom, I can remember striving to keep my children and healthy and happy as possible through turmoil. I would often think of nature and the gifts and purposes they must have for people and the planet, and that is when I began to research and use medicinal and edible herbs and plants. I found that my children and I responded very well to them, and I continued to learn as much as I could about herbs and what I could do with them. Bath and body care became my passion. I simply loved how herbs worked for my body care and that is when Dreamseeds was born. I have hardly used another company for my body care in over a decade, because the herbs take care of my family and I so well, I have not had to buy any other products. I absolutely love to build relationship, harvest, and make medicines with the plants as well. I love to spend time in relationship to the earth, praying and blessing while gathering. I feel so much activates energetically when I put my hands upon the beloved plants and create products to help my family and customers and their families. It is an honor to do the work that I do.

Did you enjoy your time at Heart of Herbs?

Yes. At that time in my life, I really needed some structured learning. I also needed a school that gave me flexibility to do the work on my time, since I was homeschooling several children and pregnant during my Master Herbalist Course. I did not have pressure with my course, therefore my studies broadened , as I not only read and wrote, but was out in nature deepening my understanding of what I was learning and how I could effectively be useful to help humanity and the planet.

What have you done since your graduation?

I spent a few years in Jackson Hole, Wyoming studying the plants of that region and teaching others about the uses of that high altitude plants for medicine and food. I bought a consignment store there that was a complete failure. And in that short season of owning the store, I spent all my time there and very little out in the forest, as I had years before. It was a very difficult time. I took a break after the store closed, came back to Arkansas to recoup for a year. I now know that nature and herbalism is simply a part of me that I cannot disconnect from, as I did when I had the store. I am again studying more and working Dreamseeds between Jackson Hole and Arkansas. I also became a grandmother the year of my graduation and my 6th grandchild is due late this year.
4. Was your education useful in what you have now done? Indeed. I can remember reading something in my course, and often times would try and study more on the subject if it intrigued me or got stuck in my mind. My goal was to completely know everything about herbs when I graduated. I now know, I have my entire lifetime to keep learning about the plants and that new information and deeper knowledge will continue. That is one of the joys of herbology. We are continually learning and growing.

What is/ are your favorite herbal books?

Anything Rosemary Gladstar. I adore her. Richo Cech’s Making Plant Medicine is completely falling apart as I had referenced it so often when beginning medicine making. David Hoffman is brilliant and the Holistic Herbal was introduced to me in the course, which I am so grateful for. I also like ethnobotany of the region I am in to see the history of plant uses with native people. The encyclopedia of Aromatherapy by Chrissie Wildwood is one I reference often. Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs by Gail Faith Edwards is another good one. Another reference I love is Herb T.V. on You Tube. We are truly blessed with technology and the growth of herbalism throughout our country, so that we have access to many teachings, as well as continuing education. I hope to be one of the herbalists in this time that plants good seed for the future generations in all I do, in all I am. thank you for the opportunity to share a bit about my herbal journey with you,
Kristena Haslam