Every month we have the opportunity to share the story of a past Berkeley Herbal School Alumni for our Alumni Series.
This month we caught up with Beth Sachnoff who started the program in 2014. Shortly after graduation, Beth started Wild Child Apothecary to serve moms.
Here’s her story.
An Early Love of Herbs
Growing up in San Francisco I always felt at home underneath the giant coastal redwoods. As a child I watched my mom tend to her garden, letting the stress of the day melt away. She harvested garden-grown chives to sprinkle over dinner and placed a vase of sweet pea flowers on the table. Sundays were spent biking through Golden Gate Park and in the Summer we’d camp in Yosemite, jumping off tall cliffs into the cool rushing waters of the Tuolumne River. I learned to spot poison oak and to hug madrone trees to stay cool. I understood, even as a child, that connection to nature helped create a sense of ease, calm, and peace.
I used to stop by the Scarlet Sage herb shop in San Francisco each week, intrigued by the many glass bottles of potions, taking in the aromatic heady smell of the plants, and browsing the books on herbal medicine. One day I picked up “Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health,” a book by Rosemary Gladstar, flipping through recipe after recipe.
Trips to Scarlet Sage and books like Rosemary’s re-lit a spark and curiosity in me, and helped send me along my path as an herbalist.
I took Rosemary’s book home and re-created her recipes. Tea blends to help my partner sleep at night. I’d break out fire cider shots at work when someone had called in sick. Soon my tiny basement apartment was filled with plants, glass dropper bottles, macerating tinctures, infused oils.
I felt a deep calling to learn more about the healing medicine of plants.
Beth’s Herbal Journey
I found a community class on herbs for cold and flu hosted at BHC. I left that class with pages of notes, hungry to remember every word. In 2014, I enrolled in the clinical herbalism program, and my once straight and narrow career path in education and youth development started to twist and blossom.
While at BHC I jumped at every opportunity to learn more, from the teachers and the plants. Whenever I could, I’d sneak away from work on a Friday for medicine making classes with Tony Seifert. I can still hear the bell chimes Tony would clap to commence meditation before working with the plants. Tony passed away a few years ago and he left behind a rich legacy of herbalists whom he taught not only how to prepare medicine, but how to do so with curiosity, respect, and intention.
My most treasured memories are from our epic camping trips, sitting around a fire, cooking together, and just being with the plants. I’ll never forget being six months pregnant and camping in the Anza Borrega Desert during my second year at BHC.
So much of my path as an herbalist has intertwined with my journey becoming a parent. On the day of our final exam, the completion of 2 years of study, I went into labor with my first daughter.
My own birth as a mother has been filled with emotional, rewarding, challenging, and beautiful moments. And it’s required me to actually apply what I’ve learned as an herbalist to help sustain and nourish me, so I can show up for family and my community as my full vibrant self.
Wild Child Apothecary
In 2017 I founded Wild Child Apothecary to connect those in caregiving roles with the healing and nourishing medicine of plants. I help overwhelmed sleep-deprived mamas create calm amongst the chaos of parenting so they can have more ease, balance, energy, and joy.
I offer 1:1 herbal consultations, lead group programs, teach classes, and offer a workplace wellness workshop series.
How to Get in Touch with Beth
To find out more about my offerings visit https://www.wildchildapothecary.com/ or connect with me on Instagram at @WildChildApothecary