Every month we catch up with an alumni of the Berkeley Herbal Center certification programs in our Alumni Series.
This month we caught up with Caitlin Covington. She graduated in 2013, moved to Melbourne, and despite the red tape of immigration, founded Flora Stone Apothecary to offer healing, teaching, and making herbal medicine for her clients.
Plant Love from Chicago to BHC by way of Santa Fe
My interest in plants began at a young age. I was enamored with the natural world in general. I grew up in Chicago but spent a lot of time in rural areas and I always felt more at home in these wild spaces.
Tending to the garden and learning from my very green thumbed grandparents was my first gateway to the plant world. I spent every summer helping my immigrant grandparents in their large garden. My favorite memory from childhood is climbing the cherry trees with my grandmother to pick the fruit to make strudel. Yum!
I moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico as a teenager and found the healing community there very inspiring. I was lucky to connect with traditional medicine folks which further solidified my love of plants.
As I aged, I had an instinct to become a herbalist, but I didn’t really know how to go about doing it. So I completed a Bachelor’s degree and studied a variety of things like Ayurveda, nutrition, ecopsychology, art therapy, aromatherapy, and traditional Chinese medicine before I felt settled on pursuing clinical training in Western Herbal Medicine.
Conventional medicine from a doctor never felt like an effective form of healing for me. I knew that pursuing a clinical training would enable me to care for myself and others in a more well-rounded way. I choose the Berkeley Herbal Center after visiting a few schools and considering many.
I was excited by all the camping trips and the community clinic. The school just felt right -and, if I’m being honest, a bit mysterious! I knew some bigger magic was unfolding.
I felt I needed to be there. I just leaped and trusted in the process. I am so grateful I did!
Time at the Berkeley Herbal Center
My life forever changed by attending the Berkeley Herbal Center!
I loved the in-depth classes. I loved my fellow students and teachers. My favorite part of the experience was taking camping trips all over California’s different microclimates to learn about different plants and seaweeds while harvesting herbs for the school’s clinic.
It was also an amazing learning experience to complete my clinical year with Pam mentoring me along the way. I saw many difficult cases that year and really fell into my calling to work with folks one on one.
The education I received extended beyond the traditional idea of schooling. I healed a lot and my consciousness shifted during this time.
Pam’s influence felt very divinely feminine. I felt very supported on my educational journey, and deeply supported as I uncovered my own need for healing on a deep level. Working with the plants really helped to open me up and so much unfolded for me during my years at the school.
I think true teachers have this ability to impact us on so many different levels, and more than anything this is what I carry in my heart from my days at the Berkeley Herbal Center.
After the School
When I finished my schooling I had an opportunity in San Francisco to design herbal drinks for an apothecary themed bar that was opening called The Devil’s Acre.
Once I wrapped up this fun project I moved to Melbourne, Australia to live with my partner. I had no idea how my qualifications would transfer over to a foreign country. A lot of people were doubtful that I would be able to practice in Australia (lots of red tape and regulations over here!), but I just pushed on and found supportive helpers along the way.
After a year of investigating my options and learning about how the herbal medicine industry is regulated in Australia, I was able to become a registered member with the Naturopaths & Herbalists Association of Australia! Now I practice in Melbourne focusing on women’s health and specifically the areas around menstruation, infertility, preconception & pregnancy.
I just kind of fell into this work, but the thread of the divine feminine seems to inform all the things I do! I renamed my business Flora Stone Apothecary to honor the flowers and the stones which have been profound healers in my life.
My work has also extended into the areas of plant spirit medicine, ceremonial work, and energy medicine. Most months are a blend of seeing clients, creating herbal medicines for folks, teaching, and holding moon ceremony every new and full moon.
How to Follow Caitlin Covington
If you are curious about my work you can connect with me on Instagram
@FloraStoneApothecary or through my website www.FloraStoneApothecary.com