Ashley Sapir Lathrop, who has has lived in Gardiner for 12 years, started her business, Dreamkeeper Botanicals, about four years ago. Ashley had always been drawn to the power of plants, and after graduating college with a degree in Anthropology, she followed her passion and enrolled in the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine. She taught in the Beacon City Schools for a few years while continuing to study herbalism, using this knowledge to help keep herself and her family healthy. In fact, Ashley says that for her family “plant medicine is our primary care.”
Dreamkeeper Botanicals specializes in complementary care for women and their families, with a special focus on helping to alleviate stress and anxiety and guiding people to find the herbs and diet that works for them. “With so much stress, people aren’t able to recharge. This is especially true for women who may be trying to raise kids, run a business and pretty much do it all. We sometimes push ourselves at the expense of self care.” When she meets with someone, the goal is to really listen to them and work as a partner to bring them to their optimal health. “My passion is really customized care,“ Ashley says.
At her home in Gardiner, herbalism is a family affair. Ashley is primarily the one who harvests the plants to develop teas, tinctures, and salves, but her husband Rob helps to maintain many of the gardens where the herbs are grown.
The knowledge of plants goes right down to her nine-year-old daughter and six-year-old son, who can identify a variety of herbs and create their own simple plant medicines. Everyone is involved in nourishing and valuing the plants that surround them.
Over the past two years, Ashley has worked to increase the visibility of Dreamkeeper Botanicals with a website that includes blogs and recipes. She also holds classes independently and with other local practitioners to increase awareness about various topics on herbs, natural medicine and getting to know the local plants (bio-regional herbalism). She is now being trained in functional medicine. In other words, “root cause medicine,” which aims to look at the whole person to determine what is actually making them feel sick. In a world of very specialized medicine, she offers a more holistic approach. Ashley hopes that eventually she and other health-care workers can partner to develop a network so patients can feel as if they have a “web of support.”
“The old traditional medicines are so well-suited to modern illnesses. My goal is to find the foods and herbs that keep people vibrant and healthy. Plant medicine has evolved with us and is such a powerful form of holistic healthcare. It’s simpler than it seems. “
You can find out more about Ashley and Dreamkeeper Botanicals at www.dreamkeeperbotanicals.com.