00:00:00 Briana Wiles
Is like everybody’s obsession with essential oils and thinking that they can kind of use them. Slap happily, you’re fine. There’s been, you know, like people that are like, Oh yeah, I I drink lemon essential oil in my water. I add this to my water, and I douse myself in lavender essential oil before bed. And like, we’re so against all that.
00:00:20 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Welcome to the Cooler Lifestyle podcast. I’m your host, Matt Kuehlhorn, and I’m excited to have you join me as I interview community members and business leaders from the communities in which I live, work, and serve through my business cooler garage doors, we’re going to bring you highlights on characters in our communities. Why? Because Community matters, and I want to know more about who is behind our business and leadership in order to understand and support the Community fabric that our relationships make up. And collectively, we can build stronger communities that support our lifestyles, our youth, and our health. Hello ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Cooler Lifestyle Podcast. I’m your host, Matt Kuehlhorn. And today we have Briana Wiles joining us with rooted apothecary. Brianna. Hello, how are you?
00:01:12 Briana Wiles
I’m good. How are you doing? Thanks for having me.
00:01:14 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yeah, no problem. So good. I’m glad we could kick it off on the third try here. To begin, Briana, I want to know a little bit about you. Where did you grow up?
00:01:27 Briana Wiles
So I grew up in Michigan, so Detroit area is where I hail from. And Umm, yeah, I was there until I was about 20 years old. Between that lower Michigan area, Detroit area, and then Traverse City is where I would always spend summer times. Yeah, so.
00:01:45 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yeah, and you and I’ve connected traverse cities. My hometown. We moved there, my family. My family moved there when I was 11 from Southside of Chicago and so for me it was pure freedom almost overnight and Jarvis City was a cool place to grow up. Yeah. So I’m glad you got to spend summers there. I wonder if we ever crossed paths. Do you ever go to the the big boy downtown?
00:02:10 Briana Wiles
We did. Yeah. Yeah. No, I mean, there’s, I mean, there’s gotta be always see like that kind of stuff probably happens where you saw people that totally. I mean, it’s happened to me before, where you see people years before you actually meet him.
00:02:22 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yeah, I know. I’m sure you’ve eaten breakfast that I’ve cooked if you’ve gone a.
00:02:26 Briana Wiles
Big boy, yeah. No, we were there since I was like 2 is when we had a cabin up on our Buddhist lake there. Awesome is where our stopping grounds were. Yeah, so it was good being a city kid and then having the feral side for summer time on the lake.
00:02:44 Matthew Kuehlhorn
How did so you mentioned you, you were growing up in Michigan till about 20, how did you end up in Gunnison Valley?
00:02:52 Briana Wiles
So I moved out to Boulder first to learn body work which was structural integration or it’s also known as Rolfing and so. I kind of started mentoring with someone in Michigan when I was like 15 with that and then decided that’s where I wanted to be, was in Colorado learning that, and then I had time off in the winter, so I decided I wanted to be a ski bum. And so I moved up to Keystone and did my winters there for a few winters and then would go back down to Boulder for school. And went to Hawaii for school for that. And then I met my husband up there and we decided that we wanted a ski town that also had a university. And so this is kind of how we settled here.
00:03:39 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Awesome, awesome. And how long have you been in this area?
00:03:45 Briana Wiles
It was just over 13 years that we’ve been here.
00:03:49 Matthew Kuehlhorn
That’s red right now.
00:03:50 Briana Wiles
00:03:51 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Well, cool. And you have two stores. You have a store up in Crested Butte and a store down in Gunnison. Rooted apothecary. How would you define apothecary?
00:04:03 Briana Wiles
So an apothecary, it’s a funny word because here in the Colorado we have freedom to use that word within the herbal business and with creating herbal remedies and kind of what it used to be pre. Pharmaceutical days and but in other places the word apothecary is too tightly related to to being like a pharmacy. So in places like Texas you’re actually not allowed to use Apothecary in any of your branding or names of business and stuff like that. It’s illegal because of that like crossover that way. So what it is, is it’s remedies or it’s medicine for the people is how I kind of think of apothecaries. And so in our case, it’s using herbal medicine to help people heal in whatever ways they need it, OK?
00:04:54 Matthew Kuehlhorn
So. Where does the drive in your mission around Holistics. So I’m hearing, I’m hearing body work. I’m hearing you know are really rooted sense to nature right. And the powers that can come through plants and. You know, maybe there’s a a partnership with some of. What I might call Western medicine, but it’s also. A little bit more subtle, little bit more natural, a bit more rooted. Where, where is that stemming from that always been a part of you.
00:05:30 Briana Wiles
It’s yeah. It’s kind of always been something. That’s been a part of me, I guess, in little ways and what how my family treated things. So one side of my family’s Italian and the other side’s Irish and so you had a lot of folk remedies that kind of just flew out. In different ways from people and became staples. Like you didn’t really think it was weird to put garlic oil in the ear or to have honey. Lemon whiskey shots for the sore throats or that was where the Irish side, the garlic olive oil for the ear was more the Italian side and so you’d have these little like folk remedies floating around. They’re like elderberry or eating wild bitter greens with salads. Or my grandpa would be picking feral fruits. He owned a lot of land. He was actually a developer in Michigan. And so he was much different than what I was doing. Like he was taking the land and turning it into neighborhoods, whereas I’m like, no, like save the land and so, but he would know a lot of the plans on the land from the old country. He was from Italy and so. His mom, from what I’ve been told was would pick the wild Greens in the field. And I think one of my aunties even said that she buried the child in a field. She had like 9 kids. And so I feel like it’s rooted back into like ancestral stuff that way. But then it pulled through and then I just got curious through. I went to Catholic school in Michigan and so. Not to say that it was like a rebellious thing, but a little bit like I wanted to be more in the crutchy wavelength than where I was in the Detroit area. And so I was always kind of against the grain and finding the remedies that worked that weren’t pharmaceutical based because a lot of that was being pushed heavy during my high school years. And you watched a lot of kids get addicted to stuff and you watched a lot of overdoses happen and so that was like 22,004 through 2010 kind of era. And so there was just always another way is kind of I guess how I got into it and seeing that there was. Something magic about the way that it worked and that it was just coming from the earth and then just getting into body work was a way. To see that we could heal each other. So that was really attractive to me. And I was a big volleyball player and doing, like, competitive sports that way. So I had injuries going on. And so that’s how I got into that. And then they just kind of overlapped where the body worker would talk about healing modalities or natural remedies that she used. And and then once I got to boulder, you kind of were in like a Mecca of, I mean, it’s so different than Michigan. And so once I got there at 20, I was like, oh, you’re like surrounded by all these people that give a shit in a different way. And, like, really care about their bodies and like, it’s easy access to get um. And the different healing modalities in that town, so and that was 2006. Yeah, so.
00:08:40 Matthew Kuehlhorn
00:08:40 Briana Wiles
It was kind of a little flow of events that way, I guess. Yep.
00:08:45 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Is the number of questions that are bubbling up, but I guess to kind of break it down, you have one or two or more books. How many books have you?
00:08:54 Briana Wiles
I have two published books, so I have one on foraging, which is where you can go out and eat wild plants that are either weeds or natives to the Rocky Mountain regions, and that’s mountain states foraging. And then there’s mountain states medicinal plants, which is how you can go out and learn similar plants. Like there’s a lot of the same plants within both books, but you learn how to make medicine from them and how you can use them to treat yourself. Externally or internally for different ailments?
00:09:25 Matthew Kuehlhorn
That’s awesome. Is that? More or less what your storefronts for. Or tell me about rooted apothecary and what I might find if I’m coming to shop there.
00:09:35 Briana Wiles
Yeah. So rooted was born, kind of all of that stuff around the same time where I was learning or diving deep into foraging and herbal medicine and in the midst of having studied it and studying it and really getting into it in our area. And so I was making different medicines or different kind of potions things, I guess you’d call it, like oils and tinctures and things like that. And I had an abundance of it. And so I started selling it at farmers markets. And that was around the time that I started writing books on what was going on around here because I was so heavily involved with it that I had a publishing company reach out and be like, do you want to write books? And it was like, yeah, cool. That’s awesome. Ohh. So it all kind of floated together that way, but then. There was a need for it. Like we live in this little niche valley and we were making decent money at farmers markets and it was like, well, that’s cool that people are really into this alternative wild medicine kind of thing. And so the way that we birthed rooted was I could do body work out of the little back area and sell the herbal remedies out of the front. And so for the first like until really like 2020-2021, we had like a little spa kind of thing going on with rooted where we’d have facials and massage and I do Rolfing and then during COVID that kind of it just kind of halted and then we kind of really expanded as a company and needed a lot of that. Extra backroom space in both stores to sustain the front of just the herbal side of the stores? Yeah, so. And.
00:11:14 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yeah, you mentioned COVID, and what an interesting conversation, especially around health and.
00:11:21 Briana Wiles
00:11:21 Matthew Kuehlhorn
We have this global pandemic. What have you noticed in any sort of a shift? Have you seen people gravitating more towards naturopathic? Getting curious about herbals or is there another trend away from it going more towards the vaccines and Western medicine and? Have you noticed any trends?
00:11:45 Briana Wiles
They’re local. You know it. There’s been a huge blend of it all. I’ve seen all of it. I mean, we had, I think, such a big surge during the COVID times because people were turning to natural remedies because their herbs are really kicking butt for how people were getting symptoms. For COVID, you could use herbs to really treat a lot of those symptoms that would get exacerbated, whereas with like modern medicine, you don’t have something for a dry throat besides like maybe a throat lozenge. But interval medicine, like we would have you be drinking like a demulcent tea, something that’s hydrating the whole system from within for that dryness that COVID brings out, which can cause a lot of trouble for people. And even just staying hydrated and using teas for like expectorating things like different. There was different soothing remedies that I was seeing herbs working a lot better for than over the counter meds. That was just the words. So I think a lot of people saw that and then a lot of people were talking about it. So people wanted to try it and there wasn’t a lot that was going on off the forefront before besides the vaccine and like. Stuff we had no data on to use as pharmaceuticals, whereas like herbs have been working for us for hundreds and thousands of years. And so we were treating symptoms we weren’t necessarily like, hey, this is curing COVID. It’s like, hey, this is going to help with the sore throat. This is going to help with the headache. This is going to help when that cough settles in and you need to get it out. This is what you can use if you’re getting an ear infection with it, you know, like there was COVID so different for everybody that you saw everybody react differently. And that’s why I think. Pharmaceuticals were hard to pin down for people because it wasn’t just like A1 size fit all illness. It’s still not, and so everyone just has a different reaction. And herbs are nice that way because you can kind of hone it in.
00:13:38 Matthew Kuehlhorn
What’s the best way for people to learn about herbal remedies?
00:13:43 Briana Wiles
You know, we provide a lot, like within like social media stuff or our newsletter where we try to give ideas we’re doing at home remedies or linking to blogs that we’ve done to tell people how to help that way. And then I feel like tapping into the herbal community through social media. There’s a ton of information that gets poured out that way. And then? Other than that, I think it’s kind of it, it’s like you kind of have to find it in those ways like we do classes and stuff like that where we have stuff that we do what’s called plant camp and there’s an online version and an in person version where we definitely talk about these segments of things. And I think there’s a lot of online herbalists right now and so. Umm. Like it’s kind of finding a program and knowing like like learning basics should almost be a part of like school these days so that you know how to take care of yourself. But it’s not. Yeah, so.
00:14:41 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yeah, that’s true. Are there any?
00:14:44 Briana Wiles
There’s books like there’s so many books out there on herbalism. That. Yeah.
00:14:52 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yeah, I get that. And it’s also. I mean striking curiosity in the individual to go out and. And hunt or. Pun intended. Forage the information right because it isn’t presented in a normal K through 12 curriculum and. Some of that information has been sheltered or even held out as myths in some ways.
00:15:21 Briana Wiles
Yeah, you get conspiracy stuff mixed in sometimes I think with, that’s right, herbal remedies, which can be disappointing in itself. And so and then you have doctors dismiss stuff working. You know, like I’ve had doctors tell me there’s no way my kid could have had an ear infection over the weekend because there’s no ear infection. And you’re like, well, I know because we treated it with something over the weekend. And so I think it’s, it’s gone. But you know, we have this appointment on Monday that we made on a Thursday or Friday, whatever it was, and we’re still going to come and check it out because this is when we could get in. Great. And so no, there’s still just like, this lack of acknowledgement, I think. And it’d be beautiful if we could all, like somehow mesh together. And there was that basic knowledge or even doctors carried that through. Umm. Because it’s it’s it’s like simple stuff, you know, that can really help people kind of get through illness or different ailments going on in life sometimes. Yeah, that they just want to throw pharmaceutical at, right. So.
00:16:22 Matthew Kuehlhorn
We’re in that season and and certainly COVID still around with us and all those variations RSV the flu and there’s. The winter time it’s it’s dark here in our valley right now and it’s getting lighter every day, but people are still passing around crud. What are some of the? Favorite gotos? Like, real tangible. Remedies that potentially listeners would be like maybe that could help me out right now if dealing with a cold or a sore throat or.
00:16:53 Briana Wiles
Yeah, one of my favorite cheapest ways to you will bring relief to yourself around here because it’s so dry and a lot of times our symptoms are just exacerbated because of our. Living situation like where we are, it’s our environment is a Palestinian water and the other cool thing that we have a ton of around here is sagebrush and it’s still in some spots it’s easy to get to or even conifer trees like pine or spruce, but those ones. Mess up your pot a little bit more, but the sage is nice and it won’t be as resonancy and gunky to your pot. But you make a steam for yourself and so you can make that steam for the whole house too, where it’s bringing moisture into the air. So you’re creating a more of a human, a human environment. But the sage where you could use something like oregano or time like a culinary sage, even culinary sage and our sagebrush are different. By the way, you can’t eat our sagebrush and think it’s going to taste good. But you throw it in a pot and you’d let it steam. And if you really wanted to like open up the bronchioles, cause that seems to be what we all struggle with the mouth you most, you could put a a towel tent over your head and let those vapors come up and that sagey smell that we all know helps to open everything up in the lungs and the sinuses. And so that can be a really nice way and a cheap way to you know, start opening up respiratory or blocking respiratory illness or that steamy vapor in the air. With the aromatics of Sage is actually good for like trapping pathogens and bringing it down to the ground if there’s viruses lingering around the house. So that’s a good one. And then. Umm. We have elderberry elixir that we like to give to people for just like if they’ve been exposed to a virus, if they feel like they’re getting. Sick with something, you start taking that kind of right away. So it helps to prevent with exposure the virus kind of settling in and then if you already feel like the tickle or stuff coming on, there’s that one in F this cold that also has elderberry in it. And the elderberry just helps to kind of like stop stuff in its path or it helps to shorten the duration or the intensity of the illness. So we really like those two for kind of like the quick. Thing, yeah. Quick picks, yeah.
00:19:08 Matthew Kuehlhorn
That’s awesome. Alright, have kind of a personal question because it’s always yeah, I don’t know why I’m curious about it, but if I have a cold and and I’m experiencing some of this right now. From your perspective, naturopathic holistic healing is it. Does it make any difference to the body? And I don’t know if this is a stupid question or not. Maybe we’ll have to cut this out, but.
00:19:34 Briana Wiles
No stupid questions.
00:19:35 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Does it make sense to, you know, part of me just wants to like, fight through it, plow through it, almost ignore the fact that I have a cold, maybe take vitamins, maybe some of the herbal remedies, and then just go through my day and almost David Goggins it where I’m just like, I don’t care about it. The other part of me is like I want to crash, I want to go under the covers, not even deal with the day. Um, is there is there a difference to the body or does it just depend on whatever cold illness?
00:20:07 Briana Wiles
I like school with Option B and listen to the body and that fight against it when colds come up and things like that. Because the bot like usually if you’re feeling that that slight and vitality your body’s asking for like arrest and that can usually help you recover quicker. If you like take a nap that day and decide to like take the day off and you’re like you know what that my you know like I need to drink a bunch of tea today and just kind of like take my medicines and like which would be like your elderberry tea or your F this cold tea and your elderberry tincture. Instead of powering through, you tend to see people recover quicker. Sometimes when you watch people and same thing with kids, when they try to like act like they’re fever is not bothering them. Or if you suppress it with immunosuppressants like Motrin and things like that and act like that’s making your kid feel better. You see those kids or you see those adults that are taking Motrin because like I don’t feel bad, but if I take a Motrin, I feel fine. You see the illness stay longer is what we notice. And so it’s like you’re putting out the fire. Of the illness, whereas the illness is coming in to like create fire and to try to burn something out and to try to stop something. And so if we can listen with our bodies to like the stop and let that fire ignite and nourish the fire like we want to nourish the fevers is how we think of it in herbal medicine. So even with my kids, like, I I don’t starve them a Motrin, but I don’t give it until I’m like, OK, that’s high and you’re uncomfortable. And then I give him the lowest dose. That seems to bring it down. Like, I usually go 1/3 of the recommended dose on the bottle. Yeah, works, you know, and that’s another thing is like lower doses can work well for people you don’t always have to follow, like. The intense dose that’s recommended because a lot of that stuff is bad for our livers if it’s something we’re chronically taking, but especially if we’re taking it and then we’re powering through acting like nothing’s wrong, which I think is like the American way. And I also think that’s why we saw COVID spread the way that we did at first was because it was such a highly contagious illness and people were powering through. And going around each other, you know, and so you just saw that you saw the fire.
00:22:19 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Spread, yeah. No, that’s that’s a great point and I think. You know, potentially one of the. Benefits of COVID is that it’s become less of a norm to go to work sick. It’s more of a norm now to just be like, yo, I’m sick, I’m staying home and.
00:22:37 Briana Wiles
Yeah, and as a boss, I’m like, Oh yeah, no leave. Like, if they’re at work, I’m like, no, you need to go home and spray everything down before.
00:22:43 Matthew Kuehlhorn
You leave? Yeah. Don’t don’t share anymore. It’s good. It’s cool.
00:22:47 Briana Wiles
Because it just. Yeah, it just can kind of take the whole. Everything out there. So yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s my advice. Do you nurture the.
00:22:55 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Do you have a a favorite myth that you like to bust when it comes to health or natural remedies?
00:23:05 Briana Wiles
Um, the one that comes fresh is to mine, and only because I like made a tick tock on it. Today is like everybody’s obsession with essential oils and thinking that they can kind of use them, slap happily. There’s been, you know, like people that are like, Oh yeah, I I drink lemon essential oil in my water. I add this to my water and I doused myself in lavender essential oil before bed. And like, we’re so against all that here. So we’re proponents of telling people to dilute their essential oils for everything. So when they’re going to apply it topically, they need to be diluted like to 1 to 5% of what your carrier oil is. And that way, I mean, you extend the life of. A bottle of essential oil you just bought. But you’re also not putting this intense amount of plant extraction on your body. That’s like. So concentrated compared to anything else, sure. Um, same thing with ingesting it like. We don’t suggest putting it in water that way and like. How that can you suggest me breath that was like running there running back. Um, but we don’t suggest putting it, we don’t suggest to put it in water because water and oil don’t mix. And so it’s like you’re almost just putting a bomb of straight extraction into your belly, which can be really bad for your stomach lining. It’s not good for your liver. And so that can just, it’s it’s toxic kind of in that amount. And so you have all these big MLM companies that were really pushing it here in the last decade for people to just like use it for everything, put it in the diffuser, put it in your food. Put it in your water, put it straight on your skin. And you shouldn’t be. And we’ve actually seen people coming forward now and it’s, it’s kind of cool. Like on the tick tock and on the tick tock on the old TikTok and on the Instagram, people are coming forward. Because what the post was is that you’re seeing people say now, like, oh, I get hives and I get this like allergic reaction. Anytime I touch anything that has lavender in it or anything that has peppermint in it. Like, isn’t that weird? You’re like, not really. Did you like, use a lot of lavender undiluted and like in the past or peppermint or. And they’re like, oh, yeah, like, I used to. Of lavender and I would put it on every night. And, you know, like these MLM’s and a lot of aromatherapists in the past taught us that that was OK and that wasn’t OK. And so I think that’s one of the biggest myths that we’ve been, like working against when people come in the shop and start talking and saying how they use them. And we’re like, hey, you know, that little 5 milliliter bottle should get you through. Like, a lot like that shouldn’t be. You shouldn’t be using it so fast. Um, if you’re using it appropriately. And so yeah, that’s a big one.
00:25:53 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yeah, I get that. How important is beliefs and?
00:26:00 Briana Wiles
00:26:01 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Totally missing the author.
00:26:03 Briana Wiles
Like the placebo effect.
00:26:04 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yes, yes. So if I come in and I’m like getting a strong herbal remedy for a sore throat, but then I’m still way attached to. And his ceiling or whatever? How important is the belief you?
00:26:24 Briana Wiles
Sometimes if the sore throats like strep, it can be good to get on the antibiotic, you know and like that’s when like when it’s things that. Are bacterial infections is something that we’re pretty leery of as herbalists? But I think, I think there is sometimes a little bit maybe of a placebo effect, but then I think herbs just work like sometimes I see that more in homeopathics where you’re having like the little teensy doses that are diluted, diluted, diluted from a main dose of herb. And so homeopathics are different than like the administration of like a tincture or teas and they’re like those little white balls or they can come in a tincture type thing. Those ones sometimes I’m like. Mystified by because I do think they do work. But I’m also like how? As far as like tinctures and teas though, the fact that you can taste the herbs. Shows that their actions are kind of present so. I think there there could be a little placebo, but then I think they just kind of work, yeah, if you’re using them appropriately.
00:27:31 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yeah, I love it.
00:27:32 Briana Wiles
00:27:32 Matthew Kuehlhorn
How can listeners engage with you? Learn from you. And find you.
00:27:40 Briana Wiles
So you can find us on TikTok, Instagram and Facebook at rooted Apothecary is the handle. We have a newsletter as well and we also have a Facebook community called Plant Camp Community and that’s where you can find updates about classes that we’re offering when we do our online plant camp, which is a cool community we’ve built of about 100 people in the last year that are in our online course. And so that’s like an intensive kind of like 3 month course that you can take and you meet up with us. Five once a month and then you can kind of take it as at your own course and be a part of it forever and join lives whenever. And then we offer these cool things called the plant camps that got born after we did like a botany and foraging intensive, which apparently wasn’t as nice of a word as plant camps is what the students dubbed it. So that’s where we meet up in the woods and we learn about all the plants in the wild for a weekend or about 5 days and learn how to use them for food or medicine and tap into ancestral. Skills like fire building and starting and carving spoons and.
00:28:45 Matthew Kuehlhorn
00:28:46 Briana Wiles
Little cool things like that, bowls and stuff O pad exist in nature. Yeah, so you can find all the details on that. Joining our newsletter or following us on social medias when they start bursting out? When we know dates for things, yeah.
00:29:00 Matthew Kuehlhorn
I love that. And we’ll include your social media handles and website address into these show notes so listeners, you can find Brianna at those. Last question that I’d love to close out with Brianna. What are you excited for as we begin 2023?
00:29:18 Briana Wiles
Hello, that’s a good one. You know, it’s like, I just, I love the seasonal change of everything. So I I always kind of just go into it with an open mind. I have two young kids and so they keep me on my toes and I try not to. Get too wrapped into like what’s going to happen, because they’re always kind of exploding with. The new things for me, yeah, I get that. But no, I mean it’s like business wise, we’re excited just we reading a new website right now. So there’s a lot of excitement around that and doing different course offerings that I think we’re gonna do a couple out of state this year. And then yeah, seeing what the seasons bring is always exciting.
00:30:01 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Yeah, that’s awesome. Well, just from an observer I’ve I’ve loved watching you. I think your business is incredibly unique and the word rooted is is so good because it’s part of your essence like you always carry a very rooted. Spirit with you so I’m glad to know you and I just wanted to give you a shout out.
00:30:24 Briana Wiles
Thank you for the conversation. Yeah, this is fun.
00:30:28 Matthew Kuehlhorn
Awesome. We’ll talk to you soon, Brianna.
00:30:30 Briana Wiles
We’ll talk soon. Thanks.