Health & Wellness

A Healthy Kind of Herb

Rhode Island herbalists offer holistic paths to wellness using natural plants and flowers


More and more, natural remedies are being accepted as helpful treatments for all kinds of ailments, from stress to skin conditions to serious illnesses. Here are practitioners who can add herbs – and some holistic wellness – to your life.

Go Farm Fresh

Providence’s Farmacy Herbs has become one of the state’s go-to destinations for herbal remedies, in the form of tea blends and other herbal products. Herbalist Mary Blue offers consultations to talk about a person’s particular issues, and the ways that simple, natural herbs can provide holistic help. Farmacy also offers herbalism training, and has worked with over 400 interns and volunteers on the farms on the East Side of Providence and in West Greenwich.

Smell the Roses

Essential oils have so many uses, from being natural cleaning products to acting as natural medicinal alternatives. Aromatherapy opens up a whole new world of feeling better, without involving a prescription pad. At Newport Aromatherapy, herbalist Cynthia Marie LaBonte blends essential oils into delicious smelling perfumes that actually boost your wellness. Panacea is a lavender, ylang ylang and rose blend that calms you down, improves hypertension and promotes fuller breathing and a sense of well-being. Balance has Egyptian geranium, French lavender and bergamot, which lift your mood, calm your hormones and soothe your skin.

Channel Eastern Wisdom
If Chinese herbal medicine has worked in China for thousands of years, it’s probably going to lead to positive benefits for you. At Holistic Health RI in East Greenwich, Dr. Jewel Sommerville offers herbal “prescriptions” that are all natural and plant based, and treat the root of the problem as well as the symptoms. Herbalism is increasingly gaining traction in the medical community as an aid to traditional pharmaceutical treatments: think ginger supplements, which decrease inflammation, in addition to an arthritis prescription. With thousands of plants commonly used as medicine, the possibilities are endless.

Style Yourself Well

Providence’s Flipp Salon-Apothecary, you can get a fabulous new hairstyle, but you can also make some serious improvements to your overall wellness. Owner Jo-Anna Cassino believes that beauty comes from health and has been studying herbalism for years, going so far as to grow her own herbs for her herbal tinctures and skincare products. Flipp has also recently added practitioners of acupuncture, holistic massage and chemical-free aesthetic services.

Explore Chinese Medicine

Food as medicine – the idea that an improved diet can improve your physical health – is becoming more and more mainstream. But herbs can be medicine, too. At Shen Garden Acupuncture in North Kingstown, Dr. Dan Howard is an acupuncturist who also practices Chinese herbal medicine, using herbs to create supplemental treatments that can address all kinds of maladies, from recurring headaches to insomnia to bigger health issues.

Join the Circle
In West Greenwich, Paula Goldman started Silver Circle Herbals to complement her training in the medical field. Paula has been a nurse for decades, and a certified herbalist for 15. She was looking for a way to integrate the two. Now, her creams and healing salves treat everything from eczema and rosacea to pain.