Amber Meyers: The Herbal Sage
Amber Meyers is the Co-Director and Founding Partner of the Herbal Academy, an international school of herbalism. Through her leadership at the school, she has helped bring herbalism into more than 100,000 students’ homes throughout the world. Equally as rewarding, she has brought herbalism into her own home, teaching her three little ones about the wonder and benefits of nearby plant allies through family rhythms.
Amber is passionate about small business development and entrepreneurship, and desires to support Herbal Academy students with their own entrepreneurial pursuits via her contributions to the Herbal Academy’s Business Herbal Course, as an advisor of the Herbal Entrepreneur Conference, and expansion of Herbal Academy offerings.
How did you first discover plant-based medicine?
My journey into herbalism started with the Herbal Academy – and by that, I mean the development of the Herbal Academy! I was about one year out of college, and had been working at a PR agency while doing some freelance marketing for small businesses on the side, when I met an herbalist named Marlene Adelmann. She invited me for tea and to discuss her dreams of starting a community school where she could share her passion for herbalism and nutrition with others. I had no idea what herbal medicine was at that point in my life –– having loose leaf tea with her during that conversation was my first experience drinking non-bagged tea at all! –– but Marlene’s passion for the subject and her “sky's the limit” ambition sparked my entrepreneurial heart. Soon, we were jumping all in on this endeavor together!
In the first years, we were so busy getting the business off the ground (and seats filled in our classes!) that it took me some time before I really engaged with the material in an impactful way. That can be the nature of small business, right? But over the years, I grew right alongside the school and my personal transformation has been life-changing. There was never a point in my journey where I suddenly thought, “I’m an herbalist” because the process was slow, organic, and much of it happened through first-hand experience cultivating the school, through my mentorship with Marlene, and through the internal development and launch processes of Herbal Academy’s programs. Over the course of 10 years the school has offered 20 herbal course offerings (and some in development), and I have learned through every one of them. Our Herbal Academy team of course developers, teachers, clinical herbalists, folk herbalists, content creatives, community specialists – everyone at the Herbal Academy is so brilliant and has unique perspectives, backgrounds, and talents that work towards the same goal. Every day provides the opportunity to collaborate with a greater team for the greater good of the school and our community, and this spirit of collaboration has also really helped stretch my learning to greater depths, and has influenced my herbal journey tremendously.
What is one of your key plant-based medicine rituals?
Getting outside, engaging with nature, forest bathing – it’s part of my family’s rhythm and the plant connection that I need most to ground and nourish myself at the deepest level. My backyard abuts wooded acreage with access to neighbor-made hiking trails, deer paths, and a creek with a number of bridges to cross over. Spring through fall, as soon as my workday is over and my little ones wake up from their naps, we pack up a snack, put on our gear, and head out to explore. In spring, we come across newborn fawns hidden away in the ferns waiting for their mamas to return to them, we observe the green carpet take over the forest floor, and we forage for violets, dandelions, nettles, garlic mustard, and our favorite, morel mushrooms. Each season, there is something to look forward to. Admittedly, in winter it is harder to get outside here in Minnesota, but we still enjoy nature, just in smaller doses. I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to live with nature so easily at this point in my life.
"Getting outside, engaging with nature, forest bathing – it’s part of my family’s rhythm and the plant connection that I need most to ground and nourish myself at the deepest level."
Do you have a cultural or ancestral connection to any plants?
Herbalism wasn’t part of my upbringing. I didn’t hear stories of how my ancestors connected with plants, and I wasn’t taught how to work with herbs in my childhood – this simply wasn’t passed on.
While I didn’t have this plant connection growing up, I do feel really blessed for where my path has led me and I’m trying my best to pass along what I learn to my children. I’d be curious how my children would answer this question 20 years from now, you know? It’s common for my 5 year old and 3 year old to point out the goldenrod, yarrow, and queen anne’s lace growing in ditches while we’re out on walks, help themselves to lemon balm and berries growing in our edible landscape, ask for a mint leaf or chamomile tea when they have tummy upsets, or make pretend forest stew in the backyard with plants they can identify from the woods. These glimpses into their awareness make me so appreciative for the path they are on, and the connection they are experiencing in their early years.
"While I didn’t have this plant connection growing up, I do feel really blessed for where my path has led me and I’m trying my best to pass along what I learn to my children."
What is the one plant/herb you can’t live without and why?
I wouldn’t be able to go long without nettle! It is a deeply nourishing herb, rich with vitamins, and has numerous beneficial actions that support many body systems including the respiratory and digestive systems and provides tonic, nutritive support during pregnancy. Nettle was one herb that I could use in pregnancy and through the postpartum period, when many herbs are limited. I have drunk a lot of nettle tea in the past 5 years for that reason alone!
Nettle is really wonderful as a tea by itself, but I also favor this herb because it blends so well with others. Outside of the teacup, I enjoy using the fresh early greens in spring and early summer pastas, sautés, and skillet meals.
Can you share your favorite self-care practice?
Tea, it’s so simple but grounding for me. I will often sit down with a cup of tea in the afternoon, sometimes in the evening and usually around the kitchen table, and look out the window at the trees, slow my breathing, enjoy the aroma and the taste of the herbs that fill my cup, and take the moment to rest and unravel from the day.
Oftentimes my two older kids will end up joining me, and then it becomes an act of family self care. But tea settles everyone, and even with the entire family involved, afternoon and evening teatime will often be our most peaceful part of the day.
"...Even with the entire family involved, afternoon and evening teatime will often be our most peaceful part of the day."
How do you like to use Prismatic Plants in your daily routine?
Once I start my workday, I pretty much go non-stop for the first 5 hours while my clarity and energy levels are at their best. Once I start to lose steam and need that break, I refresh whatever drink is in my Mason jar, stretch my legs, and then come back to my desk and use the Melt Tension Serum. I massage where I feel tense – typically my jawline and my upper shoulders – and feel the tension ease almost immediately. It’s a simple practice that’s been really effective in helping me reset before going back to my computer to finish up the workday.
"I massage where I feel tense – typically my jawline and my upper shoulders – and feel the tension ease almost immediately. It’s a simple practice that’s been really effective in helping me reset before going back to my computer to finish up the workday."
What is one organization you think people should know about and support?
Herbalists Without Borders (HWB). If you haven’t heard about them, I encourage you to visit their website and learn about their community chapters and programs.
In their words, HWB is devoted to helping people and communities through compassionate holistic care all around the world. They serve communities in need that are often impacted by natural disasters, violent conflicts, poverty, trauma, and other access barriers to health and wellness through their Holistic Free People’s Clinics, trauma training, herbal medicine, education, and many other programs. Over the last few years, the Herbal Academy has been linking arms with Herbalists Without Borders to support their chapter leadership teams in scholarship-based herbalism education. It’s a partnership we hope to build upon well into the future.