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The Experts: Brittney Sounart

Updated: May 25, 2020

Brittney is not only a loving lady that I get to call my aunt, but an amazing woman with so much talent in her field! She knows herbs more than you could ever comprehend. Her ability to help bring healing and restoration to people is incredible to watch. I have great memories of walking around her store as a kid smelling all of the amazing spices, teas, and oils all around just amazed by all of the variety. Her teas have kept me energized, her spice blends have flavored many of my dishes, her salves have healed my countless kitchen wounds, and those are just some of the small things that she's capable of! Please enjoy her Q/A below because I know I did!

Q: Tell me about your background in herbalism and what you are doing today.

A: I graduated from ASU (political science and minor in business) and then years later went to Southwest Institute of Healing Arts to do their 500 hour Western Herbalism Program. I then did a two-year mentorship in clinical herbalism to support my growth in working on one on one with clients. I then received my Registered Herbalism (RH) through the AHG (American Herbalist Guild). Today I co-own an herb store (work and run 21 years), see private clients (herbal consultations over 15 years) and teach at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts and at Desert Sage Herbs.

Q: What is the most common question you are asked?

A: Probably issues with sleep, anxiety, and energy levels

Q: If you could only use 5 herbs for the rest of your life, what would they be, and why?

A: That is crazy hard to answer. There are so many. We carry over 300 herbs in my herb store so it is hard to narrow it down.

I would definitely have medicinal mushrooms (although that is a fungus, not an herb) like Reishi mushroom it is a supertonic for overall vitality, longevity, immune function, gut health

Passion flower-to support the nervous system, chattery mind, support sleep

Andrographis- for the immune system if I was getting sick (in a capsule because it is extremely bitter)

Ginger-for pain, inflammation, and digestive support

Chaparral- so I could make salves and balms to use topically for skin issues

Q: What do you think is the most underrated herb? Overrated?

A: I think the spices that we use in cooking are the most underrated herbs. As American's, I don't believe we add enough spices to our foods. They are truly super-foods.....antiseptic, antioxidant, support cardiovascular health, anti-inflammatory, blood sugar balancing. (turmeric, ginger, oregano, basil, thyme, cinnamon, clove, cardamom, etc) Most people's spice cabinets are filled with spices they got years ago and have lost most of their medicinal properties. I always use double or triple the amount of herbs and spices that most of my recipes call for. In traditional medicine...herbs and spices were the medicine and were traded for gold because of their value.

Overrated I think each year there is a fad that "this is the most powerful herb from this place and you can only buy it from this company" We have had documented herb use from 5,000 years ago so I just go back to traditional use. For example, oregano is great medicinally if it is grown in Italy or in your own back yard. We don't need to have herbs shipped from exotic places for them to have medicinal properties.

Q: What are your eating habits like? What are some typical eating plans do you recommend for clients?

A: I try to eat whole foods.....lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, and protein. I try to stay away from packaged foods, GMO foods, and buy organic foods as much as possible to limit chemical and hormonal exposure.

As far as my clients, I will recommend foods that support their health goals and their own personal experiences. Everyone has different experiences for what works for their body. Some people do excellent on dairy products like yogurt and hard cheeses, and some of my clients have food sensitivities to dairy. I have to look at the individual and support them on their own body's responses to foods, their likes and dislikes, and their health goals (I love recommending food as medicine rather than another pill)

Q: How do you balance naturopathic remedies with western medicine?

A: It all depends on the client and what their health goals are and what medications they are on. I am not a doctor so I may refer them to a naturopathic or functional medicine doctor if they are on a lot of medications.

Q: What is your best advice for those looking to make herbs a natural part of their everyday life?

A: I would start with some herbal teas (loose leaf-not boxed and packaged), freshen up your spice cabinet, grow your own spices and double or triple your use of herbs in your cooking.

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