Asheville, NC is a bustling community of healers. This late in our journey it is a wonder that we are still finding new, innovative ways people are connecting community and agriculture. This is a true testament to how many ways this movement is manifesting. In one way or another, almost everyone we have spoken to here seems to be involved in some healing trade or know of a few people are; one woman in particular stood out amongst these healers.
Asia of One Willow Apothecaries is a young woman progressing her community. Originally from the New England area, she made her way down to Asheville in search of knowledge. She is one of those individuals that was called to do what she is doing, realizing the importance of her work and the strength in natural medicine. After attending the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine, Asia has now been running her own business for three years. “Ashville is kind of a living workshop,” she explains, “People come here and learn a lot, but then tend to take that knowledge and go where it is needed more.”
She welcomed us into her home with Tulsi tea and samples of her line of tinctures that are available seasonally. As we sipped tea and talked about the importance and strength in plant medicine, we learned just how much this woman is taking on. As a Reiki practitioner, Asia is more “interested in the energetic and emotional imbalances” that are at the root of physical health problems. She does do private consultations with a handful of individuals that are “wanting to get to the root of the problem,” offering different diet and lifestyle recommendations, as well as formulating specific tinctures, teas, and smoking blends to aid in their healing. Not only a medicine mama, Asia is also a teacher at a few local schools, holds workshops out of her home, and is working on a book! To say the least we were grateful she took the time out of her packed schedule to meet with us and learn about what we are doing.
As our cups emptied, Asia offered to take us on a tour of the property to see the gardens. While she is wild crafting most of what she is using for medicine, she is growing some of the herbs that continually show up in her work; she believes that “so much of the medicine comes through with the relationship with the plant,” and is therefore is directly involved in the whole process from dirt to bottle. Spilanthes, Skullcap, Echinacea, Passionflower, Comfrey, and Anise Hyssop are just some of the herbs growing.
Asia went on to explain that what she is doing will not serve as a quick fix. Her goal is not to serve as a band aid as is the approach is so much Western medicine today; instead, she is looking to help serve individuals who are ready to address the emotional stresses and triggers that are causing their ailments. She is truly a woman blazing her way by doing the work that she loves. She reminds us of something important: “Your greatest passion and your work can be one in the same. Let what is inspiring you create what you do.” This strong belief has lead her to not standardizing her production, but working with what the season provides. It’s also a testament to all of the young people of our generation trying to make their own ways in the world, as opposed to fitting into the social constructs of offices and careers. She also addressed our generation’s interest in the both the etherial and practical realms of intentional living as being a bridge for collective consciousness.
The back room of her house is lined with herbs drying and bottles of different extracts. As we reentered the house, Asia whipped up a tincture for each one of us. She has a distinct talent, capturing the essence of our individual paths in three small brown vessels. Pulling from jars and bottles and measuring it all out in beakers, she looked like a scientist of the earth.
Combining plant extracts, flower and stone essences she made us three unique combinations, entitling them “Sera’s Enlivened Destiny,” “Evelyn’s Soft Peace,” and “Sarah’s Powerful Now.” It is clear what a gift this woman has for helping people work and heal with the earth. She pulls from her extensive knowledge, but relies heavily on energies and intuition to guide her. She is a healer and a teacher in a field sometimes forgotten, but essential.