Irene Lewis, Herbalist & Proprietor
Irene was sparked into herbalism when she was taking classes on natural resources at Columbia J.R. College, located in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains in 1987. When her teacher would casually mention some of the uses of plants by the local Native Americans while the class was out in the field studying, Irene was intrigued.
She began reading books, and taking classes on herbalism and aromatherapy. Irene has become a sponge that is never fully saturated. She has spent more than 20 years soaking up all the information she can about wild weeds, natural healing and aromatherapy.
In 1990 she founded a business known as Irene’s Dream Simply Herbal. She created herbal soaps, lotions, salves and creams under her own label and also as private labels, for other companies. Her products have sold nationwide. They have also traveled the globe, and Irene has vicariously traveled along with them.
Moonrise Herbs was one of the first stores to carry Irene’s products. In 1997 Irene became a staff herbalist at Moonrise and worked two days a week sharing her knowledge and teaching classes on a variety of subjects.
In 2004 Irene became the proprietor of Moonrise Herbs. She still teaches classes and is available for private consultations. Irene also still finds the time to create and sell her well-loved comfrey balm.
Staff at Moonrise
The Moonrise Herbs family is comprised of very knowledgeable and fun people! Here's a little tidbit about each of our staff members:
Irene Lewis, Herbalist & Proprietor
Kat Frances Operations/Store Manager
Kat joined the Moonrise Family back in the fall of 1999. With over 10 years experience in supplements and holistic health, she knew that working at Moonrise Herbs would be an opportunity of a life-time. Since that time she has held many positions such as Merchandise Buyer, Display Coordinator, Sales Associate and Team-leader. During a time of Transition in 2009 many of you may have seen her in the Wellness Dept. at the Arcata Co-op. But in May of 2016, when Irene offered her the Operations/Store Manager position, she knew it was time to come back home.
Kat has been blessed, over the years, to work with many herbalists from our community and to gain inspiration from so many others who have been part of the “Moonrise Family”. It is this inspiration, from her co-workers, the community and the herbal healing of plants that give her such joy to be part of Moonrise Herbs.
Sylvester "Sly" Holladay, Staff Herbalist
Sly has been interested in plants for the last 30 years. While weeding gardens, he discovered that the lamb's quarters and pigweed that he was uprooting were in many cases more nutritious than the garden plants he was laboring to grow. Thus Sly was inspired to learn more about his plant neighbors.
This interest in identifying pants and studying their nutritional and medicinal properties has continued across several states and has now taken root in the lush environs of Humboldt County.
Sly studied herbs for a full summer at the California School of Herbal Studies with Rosemary Gladstar, David Hoffman, Christopher Hobbs and Jane Bothwell, which allowed him to both consolidate and add to his knowledge of herbs. He also received a bachelor's degree in biology from Humboldt State University and has taught biology at College of the Redwoods.
In addition to western herbs Sly has studied Chinese and Ayurvedic herbs and incoporates this combined knowledge in assessing which herbs would be beneficial for a given individual in a given situation.
Raquel Nelson, Web Operations Manager/Customer Service Specialist/Assistant Bookkeeper
Raquel began her herbal journey relatively late in life. She has had a lifelong interest in the natural modalities of healing but it in 2008, she had the marvelous good fortune to attain the assistant bookkeeper position here at Moonrise Herbs and there began her herbal education in earnest.
Formally, she has taken Jane Bothwell’s Beginning with Herbs and graduated from Jane’s 10-Month Herbal Intensive in 2010 and has been blessed, as well, to be able to work with Jane at Dandelion Herbal Center since 2009. Since her initial herbal courses, she has had the great fortune to take classes and workshops with a myriad of noted herbalists, including Rosemary Gladstar, Mindy Green, Pam Montgomery, Karen Uphoff and Kevin Spelman....just to name a few!
Informally, she views every single day as an opportunity to learn more and more about herbs, formulations, nutrition and energetic healing…just to name a few. She is so thankful for every Moonrise customer for asking all those wonderful and, occasionally challenging questions that continue to further this great journey of knowledge!
Raquel has lived in Humboldt County almost her whole life and couldn’t ask for a better place to call home! She spends her tiny slice of free time with her partner, Mike, playing with her cat, Chai, and reading as much as she can. Bellydance is her other passion and she can be found teaching and performing with her troupe the Ya Habibi Dance Company.
Kristina Carrara, Customer Service Specialist
Kristina was fortunate to be exposed to Mediterranean herbs & spices and helped her grandmother cut and cook grape leaves for dolmas at a young age. She learned about food as the first "mother"medicine. Intrigued by the slow food movement, she toured Italy's Amalfi Coast and assisted an owner on his lemon grove and made limoncello as her first cultural "tonic".
Kristina began working with perfume and essential oils in San Francisco in 2004. In 2008, she sold orchids, ferns, succulents, and herbs. "When I learned the vanilla bean is from an orchid, my mind was blown and it kicked off my interest in Botany!".
She became a Certified Massage Therapist in 2010, specializing in kinesiology, sports massage, acupressure, shiatsu, trigger point therapies, and all holistic health. She had the great opportunity to work at Cambridge Naturals in Massachusetts, and learned more about plant medicine and the active compounds within food, supplements, and cosmetics. Currently she enjoys all kitchen alchemy! As an actress and choral singer throughout the 90's, she was exposed to sound vibrations and theatrical outlets. She is now collaborating with musicians to complete her original album of soul/R&B songs.
Rachel Lindsay, Herbalist/Customer Service Specialist
Rachel migrated to our area from Southern California about a year and a half ago. She is 26 and a Libra...
She started using herbal medicine in her teen years and was inspired by the benefits and she's loved working with herbs ever since. She recently completed the herbalist training with Christa Sinadinos at the Northwest School of Botanical Studies.
During her free time, she really enjoys painting, tincture and salve making, and spending time with her beloved kitty, Prairie.
Megan Blumenstein, Herbalist/Customer Service Specialist
Megan has been immersed in the herbal world for the past 15 years. With a B.A. in Agroecology from Prescott College, she has worked closely with plants, has spent significant time immersed in nature, observed ecological systems and in time discovered her connection to healing plants and herbal medicine traditions. She has studied with various teachers from different herbal backgrounds including, Western herbalism, plant spirit medicine, Ayurveda, and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Her herbal education has included study at the Gaia School of Healing and Earth Education, The Evergreen School of Integrative Herbology, and has had many amazing mentors and teachers including Kathy Keville, Candis Cantin, Anna Werderitsch L.Ac. Megan is the founder of Blum and Bru Broths, an herbal company that offers herbal blends to fortify soup stocks and broths. Megan enjoys cooking nourishing meals for her family and community, caring for her three children, gardening, learning to listen to the "unseen" in nature and all around us, exploring the history and mythologies of the world, and creating beauty with her hands crafting with beads, buckskin, clay, and wood.
Sophia Laverdiere, Herbalist/Customer Service Specialist
Sophia is a budding herbalist who believes nature has all the right remedies. From a young age she saw the wisdom which flowed through the natural world. She allowed it to carry her to the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, in Arizona. There she studied many botanicals, flower essences, and other modalities of healing. After completing her Western Herbalism diploma, she found her passion in helping people and animals remedy their lives using plant allies.
After learning several traditions of medicine, she has gathered her own wisdom from the plants. She hopes to spread it through helping others heal through the natural world. Sophia enjoys serving others through herbal consultations, attending botanical conferences, and furthering her relationship with the land.
Ilea Woods, Bookkeeper
Ilea came to Moonrise Herbs not only with a B.S. in Business Accounting with an Art History minor, but also as a life-long student of the arts, and with a wealth of knowledge of alternative healing. She loves stones and crystals, reiki, sound healing, and more! An ardent photographer, Ilea is rarely seen without her camera.
Though not seen often on the sales floor, she is a central figure to the Moonrise Herbs family, and has the uncanny ability to stay calm in almost any situation; considering the frustrations most people have balancing their checkbooks, we here at Moonrise admire her ability to wade through all that never-ending paperwork and still stay sane! Truth be told, we're not sure she's not a patient deity sent down to teach us by example. ;-)