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
Kathy 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 lifetime.
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 Department 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 been blessed 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 Collective.
Danielle Hewitt, Sales Floor Coordinator/Herbalist/Customer Service Specialist
Danielle was born and raised here in Arcata, and studied herbalism with Christa Sinadinos at the Northwest School for Botanical Studies. Naturally intuitive, Danielle is a whiz at creating healing formulas tailored to specific needs. Also an avid gardener, Danielle grows many of her own herbs and veggies, and is the proud tender of plants such as valerian, yarrow, lemon balm, white sage, lavender, catnip, helichrysum, goldenrod, and so on! As she puts it, gardening is her "jam!"
In the store, Danielle creates eye-catching displays and helps rotate our lovely window displays throughout the year. Customers appreciate her immediate willingness to help, and love her acerbic wit when explaining herbal remedies and preparations.
Sarah Ann Howe, Customer Service
I was raised in San JoseCalifornia and since moving to HumboldtCounty, I have finally found “my people” in this vortex of healing conscious energies. Having graduated with a degree in Psychology, a gift of travel was granted to South East Asia for ten months upon completion of my schooling.
I studied Yoga and Ayurvedic medicine in India, meditated in the Himalayas, swam and sunbathed in the warm oceans of Thailand, volunteered in Cambodia, and explored Laos. This independent adventure has changed who I am and how I perceive the world. It has led me to my present place at Moonrise Herbs. I feel blessed to work in a space that promotes health and body consciousness. I learn something new everyday and feel fulfilled after each day of work. Currently my time is spent practicing yoga, studying chakras, gardening, and creating. We are all one, my passion and purpose in this lifetime is to connect, heal, and love each spirit/soul I meet. One of my favorite quotes from days past “Remember to love yourself as you blossom and grow.” Namaste
Malia Anspach - Herbalist/Sales
This is Malia's second time around with us and we are so thrilled she has returned! Formally educated in herbalism by Christa Sinadinos at the Northwest School of Botanical Studies, Malia brings caring energy, great intuition and a lot of herbal knowledge to the store.
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. ;-)