Hawthorn & Violet Naturopathic Services recently opened in Fenton, but, some people may not be aware of what naturopathy is. The owner, Rebecca Culley-Healey, is a traditional naturopathic doctor, and herbalist and explains, “naturopathy is the art, science and philosophy of natural healing.” Naturopathy also draws wisdom from other cultures, such as Chinese medicine. “I am a teacher and advocate of natural health modalities,” Culley-Healey explains. “I teach people about the imbalances in their bodies that are manifesting as diseases.” She teaches people how to balance their health and to understand how their bodies work, which helps them make good decisions for their own unique circumstances.
When she begins working with her clients, Culley-Healey spends a lot of time getting to know them, discussing their health history and looking at what’s going on in their lives that can affect their physical health, such as the death of a loved one or loss of a child. “I look at the both the physical and emotional aspects.” she says. “It’s interesting to see people make the connection.” The naturopathic doctor performs an intake session and makes several physical assessments including the iris of the person’s eye, their face, fingernails and tongue, and tests muscle response. She then takes a day or two researching the client’s information and comes up with a plan for them which could include the use of naturopathic tools such as herbs, flower essences, homeopathy, essential oils, energy work, emotional release, supplements and diet adjustment. “It’s unique for each person,” she adds.
Culley-Healey was a stay-at-home mom before attending the Naturopathic Institute of Therapies and Education in Mt. Pleasant from 2012-2017. “I’ve always been interested in plants,” she shares. She passes on her knowledge to others by teaching several classes on various topics ranging from homeopathy, herbal medicine and nutrition, to essentials oils and flower essences. “My herbal medicine-making class always sells out!” she exclaims.
“Health is more than just a series of biochemical reactions;
we are emotional and energetic beings, as well.”
– Rebecca Culley-Healey
During the medicine-making class, participants learn to make tinctures (a medicine made by dissolving plant material in a solution), herbal salves, infusions, liniments and syrups. Some of the classes she has taught include: Addressing Emotions with Flower Essences, Wild Plants and How to Use Them, What’s Hiding in Our Food? and Herbs for Low Energy. A class was held at the Dauner Martin Nature Preserve in Fenton, when attendees took a half-mile hike where medicinal plants that grow in Michigan were pointed out and discussed.
Culley-Healey makes her own elderberry syrup, which is known to slow viral reproduction, lessens the symptoms of the flu and shortens its duration. “Last year, the flu was so bad that the cost of elderberries went sky high because people found out it was so effective.” She also makes Over Did It Salve, which is used on sore muscles. The salve is a mixture of olive oil, bee’s wax, golden rod and Solomon’s seal plant.
The addition of an herbal apothecary is in the works and is expected to be completed in the fall. Bulk herbs will be sold, as well as essential oils, apothecary supplies, vitamins, minerals, supplements, flower essences, natural herb-based beauty products, a variety of teas, salves, and her own elderberry syrup. “I want to encourage people to make their own things,” says Culley-Healey. “We work as a team to build up your health – before you get sick.”
At her home, Culley-Healey has an herb garden which she will eventually use as a teaching tool. It is important to her that people know where to find herbs and that they may find them growing outside their homes. One common herb is plantain, which is good for healing tissues and relieves the itch of mosquito bites. Dandelion roots can be used to make tea or tinctures, they help to gently cleanse the liver, and the greens can also be used for salad!
There is an etheric realm to naturopathy – energy work – which isn’t always easy for people to understand, according to Culley-Healey. She offers light healing touch, which is similar to Reiki (channeling energy by means of touch to activate the natural healing processes.) People report feeling very relaxed, centered and focused after energy work, she says, adding that she also teaches a class on sound energy. “I love teaching about that!”
Culley-Healey’s hope is to provide a way for her students to relearn lost traditional naturopathic medicines, as well as to introduce people to new ways of thinking about their health and how to become active participants in reclaiming their health. “I love helping others become healthy,” says Culley-Healey. “More people are wanting to reconnect with the knowledge of how the earth provides the very things that help to heal us. They often remember that their grandma knew a remedy for this symptom or that, and wish they knew now some of what she knew then.”
Making the connection between nature and overall health is the main goal, Culley-Healey explains. “Health is more than just a series of biochemical reactions; we are emotional and energetic beings, as well. From what I have seen in my students so far this year, I think the community is ready and eager for this option.”
Photography by Jennifer Hodney