Meeting Merihelen Nunez at her shop on a perfect Monday morning was a perfect way to begin the week – and a personal journey. Having met when she was an herbal student in the class I assisted in, there hadn’t really been much followup between us over the years. But when I made my return to the desert, I felt the universe pushing me in her direction for some reason at the time unknown.
Now that our fun little hang out – interview – tea time has passed, I have a pretty good idea why the universe wanted me to reconnect with her. She is one of the most inspiring herbal business women I’ve ever met, and not only did I need to interview her for this blog turning magazine thing I’m doing, I, on a personal level, needed the wisdom of her fearlessness in pursuit of one’s calling. I needed to drink it up with the cup of Arizona Sunset tea she made for me in Namaste Cafe, letting it saturate my cells with a knowing that it doesn’t matter if you feel crazy, you HAVE TO DO IT ANYWAY (her words!).
Merhelen opened Tangled Root Apothecary and Tea Joint 3 years ago, not very long after completing formal training in the Western Herbalism program directed by JoAnn Sanchez in Tempe, AZ. She said her path as an herbalist and healer began long before that, as she comes from a family of plant people, and recalls making capsules with her dad as a kid. In the kitchen of the shop she manufactures a plant based skin care line, Peace Love Plants, as well as a therapeutic line, Tangled Root Botanicals. She gifted me with a sample bottle of Skin Blossom, a plant infused toner rich with anti-inflammatory, soothing, and healing herbs that makes me feel like a goddess every night when I apply it to my skin.
Tangled Root’s most recent move allowed the business to incorporate a tea shop, Namaste Cafe, that serves a range of tea blends formulated by Merihelen herself. Opening the cafe, she said, has brought in a lot of customers, people who may not know what an apothecary is, or that the shop has a lot more fun stuff than simple bulk herbs.
I asked Merihelen about her experiences starting out, and what advice she would give to aspiring herbalists based on what she went through, and this is when she dropped the wisdom on me! “If it’s meant for you, it will never be a dabble. You’ll do it when nobody is paying you to do it. Never stop because that’s the end – it won’t happen…Even if you have to sell out of your trunk or kitchen, never stop the hustle.”
Tangled Root Botanicals, the classes she teaches there (check out her website or Facebook page to learn more about the Radical Woman Class and Folk Herbal Medicine Making Certificate), her product line Peace Love Plants, and the very energy, healing, and determination which exude from her being, are the physical manifestations of her mission: Bringing plants to the mainstream and showing people the goodness growing right under their noses. To that end she said with a calm definiteness,
Let me expose you to all the goodness of the Earth, cuz it’s pretty badass.
With that, I could not agree more!
The next time you find yourself in Glendale or the Phoenix metro area, I can’t encourage you enough to visit the wise and wonderful Merihelen and the beautifully curated Tangled Root Botanicals. Get yourself a cup of energizing Spunky Monkey tea (blended with adaptogenic herbs for healing stress and improving energy utilization) or some Third Eye Chai to get you grounded (teas available for purchase in bulk, as well!). Sip and stay for a spell – I can tell already you won’t want to leave.
Tangled Root Botanicals is located at 5731 W Glendale Ave, Glendale, AZ 85301
You can find the shop on Instagram @tangledrootbotanicals and Facebook @tangledrootbotanicalsaz
Let them know you heard about Tangle Root Botanicals from this post!