Interview with an herbal girl

I’m excited to share that I’ve got some cool interviews lined up this spring, with the theme of people pursuing their passion. So let’s dive into the first one, with local herbal girl Kris Hill. Kris is the founder of Hill Botanical, an herb shop in Bozeman that offers bulk herbs, classes, private consultations, personal tea blends, books, a reference library, tools for making herbal products, quality essential oils, and its own line of hand crafted herbal products. Kris opened HB in 2006, and has been studying plants and plant medicine since 1991. She has a background in anthropology, psychology, business and retail merchandising. She is a graduate of the South West School of Botanical Medicine in Arizona. As a plant lecturer, she has taught for numerous area organizations, including giving free talks at the Co-Op, and in her spare time is board president for the Montana Herb Gathering. She is a mom, wife, dog walker and a student of yoga. Watch for Kris’ unique all-natural yoga mat cleaners in our retreat goodie bags this summer!

1. What led you to open Hill Botanical in 2006?

Plants make oxygen for us! Without the plants, humans would not be here! As a student of Anthropology, I came to realize that plants are everything to us. We eat them, use them as medicine, and they make oxygen for us. Bozeman did not have a full service herb shop and the niche needing filling. Quality Herbs for the people!

2. What are some of your fave things about running an herb shop?

Working with the plants always makes me smile. Educating people on the uses of medicinal herbs is the catalyst for leading a progressive, holistic lifestyle. It is fantastic to see “the light bulb go on” when a student learns something new about a plant. Working with essential oils and aromatherapy is always a highlight of my day. I love science, and working in the herb shop is the best way to blend chemistry, botany, biology, gastronomy and anthropology into my daily routine.

3. What are your top recommendations for an herbal novice, for general health?

Herbal medicine is a great way to integrate food, nutrition, health and well-being into your everyday life. Incorporating herbs into your daily routine is so easy. Balancing out your daily food intake with herbal teas is the best. Incorporating herbs into your meals is tasty and easy. Botanical medicine is an ancient and often forgotten practice. Feeling cold? Add warming plants to your tea or soups. Need energy and mental clarity, herbs to the rescue. Time to cleanse and start fresh, again so many plants to add to the routine. General health and wellness maintenance is about supporting your blood and body systems. Too much wine, chocolate and coffee, add nettles to alkalize the blood. Eat the weeds…dandelion greens are the best fresh yard food you can find…great for detoxing the cells! Don’t spray them, eat them!!!

4. Tell us about the Montana Herb Gathering.

The Montana Herb Gathering is a grassroots volunteer non-profit that holds a three day Herbal Education Event each summer. Our mission is to bring herbal education to everyone. Each summer, we find a new spot in Montana to hold our event. In 2007, it was held in the Kalispell area, 2008 in Hyalite Canyon, 2009 in Sun River, and this year, Camp Castle Rock, 9 miles south of Butte on the Continental Divide. Having our event move around the state is a fantastic way to see Montana and learn from each of the unique ecosystems. The MHG is a family summer camp out. We offer local organic foods, top notch Herbalists from the US and Canada, the Botanical Ball, Herbal market place, plantwalks, workshops and The Kids Fun Zone!

5. You’re a yogini. What synergies do you find between yoga and herbs and how they can work together to improve well being?

Synergy – we all have it and need to utilize this more often. Yoga and herbalism go hand in hand. Heating, chai with lots of ginger, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom and rose petals. Essential oils for focus, grounding, mental acuity. The essence of yoga is life, plants are life and in combination health and wellness will be bountiful.