“Solid Sleep was inspired by the image of someone sitting in a rocking chair at the end of the day with a warm cup of tea, listening to the fire crack.” - Lauren, herbalist and creator of Solid Sleep.
We chatted with our herbalist Lauren MacDonald about our new sleep solution—Solid Sleep, about herbs and their benefits, her sleep ritual, and more! Pull up a seat, and enjoy this journey alongside us.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm an herbalist who had the honor of studying with Karyn Sanders and Sarah Holmes at the Blue Otter School of Herbal Medicine and the California School of Herbal Studies in the Handcrafted program. I am also trained and licensed as a Registered Nurse, and this background informs my work tremendously. I strive to help people find a balance working with multiple systems and care modalities, including western conventional medicine and herbal medicine.
Can you tell us a little about your background and what drew you to herbalism?
My background is a woven path of traditional and conventional medicines and practices. My nature is caring; I am a person who cares about, for, and with others, especially humans, and how we work, think, feel and grow.
First, I was called to a nursing career, which was an obvious caring profession for a young woman growing up in the midwest. This career quickly had a profound impact on my heart and soul. Within a year and a half of nursing, I felt depleted and stressed in a way I had never experienced. I found myself needing support and felt limited in what I saw available in western conventional medicine. Thankfully I was in the Bay Area, where there are many wonderful herbalists, plant people, and plants all around.
I began seeing an herbalist who encouraged me to make my medicine, get my hands on the plants, and develop a relationship with the plants. Being fed by the plants allowed me to be more curious about them and ways of supporting my whole being, not a compartmentalized body part or symptom set.
I began studying at the California School of Herbal Studies and later Blue Otter School of Herbal Medicine. At Blue Otter, my spirit really came out. I cultivated a presence by building relationships with plants and being supported by my teachers. In my presence, I feel whole, not perfect or finished, but whole and well. These gifts of connection with presence, self, elements, and plants are the foundation of my practice and inform my whole life!
If you could settle on one favorite herb, what would it be?
I have an herb that helped me to see and feel love for myself, and that plant is Elecampane. That pivot into love for myself helped me immensely shed ways of being that were no longer serving me and build connections that felt more aligned and true to my heart.
What inspired the Solid Sleep formula?
Solid Sleep was inspired by the image of someone sitting in a rocking chair with a warm cup of tea at the end of the day, listening to the fire crack. The decompression, the unwinding, the time to move from awake to asleep, in the company of some benevolent plants. It was inspired by the times when we/many believe or subscribe to the idea of doing until we can’t anymore. Many of us are so tired, and yet we push on.
Let us, this winter, shift into a new seat, one by the fire, one with a deep breath because our cups smell so good, one with beings we admire supporting us so we can let go and get some solid sleep.
With so many herbal supplements to choose from, what makes Solid Sleep so unique?
Solid Sleep is a formula that wants to support multiple body systems at once. Tending to rest and digest, tending to the heart, tending to the senses seeing the whole being and all our interconnections. It’s a solid formula meant to gently heal us.
Why use herbs versus pharmaceuticals for sleep aid?
Herbs can help us on our journey to well-being. They can tone, nourish, and relax different layers of our physical and energy bodies and, over time, help us get to the underlying causes of our imbalances. Herbs typically feed us and do not take from precious hormonal and metabolic reserves; hence way fewer side effects to deal with.
Why use whole plants versus extracts?
Whole plants are for supporting whole bodies. Whole plants bridge into a full circle ecosystem, giving us all medicine and micronutrients from root to flower and honoring waste not.
What is one of your favorite sleep rituals?
One of my favorite sleep rituals is placing my hand on my heart, a hot pack on my feet or belly, and letting my breath move from my head down with a gentle sweep of my body, inviting each place my breath moves to unwind.
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