HEALING HEART HERBALS
Natural Healing From Your Own Backyard
story and visuALS BY DELIA PALMISANO
For Cindy Parker holistic health and connecting with the natural world are a way of life. “There’s a whole lifestyle and belief system surrounding herbalism. I really think connecting to nature eases stress and makes people less anxious and that helps them center and calm down,” she said.
Trained as an herbalist in 1979, Parker has over 40 years of knowledge and experience to back up her ideology.
Healing Heart Herbals (hhherbals), located on the west side of Athens, along Margaret’s Creek, educates people on the beneficial properties of herbs and their uses. Parker focuses on the wise woman tradition– backyard weeds, compassionate listening and simple ritual. She creates her own tea blends and tincture formulas and offers herbal consultations by appointment.
In 2020, Parker received a seed grant from Ohio’s Winding Road to help promote her medicine making classes, which she held over the summer. She said these were really successful because, despite COVID-19, she could still offer them in a socially distant fashion.
“When I did the medicine making class, we spent most of the time outside, identifying different plants, talking about what they were good for and how I used them. I really like the personal touch, meeting and interacting with people,” she said.
Like many small businesses, the pandemic has affected Parker’s livelihood. “COVID has really brought things to a standstill this winter,” she said. Parker also offers her space as an airbnb and retreat center, called Wabi Wellness Center, though she said she had to scale that back during COVID-19. In the future she will focus more on wellness retreats and educational classes.
She is hoping to safely open her offerings back up again when the weather gets warmer. “I would rather be digging in the dirt than inside doing computer stuff, so I’m really looking forward to summer when I can offer more outside classes,” she said.
Parker says she is excited to be part of Ohio’s Winding Road because, “The more we work together, the more everybody benefits. It’s a good way to increase awareness of things that are going on and the people that are in the area. So, that’s one of my hopes about the Winding Road, that it will bring people together.”
TO LEARN MORE: Wabi Wellness Center, 740-517-1303
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Delia Palmisano is an Americorps member serving with Ohio’s Winding Road. Delia is a visual communicator and multimedia artist who believes in the power of storytelling. She feels a deep connection to the natural world and enjoys exploring the rolling hills of Appalachia with her husband and children.