We recently interviewed Adriana Jensen (@dandelionandtherose) for our Student Feature Series. Adriana has taken the Natural Perfumery Course, the Botanical Skincare Course, and is currently enrolled in the Mastering Herbal Formulation Course and the Introductory Herbal Course. She enjoys the art and creativity of putting together herbal skincare products and has plans to open her own business in spring of 2022.
HA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started your path into herbalism.
Adriana Jensen: I am a single mom to an amazing teenage boy. He is my main purpose in life and gives me gratitude every day!
I have been a disabled stay-at-home mother for 8 years. I was diagnosed with bipolar type 1, a severe form of bipolar disorder that can be difficult to manage and almost impossible to work with. Three years after diagnosis, I was starting to get my life back and was diagnosed with Osteoarthritis in all joints. A year after, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and recently, compressive radial neuropathy in my right wrist after an injury. Despite all of this, I still try to live a happy life and stay positive with only mild encounters of discouragement.
I constantly advocate for mental health awareness and invisible illnesses, educating and demonstrating that just because you have these struggles doesn’t mean you can’t learn to cope and overcome them. I love anything creative, and I am a self-taught studio and cosplay makeup artist. I am also learning about herbs and herbalism which has truly become a passion!
Herbalism found me. I was sitting with my son looking up ingredients in his body wash. We found two known carcinogens. I then found myself prioritizing natural skin care products. By December of 2019 that was my business focus. Finding Herbal Academy was fate. I had already picked up a lot of skills and techniques but I wanted to take a complete class. Every school I found was either too expensive or claimed that they were natural but they weren’t. I was getting discouraged piecing together what I could here and there, wondering if I had made the right choice.
Then one day I was reading a blog post about herb-infused oils, and I came across the Botanical Skin Care Course.
Now, I was raised in the San Bernardino mountains in Southern California in a small city called Lake Arrowhead. My childhood home sat in the middle of a forest with tall trees, blue jays, squirrels, bears, and a ton of plant life! Nature has always been a welcoming home for me. I took a huge interest in plants early on but unfortunately, lost that as I got older. Stepping into the world of herbalism was like going home. At first, I was only interested in herbs to use in skin care. I had no plans to become an herbalist because my plans were already set. But I wanted to see what the school was like before I enrolled, so I started with the ADHD intensive which also came with The Herbarium membership.
Since I have started at the Herbal Academy I have taken several classes and intensives and am working on the Mastering Herbal Formulations Course as well as the Introductory Herbal Class. I have also completed classes through other schools and memberships like Herb Mentor. I take care of my family with herbs now when they get sick instead of over-the-counter medication.
HA: Why did you choose to pursue your herbal education with the Herbal Academy?
Adriana Jensen: Honestly I loved your school. You offered me what I needed when I first started here, and as time has gone on it seems like every class you have opened in the last year fit into my plan exactly when you opened it! The Natural Perfumery Course opened at a time where I needed to learn how to blend essential oils. When you re-opened Natural Emulsifiers And Preservatives for Botanical Skin Care Products I was panicking about learning how to do these things! It was like if you didn’t have it, you made it and at just the right time. I never had a need to go anywhere else!
HA: Do you own an herbal business or brand?
Adriana Jensen: Yes I do! For the last two years, I have been working on a line of skin care products. My natural skin care journey started with myself, as most skin care businesses do. I used to have very problematic skin that was uneven, dull, dry, had frequent breakouts, and just not in good shape. I tried every product on the market to try to make my skin soft, even-toned, and blemish-free. Then I tried natural recipes I found online. When I first started creating skin care I knew very little about herbs. I just knew that I wanted my products to be beneficial and natural. It took incredibly little time to clear up my skin after cutting out store-bought products—only a few weeks! My skin had almost completely cleared up and once I followed a natural skin care routine, my skin felt nice and was healthy. My own natural skin care story is the foundation of my business.
In the beginning, I learned how to make one product at a time, gifting them to family and friends (they were so understanding in the beginning because I am sure some of my formulations were questionable, to say the least). Now I create face serums, makeup remover, cleansing oils, body butter and cream, herbal bath soaks, and beauty balms. I can tell you from having tried each oil that they are incredible and I can’t wait to offer them to the public! I have a stack of skincare books, but I also enjoy researching the skin itself. It is our biggest and most vital organ.
When I decided to incorporate herbs into my formulas, both my skin care and my mentality about my business changed dramatically. In the beginning, I was just in a rush to create and sell. I completely missed the fun. Not to mention there were a lot of things that I still needed to learn which caused me a lot of stress, and at several points, I even questioned if this was meant for me. Finding the Herbal Academy helped me with the things I didn’t know while showing me interesting ways to incorporate herbs into my skincare…and just made it fun!
Currently, I am aiming to open in the spring of 2022! With all the research I have collected over these last few years I plan to write a book on natural skin care focusing on ingredients and techniques that I have developed. I also want to write a book about my experience as an herbal skin care business owner, some of my mistakes, some of my victories, and a lot of helpful information.
HA: Tell us, what’s next for you in your herbal journey?
Adriana Jensen: My business, getting it planned out and open. Currently, I am taking both the Introductory Herbal Course as well as the Mastering Herbal Formulations class. I am also really looking forward to the Business Herbal Course for an even stronger foundation to open this, and any other business I start in the future!
I am looking forward to taking a few intensives and building my materia medica. I also want to learn about the body from an herbal standpoint and how to take care of my chronic health problems through herbs and other natural means. This research project is one that I have been looking forward to for a long time. After seeing what herbs can do, it has given me hope that while my problems may not completely go away, I may be able to strengthen my body and manage health challenges, giving myself a better quality of life!
Ultimately I want to be registered with the American Herbalist Guild as a Registered Herbalist (RH) serving my community. I want to build my knowledge and write a few books so that there can be more information out there—not just on herbalism but for people like me who want to start an herbal skin brand. I think my biggest dream would be mentoring because good herbal mentors are so hard to find, especially in my area. I tend to dream big. But who knows what the future holds!
HA: What did you like most about your Herbal Academy course?
Adriana Jensen: I love how well everything is laid out. I also couldn’t believe how much information was included in each class. I have learned so much more about herbal history and traditions. It is very well-researched information with further resources presented in a way that the reader can understand and relate to. I started classes in an advanced level class with very little knowledge of herbalism and between how well it was presented and how helpful the staff and students were I was able to complete the course with very few problems!
HA: Do you enjoy the Herbal Academy online community?
Adriana Jensen: The Herbal Academy online community is worth its weight in gold. And I say that because it is basically a gathering of herbalists from all walks of life coming together to help each other grow as a community—and everybody is so friendly. The student community has really helped me grow as an herbalist. I have also made friends in this community and it is nice having like-minded individuals to talk to.
HA: Is there a specific herb that you feel particularly drawn to?
Adriana Jensen: Dandelion. It was the first herb that I actually witnessed make a huge impact on my health and I think that if I were a clinical herbalist I would suggest it to anyone who could use it because it really is an herb that benefits anyone. I don’t know if others have noticed this but the yellow flowers have the sweetest, faintest scent to them that I wish was captured in essential oil! I can remember blowing on the puff balls of this plant when I was a child and watching the seeds carry away on their own little umbrellas. My cousins and I would cram them in a jar with red peppercorns from the pepper tree in the front yard and fill the jar with dirt and water. My personal journal and a lot of my paintings have silhouettes of dandelions on them and they inspired the name of my business, Dandelion and the Rose.
HA: Has your herbalism experience encouraged you to learn and explore other related niches, like botanical crafts, gardening, natural dying, aromatherapy, etc?
Adriana Jensen: Yes it has! When I took the Natural Perfumery Course I was not expecting to learn about the beneficial qualities of essential oils and how they can affect our health! I knew a bit about how they could be used to support mental health, but I also put together a blend I found for cramping and I was blown away! Aromatherapist certification is definitely one of my goals!
HA: Do you have any rituals or traditions surrounding herbalism that you would like to share?
Adriana Jensen: Well, I love tea. I used to collect different types and flavors and had a small standing cupboard that came up to about my waist that I would keep all of my teas in. I also kept a little single cup coffee pot on top of the cupboard so that I could brew a cup of hot water really fast and let my tea steep in the water until it was ready for me. I would sit by my bay window and read or watch what was going on outside. It was a very relaxing ritual I had but I stopped doing it because of life changes. I started doing it again when I started learning about herbs!
HA: How do you find yourself incorporating herbalism into your daily life?
Adriana Jensen: I make a point to always be enrolled in a class that teaches me more of the fundamentals of herbalism so that I can continue to build my familiarity with this practice and how to use it safely and responsibly.
I am also researching herbs that can help in restoring nerve function due to the recent injury and paralysis of my wrist, as well as researching my own health to bring my body back into balance and experience a better quality of life!
HA: Which herbalism teachers, authors, or peers do you find most inspiring, and why?
Adriana Jensen: Rosemary Gladstar is hands down my most inspiring herbalist. She sees herbalism in the same light as I do as something very magical and wondrous. Her book on skincare has helped me add new ideas to my own brand as well as helped me see herbs for their skin benefits. She is such a gift to herbalism!
David Hoffmann is another favorite of mine. David makes it scientific, explaining the who, what, when, where, and why of herbalism.
HA: What is your favorite herbalism resource (book, podcast, movie) and why?
Adriana Jensen: My number one favorite resource is The Herbarium. I honestly would be lost without it! The monographs alone are worth more than the membership price and they can be printed and easily added to any materia medica or research journal. The Intensives are like classes in themselves and are so fascinating! And they are on relevant topics! I can sit in there and just read for hours.
HA: Do you enjoy sharing your herbal knowledge with others in your life via recipes, products, photography, blog posts, community workshops, etc?
Adriana Jensen: I do! I’m surprised that my family hasn’t voted me off the island yet because I try to offer advice and care products like teas, herbal body butters, and herbal face oils whenever I can. But I honestly love sharing information about herbs with anyone who is interested (and sometimes those who aren’t!). I have shared information about herbs in relation to skin care on my business Instagram @dandelionandtherose for a while now and recently decided after being inspired by some of my fellow entrepreneur Instagrammers that I was going to start sharing information about herbalism in general.
HA: How has herbalism sparked your creativity?
Adriana Jensen: I think that herbalism is a very creative act! From start to finish I can customize my products in a million different ways that are all-natural, herbal, and beneficial.
Herbalism has also given me a reason to pick up my camera again and get creative with herbs, my products, books, herbal preparations, and just creating scenes that are pleasing to the eye.
Stay tuned for the next installment of our Student Feature Series with Liz Witter @backcountrybotanicals.
Read past student interviews with:
Nana Meriwether (@drinkcale)
Inspired by Adriana’s herbal journey? Further your own journey today by perusing our online herbal courses.