For this installment of our Student Feature series, we spoke with Andrea Minniti (@divinebalanceco), owner of Divine Balance Co., where she strives to provide elevated creations to give your self-care routine a boost of magical bliss. From handmade crystal tea infusers and tea accessories to bath soaks and facial steams, Divine Balance Co. is just that—finding your true Divine Balance. Andrea has completed Herbal Academy’s Becoming an Herbalist Mini Course, Canna + Herbs Course, and Natural Perfumery Course. She has also found much inspiration from the Botanical Skin Care Recipe Book and the Tea Blending Booklet.
HA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started your path into herbalism.
Andrea Minniti: The path to herbalism and wellness began with my move to Philadelphia. I am originally from the suburbs of Michigan, where it is very peaceful most of the time. I moved to Center City Philadelphia two months before the pandemic. Not only was I adjusting to the noise level and the fast-paced lifestyle the city brings, but I was also dealing with an entirely new way of living and isolating myself from others. (I won’t go into details about something we are all far too familiar with.)
During this time, I reached a level of deep depression. I had such high expectations for a new life in the city, was excited to see my family in New Jersey more often, and was looking forward to spending more time with my sister (who is also located here in Philadelphia). When none of this was possible in my early months of being here, I was crushed. I was experiencing feelings of restlessness, anxiety, and insomnia.
I tried to remember the last time I felt truly Zen, and it was at a wellness center in my hometown. In the lobby, they had books for sale about Ayurveda, wellness tips, and a lovely scent of soothing lavender filled the space. I had purchased one of the books from the wellness center and brought it to Philadelphia with me. At this time, I began to read more about how to live Ayurveda and incorporate holistic wellness into my life.
From this one book, my entire world was changed. I wanted to diffuse essential oils, create my own EO blends, use herbs to help me sleep, and clear my stressed-out skin with homemade face masks. That is exactly what I did, and I began to create my own line of wellness products mostly for personal use, experimenting with teas and clays. Who would have thought my stress level would manifest into curating a brand focused on self-love, care, and peace?
HA: Why did you choose to pursue your herbal education with the Herbal Academy?
Andrea Minniti: Searching for more recipes to feed my desire to create herbal infusions, The Herbal Academy popped up on my Pinterest feed. I remember it perfectly; it was a photo of a simple recipe for rose-scented bath salts. As I began researching the Academy, I felt a very strong intuition that The Herbal Academy would be the path I would take to further my education. I had no idea there were actual course-like resources to learn more! I was thrilled.
HA: Do you own an herbal business or brand?
Andrea Minniti: Yes! I own my own brand which turned into my small business. I created Divine Balance Co. at the end of 2021.
HA: Please share a summary of your business.
Andrea Minniti: Divine Balance Co. is a wellness brand. My business strives to provide elevated creations to give your self-care routine a boost of magical bliss. From handmade crystal tea infusers and tea accessories to bath soaks and facial steams, Divine Balance Co. is just that—finding your true Divine Balance.
HA: How did your Herbal Academy courses help shape or improve your business?
Andrea Minniti: The Herbal Academy provided me with education on how to properly dilute essential oils, the history of scent, and where to begin experimenting in the herb world that is so full of absolute magic. Plus, the recipes provided were helpful to begin to create my own!
HA: Did your Herbal Academy courses help you avoid any potential mistakes while launching your business?
Andrea Minniti: YES. I had no idea how many plants/herbs can be toxic to animals and dangerous for those who are pregnant, and I CANNOT stress enough the importance of proper essential oil dilution. The last thing I ever wanted to do was cause someone discomfort.
HA: What were you looking for when you enrolled in your Herbal Academy course that you were not able to find elsewhere?
Andrea Minniti: I was looking for an academy that was trustworthy. There is so much false information out there and it is terrifying. The Herbal Academy has such a warm presence and really gives off the vibe that they WANT you to be inspired, all while providing accurate information. It was comforting to find the sources of the information being used to educate me!
HA: What did you like most about your Herbal Academy course?
Andrea Minniti: I really liked that the courses and quizzes did not have specific deadlines. I have never been one to love taking tests, but with The Herbal Academy, everything was at my OWN pace. This actually made the courses more enjoyable to keep up with, as well as removing any stress during the process. Nobody wants to take a course for fun and then be rushed to complete it!
HA: Do you enjoy the Herbal Academy online community? If so, what specifically do you enjoy?
Andrea Minniti: I do! I love all of the free recipes, such as simmer pots and other seasonal recipes provided. I also love that so much of this information is very easy to access and a lot of it is FREE! The Herbal Academy does not ever push anything onto you, and the online community has a very gentle and welcoming presence.
HA: How has your herbal education deepened your connection with nature and the seasons?
Andrea Minniti: Yes, 100%. In the future, I would love to have my own garden to grow my own herbs. It is vital to know when to plant seeds in certain seasons. I also find myself appreciating any plant or flower I see on a daily basis. The Herbal Academy has taught me to actually slow down, and to quite literally stop and smell the roses. Nature is everywhere, even in the city.
HA: How has your herbal education deepened your connection with your personal health and well-being?
Andrea Minniti: Creating my own tea blends has helped reduce my stress levels, improve digestion, and clear my skin. I learned, for example, that lemon balm and nettle could ease my anxiety. Chamomile and lavender can help me fall asleep. I have swapped a lot of big brand products for my own creations as well. This winter, I created a body wash that has been very gentle on my skin, while providing moisture in a way that most big brand products cannot.
HA: Do you feel empowered by your herbal practice?
Andrea Minniti: Every single day. I love knowing exactly which tea to create to ease stress, anxiety, or a cough. I feel confident answering questions asked by friends and family. In a way, my herbal practice has brought me back my self-confidence, which I was lacking for such a long time. THAT is empowerment to me.
aHA: If you were an herb, which herb would you be?
Andrea Minniti: I believe I would be lavender. A lot of people tell me that I have a very calming presence and that I should do meditation audios. Lavender is such a calming herb that has gotten me through a lot of nervous times, so it is actually my favorite compliment to receive!
HA: How has herbalism sparked your creativity?
Andrea Minniti: Herbalism has sparked my creativity in a number of ways. It actually inspired me to make one of my best-selling products, which is the handmade crystal tea infuser. I was making my own tea blend one day and thought to myself, “I wish this tea steeper was cuter!” and then I realized with my skill of jewelry making, I was able to attach crystals to the end of the steeper to evoke different intentions. Never in a million years would I have thought I would sell over 1,000 units of one specific thing that I made with my hands.
HA: If you could provide any tip or encouragement to those just starting their herbal studies, what would it be?
Do this practice for you. Do not begin your journey to herbalism because it’s trendy. Practice herbalism if you feel drawn to it, and it will change your whole life. Practice makes perfect, so do not get discouraged if something doesn’t turn out right the first time. ☺
Read past student interviews with:
Jess Buttermore (@cedarhouseliving) – Graduate of the Botanical Mixed Drinks Workshop, photographer, gardener, and business owner.
Robin Ahrens (@barberryherbal) – Advanced Herbal Course graduate and herbalism educator.
Sarah Jaroch (@evidence_of_providence) – Business Herbal Course graduate, copywriter for herbalists, and online marketer.
Amrit-Sadhana Boyd (@theuntamedherbalist) – Canna + Herbs Course graduate, holistic anxiety coach, and herbalist.
Deema Al Huqail (@alkamicare) – Botanical Skin Care Course graduate and creator of hand-blended teas, flower essences, botanical skin care, and artisanal crafts inspired by the old and folk ways.
Jovan Sage (@jovansage) – Entrepreneur Herbal Course graduate, healing facilitator, teacher, and doula.
Toni Green (@unveil_natural) – Mastering Herbal Formulation Course graduate and wellness advocate.
Anna Booth Cohen (@herbal_uprising) – Holistic Cancer Care Course graduate, and herbal educator, consultant, and herbal product creator.
Inspired by Andrea’s herbal journey? Further your own journey today by perusing our online herbal courses.