MEREDITH — At a recent meeting of the South Down Shores Home & Garden Club, clinical herbalist Sara Woods Kender was invited to speak about her practice. Her shop, Sacred Tree Herbals, is located at 48 Main St.

Woods Kender's shop has been in Meredith for two years, but her practice and teachings span centuries. Growing up in Alton with family members who cultivated the soil for food and ornamental gardens, Woods Kender focused her studies on herbs for wellness, medicinal and healing purposes. 

A graduate of Keene State College with a concentration in chemistry and biology, Woods Kender became a certified herbalist in 2008. She continues to learn through ongoing educational participation in symposiums and conferences throughout the state. She is a member of numerous guilds, associations and councils, all in an effort to remain current, effective and accessible with her teachings.

"Herbs do not represent a 'quick fix,'" Woods Kender explained. "It can take time for them to work. Eating well is a basic part of being well. And a diverse diet supports the gut, which is where our good health – or our imbalances – stem from. Try to avoid sugar, which is an immune inhibitor." 

In her shop, Woods Kender consults on herbal remedies for individual ailments, and teaches those who want to learn more about the function of an herbalist. 

"My approach goes back to the practices of Native Americans, whose culture relied on the earth and using what nature provided for health and healing," she explained. "The Native Americans were deeply connected to the earth and Her cycles, where women in many tribes and bands used the plants for healing. Medicine women experimented and explored what herbs and plants were capable of and how to use them in their societies. This information was passed down from generation to generation as it is today. Just as I believe that behind every good chef is a mother or grandmother who was a wonderful cook, what we know about the plants we know because of these indigenous matrilineal lines at the forefront of plant medicine."

For those curious who would like to learn more, Woods Kender offers personal weed walks, where she walks the customer's property with them, identifying and discussing edible and medicinal plants.

For more information about Sacred Tree Herbals, visit the shop at 48 Main St., call 603-279-2779 or visit www.sarasherbs.com. Shop hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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