Juli Burdette talks about her path to becoming an herbalist.
It all started as a test run, but eventually living naturally turned into one woman’s way of life.
About 12 years ago, Juli Burdette was experiencing a sense of restlessness, sleeplessness and anxiety. She visited her local co-op looking for a remedy.
“I’d buy different herbs,” Juli says. “If it said ‘relaxing’ I threw it in my tea.”
She also began to eat more organic and raw foods. It didn’t take long for Juli to see a connection between what she ate and how she felt. She even became more cognizant of what soaps and lotions she put on her body. She quit smoking and caffeine, ditched the treadmill at the gym and began practicing yoga.
“My lifestyle drew me to living in a different way,” Juli says.
Today, Juli is a wife, mother, herbalist, yoga instructor and owner of 17Leaves.com. How did she get here? She headed back to school.
The Journey from Unhappy to Fulfilled
Juli found herself in the same situation as many adults. Her days were spent in a cubicle and she regularly struggled to find peace and fulfillment in her job. Juli was yearning to do something she truly believed in.
It was time for a change and Juli knew she needed more education. After experiencing her personal health rebirth thanks to a better diet and yoga, she decided to study nutrition.
However, as Juli began researching the field, she found most nutritionist programs were geared toward the standard American diet and didn’t recognize alternatives. She realized it didn’t align with the intentions she set for her life.
Going Back to School
First, Juli took a one-off class about optimum health and wellness at a local college. It was there she met students who were studying herbalism.
“I knew it was meant to be,” Juli says.
The herbalism program Juli enrolled in was 600 hours with evening classes. A few weekends were devoted to field trips to botanical gardens, plant walks and trips to the mountains.
Juli was still working at her corporate job during the day, so she’d head right to school from the office. Although she was tired from a long work day, she recalls getting a second wind of excitement as soon as she stepped into class.
“The program had every facet of herbalism,” Juli says. “There was gardening, harvesting, wildcrafting, medicine making, clinical work and everything in between. It was more than just making tea and tinctures.”
Students were taught to make herbal medicine using the Wise Woman Tradition, an ancient school of thought focusing on wholeness and nourishment. The wise woman is the elder healer.
About a year later, Juli set her sights on becoming a yoga teacher and completed a 200-hour yoga certification program.
How School Changed a Life
These days, Juli balances many responsibilities, but she’s just fine with that. Gone are the days of monotonous office work. Every day is different. One day she’ll be teaching a private yoga session with a family and the next day she’s delivering herbal remedies specifically made for a new mom.
Juli also relies on the seasons to guide her work. She’ll tweak her recipes to combat cold and flu season, for instance.
Going back to school not only created a new career path for Juli, but it afforded her the opportunity to have a flexible schedule and a family.
Looking to the future, Juli says she hopes to create her own product line and develop an herbal community-share program.
Advice for Aspiring Students
Juli doesn’t waver when asked if she has advice for aspiring natural medicine students.
“Do it because you love it, not because it’s trendy,” says Juli. “You’re going to change someone’s life. It’s really important to take it seriously.
If you’re not sure which school is right for you, Juli advises choosing one that will teach material in the way you’ll receive it best. She stresses that the work you’ll do is transformational.
Keep moving forward and learning as much as you can. Once you graduate, the work isn’t done.
“I could study one plant for years and still not know all its magic,” Juli says.
But for Juli, the magic truly appeared when she headed down the path toward her true calling.