Keisha Mathes is a Denver-based herbalist on a mission to offer alternative healing modalities to her community. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Integrative Therapeutic Practices from the Metropolitan State University of Denver, is a certified Reiki practitioner and self-proclaimed science nerd. Having worked in the healthcare field for over 20 years, Mathes is excited to share her journey of holistic health through her company, Herbal Honey.
“Sustainability is a journey and a process that I encourage every business and household to consider,” she says. “We have done a lot of harm to the planet, which is our only home, but we also have the opportunity to change that. It is never too late to change.”
As the founder and chief herbalist of Herbal Honey, what was your journey to opening Herbal Honey?
My journey to opening Herbal Honey was a long one. I initially had the idea to start my business 10 years before I actually officially launched it. I was in an abusive marriage at the time and was told no. I held onto it, but fear kept me from moving forward until 2018. I was about 6 years out of my divorce and my new relationship with God gave me the courage to move forward. I had friends around me who were business owners, so they were always pushing me to do more. Because of how long I had held this desire, I was absolutely terrified I would fail. It takes time, prayer and therapy to fully let go of all the toxicity that comes from that kind of relationship. These days I am just excited to be doing what I love.
I was inspired by my mother’s journey to health. She was constantly sick when I was a child, and it wasn’t until she stepped away from conventional treatments that she found relief and healing. Her doctors prefer to call it remission. But it has been a permanent remission of over 20 years.
Where do you source the ingredients for your products from? How are they formulated?
Currently as a small business, I am not in position to source directly from farms, or to have a farm of our own. I aligned myself with larger companies whose processes look like what I want for my business as we grow. I have two companies that I use primarily for Herbal Honey, and they are intentional about sustainable growth practices. Each product was formulated based on the intention and desired outcome of each blend. I sat with God on each of them and prayed my way through the research and eventual final formulation. In the last few months, I recently opened myself up to having more fun with my blends — I plan to launch a series of cocktail videos as some new, just for fun flavors. All of them have functionality of course, but that won’t be the focus as with our previous formulas.
We saw many of your products have stories behind them. Can you tell us about Savannah’s Blend?
Savannah’s Blend is named for my children’s great grandmother, Savannah. It was the first blend I ever created and was a custom formulation for her arthritic hip. She was adamant about not taking over the counter or prescription medications too regularly.
What does sustainability mean to Herbal Honey?
Sustainability to us means that we work in concert with the earth and not take it for granted. In growing practices, it is possible to deplete the earth. The packaging that we chose has the possibility of just increasing the amount of plastic waste and so much more. While our ultimate hope was to have moved to compostable packaging by 2021, the products we have tested really don’t make that vision possible, so we are adjusting that plan.
We consistently look for ways to limit our negative impact on the environment. Some of our printed materials are created with soy-based inks. We use biodegradable packing peanuts for shipping, or other recycled and recyclable materials. For our customers that chose UPS shipping, as a company we pay the extra fee to offset our carbon footprint. There are many ways that we can have an impact that is more important than our bottom line, and it is an ongoing process of improvement. We are excited to keep improving the level of environmentally friendly and sustainable practices we use.
Photos courtesy of Herbal Honey.