I sat at the counter on a bar stool in a busy kitchen packed with herbs, tinctures, fresh eggs and delicious smells. My eyes were watering from the onions I was cutting. Regardless, I kept eyeing the dark chocolate shavings that had been scraped off an experimental batch of all natural soaps. The onion was for a cold remedy to replace the one I had accidently tossed out in the haste to pack. The chocolate shavings weren’t for eating, but they could be used again to test a different way of mixing the onion in.
The kitchen is on an acreage just outside of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. That acreage belongs to Elizabeth Walker. Walker is a Clinical Herbal Therapist, Registered Herbalist and owner of the Herbwalker’s Apothecary (formerly Amber Leaf Wellness). On top of all that, Walker is as about as close as one could get to a real life elven ranger; she is a herbalist, she has a menagerie of animals, she can fight with medieval European weaponry, she owns and uses a bow and she goes to renaissance fairs to sell her goods.
Walker doesn’t usually have clients in her kitchen; she has an office for that. I am an unusual case; I’m a friend staying over as well as a client.
Her business is both herbal therapies and non-medicinal products like all natural soaps, lotions and shampoos. She works with people with chronic health problems, people who are tired of western conventional medicine, who seem to attract minor health problems, and those who just want an all-natural shaving soap. Walker strives to keep everything as natural and simple as possible. She works tirelessly to treat patients, come up with new products, and promote her business. She’s always trying out new things, reading & writing new articles, and keeping up to date with developments in the fields of medicine.
However, she wasn’t always single headedly running a clinic, dispensary and all natural soap line. Walker grew up in the lower mainland of British Columba, surrounded by vegetation. She has been in love with wild medicinal and edible plants for as long she can remember, and she always wished she could make a career out of that love. But she didn’t know how at the time.
Over the course of her life, Walker has had a number of careers that included stay at home mother to two lovely daughters, a Sky Train ticket machine repair person, professional calligrapher and professional belly dancer. You’ve likely seen her calligraphy work in the movies or on TV. She did the calligraphy work for the book of rules in The Santa Claus 2 and work for a text in the 2004-2009 Battlestar Galactica TV series.
Eventually, Walker decided to pursue her passions in life after watching her daughters grow up. She enrolled in the Dominion Herbal College in 2001. Walker moved her girls, her animals, and Vahid her husband to Edmonton in 2002 and continued her schooling. She also continues to travel between her new Albertan home and her college.
Walker set up her own clinical herbalism practice, “Amber Leaf Wellness,” in 2007 and has never looked back. In 2012 she began the process of changing Amber Leaf Wellness to “The Herbwalker’s Apothecary.”
I met Walker through the eldest of her two daughters, Sarah, around the same time Amber Leaf Wellness was being established. I watched Elizabeth set up her business and slowly learned bits and pieces about natural medicine. I was first was treated by her when I got off a plane in Edmonton that same year. I was in so much pain that I was crying and was hard to get moving. We stopped at her office, which was much closer than their home and she brewed me a tea that numbed my tongue. It was some of the most rapid pain relief I had ever had.
I found (and still find) her quest to do what she loves an inspiration, and often go to her for business advice, something she is always ready to share with a smile. Every year she does more and more new things, getting better and better as she goes, adapting to what her clientele want and ask for. This year she’s started vending her all natural soaps at different fairs and farmers markets all over the Edmonton Area. Sometimes she is even in full period dress.
But for Elizabeth Walker, it all boils down to the fact she runs her business for the love of what she does: Helping people.
You can visit her website at www.theherbwalker.ca