Emma Barber (she/her) is a community herbalist, farmer, massage therapist, and dance artist. Rhubarb Botanicals is a manifestation of her many loves - spending time with the more-than-human world, connecting with others about health, and crafting in the kitchen. Emma attended the Terra Sylva School of Botanical Medicine’s Community Herbalism program in 2019, a 400-hour immersive Western Herbalism education grounded in a Vitalist perspective and based in the Appalachian mountains of Western North Carolina. She is currently enrolled in herbal education programs with the Matthew Wood Institute of Herbalism and the CommonWealth Center for Holistic Herbalism. Emma is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota on occupied Dakhóta and Anishinaabe land.
The vast majority of the herbs in Rhubarb Botanicals products have been grown, harvested, or responsibly wildcrafted by Emma herself. As each plant is harvested in its' prime medicinal timeframe and processed quickly, these botanical offerings are potent and vibrant. Any herbs not grown or foraged have been sourced from other small herb farms in the US or reputable herbal suppliers. We prioritize making our tinctures with fresh herbs, which are extracted in high proof alcohol at a ratio of 1:2, while dried herbs are tinctured at a ratio of 1:5. The majority of our herbal tinctures are extracted in organic cane alcohol, and some in twice-distilled grain alcohol. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about any of our products or practices.
Working with plants for medicinal use has been a part of human history since the start. It is an important practice for encouraging personal & community empowerment, health access & autonomy, and to develop & deepen intimate relationships with the natural world. Emma believes in honoring and listening to the wisdom of living systems. In a Vitalist framework, symptoms are seen as more than uncomfortable nuisances - they are messages from our intelligent bodies, alerting us to a potential issue on a deeper level. Emma believes in investigating what might be at the core of a health imbalance and working to create the conditions for optimal functioning and resilience whenever possible. Rhubarb Botanicals products have a range of desired effects from acute relief to whole system well-being. Herbal medicine offers many creative and holistic ways to support our own capacity for healing. It is an invitation to tune into the subtleties of sensations we feel within ourselves, and to notice how the people, materials, and environments we engage with shift our own landscapes and experiences.
There are many abundant plant medicines that offer nourishing support and are safe enough to be taken regularly without a plethora of adverse effects. However, herbs may not be safe or appropriate for everyone. Every body is unique and will not always respond to plant medicine in the way that others do or the books may say, and it's also true that even the same species of plant growing in different environments may have very different energetics and constituent properties. It is important to always consult with your healthcare provider before starting a new healthcare regimen. Emma is a community herbalist and can answer some questions you may have, but she cannot prescribe, diagnose, or treat any condition you may have, nor will she recommend you discontinue any prescriptions and replace with herbs without approval from your provider.
Emma lives, grows, harvests, and makes medicine on occupied Dakhóta and Anishinaabe land. We acknowledge that much of the herbal wisdom we know has been carried forward throughout history by those who have been oppressed, marginalized, and prosecuted. Knowledge and life-ways have been stolen and appropriated from Native American, African, and many other indigenous cultures and used for the benefit of settler-colonialists and their descendants. May we never forget this history and may we fight for justice, equity, and land back.