Community Herbalist & Mental Health Coach
Offering herbal consultations, workshops, mental health support, and small batch, local, organic herbal preparations.
Who Am I?
My name is Max and my pronouns are they/them. I am a white, queer, trans, neurodivergent, disabled community herbalist, tattoo artist, and trauma informed mental health coach currently residing on occupied Lenape Hoking (the homeland of the Lenape, also known as Brooklyn). I believe in our bodies' innate abilities to heal, and also recognize the constant stress and inundation inherent in being alive in the current world. Even for folks who have the resources to seek out doctors and specialists, there is an undeniable lack of nuanced, holistic, preventative care.
What I offer is a different approach to care, one that takes into account the entire person, their history, and the environment they live in. There is a lot of pain, trauma, and struggle in the world that manifests, physically, in our bodies. My approach to healing, coaching, and herbalism is to get an understanding of the larger picture, to call upon plants as allies, to suggest lifestyle changes, come up with care plans, wellness plans, or safety plans, and to meet each person where they are at. We will come up with a strategy to reduce harm and heal, together. Nobody knows your body and mind better than you.
I am passionate about sharing the knowledge I have acquired, as well as sharing the shameful and violent history and truths of how this knowledge was disseminated. I hope that each person I work with gains tools to aid in taking care of their own health and the well being of others. To me, this necessitates an understanding of who has access to this information, where it came from, and how it came to be known.
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I began studying herbalism in 2010 in upstate New York. It started as a self guided study fueled by dissatisfaction with the current medical establishment and abuse at the hands of the medical industrial complex. When I moved to western North Carolina in 2013 I apprenticed with Patricia Allison, working in her gardens, studying permaculture based systems, and forming deep connections to the land. I spent a lot of time attending skillshares and gatherings, workshops on herbalism, plant walks, and taking every class on medicinal plants that I could find.
I started my apothecary in 2015, and hung around people in my communities who were willing to teach me more about herbalism. In 2018 I graduated from the Terra Sylva School of Botanical Medicine as a community herbalist. While in school, I worked as an apprentice for my teachers and mentors, and had the unbelievable privilege of working in their apothecary, their gardens, and building even more intimate relationships with the plants that I rely on. If you are a radical queer person looking to study herbalism, I can fanboy about this school at length.
In November of 2018, I began officially seeing clients and offering sliding scale consultations. If you are seeking recommendations and I feel it is beyond my scope of practice, I can refer you to practitioners with more expertise. I have taught many gender workshops, including at the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine and Terra Sylva School of Botanical Medicine. I've lead plant walks, herbalism workshops, medicine making workshops, and mental health workshops all over the country.
We have to take care of each other, prevent our friends, our loved ones, our communities from falling through the cracks. We matter. We can dismantle the things in this world that harm us, and build a better world for ourselves. Any way we can, every way we can, all the time.
My practice as an herbalist and coach is not detached from the multitude of other roles I play in the world. For the past decade, most of my time has been spent engaged in crisis support work and working with youth. I have spent a lot of time delving into different healing practices and modalities, and strive to operate from a trauma informed, anti-racist, transcompetent framework. In addition to self guided study, I continue to take workshops, attend talks and reading groups on dismantling white supremacy and cisheteropatriarchy, how to ethically operate under capitalism, and how to offer trauma informed care. I have my level one Somatic certification through the Strozzi Institute. My focus in herbalism has largely been on herbs for mental health, resilience, and resistance.
I've supported countless survivors of domestic violence, gender based violence, and sexual violence. I've been on suicide support teams, have worked in crisis centers, shelters, mental health facilities, and therapeutic residencies. I am a certified peer support specialist for folks with different mental wellness landscapes and for folks who rely on or have relied on substances. Destigmatizing drug use, sex work, homelessness, and other wellness pictures is an important piece of my work. I am avidly anti police and anti policing, including the policing that happens in the field of social work, inside our communities, and insode our own minds.
I have also worked as an educator and have supported young people through difficult times. Weaving in seemingly disparate interests to create a nuanced care plan is what I do best. I have a background in creative writing and have worked with clients to alter the narratives that have caused them harm. I have lead nature connection courses and forest walks, and love to co-create innovative personalized wellness plans with my clients. My own experiences with trauma, my studies at the Strozzi Institute and other trauma informed courses, and my deep care for the wellbeing of others has given me an enormous capacity to hold the hardships, suffering, and struggles of other people. I have yet to meet a person whose story was too much, and take pride in my ability to expand to hold the suffering of others. You were not meant to carry this alone. Whatever you feel you need to heal, to grow, to adapt and survive and thrive, I will do my best to help hold space for your journey.
I am not a medical professional and cannot offer medical advice, cannot prescribe medications, and do not treat illness. I am a community herbalist, life coach, nature mentor, peer support specialist, crisis intervention counselor, case manager, writer, and an educator. I can hold contradictions and nuances, I try to steer away from black and white binary thinking, and aim to move beyond the limitations placed on us by the oppressive systems of society. I would be honored to share my knowledge to assist you in finding your plant allies, organizing what feels chaotic or overwhelming, and bravely exploring what you desire for your life so it can be brought to fruition.
I reserve 1 herbal consultation every month for trans bipoc, free of charge, in an attempt at reparations (read more about reparations and why they are necessary here). My offerings are sliding scale, and I encourage you to reach out if you need alternate payment plans.
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
-Mary Oliver, The Summer Day