My journey to Barlume Apothecary is not an easy story to tell. Honest stories are sometimes the hardest to recount, but their lessons can be indelible.


When I was sixteen I experienced what some physicians consider a ‘perfect storm’ — traumatic stress, in conjunction with having one too many vaccinations administered within a short time period, resulted in what is now termed ‘non-hereditary rheumatoid arthritis.’

My onset was also a rare occurrence — 18 years ago, it did not exist in the medical world. I was not able to actually begin any form of relative treatment for RA until I was 21. By that point I had only 40% range of motion, full deformities in my hands and decreased liver function. I was put on a cocktail of chemotherapy drugs, immune-suppressant injections and a heavy duty anti-inflammatory, along with physical therapy 5 days a week. By 23 I almost lost my liver from the medications, most of my hair fell out and I threw up every time I had to get an injection. By my late 20's I had exhausted every pharmaceutical drug combo and nothing was working to manage my RA.

I kept looking for answers.  I knew that there had to be a way to heal my body, not to deplete it through conventional medicine.


What was exceedingly helpful as I began researching and trying out different herbs, nutrients and diet options was becoming gluten-free and vegetarian, which helped tremendously with decreasing inflammation, but brought to the surface a bigger issue that is overlooked in our healthcare system, which is addressing the pain, depression and anxiety that comes along with such a terrible disease. Through this process of sampling various pharmaceutical medications and quickly experiencing their numerous and terrifying side effects, I started to ask my body what it really needed in order to feel better. I had already cultivated an awareness of how my diet effected my RA positively, so each step brought be closer and gave me more insight, I believed that there had to be a better way.  Thus jumping both feet first onto the path of weaving together herbal medicine, seasonal diet and the universe serving up (just in time might I add) the desperately needed resource of medicinal grade essential oils, I truly began the healing process. 

Essential oils were a key aspect in not only supporting my immune system but, more importantly, helped me address and work through the depression and anger that ensues from being in a state of chronic pain.

I started studying with an herbalist as well as pursuing my certification for medicinal essential oil practitioner.  I knew that there had to be the right recipe that would repair my body.


As a woman who has dealt with — quoting my Rheumatologist here — one of the worse cases of RA he has ever seen {he cried on my 30th birthday because he honestly did not think I would live this long} – speaks volumes to the power of plant medicine and one’s own determination and will to not let conventional medicine be the only course of treatment. I chose a different route and I would not be here if I did not choose fight for a better life and a different option – one where I am empowered, confident, in tune with and happy to be present in this body and excited to see repair as I age…rather than choosing to accept and believe that my only future would be riddled full of joint replacements, drugs and ultimately a wheelchair.

There is always another option, that road is not always the easiest, but I am forever grateful that I chose this route. I would not be here nor would I have found what I love if I had not believed there was a way to heal.