Supporting the Herbal Community: The Northern California Women’s Herbal Symposium

We have a diverse group of customers that are small businesses or entrepreneurs who are harnessing herbs and botanicals to create wellness in the world. They are practicing and budding herbalists, tea blenders and natural product creators. The one thing everyone has in common is respect for the power of herbs to impact everyday wellness. Our goal is to support this community, and one way we do this is through The Northern California Women’s Herbal Symposium. Our long-time customer, Julie from Flower Power Teas, has been the tea blender/maker since the inception of the symposium. She makes 40–60 gallons of herbal tea per meal that is enjoyed twice a day by over 300 people. Every year for the last 20+ years, Monterey Bay Herb Co. has committed to helping her make this happen.


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The next herbal symposium is September 1st–4th, 2023. In honor of the upcoming session, we wanted to share a first-hand account of the event by Mori Natura—author, blogger and podcaster. A big thank you to Mori for giving us a glimpse of what this gathering is like and how tea plays a role in bringing people together.

If you’re looking to deepen your knowledge of plants or grow and connect with a community of plant lovers, this symposium could be just what you need.


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The Northern California Women’s Herbal Symposium has been gathering women and the herbs they love together for the last thirty-three years. With a weekend full of classes about healing ourselves and the craft of herbalism, the symposium meets with several hundred women and children in the Spring and Fall to explore all things herbal.

In addition to the educational allure that draws in herbalists of all skill levels, many women come to experience a tight-knit community feeling. Taking classes, expressing vulnerability, sharing meals, and healing are all very bonding. Kind of like an adult version of a summer camp and slumber party, the folks who attend form close friendships with each other and support each other’s growth.

I’ve been going for close to twenty years, and the symposium is very near and dear to my own heart. I wake up in the morning to the sound of children playing. I learn something amazing every day. I laugh during meal times, catching up with friends. At night we lay out in a field and watch the stars move on their path through the night sky.

And every day, several times a day, I fill up my mug with tea. Tea might just be the single most uniting force of the symposium. Everyone is drinking tea all day, every day. There are delicious teas at breakfast, and there are warming teas at night. On a hot day, we just add ice to our teacup! This simple, tried and true method of imbibing the herbs that we love is a staple of every symposium.

I first met Julie Rothman of Flower Power at the herbal symposium. Our sons are roughly the same age, and we were carrying them around on our bodies in slings, wraps, and the like for the first several years of their lives. Many of us that have continued to attend the symposium have jobs to make the gathering run smoothly. Julie’s job has been to provide several rounds of tea throughout the day. She gets up before almost anyone else and makes tea in the most enormous kettles you have ever seen. Then, a delicious variety of tea blends are delivered to the area where everyone gets their meals in five-gallon stainless steel containers.

Without tea, I don’t know that the symposium would be the symposium. Cheers to the delicious creations that have come out of Julie’s masterful tea shop, special thanks to the generous donations of organizations like the Monterrey Bay Herb Company, and here’s to supporting the impulse of women gathering to spread knowledge about the wonder of plants.

—Mori Natura

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