Welcome to Wholly Rooted. I (Denise Cusack) am a certified aromatherapist, master herbalist, writer, gardener, cook, designer, artist, wife, and mother of two unschooled boys. I am also Executive Director of Herbalists Without Borders. When I am not spending time with my family, working in the garden, painting pieces of wood, organizing my apothecary cabinet, or visiting local farms, I am most often in the kitchen or in my herbal studio concocting and making.
We have always been a whole foods all natural home get kids out in the fresh air playing in the dirt around farm animals kind of family, but as my older son went from infant to toddler to young child, we knew something was wrong. We first discovered he had allergies to so many things - all dairy from all mammals (and all byproducts), all meat from mammals (and their byproducts such as gelatin), all furred animals, molds, many pollens, shelled insects (shellac, Red #4), and MORE. He also reacts severely to gluten. Removing all of his allergens wasn't helping him get better and after 2 years of tests and Mayo Clinic visits, he was diagnosed with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) in 2015 which helped explain his reactions to heat, cold, exercise, artificial fragrance, things rubbing his skin, emotional upset, changes in temperature, cleaning supplies, laundry soap - pretty much everything. And, exercise intolerance. Mast cell disease has also triggered GI and liver involvement issues, so we work hard as a family to heal his gut, support his liver, and keep away from all trigger and allergies.
My own health journey played a role as well, as I was diagnosed with Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2011. I have been working on my herbal healing journey and love supporting people on their path to managing AI or chronic conditions and living an active & busy life even - with autoimmune disease! If I can do it, so can you.
So I don't only talk the talk of herbalism, whole foods, holistic living, and a clean, green home - we live it. We also grow most of our own herbs so that we can guarantee how they were handled, dried, and with no cross contamination. As a clinical herbalist, I also manage my own vast apothecary.
I am currently working with an AHG mentor in order to complete clinical supervised hours to qualify for the RH designation under the American Herbalists Guild, the highest standard available for Clinical Herbalists. I volunteer as Clinical Herbalist with the HWB Veterans Resiliency Holistic Clinic, a donation based clinic in Richmond, VA, that provides a wide range of alternative health modalities to support people on their journey of wellness after PTSD, trauma, pain, and anxiety, and work to support building a resilient CNS.
I work with people experiencing issues such as anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, ADHD, autoimmune diseases and conditions, women in perimenopause, children and adults with allergies and asthma, those recovering from surgery or injury, and people with Lyme disease and mast cell disorders, among other things. I understand all of this not only from a science based clinical perspective, but also as a mom and person who has been there/done that. I'm here to help support you on your journey into health and wellness.
Things About Me. ~I am almost six feet tall. ~We are moving to a 2-acre farmette that has room for bees, greenhouses, significant medicinal gardens, and a classroom! ~I worked as Creative Director for many, many years - magazines, direct marketing, interactive design, illustration, and print design. ~I grow hundreds of varieties of plants - including medicinals - every year in my gardens. ~I process and dry hundreds of pounds of herbs per year - all from suburban gardens (soon to expand!). ~We roast our own coffee. ~I am mother to an amazingly brilliant boy on the spectrum who has mast cell activation syndrome and severe food & environmental allergies. ~I hate wearing shoes. ~I am a speed reader, so I can get through dozens of books per week. And I do. You should see our library checkout piles. ~I am INTJ. ~My husband is 10 years younger than me. ~My husband is a genius. ~My children have never gone to school (Homeschoolers!) ~I have RA and Lupus. ~I have a BA from Columbia College in Arts Business Administration with specializations in music, fine art & audio engineering. ~One of my favorite things to do is work in the garden on a gentle warm summer night. ~I am volunteer Executive Director of Herbalists Without Borders. ~I have a photographic memory. ~I love online courses - recent courses include Humanitarian Response to Conflict & Disaster (HarvardX), Global health Case Studies from a Biosocial Perspective (HarvardX), and Resilience in Children Exposed to Trauma, Disaster and War (UMN) ~I still work as a designer for people that align with my ethics - designing print materials, branding, websites, packaging, signage and even eBooks. ~I twirled fire and knives for years - opening for bands in Chicago. ~I was 35 when my first son was born, 37 for my second. ~I love to write, paint, sing, and create. ~My dehydrator is running 50% of the time. ~I talk to my plants when I work in my gardens. ~I respect my kids, love my kids, and LIKE my kids. ~My teenagers still like to hang out with me. ~I see everything in pictures.
Looking for the shop? we are moving, so the shop is currently closed (if you have custom orders after consultations, I will send you a private checkout link!). Thank you!
My products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information on this website is not meant to diagnose medical conditions, to treat medical conditions or to prescribe medicine. Please use any body products responsibly and reasonably and keep out of reach of children and pets.