Welcome to Wholly Rooted. I (Denise Cusack) am a certified aromatherapist, 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. MCAS dictates how we live our lives in that we must only have things in our home that do not trigger him and we must always be careful where we go and what he is exposed to (and never eat out, basically). So I don't only talk the talk of aromatherapy and herbalism, we live it, as making our own products is the only way my older son doesn't react to everything. We also grow most of our own herbs so that we can guarantee how they were handled, dried, and with no cross contamination.
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 condidions and living an active & busy life even - with autoimmune disease!
All of this sent me on the path to learning more about natural health, supporting our terrain, and a healthy home. I spent the past 6 years in advanced programs and continuing education, and have completed Family Herbalist and Master Herbalist programs. I am also a Certified Aromatherapist via Aromahead Institute and I have completed Hydrosols Certification with Cathy Skipper at The School for Aromatic Studies - and I have studied natural nutrition, epidemiology, healing trauma and more! I love biology, chemistry, epidemiology, medic response and environmental education for kids. By having a deeper understanding of the foundations of our bodies, cells, immune systems, and processes, I feel like we are able to heal and sustain, improve, and feel great! While it is a learning journey that will continue for years to come, but we are on the right road.
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.
Things About Me. ~I am just about six feet tall. ~I worked as Art Director and Creative Director for many, many years - magazines, direct marketing, interactive design, illustration, and print design. ~I love hiking. -I grow hundreds of varieties of plants every year in my gardens. -I process and dry hundreds of pounds of herbs per year. ~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 (and UC). ~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. ~We live just outside of Madison in a green built home in Verona, WI. ~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 art & audio engineering. ~One of my favorite things to do is work in the garden on a gentle warm summer night. -I am Executive Director of Herbalists Without Borders ~I have a photographic memory. ~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. ~With all of the different allergies in this house I generally cook 6+ meals per day, from scratch. Leftovers are my saving grace. ~My dehydrator is running 50% of the time year round (more in summer). -I talk to my plants when I work in my gardens. ~I respect my kids, love my kids, and LIKE my kids. ~I see everything in pictures.
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.