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Talkbiz Let's Be Holistic

Herbalist Shannon Mesneak recently opened her herbal medicine and holistic nutrition shop “Let’s Be Holistic” in early December 2018 at the Merk suite 110. Mesneak said she’s had a lot of customer interest since opening as she’s one of the few herbal shops in the area, and she has plans to host classes and hire more employees in the future.

A new kind of health store came to Longview last month. Shannon Mesneak opened Let’s Be Holistic on Dec. 8 to provide natural remedies for ailments.

Let’s Be Holistic, located downtown in The Merk on Commerce Avenue, offers essential oils, loose herbs and herbal tonics.

While she can’t diagnose a specific illness or disease, Mesneak said her products can help customers with weight loss, anxiety, digestion and a better night’s sleep. She also plans to start classes later this month to teach customers about which herbs can help different health stresses, how to brew their own tea and the science behind what she does.

“(I want) to teach them that it’s best to use herbal medicine preventatively ... to keep your body healthy,” Mesneak said.

Although there’s now only a small market for holistic products in Longview, Mesneak thinks that will change once more people hear about her products and the health benefits they offer. She also wants people in the Longview area who already use herbal teas or tonics to have a local place to shop, instead of having to buy them online or travel to Portland or Seattle.

People are “drawn” to herbs as a natural remedy, she said, but it could take some trial and error to find one that works.

“It’s different when you see the herb, you smell it or even taste it, and then that’s how you know that’s the one you want,” Mesneak said.

Mesneak said she’s spent her life intrigued by plants, dirt and the elements. She grew up playing in the dirt as a 4-H kid, she said, and now lives on a two-acre farm in Cowlitz County where she gardens and takes care of animals with her family.

“It’s been a part of who I am, since I was a kid,” Mesneak said, adding that her family also uses herbal products for pain and stress relief.

Mesneak earned her degree in holistic health practice and has an associate’s degree in complementary and alternative medicine with an herbal specialty. She is already a certified holistic nutritionist but hopes to soon become a registered herbalist.

“It is medicine, it will work, but you can get some pretty adverse reactions if you don’t know what you’re doing,” Mesneak said. Some herbs can have side effects if used in combination with certain medications and helping people understand the effects of each plant “demystifies” them, she said, which is why she wants to teach classes.

Loose herbs can be brewed and consumed like tea. Let’s Be Holistic also sells herbs in supplement form to be taken like a vitamin, as an oil that can be applied to the skin or sometimes inhaled, and in an aromatherapy form, like incense.

Let’s Be Holistic also carries some food and beauty products, from hibiscus-infused maple syrup and mushroom-based coffee to locally made soaps and lotions. Mesneak said her personal favorites are the lemon balm and lavender loose leaf teas because they help decrease anxiety without the drowsiness or numbness often associated with anti-anxiety medication.

Mesneak is currently the only employee at the store, though she hopes to hire others once the store is more established. Once she has extra help, she said she hopes to start working toward her bachelor’s degree at the American College of Healthcare Sciences in Portland.

For now though, she wants her store to be a place where people can go to seek health advice and natural solutions.

“I want this to be a place where people feel welcome ... (and can) sit and have a cup of tea and chat with me,” Mesneak said. “No question is a bad question.”

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