“My grandmother was the town healer, so I grew-up with herbs and native plants,” remembers Jo Anne Boudreau, proprietress of the Boudreau Herb Farm in Mineral Wells, Texas. Though her grandmother worked her magic in Iowa, along the Mississippi River, Boudreau herself was raised in Southern California, before moving to north Texas some 40 years ago. After her husband passed away from cancer, Boudreau struggled to make ends meet. She recalls. “I asked myself what it was that I loved most, and the answer was my herbs.” “So I decided to follow that advice about ‘doing what you love,’” she recalls. “I asked myself what it was that I loved most, and the answer was my herbs.”
Set on sharing her love and knowledge with others, Boudreau built a commercial greenhouse on her land six miles north of town, stocking organic plants and gardening materials. She made teas and remedies, and began sharing her expertise on a local radio show (on the QX Radio Network of North Texas) and through a magazine column. Now, 20-plus-years later, people come to her for recommendations, recipes, and tips on everything from gardening to weight loss and insomnia. We caught up with the 70-something dynamo for a chat about the importance of relaxation—and why you should walk barefoot every day.
Your custom herbal teas have a dedicated following. What blends do you recommend for relaxation?
Lemon balm is the best sleep tea in the world—it’s comforting, soothing and is a supreme blood pressure regulator. My “Mend Your Nerves” tea is based on a recipe given to me by an old shaman. It has lemon balm, lemongrass, and motherwort; I say it’s like a “mother’s touch.”
What advice do you give your clients about stress relief?
People who do well with stress have strong adrenal systems, and to boost our adrenals we need at least five continuous hours of sleep a night—that’s when the body has time to regenerate and cleanse itself. When customers tell me they are working out and eating right, but aren’t losing weight, I ask them how they are sleeping, and I recommend drinking a soothing tea an hour before bedtime. (I suggest drinking it an hour before so you don’t interrupt sleep with a bathroom run.)
Any other sleep tips?
Many years ago, I attended some seminars by a doctor who had studied with the Navajos. He recommended walking barefoot across grass every morning, no matter what the season; you’re supposed to walk 15 feet out and 15 feet back, then dry your feet and put on some warm socks. Apparently, something about the bare soil or grass helps reset your body clock. I don’t know how it works, but I’ve been doing it for many years—and I sleep very, very well.
To order Boudreau’s teas and remedies, contact her at (940) 325-8674.