Katharine is a professional registered herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild, the highest certification offered to herbalists in the United States. She began her studies under the guidance of a variety of Traditional Western Herbalists in Minnesota from 2015-2016. She then went on to study Traditional Southern Folk Medicine with Alabama based herbalist Phyllis D. Light from 2016-2018. In 2019 she continued honing her skills through a mentorship program with Georgia based herbalist Patricia Kryitsi Howell the same year she received her AHG Registered Herbalist certification.
Originally a blog Urban Nettle opened as an official business in January 2016. Ever since she has been working with clients, making herbal care products and teaching classes.
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Admittedly the above is unabashed version of (my) Katharine’s story. If I were to just tell this I wouldn't be showing up in the world and connecting on a meaningful level. The truth is it took struggle after painful struggle to arrive where I currently am.
Nestle in folks if you dare as I unwind my own story. Hopefully by being compassionate and open with you it will be easier for you to be open with yourself and perhaps me.
I was born in the North. Minnesota to be exact.
As a child, my heart and sole landed in the natural world. I remember ritually journaling in a beloved linden tree and exploring relentlessly amidst an old growth oak savanna. My most vivid childhood memory mashing spring blood roots in a neighbor’s sandbox.
Though my life purpose had presented itself so clearly as I mixed magic elixirs and explored the natural world, I quickly began to build my shell.
Early on I was labeled the quiet kid and unfortunately labels stick.
The fair-madden root mashing self, observational and introspective quickly left me alone on the playground.
As we do when we don’t fit in, I learned to survive.
I found my words, made friends and pushed my intuitiveness away. By the time high school hit
I began hustling for everyone and everything.
Striving for perfection I held myself to rigorous standards. My grades, my physical fitness and then with what I ate and my weight.
This continued into college. Control created calm. It worked amazingly yet it slowly and quite literally began to destroy me. For the next five years I pushed away those that loved me as I starved my body of essential minerals, nutrients and sustenance.
Amazingly a dog and organic farming pulled me from the depths of disordered eating and I started hitting my stride. The dog allowed me to focus my attention on something other than my weight while the thrilling pace of hard work and weeding reconnected me with the natural world.
Everything seemed to flow until my fourth year of farming. I attempted to work a full-time farm hand position and manage my own acre garden farm. Running myself ragged I crashed.
As we always do when we are stressed we turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms.
My eating disorder unfortunately returned.
That fall I abandoned ship and escaped to the big city of Minneapolis. There I found a job lugging packaged organic food. Coupled with an early morning work schedule I scrapped together less than a measly 5 hours of sleep. A restrictive diet left me with zero energy and metabolic vitality to keep myself well.
It was here where I started sinking and sinking fast.
A previous low back injury from farming along with my rigorously unhealthy work/life schedule soon began to physically disable me. Barely able to walk without wincing, at one point I was in such excruciating pain I was unable to use the bathroom on my own.
Despite my body's call for help I refused to listen.
Instead I made painfully awful relationship choices. I hurt the people I loved the most and others I didn’t even know. Cyclical bouts of pain ebbed and flowed until finally rock bottom hit and did I ever hit it hard.
This is where Joseph Campbell, insightful writer who brought us the hero's journey, would call my awakening.
I distinctly remember waking up one morning and realizing I was pressing 100% against everything I knew to be true.
What I was doing? What had I become? My body mind and spirit were all crying out for help and thus time I had to listen.
But I didn’t know how? I didn’t know myself. I had hurt so many people and was consumed by shame and guilt. On top of that my body was in shambles.
I tried to navigate. I reached out to some incredibly wonderful humans who amazingly heard my story without judgement. Compassionate, caring and supportive they held me whole. I sought help professionally and realized:
I had to accept myself and ALL of my decisions.
I crafted a language to help navigate the world. Most importantly I reconnected with the natural elements and knew the only thing to keep me alive, rooted and well was the world of herbalism.
So I immersed myself in the herbal world and moved out of the city. I went back to organic farming and learned to view the world with a wider more compassionate lens. I knelt down to owls and herons and bowed at the mighty eagles. I leaned into nature and found trust in the universe and myself.
There are always struggles in life. Right now they are being a supportive partner to my husband, parenting our little butterbean and running a momma owned business.
I do my best, it is anything but perfect and yet I am grateful and honored each and everyday.
So here I am. Imperfect, filled with flaws and completely and 100% here for you.