Owner of Tendril Herbal Apothecary & Healing Center By Jillian Chandler| Photo by Adair Media Group
Coming from a family of Italian healers, known as Strega, Laura Clemmons inherited traditional Italian herbal remedies from her mother. Unfortunately, Laura struggled for years due to undiagnosed celiac disease, leading to digestive issues and various health problems. In her early 20s, she found her way to Traditional Chinese Medicine, studying at the Shen Nong Center in Philadelphia under Dr. Gu Ding. “This marked a turning point, as I started seeing real improvements in my health,” she recalls.
Later, Laura moved to Boulder, Colorado, and enrolled in the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies, founded by Feather Jones. This is where she found her community and formed enduring friendships. She also pursued various apprenticeships and continued to expand her knowledge. She’s received training in Maya Abdominal Massage from Indigenous healer Miss Beatrice Waight and achieved certification as an Integrative and Functional Medicine Women’s Health Educator through Dr. Aviva Romm’s program.
Today, she, along with her husband Henry, are the owners of Tendril Herbal Apothecary & Healing Center right here in Sandpoint.
Q. What inspired you to pursue a career to help nourish and heal your clients to help them thrive?
A. I can't recall ever wanting to be anything other than a healer. While I've held various jobs to make ends meet, my passion for being a clinician has remained unwavering since my early 20s. After 25 years and helping over a thousand clients, my determination to learn and practice has only grown. Being a healer isn't just what I do; it's an authentic expression of my soul.
Q. When did you and Henry open the doors to Tendril Herbal Apothecary & Healing Center?
A. Tendril opened its doors in November 2021, celebrating by donating 200 sessions to Bonner General Health workers. Our mission is to benefit our community, and since then, we've donated over $20,000 worth of services to the hospital, veterans, and those in need.
Q. What was the inspiration/meaning behind the name Tendril?
A. The name "Tendril" holds three meanings. On the surface, it relates to plants like hops and passionflower, which are tendriling plants. Digging deeper, it signifies how tendriling plants connect in a garden, much like we seek to connect with the Sandpoint community and other healers through our robust referral program. In a more hidden sense, it translates to "Divine Synchronicity," reflecting the serendipitous events that brought us to this place, guided by divine intervention.
Q. As a certified herbalist, what services do you provide your clients through Tendril?
A. With over 20 years of experience as a clinical functional herbalist in holistic and integrative care, I provide personalized support for various health issues. My services include in-depth functional herbal consultations, extensive research on clients' conditions, and the latest studies to inform my protocols. Additionally, I offer earth-centered somatic practices, Maya Abdominal Massage, and Womb Care. With 17 years in women's health, I continuously seek the latest information to support women in the community. I advocate for people's health, connect them to resources, and offer Zoom telehealth for a global reach. Our doors are always open for walk-in support, and with 40-plus years of experience, Meryl Kastin and I provide over-the-counter herbal and supplement advice. We meet each person where they are, striving to offer the support they need. Our services include Mild Hyperbaric Therapy, Halo Therapy (Salt Cave), PEMF Therapy, Sensory Deprivation Tank (Floatation Therapy), Infrared Sauna, and Bio Mat.
Q. For each individual who walks through your doors, what is your hope/intention they walk away with?
A. At Tendril, we aim to create a safe environment where clients feel heard and seen in their suffering. With a multifaceted business encompassing retail, equipment use, and diverse practitioner services, we integrate our talents to cater to each client's unique needs. We offer diverse services, whether it's advice on navigating cold and flu season or supporting cancer patients, or guiding individuals through comprehensive transformations encompassing body, mind and spirit. Our approach includes dietary shifts, identity architecture, herbal and supplement protocols, as well as detoxification and cellular-level improvements facilitated by our equipment. Our staff's extensive experience in the health care industry drives us to provide a different option for health care, empowering our clients to take an active role in their well-being. We welcome everyone, plan individualized approaches, and treat them like family.
Q. What do you enjoy most about having like-minded individuals and businesses in the community who also focus on natural healing in their own fields of expertise?
A. The presence of numerous practitioners in the natural healing field reflects North Idaho's health-conscious and integrated approach to well-being. As we age, proactively engaging in our health process becomes crucial for maintaining a high quality of life. Living in this beautiful region encourages an active outdoor lifestyle, and we aim to preserve that for years to come. Collaboration and peer support are central to our ethos. We often see clients already working with other practitioners and always recommend they continue with their existing protocols. We actively invite collaboration and serve as an herbal pharmacy, facilitating the creation of exceptional formulas based on our clinical herbalists' profound knowledge.
Q. What brought you to Sandpoint? And how long have you lived in the area?
A. Our journey in Sandpoint began eight years ago, a place that immediately captured our hearts. We initially arrived when my husband chose to step away from the medical school path to prioritize family time. While in transition, we found ourselves here, leaving Colorado. We formed connections quickly, but a unique job opportunity led us away. However, a few years later, I returned to help my father-in-law, Hank, recover from a secondary infection after COVID. Despite initial skepticism about herbal medicine, he made a full recovery in a few weeks, prompting him to redirect his retirement plans to help establish Tendril. Presently, we've been back for over three years, and Tendril has been open for almost two, with Hank contributing as one of our clinicians, specializing in pain management.
Q. When not assisting your clients, how do you like to spend your time?
A. We reside in an incredibly beautiful place, and my family relishes exploring the forests, mountains, and swimming in the lake. During the summer, my children, who are practically part fish, spend an abundance of time in the water. Access to the woods fosters a deep connection to nature, a precious rarity in the modern world. In my free time, you'll find me in one of my gardens or foraging for medicinal plants; activities I cherish deeply. Cooking is another passion, perhaps attributed to my Italian heritage. Preparing delicious, nutritious meals that my family enjoys satisfies a profound part of my soul.
Q. Are you involved in any local community organizations? If so, why are these organizations particularly important to you?
A. Community involvement is essential to me, and I've recently volunteered to serve on the board of the Yellow Room community center. Additionally, I've been hosting the Sandpoint Women’s Red Tent, celebrating the cycles of women, monthly for the past three-and-a-half years. We are also involved with Courageous Survival, a veteran and first responder program that links us with Bonner and Boundary counties’ Sheriff’s Chaplains to provide discounted services.