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2875 Idlewild Drive Unit 9
Reno, NV, 89509

The Inspired Herbalist

Golden Monarch Herbals is a unique body care line that was originally coaxed out of Tai, a massage therapist by trade, when her patients suggested she begin selling the handmade products she used on them. “As a kid, I would always find flowers on the playground and crush them up,” she says.

Possessing the natural inclination to utilize things from the Earth, Tai’s interest eventually led her to the formal study of herbs. The knowledge acts as a base from which she hand makes and custom designs each and every product.

Tai opens a notebook where original recipes for salves, sprays, and tinctures amongst others await to pop off the page. My photographer jokingly refers to the notebook as a book of potions. Indeed there is something magical and mindful about the way Tai crafts her products, and this particular style in conjunction with the quality of ingredients is absolutely felt by many returning customers.

Ingredients are harvested from a well-loved garden in the back or foraged from surrounding areas. Anything that Tai cannot find in the field she sources from suppliers in her birth state of Oregon. In full circle fashion, any organic waste expelled from the making process is composted to breathe new life into the garden. Additionally, packaging and storage containers are made mostly of glass and reused when possible. “My clients also bring back their glass jars to refill.”

We arrived on a perfect day for a product called Skin Salvation, which is a topical antiseptic used to treat open wounds, rash, dry, cracked or irritated skin. A giant glass jar pulled from a wooden box holds small yellow plants soaking in olive oil, which she strains in order to add to a mixture simmering in a pot on the oven. In a series of pouring, straining, mixing, and dripping movements, Tai transfers the completed mixture into glass jars.

While waiting for the salve to cool, Tai grabs the leaf-winged butterfly stamp iconic to her brand and coats it in golden ink before pressing the design onto each label. She tells us about the significance of the Golden Monarch that has a deep familial significance. As the story and day draw to a close, she screws the top onto the last jar of salve, and I’m pretty sure I see an apparition of Professor Slughorn in the corner, waving his wand.