The fragrances in Michelle Stewart's home are amazing. When I stepped through the door of her Gladewater home, my sense of smell immediately shifted into overdrive. An unmistakable mixture of potpourri, citrus, spices, lavender and mint saturated the air.
It didn't take long to figure out why.
On the stove in the kitchen was a pot with simmering potpourri mixture. Steps away were big racks where herbs were drying. And on the kitchen table were piles of boxes filled with of her specialty blends of teas, simmering potpourris, smudge sticks, bath teas and facial steam mixtures.
Stewart is the owner of the Three Roots Boutique. She makes concoctions of teas and fragrance products that all work in some way to calm frazzled nerves.
"Some of the herbs I grow and some I buy," Stewart says. "And then I put them together in unique ways."
The venture allows her to combine the great loves in life: horticulture and helping people reach a calmer place. She also is a certified life coach and a professional horticulturalist.
"When I was a little girl (in Dallas) I remember picking peppermint in my mom's garden," Stewart shares while sitting in her living room. "Growing plants is a part of me. It is just in my nature."
She worked in garden centers while in high school and then earned a degree in agriculture from Texas A&M University.
After college, she moved to Seattle and become more interested tapping into the body's full potential to reach a higher state of being. She enrolled in Sofia University, a small college in Palo Alto, California, and earned a master's degree in transpersonal psychology. The university defines transpesonal psychology as the study of the full range of human experience: the intellectual, emotional, spiritual, physical, social and creative aspects of life
Stewart says she then went through a period of self-exploration. She spent a great deal of time in nature thinking about what she wanted to do with the rest of her life.
"It was a transformative experience. ... I had changed so much intellectually. I wanted to do so much with the knowledge that I had."
She realized that her true calling was to help others.
She moved back to Texas and started working with kids in an after-school program. She was particularly effective in helping fourth- and fifth-grade girls "work through issues."
She later counseled children at an East Texas mental health services provider and then transitioned into part-time work as a life coach and a relaxation coach.
"My clients come to me with a goal of seeking change," Stewart says.
She sits and listen to their concerns and helps them come up with strategies on how to reach goals. As a relaxation coach, she leads clients through sessions "specifically designed to allow peace to flow through you."
But even while counseling others, Stewart never quit working with plants. A licensed horticulturist, she opened a side business, Three Roots Gardening. She helps clients create wildlife gardens, sacred space gardens, container gardens and micro-farms.
She also continued growing herbs in her backyard.
"Working with plants has always been a part of my life," she says. She branched her love of horticulture into Three Roots Boutique.
"I have a tea obsession," Stewart jokes. "I love loose leaf tea but I couldn't find what I wanted so I started making my own."
She puts different combinations of teas together until she finds the flavors that work best together. And better yet, she knew that tea is good for you.
"Everything that goes into these (tea blends) have some medicinal properties," she says.
In Eastern cultures, teas for thousands of years have been regarded as a key to good health, happiness, and wisdom, says information on the medical website webmd. Studies have found that some teas may help with cancer, heart disease, and diabetes; encourage weight loss; lower cholesterol; and bring about mental alertness.
Stewart says that all the products she makes are "natural and handmade in small batches with the utmost care." Most of the products are organic.
Whether counseling people on reaching goals, helping clients create private gardens or having people use one of her personal blends, Stewart says the goal for the client is always the same.
"The idea is to relax and enjoy."