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Herb Shoppe helps customers heal holistically

The Herb Shoppe owner Laura Barrera is treating customers’ problems one body at a time. Barrera said her business started when she became interested in holistic approaches to treat her own problems that traditional medicine would not solve.

“I got into this business because I was sick,” Barrera said. “I had a lot of digestive issues, I suffer from panic attacks and anxiety and was taking a lot of different medications for it that didn’t seem to be working. In fact, (they were) making me feel worse. I came across the [Sunshine Herb Shop] in Newnan, and started from there.”

Barrera said she started working at the Sunshine Herb Shop in Newnan in 2007 before opening her own store in LaGrange in December 2012. She said part of why she runs her own store is to help those in pain.

“I don’t like seeing suffering. I don’t like people not being at their best, and whatever I can do to facilitate that for people, I want to do,” she said.

Experience and personal relationships are what make Barrera proud of her store, she said.

“I think the thing that makes us stand apart from a chain store is the personal experience you’ll get when you come here. When you come in here, you get that relationship with someone who cares about your health and wants to tailor a program specific for you,” she said. “You get that experience here that you don’t get somewhere else and all of our customers are important to us and we like that relationship.”

Barrera said what makes her store different from a pharmacy is that the treatments she uses are for the whole body.

“Holistic means whole body approach. Traditional medicine tends to treat the body as separate parts,” she said. “Like, if you went in for a stomach issue, they would refer you probably to a gastrointestinal doctor and he would just focus on your stomach issue instead of other things that might be going on in the body. Your body works together as a system, if one thing is off something else is going to be off. If your liver is congested, your kidneys are going to pick up the detoxification function or vice versa, if your kidneys are not working properly, your liver is going to start working hard to detoxify the body.”

Originally working in catering services before taking time to have and raise her children, Barrera became interested in holistic treatment in 2000.

“I started my career in airline catering and then I worked for a few years at a retirement residence. I did food service there. I loved that job,” she said.

Holistic approaches not only treat physical ailments, but also focus on emotional issues, Barrera said.  Some of these treatments include using flower essences, essential oils and massages.

“You have to treat the body in a whole-body approach and that includes emotions as well. A lot of people only want to address physical issues when their problem may be stemming from unresolved emotions.”

Barrera said that while she thinks traditional medicine has the wrong approach in healing illness, she does not in the least oppose medical care and professionals.

“I’m not anti-doctor at all, as far as criticism, some people thinks it’s all hogwash, but for me this is God’s medicine. This is the first medicine and you either believe he put everything on this Earth for us to survive on or you don’t. I do,” she said. “I think emergency medicine is superb, if I break my leg I am going to the hospital. I think antibiotics have saved many lives. From a personal experience, they made me sick, but I am not anti-doctor in any way shape or form.”

While her store is not part of a chain, Barrera is hoping to expand. With the expansion, she wants to offer more services including rake messages, message therapy and individual healthcare consultations.

“If you see [the other businesses], we all sell Nature’s Sunshine Products, and we all probably sell varied similar products as far as brand names and things like that,” she said. “We’re looking to expand. I’m hoping this year.”