Tammie Lowell poses with her Oyate Herbals products. Photo courtesy of Tammie Lowell.
Indigenous Americans pride themselves on connecting with their environment as a means to help others. Tammie Lowell, founder of Oyate Herbals, is a Native American woman from the Lakota Nation who sheds light on the benefits of natural medicine.
She believes that using herbal remedies can strengthen the bond between people and the natural world. Therefore, her company strives to balance the mind, body and spirit by connecting customers with their natural environment.
As an herbalist, Lowell uses her expertise to curate lotions, oils, salves, etc., many of which include CBD. Her mission behind Oyate Herbals is to continue on the path of her Lakota ancestors whose tribe was called on to protect the earth. Lowell’s knowledge acts as a conduit for healing her customers’ ailments while simultaneously honoring the natural world.
She explains, “Oyate, it’s a Lakota word that means your family or your tribe. Not necessarily blood related, but just people that you know that are there for you and can count on you. It’s like the close knit people who are your extended family.”
Therefore, Lowell’s innate desire to help others stems from her Native American heritage. In a culture that is deeply founded on understanding how all living things have a purpose, she began to realize at a young age that herbs are natural healers.
Lowell’s mother sparked her journey with herbal medicine, as she is also an herbalist. She notes, “it wasn’t something I ever thought about, it’s just kind of who I was.”
The Best-Selling Salve and More
Now, Oyate Herbals reflects the union of her father’s Native American heritage and her mother’s lifestyle.
Lowell explains, “when you’re an herbalist, you don’t look at underlying symptoms, you look at the whole picture.” She continues, “that goes into balance with the way that native cultures look at things. […] Everything we do has a purpose…”
Through understanding this delicate balance, Lowell creates products that not only smell lovely, but also relieve stress, ease headaches, balance hormones, increase sleep and so on. Above all, her best-selling salve is her Extra Strength Pain Salve which she infuses with 100 mg of Rick Simpson Oil (RSO).
According to Emerald, “RSO can often contain up to 90% THC and takes the form of a thick oil or greasy substance. Patients suffering from painful diseases can consume the oil on the tongue, in food, or in suppositories.”
Furthermore, the salve contains four anti-inflammatory properties including CBD-rich RSO. Lowell describes, “I [also] use Comfrey, Arnica and Calendula; they’re pretty ancient herbs…” She continues, “actually Comfrey was banned by the FDA many years ago because it worked so well. They tried to shut it down by not allowing any type of import or export into the United States.”
Luckily, Lowell clarifies that Comfrey grows in Colorado, where she responsibly sources it from organic growers.
Certified in Eastern and Western herbology, Lowell says her salve is highly effective. In fact, she states, “I’ve actually seen my salve heal three different people’s torn rotator cuffs and it kept them out of surgery.”
Natural Medicine: Taboo?
Lowell provides insight into how there are actually so many herbs that people do not know about. Even as an experienced heralist, she says she’s still learning about the vast world of healing plants.
Post from @oyateherbals on Instagram.
“It’s funny because I’ve been doing this since I was a little girl but there’s still other herbs, especially Chinese herbs, that I am not familiar with,” she adds. “[…] As of now I’m trying to work with other physicians to bridge that gap between Western medicine and traditional medicine.”
Geographic difference is not the only reason that society knows less about natural remedies. They also go unnoticed because non-indigenous cultures tend to lack acceptance for benefits of natural supplements.
Lowell reflects, “if you look at most indigenous cultures around the world, they live in balance and harmony with things around them […] They allowed nature to take its course; they allowed those naturally balanced understandings to guide them instead of living in fear.”
Nevertheless, Lowell believes that fear can be a great motivator. However, fear can also instill panic which causes people to become desperate and careless about what they’re putting in their bodies. For example, pharmaceutical companies offer fast relief but sometimes do not consider side effects.
“When you put chemicals in the body it actually has a negative effect on it […] so when you take these natural supplements they work with the natural balance of your body to recreate that homeostasis. That way you can be healthy and ward off these illnesses that are around, ” she explains.
Lowell’s Journey with CBD
Lowell speaks from personal experience. She used CBD during her fight with a hereditary blood disease that turned leukemic.
“I turned to CBD and I have been stable for the last three years,” she explains. “It took a while to do the research and of course it wasn’t just the herbs. It was my diet and exercise and overall it’s the understanding of creating a homeostasis inside the body to stay healthy.”
She describes CBD as the secret to maintaining balance in the body. That’s because the endocannabinoid system is directly tied to immunity and health.
Lowell is motivated to share her success with CBD by helping others to access her products at an affordable rate.
“It’s not about the money for me, it’s about the Oyate and that’s my people,” she says. “It doesn’t mean just my Lakota people, it’s everybody I come in contact with.”
Oyate Herbals responsibly sources cruelty-free CBD products from Lazarus Naturals in Oregon. CBD is a key ingredient to Lowell’s product regime because it is useful for its anti-inflammatory properties.
For example, a study in the Journal of Pain Research writes, “medicines that contain active ingredients that act as agonists of cannabinoid receptors are a promising therapeutic approach for treatment of various types of pain: neuropathic, inflammatory and oncological.”
A Future in Phytotherapy
Lowell innately steps up to help others in hopes to create a ripple effect. Currently, she is going back to school for her degree in phytotherapy to continue her research on healing with natural extracts. According to Britannica, phytotherapy is the study of using plant-derived medications to treat disease.
She discloses, “I lost my husband to Glioblastoma brain cancer and I was working directly with his oncologist with a phytotherapy that I had found out about from Bosnia. […] Between that and the immunotherapy, it was the best reduction we found for him.”
Therefore, Lowell strives to work with more doctors to help bridge the gap between phytotherapy and plant medicine. Looking towards the future, she hopes to use her expertise in natural medicine to make breakthroughs in the field of traditional medicine.
“My husband always said that I’d be the woman who’d take down big pharma but I think that was reaching,” Lowell laughs. “He said I’m so strong and I can do anything and I loved his outlook on that.”
While she continues to research and educate others, Lowell also intends to build a healing center at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. There she hopes to further educate the elders and young ones on the reservation about CBD and other plant medicines.