“She said, ‘Hey do you want to start an herb store?,’” Sounart, the owner of Desert Sage Herbs in Chandler, said. “I said that it sounded like fun. That was 22 years ago.”
The mother-daughter duo opened the first iteration of the store in May 1999, and Sounart began going to herbal school at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, where her mother had gone to school to learn more about holistic healing, too.
“My parents were very active and always exercised; my mom always made meals at home—I think she was always healthy,” Sounart said.
Sounart herself fell in love with herbs and holistic medicine when she was having some digestive problems and saw a naturopathic doctor in Scottsdale.
“I drank the herbs and did acupuncture,” she said. “We did some dietary changes, too. And I was better. That’s when I knew I was a true believer and I knew that I was so interested in it. Something about it sparked something in me. That was my first experience actually learning how they treat you differently from a holistic or naturopathic perspective.”
She said that was her first experience with herbal medicine.
“I was just in love. I think I had always known genetically that our ancestors came from herbal medicine,” she said. “I learned that down my generational path that my great-grandfather was a doctor and my great-grandmother was a nurse, and they delivered babies at people’s homes.”
The business, now operated out of a former model home, offers a place for people to shop for herbs and attend classes to learn more about holistic healing.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Desert Sage Herbs remained open—though operating at a smaller capacity.
“In our view [our business] for a lot of people, is their health care,” Sounart said. “With the coronavirus, we know the stronger we keep the immune system the better it will be. To me, it’s vital to have the ability for our community to get things to support their immune system through any kind of viruses. That’s not to say you don’t go to a doctor when you’re sick, but we want to support people and keep them healthy.”