By Molly Butler

The journey started in nature.

Elizabeth Willett comes from rural Steele County, near Bixby, Minnesota. She grew up on a tree farm in the woods, hiking through the forest to go fishing, rescuing and reviving animals, and running in the rain.

“I grew up walking with my parents to the garden for part of dinner and picking fresh berries to put on ice cream,” said Willett.  “I also credit my late grandma for this love. She walked my sister and I into the sunny woods to experience the maple syrup production at a young age and taught us how to identify morel mushrooms on the way. She encouraged walking barefoot through the grass, or through the water of the shallow shore front of the lake.”

Submitted Photo - Elizabeth Willett, founder and owner of Healing by Nature's Intent LLC
Submitted Photo – Elizabeth Willett, founder and owner of Healing by Nature’s Intent LLC

They didn’t call this “grounding” or “earthing” then, the practice of reconnecting with the earth’s energy, but that’s exactly what they were doing.

My passions lie in holistic health, emotional wellness, self-care, and herbal education. Elizabeth Willett

 Natural curiosity

After graduating high school, Willett wanted to study naturopathy, alternative medicine that focused on natural remedies and practices rather than medications. But because natural health programs had no accreditation, she was discouraged.

“I entered nursing school, eventually changed to study mass communications, she said.

Photo by Elizabeth Willett - Rose hip, the fruit of the Rosa rugosa plant. It’s what continues to grow and ripen after a wild rose’s petals fall off. The red fleshy outer part is used in herbal medicine in part for its vitamin C content, which is rather high.
Photo by Elizabeth Willett – Rose hip, the fruit of the Rosa rugosa plant. It’s what continues to grow and ripen after a wild rose’s petals fall off. The red fleshy outer part is used in herbal medicine in part for its vitamin C content, which is rather high.

She earned her Bachelor of Science degree with a focus in news-editorial work and public relations. But her passion for natural health never went away.

“I spent my spare time drinking green tea, exploring health food stores, and learning about natural healing on my own,” said Willett.

She ended up working for nearly a decade in boutique women’s retail, then for another nine years as a newspaper photojournalist.

“I knew I didn’t want these jobs for the rest of my career. I still carried my desire to formally learn about naturopathy or natural medicine.”

The beginning of a journey

Then, in 2006, Willett happened to see an advertisement in Minnesota Women’s Press for the Master of Arts in Holistic Health at St. Katherine’s University in St. Paul.

“I felt I needed to pursue my heart’s desire. I saw this as a sign from a higher power, inquired, and applied,” said Willett. “It wasn’t until I was immersed in the Holistic Health Studies graduate program I attended at St. Katherine University that I fully realized my love of plant medicine and herbal remedies. I opted to take a class about herbalism from Dr. Helen C. Healy, N.D. of Wellspring Naturopathic Clinic, and her enthusiasm for herbs inspired and enveloped me. I was hooked and haven’t stopped learning since.”

Photo by Elizabeth Willett - Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) is perhaps my favorite herb; leaves, stems and delicate flowers used to make herbal remedies for the heart, anxiety and dealing with anything “relating to the mother” (mothering or not being a mother, one’s own mother or grandmother, loss, conflict or strife as a mother, with a mother figure, or as a result of not having a mother...). It’s often used in women’s fertility remedies too.
Photo by Elizabeth Willett – Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) is perhaps my favorite herb; leaves, stems and delicate flowers used to make herbal remedies for the heart, anxiety and dealing with anything “relating to the mother” (mothering or not being a mother, one’s own mother or grandmother, loss, conflict or strife as a mother, with a mother figure, or as a result of not having a mother…). It’s often used in women’s fertility remedies too.

Four years later and feeling like a new person, Willett graduated as an accredited, degree-holding, natural health practitioner and herbalist. She moved to Mankato.

“My first year in the area, I managed the wellness department at the St. Peter Food Co-op,” said Willett. In 2011, her first son was born, and Willett left her job. “I still miss it,” she added.

In the fall of 2012, Willett created Healing by Nature’s Intent, LLC but despite being technically launched, the budding business moved to the back burner.

“About the same time, I happened upon and was hired as a customer care associate and eventually became the senior herbalist and lead educator for the Natural Fertility Company.”

Willett was a team member at NFC for seven years. It’s where she realized her love of working one-on-one with clients in a counseling settling, particularly focusing on emotional health counseling.

Healing by Nature’s Intent, LLC

After 8 years on the back burner, in 2020 Willett decided it was time to return her energies to Healing by Nature’s Intent LLC. Willett believes the wait was worth it.

Healing by Nature’s Intent, LLC wasn’t originally going to offer wellness counseling, but everything happens for a reason. I now have this expertise to offer,” said Willett.

“I am an herbalist and wellness counselor. Those are pretty broad titles, I know,” said Willett. “I consciously allow space for my business and clients to teach me and tell me what they need. My passions lie in holistic health, emotional wellness, self-care, and herbal education.”

Photo by Elizabeth Willett - Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is one of my immune boosting go-to “mushrooms”, a parasitic fungus actually. It’s dubbed the “Father of all mushrooms”. Chaga helps the body’s natural forcefield stay strong, is rich in antioxidants and is known to support illness recovery.
Photo by Elizabeth Willett – Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is one of my immune boosting go-to “mushrooms”, a parasitic fungus actually. It’s dubbed the “Father of all mushrooms”. Chaga helps the body’s natural forcefield stay strong, is rich in antioxidants and is known to support illness recovery.

Each case is unique, and Willett caters her skills to meet the needs of every client.

“I’ll chat with anyone willing to dive deep within and make a commitment to ‘do the work,’ said Willett. “We’ll talk about whether we’re a fit in terms of counselor-client, or if perhaps there is a level of support needed that is beyond my scope of practice. Digging deep into emotions and how they impact health can be heavy at times, uncovering layers can bring up other stuff, but being willing and committing to doing the work is a solid first step towards success.”

I am an herbalist and wellness counselor. Those are pretty broad titles, I know. I consciously allow space for my business and clients to teach me and tell me what they need. Elizabeth Willett

Today her shop offers both products and services, including wellness counseling, extracts, sprays, and a Winter 2020 Wellness Kit. Willett brings both her knowledge, and personal experience to her clients.

“It’s also important to share that, as a natural health practitioner, I am not licensed. The work I do is for educational purposes only… It is me walking side-by-side someone seeking a shift or change, ready to find what will work for them, and [the client] continuing to do their research to determine what best fits their needs,” said Willett.

“As a woman and mother, anxiety sufferer and former natural fertility health advocate, I certainly can offer support in those areas. I also know the give and take of the fourth trimester really well. I’ve worked with clients needing support after making large life decisions opposite of what they’d been focusing on for a long time, clients who’ve felt they’ve lost or strayed from their spirituality and want to find a spiritual path again, women questioning if they need to justify their decisions to family and friends, and others concerned about immune health for themselves and their families.”

But Willett doesn’t limit herself, or her clients, to only these areas of expertise. She’s willing to work with anyone who reaches out.

“If they feel they need to email me, there’s a reason and perhaps we’re meant to work together,” said Willett.

Photo by Elizabeth Willett - Calendula flower or pot marigold, Calendula officinalis, is both an edible and medicinal flower. It’s most notably use for its topical use on skin wounds, rashes, etc.
Photo by Elizabeth Willett – Calendula flower or pot marigold, Calendula officinalis, is both an edible and medicinal flower. It’s most notably use for its topical use on skin wounds, rashes, etc.

Fulfilling work

 The journey that began in nature continues to walk in nature. Elizabeth Willett continues to forage and harvest, fermenting foods and walking in the woods.

On any given day Willett can be found harvesting plants, either from her own gardens or in the wild, crafting remedies, fermenting materials in her kitchen, taking orders, or emailing and chatting with friends and clients. Of course, she’s also managing the business side of things, finding in time to fit in a good walk, working on her first book, and helping her two sons study. Like most of us working through 2020, Willett and her family have faced some curve-balls this year.

“To be really real, I’m a mom of two elementary aged kids and while I didn’t want to reference COVID-19 in this interview, I have to because I’m ‘teacher’s assistant’ right now while they distance learn,” said Willett.

It’s my heart’s desire to help people have ‘ah-ha’ moments, discover answers within themselves, and recognize that they are resilient, that they can make it through and beyond what they are presently challenged by. Elizabeth Willett

Despite the challenges, Willett loves the work she is able to do and the people she is able to help.

“It’s my heart’s desire to help people have ‘ah-ha’ moments, discover answers within themselves, and recognize that they are resilient, that they can make it through and beyond what they are presently challenged by,” said Willett.

Every day is a little different, and that’s the way Willett likes it.

“This is exactly the way I love my day; mostly random, filled with chances to educate others,” said Willett. “Oh, and my mug is always filled with green tea.”

If you are interested in Elizabeth Willett and Healing by Nature’s Intent LLC, check out her new website for more information.

Author


  • is a writer, gardener, and animal lover. She returned to the Mankato area after completing her MFA in Creative Writing at Hamline University.