by Sandra Yeyati
When Trina Sims was in her 20s, she had a touring theatrical company that performed in regional theaters and schools around the country. She was the director, producer and de facto healthcare provider. “Nobody had money for doctors, but the show must go on. We couldn’t have someone out sick,” she says.
Relying upon a long tradition of herbal blends commonly used in Europe, the troupe would regularly stop on the road so that Sims could cook up a batch of tea to address a cold, the flu, food poisoning or whatever else was going around. “I would heat the water in a canteen on top of the engine of the bus,” she says with a chuckle. Sims learned about these remedies from her parents, both of whom were immigrants—her father from Ukraine and her mother from the Basque region between France and Spain.
Sims took herbs for her own health, too, and together with a reasonable diet and exercise, she didn’t have much use for doctors. But in 1979, when she went to work for the Austin School District, Sims was required to get a physical. At a walk-in clinic on the east side of town, she met Dr. Santiago Zamora, a general practitioner who took care of the people in his community, from prenatal to postmortem. After performing a thorough exam, Zamora asked her to explain her health regimen. She told him about the herbs, to which he responded with a smile, “What you’re doing works. Keep it up.” Sims remembers this encounter to this day. “I don’t know that I would do this professionally if he had not said that to me,” she says.
Forty years after her touring adventures, as the founder and owner of GreenStar Herbs, in Austin, Sims continues to custom-formulate herbs to address allergies, thyroid disorders, digestive disturbances, depression, anxiety, cardiovascular issues and more. Her methods, based on decades of experience, research and studies, are much more sophisticated now.
With the help of one assistant, Sims processes more than 300 different herbs using proprietary extraction techniques to get the most of every plant. “We have 15 different ways of processing these plants, because you can’t process petals of a flower in the same way that you process twigs, roots or bark. Some things need to be cooked for a long time with heat. Others are done as cold macerations or hot infusions,” she explains.
The triple-extraction method that Sims developed using alcohol, water and glycerin ensures extra-concentrated, full-spectrum results. “There might be two other outfits in the entire country that get near to doing what we do,” she says, which explains why naturopathic physicians and other practitioners and clients from several states buy her blends and request her customized formulations for their patients.
Sims also meets with clients to customize health support and wellness plans that address their specific situations. Her initial consultations typically last from one-and-a-half to two hours. She says, “I want to get to know my clients so that I can help them get back to balance. Although I do look at medical reports, blood panels and chemical assays, I consider those secondary and only advisory. I am more interested in how this person feels—do they eat comfortably, do they eliminate comfortably? Do they have good focus? Are they too susceptible to getting sick? We also go into their psychology—their moods and outlook on life. Is this a person who likes to be active? Is this a person who is more sedentary?” From there, Sims is able to devise a nutritional and herbal plan for each individual. She custom formulates the herbs herself.
When the American Herbalist Guild, the most well-respected professional association for U.S. herbalists, decided to set up a Texas state chapter, she was drafted by the herbalists in Texas to be their first president. Sims adds, “Hundreds of people who have used us for years are willing to speak on our behalf and say that as far as herbalism goes, GreenStar Herbs is as good as it gets.”
Sims is investing in new labeling equipment and expects this year to be moving into retail outlets in North Carolina, and Arizona plus other areas in Texas. She adds, “I would love to expand out from there.”
For more information, call 512-301-5069 or visit GreenStarHerbs.com.