Image by Moe Zoyari
Chicago health and wellness influencer Rita Jackson discusses her awareness of spirituality and the holistic health in black communities. Jackson spoke to Echo about her experience as a self-taught herbalist and founder of Oh So Medicinal teas and tinctures located in Hyde Park.
Do you feel the need to get any professional training or certificate?
I don’t think its necessary to get all these degrees and what not [but] I think it’s important to experience with these herbs out in nature. Nothing can touch that. [I had] a friend that was really sick, bedridden with bronchitis and she was really ill. I suggested she take this throat tincture that I made with some tea. She had the regular pharmaceutical medicine and her mom is a nurse. Her symptoms flipped in a few days. I knew it was possible and I was happy it worked for her but I was taken aback by how powerful it was and how quickly she recovered. It’s not always going to work and everybody has a different situation. I’d like to take that further and have more health consultations.
What is a tincture?
A tincture is an herbal extract. You take one herb or multiple herbs and put them in a menstruum. It could be drinking alcohol, gin, brandy [or] whatever you want to do. You drop them under your tongue, at least for the fastest results or you can put it in any drink, a tea or smoothie —it’s whatever you want. They can assist with so many ailments it’s ridiculous how powerful they are for how little you consume.
Do you have a mentor that you look to for inspiration?
Haji Healing Salon, they do awesome work. Aya Nicole is the founder and also my yoga instructor. I’ve been a yogi but as of recently she’s been my instructor and I think it’s really powerful to have a black woman as my yoga instructor with a similar body type—it’s just inspiring to me. My practice has improved greatly and it’s an honor to practice with her because she knows her stuff. She’s opening up a whole wellness center on the South Side of Chicago and I’m in full support of what she’s doing. Her rates are accessible. That’s another reason how I can even maintain the wellness practices. There was a point where I had to stop practicing yoga because it got too expensive. I don’t have $20 for a class because I would like to practice every day if I could. It got to a point where I had to step back and just kind of teach myself doing YouTube videos. But with her, it’s very accessible and it’s close.