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Why This Herbalist Is Reclaiming 'Spinster'

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In the '90s, Kathleen Hanna and the riot grrrl community reclaimed the word “slut” and started a movement. And herbalist Liz Migliorelli, who named her apothecary Sister Spinster, is doing the same for that maligned term for single dames. “It’s about honoring spinsterhood, which gets this bad rap because of stereotypes casting unmarried women as grouchy and mean,” she says, “but it’s a much older word.” In fact, Migliorelli says, the term once referred to the women who practiced holistic methods of healing long before the rise of Western medicine—a tradition she continues today.

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Migliorelli lives in a one-room cabin off the Pacific Coast in Northern California, where the tools of her trade—flowers and plants—are abundant. She distills her ingredients into elixirs that address everything from anxiety about life transitions to helping users feel more connected to the earth. She also gives classes and workshops, passing on the knowledge of plants that women have been using for centuries. “I believe so much in empowerment through taking care of one’s self,” she says. “That for me, is the most important thing.”

 

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By Lisa Butterworth
Photo by Angela Decenzo

This article originally appeared in the February/March 2016 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today



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