The people's medicine

Traditional knowledge becomes a business for Diné woman
  • Leonard Marcus

To Walk in Two Worlds

Story By Gisela Telis December 7, 2010

At the Whole Foods store on Speedway Boulevard, Medicine of the People blends right in. The glossy tins of sore-joint salve and lip balm form a rainbow of color, and their design has the clean lines of a corporate marketing campaign. But while the cruelty-free nail polish and jade luck charms that flank this display traveled thousands of miles to get here, the elegant tins started their lives just up I-10, in northeastern Marana.

Virginia Boone lives there, in a purple house on four acres off a remote dirt road. Boone is Navajo, and for fifteen years she has turned the traditional herbal medicine of her people into Medicine of the People—a line of balms, lotions, teas and other natural products that she sells at Native American markets and pow wows, on the Internet and, most recently, in stores and gift shops.

  • Leonard Marcus

Medicine of the People Evolving Along its Natural Path

By Gale Courey Toensing

Story Published: Jul 20, 2009

Story Updated: Jul 17, 2009

MARANA, Az. – Virginia Boone and Leonard Marcus are in the fortunate position of living lives in which work, family, social life, health, spirituality, tradition and culture meld together into an integrated, meaningful whole. Life and business partners for the last 15 years, the couple collects wild herbs and other plants in areas of the southwestern states of Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, crafts them into handmade traditional Navajo herbal remedies and sells them at pow wows, Indian markets, conferences and on the Internet  It’s a way of life to which Boone and Marcus are profoundly committed.

“The commitment comes from the understanding that we have a connection with the earth and that is how all Native Americans relate their way of life – by working the earth and being committed to using the spirit of the body and the earth to live, you know?” Boone said. “It keeps the culture alive and it helps people. It’s not just one thing or the other; it’s a whole thing in itself. We’re fortunate that it’s something we can do to help people and share with a lot of people.”

  • Leonard Marcus

Navajo Herbalist Combines the Best of Her Two Worlds

By Levi J. Long

Photography by Jim Davis

ARIZONA DAILY STAR Tucson, Arizona | Published: 02.10.2006

As a Navajo herbalist and entrepreneur, Virginia Boone has learned to walk a fine line.

In her youth, Boone learned Navajo traditions and language while living with her family off the reservation.

Today she's learning how to balance a career as the head of a traditional Navajo healing herb company, based in Marana, without compromising family and tribal traditions.

"We were taught at a young age about our connection to the Earth and to the plants," said Boone, 50, owner of Medicine of the People LLC., which makes all-natural healing balms and herbal spa products. "We also learned to respect their medicinal qualities."

With her father's teachings, Boone and her siblings spent their childhood and teen years learning about the healing qualities of plants and herbs found throughout Northern Arizona.

  • Leonard Marcus