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Botanical Bus is using its platform to provide Latinos with natural healing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo Botanicalbus.org
Botanical Bus is using its platform to provide Latinos with natural healing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo Botanicalbus.org

The bilingual botanical bus advocating for healing in Sonoma county’s Latinx community

Jocelyn Boreta is out to show the Latinx community the benefits of alternative health methods amid COVID-19.

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The Latino community experience amid COVID-19 has been nothing short of traumatic.

According to the CDC, 18.7% of U.S. COVID-19 deaths are among Latinos. 

The agency also says that 1,326 Latino COVID-19 deaths have come in California.

Although numbers are slowly decreasing as the vaccine rollout continues, a local activist in California is using her platform to promote all-natural healing options to Latinos in Sonoma county.

Jocelyn Boreta is a community activist and executive director of the Botanical Bus, a bilingual mobile herbal medicine clinic. 

She is taking the initiative to offer Latinos and farm workers in the county an opportunity to discover an all-natural alternative of healing by providing them with acupuncture, immunity health support, and free massages.

“We’ve seen these social determinants of health affecting the Latinx community here, so that’s really the foundation of why we wanted to take action,” Boreta said in an interview with Sonoma Magazine.

Her mission in the community is to make sure farmworkers and Latinos have access to proper healing, especially since they have been working non stop amid the pandemic.

“Our practice at the clinic is often about nourishing the nervous system so that people can restore healthy sleep cycles and manage their stress in what are often very stressful circumstances,” said Boreta.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic last Spring, The Botanical Bus has distributed 1,500 mutual aid garden kits to Indigenous and Latinx residents of Sonoma county that are experiencing food insecurity.

For years, Boreta has offered weekly, free, bilingual wellness workshops at community gardens and Latinx health centers throughout the county.

Many of the herbs and flowers grown from the garden can be used as herbal treatments and relief.

She also made sure to recruit indegenious professionals along her journey of helping others to provide various healing methods to benefit the Latinx community.

“There’s an indigenous woman who’s joined us from a village outside of Oaxaca, and her knowledge of herbal medicine is really strong,” she said.

Boreta has studied both herbalism and cultural anthropology, and been a community activist for over 10 years while also working with indegenous women in Guatemala and Peru.

She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cultural Anthropology from University of California Santa Barbara and a certification in herbalism from the California School of Herbal Studies.

Along with stress management, and therapy, the Botanical Bus also sponsors a Promotora program, which helps community leaders to organize bilingual wellness workshops.

At its core, the Botanical Bus believes that having access to valuable information such as stress management and diabetes management, can help save many lives.

Although there are many alternatives to natural healings and mental wellness, it is not a cure-all for COVID-19.

“There’s no magic plant that’s going to stop people from getting Covid, but there are definitely wellness remedies that will build our resilience. And that’s what we’re focused on,” said Boreta.

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