Herbalist Lilli Botchis, Dec 00 | A Reverence for Nature Turns into a Therapeutic Profession


Lilli Botchis advises clients to manage their health care through holistic therapies as much as possible.

Lilli Botchis greets me at the door: a small, lean woman with chestnut-colored hair and tawny skin. With a warm handshake, she leads me to a treatment room filled with bottles of herbal extracts, essential oils, flower essences, homeopathics, and nutritional supplements. These items, she tells me, are “the necessary building blocks for purifying the physiology and keeping it clear as a vehicle for consciousness and the intelligence to do the healing.”

A teacher and health practitioner since 1980, Lilli Botchis has had a “life-long love affair with flowers.” She’s held a private practice in Fairfield for eight years now—specializing in the therapeutic use of herbs and flower essences—and many locals swear by her unique abilities. I talk to Lilli at her home and clinic on a fresh fall afternoon.

She eases herself onto a massage table and sits with one leg folded beneath her. Speaking slowly and purposefully, Lilli resembles a Native American medicine woman. “Each plant is a unique field of intelligence,” she tells me, and goes on to explain how this quality can be seen in their specific therapeutic properties.

Echinacea, for example, is beneficial for anyone and everyone to use. Lilli describes echinacea as “a very sturdy, woody, and strong plant,” one with a “defined, organized center.” According to Lilli, the integrity displayed in the plant’s physical structure is indicative of the qualities it enhances in those who ingest it.

Flower essences, which she calls the “pure vibrational imprint of the plant,” are extracted from the purple petals and then taken by droplets in water. “Echinacea strengthens your inner core when you’re disrupted or stressed,” she says, by “calling upon those principles of intelligence that it physically embodies.” An excellent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, echinacea is also extremely effective when taken in the form of a fresh, fluid botanical extract. Lilli often uses it to treat bee stings and insect bites, or to ward off a cold in its early stages.

Although she once grew and harvested her own botanicals, Lilli says she now orders herbs from reputable companies so she can spend more time consulting. Her sources are all certified organic, ecologically wild-crafted, clinically tested, and FDA approved. “I need to know that these herbs, beyond a shadow of a doubt, are going to work,” she says emphatically. Mostly, Lilli works with North American plants used in traditional Native American lore. But she also incorporates knowledge she gained while studying indigenous medicine in the Amazon forest.

So how does Lilli know what flower remedies, nutrients, and therapies will best aid a client? In a typical consultation session, she will assess a client’s state of health using techniques like meridian testing and iridology (the assessment of the topography of the eye). She also takes patients’ health history into careful consideration, and tries to discern their overall health goals.

Rumor has it, though, that she has an uncanny ability to simply “sense” exactly which remedies will meet a patient’s needs. “I work a lot on my own intuitive sensibility,” she says, when I ask her what her secret is. “I surrender—to the grace of the divine that moves through me in relationship to the being that is before me.”

Although intuition seems to be the gift that has sparked her local distinction, Lilli’s catalogue of “official” health care expertise certainly bears mentioning. She has a Ph.D. in Health and Human Services from Columbia Pacific University, an M.E.D. in Health Education and Counseling from Worcester State College, Massachusetts, and an M.A. in Herbology from the School of Natural Healing, Utah. In addition, she has certification in iridology, flower essences, colorpunture, oxygen therapy . . . the list goes on and on.
A pioneer in the field of botanical medicine, Lilli has also helped Amrita, the aromatherapy manufacturers, to develop a new product line called “Tri-Essence PowerBlends.” The PowerBlends are a combination of herbal extracts, essential oils, and flower essences designed to “affect the whole mind-body complex simultaneously.”

As a child growing up in small towns between Massachusetts and Connecticut, Lilli always sensed that her purpose in life had something to do with her feelings of intimacy with nature. “I’d be in the country whenever possible,” she says. “I’d ride my bike out to the reservoirs in the countryside and when I could drive, I’d drive out there and get lost on back roads. I spent my time as a kid finding woods to be in, making forts and huts and playing.”

A love of the outdoors was something she shared with her family, “full-blooded Greeks,” who came “right off the boat” from small villages in Greece. Lilli says she inherited a reverence for nature from her parents and grandparents. “In those days,” she says of the Greece her grandparents knew, “you ate the fruits off the trees, you had your own gardens, you went out and harvested wild dandelion greens and you’d eat them every day. Whatever was happening in the season and at the time, you’d partake of it.”

Nineteen-seventy-nine was the year that Lilli “officially gave up any thought of having some kind of conventional job.” She had previously worked part-time jobs while in college but always sensed that her calling lay outside of the daily nine-to-five grind. She set up her first practice in Jamaica Plains, Massachusetts. “Since then,” she says, “I’ve worked for God and for myself, been my own creator.” She admits that her path of independence has proved challenging at times, but for the most part it has been incredibly rewarding. “I feel so blessed and graced by what I have been given to do,” she says.

Lilli’s attitude towards her vocation is far from standard in today’s fast-paced society. “When I say work,” she says, “I mean a path of devotion and service—it’s not a job that I go to. It’s created out of the inspiration of the divine and not out of me.”

Lilli speaks with certainty about her perspective on the future of health care in North America. “There is no question in my mind. It’s absolutely inevitable that medicine, like everything else, is going to take a quantum leap in consciousness.” She envisions a time when advances in modern technology will be combined with ancient herbal knowledge. Prototypes are already underway for “herbal clinics” that will provide patients with all-natural treatments in high-tech settings.

In the meantime, Lilli advises people to manage their health care through holistic therapies as much as possible. “Drugs do not uphold the light,” she says. “They can have long-term, damaging effects.” She is particularly wary of antibiotics. However, Lilli admits that some acute situations may call for surgical intervention or pharmaceuticals. Of such cases, she says, “I’m all for it—use modern medicine. Then move out of that state of crisis and start working with nutrition, emotional issues, etc.”

Until the day when herbal clinics start cropping up like wildflowers, Lilli Botchis knows exactly what she’ll be doing—teaching across the country and healing from her home. “I found out very early in life that this is the only thing I’m here to do,” she smiles. “My path has been very clear.”
Everyone should be so lucky.

To learn more about Lilli and her practice, visit www.earthspectrum.com.