Thriving yerberia inspires faithful customers
Life-sized paintings of saints and angels along the bright-yellow walls of Rosario’s Mistic Yerberia prepare the eyes for what awaits inside.
A collection of religious artifacts, herbs, candles, charms and books surround the shop, which at first glance seems to be in complete disarray. Taking in a slower look sets things in place.
To the right, two 1-foot trolls stand on top of a showcase teeming with miniature trolls. Candles in all colors and with distinct images fill every wall. Further down the shop, a skeletal figure wearing a black robe and carrying a scythe stands guarding a showcase where smaller replicas abound; it is the venerated Santa Muerte.
The shop is at least twice the size of a traditional yerberia, allowing it to offer a vast selection of products. In addition, the shop provides spiritual guidance services. Its popularity and 35 years in the business make Rosario’s Mistic the most prominent yerberia in the area.
The owner and spiritual leader, Rosario Garcia, started her business selling herbal medicine in a booth outside a grocery store, says Rosario Freeman, Garcia’s daughter. Garcia is a third-generation herbalist but a first-generation healer.
Unlike Garcia’s father and grandmother, who were limited to the knowledge of herbal remedies, Garcia was gifted with the sensitivity attributed to psychics, Freeman said. This ability allows Garcia to do tarot readings, cleansings and spiritual elevations, she said.
Freeman and her brother, Juvencio Ramos, have helped their mom run the business since they were kids. She has learned to do cleansings and other rituals, but her main role in the business is to manufacture soaps, design candles and research new means for healing.
“We’re always researching new stuff, trying to learn more,” she said. “That’s actually helped generate business.”
A significant portion of their business comes from prescribing and selling herbal remedies. The most popular are medicines that aid with sexual dysfunctions and weight loss.
“Men and women equally demand medicine related to sex,” Freeman said. However, the demand for weight loss products continues to be dominated by women.
Customers also visit the yerberia for consultations, which can include cleansings, tarot reading and advice on personal matters. People walk in seeking amulets for love, protection, and even for fortunate court case outcomes, Freeman said.
Mary Partida, 74, has been a customer of Rosario’s Mistic for 30 years. Family problems drove her to the yerberia for the first time, she said. Since then, she’s been a loyal customer. “I have a lot of faith,” she said.
Freeman considers their business prosperous, but the family has discarded the possibility of opening another shop, fearing the yerberia would become too commercial.
The family prefers to increase their revenues through the introduction of new products and services, Freeman said.
Garcia recently introduced a full moon ritual to her customers. The ritual helps people overcome any obstacles and consists of meditation and feet wash. “The project is going well, with 35 to 50 participants per month,” she said.
Garcia has a new aspiration: teaching seminars on how people can use their energy to improve their lives.
She attributes her business success to her hard work and divine help.
“My whole family is blessed,” Garcia said.