Welcome to
Mourning Dove Herbals

Blake Finch

Welcome! My name is Blake and I am honored to tell you a bit about myself. For many years my work was in the field of mental health counseling, but my path turned towards Western Herbalism during my search for truly holistic mind and body health care. As a clinical herbalist, I am trained to support both your physical healing goals and your emotional health needs.

Many are unsure of what the process of working with an herbalist entails, and the answer is that your herbal path is as unique as you are! After scheduling a session with me, we will begin our partnership with an online intake form in which you share your healing intentions and holistic health history. I kindly request that you fill out the form at least 3 days before our intake session.

Our initial session will last around an hour, meeting in person for locals who wish to do so or online for those further afield. This first session will be a conversation based on your intake form answers, and will involve lots of additional questions on my part as we delve into your specific health and healing picture. Together we will map a route to your healing goals and I will create for you a custom herbal formula. This might be in the form of a tea blend, tincture, topical salve, cream, hydrosol, steam blend, flower essence, bath blend, or a combination of the above!

After two weeks of use I will email you a follow up form as a check-in, and after another two weeks we will usually schedule a shorter (typically 30-minute) follow-up session to assess your progress and determine any next steps. All written forms and conversations are kept strictly confidential and will never be shared without your documented permission.

Initial 60 Minute Session
(includes 4oz of personalized herbal tincture)
Follow-Up 30 Minute Session
(focused on initial healing goals)
Personalized Herbal Tincture Refills
2oz $40
4oz $75

Evolving Backwards

Blake hiking at Black Diamond Mines

Sometimes it’s one step forward, one thousand steps back. That realization landed as I stood, babe on hip, at my stove stirring a sweet and earthy concoction. Fourteen years earlier when my firstborn was an infant, I had gone back to school to obtain a degree in mental health counseling, determined to become a public school counselor who could offer free support to the youth of my Oakland community. As I prepared to birth my second child, I said my goodbyes to the middle and high school students I had come to love and retreated into home life.

A few years later when I was ready to resume my career, budgets had been slashed and not a single public school within my commuting radius was hiring counselors. I refocused on using my certifications in grief and trauma counseling to provide end-of-life support to hospice patients, and subsequently families and caregivers after their loss. As it does, the wheel of seasons continued turning, and once again I pressed pause on mental health counseling to focus on the needs of my own family as we expanded to include our third child. Grateful for the privilege of soaking in time at home and for the space to deeply reflect on what my future path as a holistic health practitioner might look like, I heard a whispering call to find ways of alleviating the pain, grief, and trauma that talk therapy was not addressing in my clients.

I spent two years reading and meeting with practitioners in various facets of healthcare and scouring research as I tried to find what new training I could receive in order to further assist in truly holistic healing. Certain physical modalities could focus on specific aspects of mental and physical wellbeing but seemed fragmented, not aiding the whole of the person. Certain medications promised the impossible, only to lead to debilitating side effects in the person taking them as well as contributing immensely to environmental toxicity and newly resistant bacteria.

It was during this exploration process that a magazine came my way containing a few recipes of herbal concoctions for coughs and colds that one could make at home. The time was early autumn and I knew that colds and flus were heading our way. I was hoping to make something safe that I could offer my children when they were in discomfort. So I ordered the herbs – Elecampane, Monarda, and Elderberry – and excitedly awaited their arrival. When they did, I spent a day setting on tinctures and stirring syrups, and something shifted within my own cellular being. A deep peace and an empowering notion of doing something old and right in the proactive taking charge of my family’s healthcare settled within me. A few months later when that cough did come for my child in the night, the very medicine I had made with my own hands using plants from the Earth successfully eased my child back to sleep.

Those experiences initiated my search for a school that could teach me more, and so for the next four years, Ancestral Apothecary School of Herbal, Folk and Indigenous Medicine in Oakland, CA, became my newest love. Initially motivated to take a class there on herbalism in order to find out more about providing safe health remedies for my own family, I never expected to find the answer I had been searching for. My years of training at Ancestral Apothecary flowed into my partnering with Rupam’s Herbals, where I now make an array of herbal offerings and meet with clients.

Herbal medicine supports the whole person – body, mind and spirit – through the lens of empowering all within our communities to take charge of our own healing processes, to help remind our bodies that they already contain the deep wisdom needed to find health and balance, although the shift towards healing oneself can sometimes be aided by the plants that grow around us.

And for the herbalist, work does not stop at the knowledge of body systems and which plant allies at which doses and in which formulations best support specific imbalances. As a clinical herbalist, I am constantly focused on my clients’ inner evolution as well. In order to offer my services and knowledge from a place of integrity, I must always be examining my own biases and privileges, examining the strengths and weaknesses that are born within me from my Irish and Ukrainian lineages.

As it turns out, my path forward as a health care practitioner would not be found in the newest therapeutic modality; it would be found by tracing my roots backward as far as they could go. It would be found by digging deeply into the almost forgotten practices that humanity has tapped into all along for healing. It would be found in the very soil that had patiently surrounded me all those wandering years, waiting and nudging and whispering for me to come home.

Health is a birthright for humanity as well as all of Earth’s plants and animals, the ground we walk on, the air we breathe and the food and water that fuel us. Health and healing can best be found by going backwards, by remembering the ancestral lines that led us here, by fighting for justice for all, by humbly stewarding the land we live on, and by accepting the true medicine that our planet provides us. The more steps we take backward, the more leaps forward we will land.

Training and Education

1995‑1999 B.A. in Psychology – Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY
2001‑2006 MA in Mental Health Counseling and PPS Certification in School Counseling – St. Mary’s College, Moraga, CA
2004‑2006 School Counselor – Oakland, CA
2011‑2012 Certification in Massage Therapy – McKinnon Body Therapy Center, Oakland, CA
2012‑2014 Hospice Counseling – VITAS Healthcare, Oakland, CA
2017‑2020 Certification in Clinical Herbalism – Ancestral Apothecary School of Herbal, Folk, and Indigenous Medicine, Oakland, CA
2019‑Present Herbalist – Rupam’s Herbals, Benicia, CA

Contact Blake