Cedar Key simpler brings home two prizes at international event

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By Warren Parkin

 The International Herbal Symposium held at Wheaton College validated Nysie Watson’s decade long experience as a simpler, or healer, where she garnered two second place prizes, one in the Elixers category and another in Creams and Lotions.

“I feel like I’ve been validated in all my years of simpling,” Watson said about her new status as international accredited award winning herbal product designer.

Watson’s Kava cordial apertif placed second in a field of more than 50 products. It was concocted over a three month period using a combination of chunk kava root, vanilla rum and vodka with a bit of tupelo honey to take the bite off, she said.

A Cedar Key friend designed and made a unique label for the pint bottle of spirits. “For presentation I’m sure it caught their eye but it was the inside that won the prize,” Watson said.

Judges were also impressed with Watson’s Silky Cream, awarding it second place in a field of about 50 entries in the Creams and Lotions category. The cream is formulated to renew skin elasticity thereby reducing tiny eye, nose and facial wrinkles. “It’s taken me about 12 years to perfect the recipe,” she said. The cream is the only cosmetic that Watson makes.

The symposium was attended by more than 600 people from all over the world, including healers from such geographically and culturally diverse countries as Australia, Mexico, England, Vietnam, Honduras and the United States. A shaman from the Amazons, a Cloud Mother from Oaxaca and a kahuna from Hawaii were among the representatives of diverse herbalist traditions who attended.

In addition to herbal healing, the symposium focused on spirituality, civil rights, and healing the whole earth, Watson said. “The symposium was an honor to be at and be a part of,” she said.

Watson’s interest in herbal remedies began when she underwent chemotherapy for lymphoma 12 years ago. “It’s a heart love,” she says of her vocation. “I made a pact with the Goddess that if I lived through the cancer that I would help spread the herbal word.” She has been a practicing herbalist ever since, first in Melbourne and for the past eight years in Cedar Key.

Watson focuses on the preventative uses of herbs. She has shared her knowledge with individuals as well as taught a class called “A Romp through Time” that traces herbal medicine from Cro-Magnon through the ages. She also wrote the column “Herbs Eye View” for the Cedar Key Beacon for four and half years.

Her products are available in Louisiana and the east coast and can be found locally at Déjà Vu and the Rusty Rim in Cedar Key.