Remembering Laura Brown - Herbalist, Mentor, Entrepreneur

Laura Brown

It was my pleasure and privilege to study and work under the guidance of gifted herbalist, Laura Brown from 2002-2003. As part of my bachelors degree in Plant and Soil Science I completed an internship with Laura at her local herbal apothecary, Purple Shutter Herbs, and focused my studies on herbs for skin care. Laura was a creative and quirky soul who loved cuddling her cats, reading, sipping tea, sharing her knowledge and creating potions.  She lovingly provided an herbal supply and educational resource for the greater Burlington community for nearly 20 years.  The knowledge of natural healing and skin care I gained with her was invaluable and the experience pivotal in shaping my life as a healer. Purple Shutter Herbs was truly a labor of love until her untimely passing in 2015. Laura, thank you for all your inspiration and guidance, you are missed.


Laura Brown, the Herb Woman of Winooski and proprietor of Purple Shutter Herbs, picked an auspicious day of celestial events to depart Earth: March 20, day of the vernal equinox, the Super Moon and a solar eclipse. Within a half-hour of the sun crossing the equator to renew the cycle of plant life in the northern hemisphere, Laura’s soul crossed over to new gardens unknown to us mortals.

The adopted daughter of Robert and Helen Brown of Bloomfield, Connecticut, Laura came to Vermont to be a bookseller but ended up in the company of many of the strong women herbalists of Vermont and elsewhere. Her formative experience came under the guidance of the joyful Rosemary Gladstar of Sage Mountain Herbal Retreat Center, and Laura was eternally grateful for the herbal wisdom Rosemary imparted. Laura developed friendships with many in her apprenticeship class, and while time and events have loosened some of those bonds, she never forgot their close association. Laura also treasured her family in Israel, and she was looking forward to the birth of her beloved cousin Tomer’s first child.

Laura loved teaching classes in her Burlington and Winooski stores and up at Smugglers Notch. Many friends and customers fondly remember the urban herbal oasis she and her staff created outside her former Burlington location.

Laura’s friends can attest to her stubbornness, and that tenacity helped her live with the illness of her final three years. She was determined to celebrate her sixtieth birthday on July 25. ‘Twas not to be. In that spirit, a celebration of Laura’s life will be held on Saturday, July 25.

Memorial donations can be made to Vermont Respite House, 99 Allen Brook Ln., Williston, VT 05495.

  • Copy of Obituary by MATTHEW THORSEN, SevenDays