El Pasoan Valerie Rivas creates natural blends to bring peace to her life and to her customer’s life.
Herbal healing. Natural blends. Honoring a connection between the Earth and humans. Creating peace and setting intentions. These are the things Inanna’s Delight is about. By making homemade teas from natural herbs, Valerie Rivas found her own peace and a cure to her anxiety.
Rivas was born and raised in El Paso. She grew up crossing the border to visit her great grandmother in Ciudad Juarez, who taught her the art of making natural blends.
“She would show me all her herbs, and she would tell me what they were good for, and I just, I remember that. So clearly, I was little. I was like, three, four years old. And she’ll be like, ‘’y esta es para tu estomago, y esta es buena para la cabeza’ explaining what they were all good for,” Rivas says.
When Rivas was 13 years old, she started to suffer from anxiety and her parents took her to a psychologist, where she was medicated. Riveras remembers how she felt like a zombie after taking her medication.
“And so, I didn’t like it, and so obviously, I rejected it. But then after that, I had to be like, ‘Okay, well now I need to find my own solution because this isn’t working.’ So it took a lot of years for me to find my way and a lot of stumbling around. But eventually, I found herbs,” Rivera says. “They just resonated with me; they calmed me. They just helped me in a way that nothing ever had before.”
After years of trying to find her own cure, Rivas started to make her own natural blends. While working at a couple of different local-owned businesses in El Paso, she started to cultivate her own herbs and later began selling them.
Valerie Rivas, Inanna’s Delight owner.
One of those local businesses was Cafe Mayapan, where Rivas meet Cemelli de Aztlan, board president of La Mujer Obrera and religious studies professor at The University of Texas at El Paso.
De Aztlan, was impressed by all the knowledge that Rivas had about herbs, the good intentions of her teas, and how these blends connected her to Mother Nature.
“Our mission at Cafe Mayapan and La Mujer Obrera, like Valerie’s (Rivas) mission, is about healing and providing service to the community,” De Aztlan says. “We are constantly working, defending the community, protecting the rights, women’s rights, immigrant rights.”
It was not until 2016 that Rivas created her website, Inanna’s Delight, where she sells all her blends. According to Rivas, she decided to name her business after a Sumerian goddess.
“Nana is a Sumerian goddess from ages ago, like even before Jesus, like long, long before when the matriarchy was revered, and honored and respected. And I just really admire and love her story. And I just at the time, when I was making the business, I just really wanted to, like, embody her spirit,” Riveras says.
Inanna’s Delight offers a variety of teas and natural products that can be shipped to your door. Rivas does not use caffeine in the blends, and she mostly focuses on making teas that calm the nervous system.
Jessica Alvarado, who works as a cashier in a restaurant says that she likes to enjoy her favorite cup of tea after her long days at work.
“I like to drink my cup of tea after work to calm me down and to relax. My favorite is sana, sana corazon, the flavor is so good, I do not know what she (Rivas) does to them, but they are so good,” Alvarado says. “This tea helps me with my depression and anxiety, this tea is also good for my heart.”
According to Rivas, her two best-sellers are ‘sana sana corazon’ and ‘sustenance for dismantling the patriarchy’.
Riveras explains why she chose the name for her second-best seller blend.
“It’s just like, planting a seed, it was just a conversation that I felt was very important. And I wanted to bring that conversation up everywhere I went, or anyone that tried the tea, for it to just yeah to just spark up a conversation or if not at least planted it,” Rivera says.
Another loyal customer of Inanna’s Delight is Veronica Carbajal. She met Rivas more than three years ago and since she tried the first sip of Rivas teas, she continues buying her products.
“The taste is fantastic. I feel energized after drinking my tea, they are very fresh, and I think it makes me pause that is the intention that I want to receive,” Carbajal says.
Carbajal’s favorite blend is “nurse the matriarchy.” She likes to drink this tea at night before going to bed. For her, it is essential to support local businesses because she knows where her money is going.
Rivas has seen an increase in her sales in the last couple of months, which she thinks is due to COVID-19. More people are reaching out to her for blends to ease their anxiety. During these difficult times, Riveras invites people to connect more with nature.
“I encourage people to just draw closer to nature and they can grow their own herbs. They can look at the list of herbs that I use, and try growing some of them, and making their own tea. I think it’s just time for us to just draw closer to nature and soak up all that human knowledge and heal that connection,” Rivas says. By Maria Ramos Pacheco