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A local CBD and holistic health business sees an uptick in Orange County clients

Silvana Zamara founded Sana Canna & Wellness, where she offers a variety of healing services.
Silvana Zamara founded Sana Canna & Wellness, where she offers a variety of healing services as well as hemp and cannabis products.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

CBD-infused tinctures in dark-tinted bottles, pre-rolls mixed with organic rose, cookie edibles, body salves, face serums, toner sprays and crystals have become a health, wellness and spiritual comfort mainstay in most recent years.

Silvana Zamara, 38, has built a small business out of it and has seen an uptick in Orange County clients in the past year.

Through Sana Canna, she combines eclectic healing services rooted in old Peruvian traditions and what some call New Age practices. On the production side, she produces CBD-infused skincare, tinctures and plant-based foods. On the service side, she offers spiritual consultations, group sound healing and workshops on reiki and herbal remedies.

From an early age, Zamara knew she wanted work in both arts and healing. She studied fine arts at Parsons the New School for Art and Design while also taking private trainings in massage therapy, aromatherapy, herbal remedies, yoga, reiki and Peruvian shamanic practices.

When a friend introduced her to CBD around 2016, she found it helped her cope with daily anxiety. Since Zamara already had work experience making organic skincare and tinctures, she formulated CBD-infused products and advertised on Instagram when she had about 200 followers — mostly people in her social circles. She started using the hashtags Latina and CBD to grow an online following. It eventually led to establishing Sana Canna in late 2017.

At the time, she had a job in therapy working with children who have special needs. Using her fluency in English and Spanish, she helped train parents on how to implement behavior therapy at home. Zamara decided to put aside that career in 2018 to focus on building her fledgling business.

“As much as it’s rewarding to help families that are struggling, I felt unsatisfied and like there was something else I could be doing,” she said.

Sana Canna products include facial serum, left, lip balm, facial toner, mood enhancing roller, and CBD oil, right,
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer )

Although Sana Canna’s headquarters remain located in her at-home workspaces in Garden Grove, most of her customers at the beginning were based in Los Angeles.

“When I started to make the CBD products three years ago, I tried vending in Orange County and it was just not happening for us,” Zamara said. “People weren’t buying or they would assume it was more about weed. Even if we would explain it to them in Spanish and English, it didn’t matter.”

But that changed in 2020. No longer feeling comfortable traveling far to sell during the coronavirus pandemic, she opted to offer delivery and vend at local pop-ups and farmer’s markets. Online business was busy throughout the entire year.

She hired Memo Alvarez, whom she met in L.A. markets, to help make deliveries and manage booths. Her husband also helps make products to keep up with online restocks.

She said more O.C. residents are seeking products and healing services.

“Even though COVID is horrible, it’s also been a huge blessing because it brought me closer to my own community, where in the past I always felt like I needed to go outside of it to have a more significant profit and for people to appreciate what we were doing,” Zamara said.

She describes her clientele as mostly 25- to 45-year-old Latinas. She doesn’t take on clients under 18 without parental consent and offers a sliding price scale for those struggling financially.

Anxiety is the No.1 issue clients want to work through when seeking spiritual consultations.

Zamara said some of the anxiety generally stems from sexual trauma or feeling unsatisfied with their current jobs and not knowing what path to take.

Others, who come from families who left them behind for a short time in order to migrate to the United States, work through abandonment issues.

Spiritual consultations may involve a mixture of reiki, crystal and shamanistic energy work.

For first-timers, Zamara sits down and goes over a questionnaire of sorts. Then the client takes off their shoes and lies face up on an elevated massage table lined with a heating mat. They close their eyes and take deep breaths while Zamara places small crystals on their chakra points and sprays scents of palo santo, sage, cedar or lavender. She turns on relaxing flute music, sets an intention by asking angel guides, ancestors, God, power animals and the cosmic universe for protection and guidance, then hovers her tattooed hands through the chakra points on their body.

She may stop her hands on one body point to ask questions about the client’s life and guide them through a meditation. Some people cry. The eyes of some move from side to side rapidly.

When she’s done, they sit back down in chairs to talk through what she sensed during the energy reading.

“What I do a lot in my own healing practice is that I help people access parts of themselves that we don’t get to access every single day. I’ve learned that through indigenous healing practices. If you put somebody in some sort of a trance through sound or through energy work, there’s a different part of them that will start talking and I’m able to access memories from when they were young,” she explained.

She describes herself as having medium abilities and remembers seeing and hearing spirits at a young age. Those experiences inspired her to learn more about her culture and ancestral medicine.

Zamara, who was born in Lima, Peru and raised in O.C., said she returned to her home country and was initiated as a curandera in 2014 by a Q’ero medicine man.

She said “not expressing emotions when things happen gives us trauma. Sometimes it’s so overwhelming that we can’t express it all. My healing practice involves holding space so that people can express those emotions and have some sort of peace with it so that they feel OK.”

Alvarez, who initially turned toward spiritual practices to help him through addiction, took Sana Canna’s reiki workshops last year.

“The classes and readings helped me understand the power of touch and voice. It really helped me understand that we are all capable of healing,” Alvarez said.

He hopes to take what he learned to offer it to his family.

Online and in-person Zamara warns people she is not a medical doctor and her expertise is in the field of emotional, psychosomatic and spiritual realm.

Silvana Zamara with her family Sean Iliff, left, with Eva, 4, Benji Thomas, and Mia, 2, right.
Silvana Zamara with her family Sean Iliff, left, with Eva, 4, Benji Thomas, and Mia, 2, right.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer )

At the beginning of 2021, she decided to take a month off. She felt burnt out from the uptick in customers. Most of her days involved answering messages online and over the phone.

“I didn’t feel very happy just constantly producing, producing, producing,” she said. “It made me feel like a machine and that’s not what I want to offer to people, so I stopped.”

Later on, she got back into business at a slower pace and a schedule that allows her to spend more time with her three children during the daytime.

She put a pause on one-on-one spiritual healing services to focus on the nutrition and baking side of Sana Canna. In her home, the kitchen and CBD workspace are directly across from each other. She’s spent the last couple of months making plant-based sweets and selling them online and at pop-ups as well as continuing to teach workshops.

Looking ahead, Zamara said she wants to own a café one day to sell healthy foods and Sana Canna products.

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