What We Mean By Whole Plants
7 May 2014
I have been studying herbs and making body care products for about 13 years now. Everything you see here began with the simple ideas that the skin is another mouth and whole plants have healing power. Venturing out into the marketplace has presented plenty of opportunities for fine tuning everything from the inside out, ingredients to packaging. The time has come for yet another change and evolution. This time regarding the removal of what are known as essential oils. Here’s a little background on my perspective.
When I took my first steps on this path, I did so with my usual gusto. Sleepless nights, reading random herb books, internet research, trying any and every recipe I could find. I was working near the World Trade Center and this was 2001. All of that had already happened, along with the transcendence of my father. These events occurred within three days of each other, and among many feelings, left me with a strong desire for autonomy. And toothpaste. I wanted to make my own toothpaste. I was so angry at the toothpaste.
Of course, anyone who has grieved for a loved one probably knows I wasn’t angry at the toothpaste. I had noticed that even the so-called natural versions still made my teeth hurt, but that was beside the point. It was an easy target once I decided life just wasn’t fair and all hell was about to break loose so you better know how to make your own toothpaste! Not to mention, I didn’t want to have anything to do with the poison ‘they’ were trying to sell me.
Somewhere early on in my search for the perfect toothpaste recipe, I happened upon a link to Susun Weed. At the time, I was in what I now see as traumatized victim mode, and so naturally I’d been looking for the recipe that would save me and make me safe. Instead, and gratefully, I found a person who was saying Save yourself! Better yet, you don’t need saving since it’s all good! Open your eyes! You already know!
What does all this have to do with removing essential oils from my products you ask? Besides creating a more child-friendly space for our infant son, the issues of ecological sustainability and antibiotic resistance are at the forefront of my decision. The former because I cannot personally justify all the resources used to grow pounds of plant material for one ounce of oil, the latter because anything that can affect the digestive bacteria should be used more judiciously than is generally practiced.
The herbalism, and lifestyle, I practice leaves room for exceptions to the rule. It’s not so much about the method, as it is about the mentality behind the decision to use it. No need to throw out everything containing essential oils! Just consider when and how much you use them.
So will you notice the change? Yes, and no. No, because the therapeutic effects of each blend will still be evident. Yes, because you will now be able to better enjoy the subtleties of each ingredient. It is my pleasure to connect people with the plants around them. The best way I can do this is to remove as many distractions as possible, allowing the plants to speak for themselves.