The purpose of natural beauty, aromatherapy fragrance and herbal remedies is not just to avoid chemicals and ingesting toxic waste to look great every day. Plants have vibrating energy and when you dive into the science and art of herbalism as Laura Durkee of Artemisia Herbals in Sonora, California did, you see that the life force and power of plants actually enhances your body and environment far beyond your wildest expectations.
(image by Michelle Bryant Summers, on sale at Etsy)
Laura Durkee and I chatted at length about the power of plants, aromatherapy tricks, the joys of tonic herbal teas and the need for beauty products so pure you can eat them (yes, you can eat her skin products!), as well as her excitement for the launch of her latest formulated line of aromatherapeutic goodies called Pure Magic Organics. Atop all that greatness, her “Beauty Tea” recipe (included below!) for hair, skin and nails is worth its weight in gold!
Do you consider being an herbalist an art form?
Laura: I do think so. This is my personal expression, doing scent creation. It is very synergistic working with plant essential oils and plant energy.
Often people say it is important to get therapeutic grade essential oils when working with aromatherapy. What does this mean?
Laura: Actually, there is no “regulation” on what therapeutic grade is, so a brand’s label can say anything it wants. I source out high grade oils from distributors that I trust. As long as you are getting 100% essential oil you will get the benefits not matter what oil you use. But, its important to know that the brand is not mixing in fragrances, colorings, or anything but 100% pure essential oil.
There are different types of lavender, for example, and each will have a different scent and will be raised in altitudes, perhaps in different countries, and that is where the art of aromatherapy comes in. Ultimately you will see the difference in fragrance, potency and quality of various oils, but to start all you need to ensure is that you have 100% essential oil.
If you have ever peeled an orange and have seen oil squirting out of the skin, that is essential oil of an orange. So, you can absolutely eat many of the oils. As long as you do the research to see which oils can be safely ingested, it is very common practice. As long as your oil is pure and not diluted with something you shouldn’t eat, it should be fine.
This is all exciting. Lets talk tea! I’m so happy that you are giving us a Beauty Tea recipe! What types of herbs do you use for teas?
Tea is the easiest way of using herbs to tonify and strengthen your body in a gentle way like food. Some herbs have these tonic qualities. Mint tea, for example, is tonifying and aids digestion.
Some herbs, however are strong like medicine and you would not want to use them daily or without caution.
I work with tonifying herbs that are gentle. Peppermint, as I mentioned, is digestive. Chamomile is relaxing. You can mix and match herbs based on what you want to work on in your body. For women, especially, herbal teas can be a great way to help regulate fluctuating hormones.
Where can you get herbs for making tea? Essential oils?
Depending on your location, you can find herbs and oils and health food stores. Reliably I can say that Mountain Rose Herbs online is one of the best herb and oil suppliers online.
One last burning question: after years of making natural beauty products locally, why did you decide to expand to Pure Magic Organics as a bigger line?
Natural beauty is nourishing, healing and very important to your overall well-being. You should not put things on your skin that you can not eat. Your skin is an organ and your body absorbs the energy as well as the compounds that you put on it. Pure Magic Organics will have handmade, edible, pure skin care, home fragrances that are both deliciously scented and therapeutic and also, tonifying herbal teas. When I was approached by my partner to create the line, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to take these products farther out into the world and online.
This is great. I can’t wait for the Pure Magic Organics launch in February! Can we make Beauty Tea now?
Yes. Its very easy:
mix equal parts of dried:
- nettles (very high in bioavailable minerals like calcium & magnesium)
- oatstraw (also high in calcium & magnesium)
- horsetail (high in silica, which has great properties for hair, skin and nails)
- peppermint (delicious, soothing and digestive)
- raspberry leaf (excellent to tone the female system, but good for men too!)
- & add a handful of organic rose petals.
Make a big or small batch. Scoop some into a tea ball and add to a pot of boiling water or add loose tea to a quart-sized glass jar and pour boiled water in to let the herbs swirl around before straining.
Drink this tea as often as you like. Because our food has been processed, sprayed with pesticides and otherwise corrupted, many of us are low on minerals in our bodies so this tea can help correct that naturally. Plus, it really does wonders for your skin, hair and nails.
Laura… thank you so much!!! I’m boiling water right now! xoxo Dana
this is radical…you’re a great journalist and writer!! hope to collaborate more in the future. xoxoxo good job!!