For over a decade, Laura has been working closely with the plant kingdom - both in her garden, and in blending essential oils and preparing tinctures. Her interests in biodynamics, plant medicine and holistic health have led her to make a variety of plant-based products intended to restore balance and wellness to the mind, body and soul. We sat down for a quick Q&A to hear more about how she got started and her process.
What is the difference between a tincture and an essence?
Tinctures are concentrated liquid extracts of herbs. They are very potent and are taken by the dropperful, most often diluted in room temp water or juice. Most tinctures are made with alcohol as the primary solvent. Effective tinctures can also be made with vegetable glycerin or apple cider vinegar as the solvent, and are usually recommended for children and people who are sensitive to alcohol.
A flower essence is the vibrational imprint of a flower that has been transferred and stabilized in water. Flower essences can help people recognize, resolve or release different conditioned ways of perceiving the world and can help us experience greater well being and harmony in our lives.
When did you first hear about tinctures/essences and when did you start using them yourself?
I can’t recall the exact moment, but somehow I always knew there was another way to heal the body, soul and spirit and that the plant kingdom was here to help us whether it be the food we grow, prepare and eat or the remedy that we are attracted to - or that is attracted to us. I do remember my German grandmother using some Bach flower remedies, I think she used Rescue Remedy. As I became more curious I started to study homeopathy, flower essences and aromatherapy. I learned a lot from some very talented and gifted colleagues and friends - Joseph Aldo and Robin Spiegel.
How did you learn how to make tinctures / blend oils?
Robin Spiegel, owner of Lotus Wellness Center, taught me about aromatherapy and how to blend oils, in fact she was my mentor in the development of Rooted Angel Essence Blend. We spent almost 8 months in private sessions together. The question I wanted to explore was what was most needed for humanity at this time...who were the volunteers from the plant kingdom who wanted to come forth and assist in helping to keep a flow of balance and healing of the mind, heart, emotions, spirit? We had 7 different blends that we tried and they just weren’t quite right. Then in the 8th month, the 8th try the blend came through our channeled session together.
"Sometimes it's just easier to get out of your head and into your heart."
Robin also influenced my desire to create flower essences. I always thought it was a complicated process and that you had to have a distillery or something like that. With her encouragement and my understanding of biodynamic principles I learned to work with the flowers and the solar energy of the sun to create flower essences from the plants that are grown in my healing garden. The very first essence that was created was the Zinnia Flower Essence. The flowers are so beautiful, colorful and playful in nature! It was perfect timing to bring through this flower of play and joy.
The tinctures were a whole other process, actually they are all threads of healing that are woven together in that they actually work! They work because these natural remedies and blends know that they are on their way back to spirit. Anyway I learned how to make tinctures from studying the plants, recognizing their healing qualities (like did you ever find yourself mesmerized by the scent of rosemary or holy basil?). I read books that were written by Rosemary Gladstar and Rosalee de la Foret and followed some of their basic recipes for creating tinctures.
What inspires you to blend certain essential oils together? What's your process when you're blending?
It's been a mostly intuitive process, the scent of something can attract or repulse you initially. However, the more you allow the molecules to travel through the air octave to activate some part of the molecules within your own being you begin to understand something…kind of like getting past the watchman at the gate.
Sometimes it's just easier to get out of your head and into your heart. The reading literature part of it can be useful confirmation, but its not always accurate when you’re talking about blending oils. Sometimes I’ve created a blend for someone that uses not only essential oil but also flower essences. It requires a good bit of concentration and focus and a willingness to let yourself receive the guidance. And trust, I forgot to mention trust.
Tell me about some of the products you make for Rooted Angel...
The most recent product I've developed is called Better Bones. It seems like lots of people are being diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis, so it was born from a desire to support our skeletal structure and help with regeneration of bones. Along with a bone health diet, weight bearing exercise and the management of stress and worry, it’s a proactive way to help the bones regenerate. I never underestimate the power of essential oils. A couple of weeks ago I was moving too quickly and bruised my ankle....seemed like I might’ve had a stress fracture. My self prescribed healing came in the form of ice packs for a day, rest, and every day For 2 weeks I massaged my ankle with a blend of ginger, carrot seed, nutmeg, Roman chamomile in jojoba, fractionated coconut carrier oils. You can use this oil on its own or rub some into the most susceptible joints - hips, knees, wrists and ankles before you get into the bath or shower, where you can massage deeper into the skin.
Skin Healer came from my experience with the plants in our garden. One year there was an abundance of plantain growing amongst the herbs, flowers and vegetables. Plantain is considered a weed by some gardeners. My friend David Miles told me it was edible and rich in calcium and minerals. I tried eating it raw, it was a bit chewy and stringy, a good workout for my teeth and jaw! Then I tried it in a stir fry with some other hearty greens and some fresh chopped garlic...I love that a lot of the foods we need are growing right outside our doorstep!
Anyway, one day I was working in the garden and had nicked myself with a garden shear. With a bleeding finger I looked down for something to wrap around the wound until I could clean it out with some soap and water. There was the plantain leaf, it was wide, flat, easy to wrap and felt cooling on this fiery cut. Later I learned that the native Americans called the plantain a green bandaid! Pretty cool when that happens. That was the start of the making of Skin Healer. I learned how to make botanical oils from several other plants like comfrey, St. John’s wort, calendula flower…..and blend them with beeswax. If someone wanted to they could add a drop of their favorite essential oil to the jar of skin healer. I sometimes add lavender, neroli or tulsi but either way it’s a great little healer that has helped a lot of people.
Breast Massage Oil was developed as a request from a friend DeeAnn Macomson. DeeAnn is a talented musician and massage therapist who uses rhythm and energy medicine to create drumming workshops. She wanted to stay proactive about her breast health. We blended frankincense and helichrysum in calendula infused sweet almond oil. DeeAnn was patient enough to wait until the garden yielded enough calendula blossoms to create this oil blend.
How do you think plant medicine and Western medicine can interact?
Favorably, I don’t think they contradict each other. The point is they each have their purpose and one is not better than the other. You may find yourself in serious need of antibiotics and you can still take a remedy to help keep your astral body in balance so that you’re not bonking out with side effects from Western meds.
There are so many plants with medicinal purposes, but what is one of your favorite uses of a medicinal plant? Is there one that you find yourself using the most?
I try to stay with a remedy long enough to recognize that something in me has shifted. Getting back to the question though, I think that all plants are medicinal.
"I think that all plants are medicinal. You could make an amazing salad with all kinds of organic veggies and herbs like parsley, cilantro, basil, oregano. You are giving your body such nourishment!"
You could make an amazing salad with all kinds of organic veggies and herbs like parsley, cilantro, basil, oregano. To me this would be a favorite (and every day!) use. You are giving your body such nourishment! I also sometimes use dried flowers and herbs to make a medicinal tea, either to stay calm or focused or help my liver to cleanse or to help move my bowels.
Tinctures and essences help me to stay focused with mental and emotional issues. When I’m feeling stressed I’ll take the Holy Basil Tincture that I’ve made. I love using the Rosemary Tincture to help me remember my origin, which is from the stars, and the Trinity Flower Essence is another one that came through a channeled session with a very talented bodyworker and light being, Mary Diehl. She doesn’t have a website or Facebook or Instagram account otherwise I’d shout it out to everyone. When I’ve been somewhat shy and sometimes stumble on being able to express my femininity in a way that resonates I’ll take Alpine Lily or Trumpet Vine. The Alpine Lily helps my feminine soul experience a more vibrant relationship between my physical body and the spiritual feminine. Trumpet Vine helps with active, and dynamic verbal expression. I purchase both of these from Flower Essence Services and I love that they offer biodynamic flower essences.
What resources would you recommend to others who are interested in the healing powers of plants?
These are some of my go-to books:
- Alchemy of Herbs by Rosalee De La Foret
- Aromatherapy for the Soul by Valerie Ann Worwood (any of her books, for that matter)
- Medicinal Herbs by Rosemary Gladstar
- Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health - Rosemary Gladstar
- Spagyrics: The Alchemical Preparation of Medicinal Essences, Tinctures and Elixirs by Manfred M. Junius
- The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils: The Science of Advanced Aromatherapy by Kurt Schnaubelt Ph.D.