Who are you and what do you do?
What a question! I’m Lauren and I grew up in Texas, spent time in Georgia, Thailand and 8 years in NYC and now I’m living back in Austin, Texas. I created a magical balm that people are obsessed with called Lauren’s All Purpose Salve. I started making it while working as a chef in NYC and refined the formulation after taking chemistry classes and becoming an amateur herbalist. Now I’m incredibly grateful to say that running Lauren’s All Purpose is my full-time gig. I’ve never felt so free.
What’s your earliest plant memory?
I have whisps of memories when I was around 3-years-old of gathering a bunch of plants (probably grasses) onto a big rock and then taking a smaller rock and crushing them to make a paste. The colors of the crushed plants on the rocks always caught my eye as I listened to the various leaves and berries squishing together. I loved making little potions for my stuffed animals that had come down with some sort of ailment.
Is nature involved in your current work? If so, in what way?
I’ve always been drawn to plants and in particular the edible kinds. When I started creating Lauren’s All Purpose Salve my question was, “what can I feed the skin so that it feels nourished?” That is still the leading philosophy of my formulations today. Plants have remarkable powers that are often synthetically copied. I like to use the real deal in my skincare products.
Do plants speak to you and how can you tell?
Plants are always beckoning. How can a field in soft sunlight not be calling you to come lay in it like a warm blanket? When I see a large tree I have to walk near it, touch it and perhaps crouch in a fold or knotted root. When I’m around plants my senses awaken. My thoughts are quieted, tension relaxes, and I feel more open to possibilities.
What’s your favorite plant?
It’s a tie between the Rose and the Hibiscus. Both are quite regal in their own way. Roses have been used for thousands of years as symbols of love, beauty and youth. My first experience using Rose topically was with a lotion and it shocked me how soft and supple it made my skin. Receiving roses as a gift is one of my favorite feelings. I have a Rose tattooed on my arm! The beauty of hibiscus also fascinates me. There’s something so sexy about the hibiscus- the vibrant colors, how the petals lay open, the stamen’s playful hello. The beach is my happy place and I associate them strongly with the ocean. Hibiscus tea is one of my favorite drinks. I mix it with lemon balm and it’s the most soothing, nourishing, calming and refreshing all at once.
What’s your favorite natural therapy, whether that be plant medicine, acupuncture, or something else?
Plant therapy all the way. Balancing my diet and incorporating herbal tinctures and mushrooms into my life has completely changed my health. I feel so empowered by my knowledge of plants - although there’s always more to learn.
Is there a teacher that’s guided you on the plant path?
The classics Rosemary Gladstar and Susun Weed. Nadine Artemis is deeply inspiring to me. Also my teachers at Brooklyn Herborium.
What’s your favorite Wooden Spoon Herbs remedy? How has it helped you follow the plant path?
Elderberry Elixir! I’m still amazed at the efficacy of this tincture. Thankfully I haven’t gotten sick lately but in NYC I was always sick until I found this. The Herbal Coffee is also a new favorite.