Words and photos by Olivia Bauso
Eighteen months ago, Samantha Lynn packed her life into a big old van and traveled east from her home in Illinois. Since then, she has dedicated her life to learning tangible life skills like growing food and building homes and educating herself and others about herbal remedies and holistic living. Following a brief stint on a CSA in New Hampshire, Samantha has now set up camp here in Rochester, NY.
Samantha is the brains behind Wholistic Herbals, a handmade, organic line of herb-based personal products. Her custom line of “everyday basics” includes herbal odor protectant, vapor rub, beard balm, headache begone balm, lotion bars, cuticle cream and lip balm and other salves and sprays. She says, “I really want to provide products that people would use in their day to day lives, replacing store-bought with plants.”
Samantha is studying herbalism, and was first shown the truth behind our food and personal product purchases while studying holistic health. She explains, “I started learning about unwholesome additives in everything, and I felt really betrayed by the products I had been using.” As Samantha dove deeper into her research, she found that alternative products were the way to go: “I realized that herbs were really the answer.” However, many of the everyday basics that Samantha tried were more of a miss than a hit. So, she simply started making her own.
Samantha began as simple as possible, with one herb and one oil per product. Through trial and error, and ongoing research and discussion with other herbalists, she has been able to expand the depth and complexity of her remedies. She says, “It was a really long process getting the products to where they are now. That’s why I need continued feedback from my customers about what they think so I can keep adjusting and making them as effective as they can be.”
While Samantha uses a variety of natural remedies, she names plantain, calendula flower and dandelion as herbs everyone should be using in their daily lives. Plantain is abundant in most places and serves as a great drawing herb. Calendula flowers are ideal for skin, rashes and acne, and serve as an antiseptic. Dandelions are a multi-functional herb that are great for detoxing your liver and body, and as Samantha says, “they’re overlooked and looked down on, but they’re super powerful.”
Dandelions represent Samantha’s view on herbalism as a whole, which lead her to tattooing them on her forearm. She explains, “a lot of people know about herbs and their powers, but they don’t use them to their full extent.” While Samantha loves making her own products, she is more interested in spreading awareness of herbalism as a public practice. She says, “I want people to know how to do this themselves. I don’t want them to just come to me for products, I want them to go out to their garden and pick some plantain and calendula and make their own salve!” She suggests that everyone should embark on their own holistic educational journey-- it’s a lot more accessible than you may think!
Samantha sources all her herbs organically, whether it be from her own plot at Seedfolk City Farm located at the Gandhi Institute of Nonviolence or from Mountain Rose Herbs (a well-known organic herb company founded by Rosemary Gladstar). She also spends her time working to educate others about holistic health, and urges others to take classes at places local organizations on the topic. “I really care about everybody on this Earth and care about what they’re putting on their bodies and skins,” she affirms. Her primary goal is to continue reaching those interested in holistic lifestyles.
Samantha adds, “I want people to know how much love I put into my products. I believe we are connected with everything and that plants are just an extension of ourselves. Using an herb to heal yourself is like using a part of yourself already-- in my eyes.” Her hand crafted products can be bought on Etsy and viewed on Facebook and Instagram.
Wholistic Herbals will be popping up at Brainery Bazaar all year long. Join us for our February Brainery Bazaar on February 10th from 11am to 4pm. As always, the first 25 people through the door will get a Rochester Brainery tote bag!