Nature that heals

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“Tennessee itself is beautiful. It’s green and lush and seasonally vibrant. Gentle rains and gentle mountains. Crisp air and blazing, humid summers. It feels alive. Crickets chirping, red Cardinals perched on garden trellises. It’s really beautiful - the kind of place you want to imbibe. It is an area of tremendous biodiversity…”

And even if we are not talking only about Tennessee here, this place and its magical beauty is an inspiration hidden behind  the “Wooden Spoon Herbs” - a small herbal remedy company. Its owner Lauren Haynes has been selling her medical wares for eight months now and she truly believes that plants can have strong personalities too.

Lauren also states that local plants, no matter where you are, can provide the best medicine. When she realized that she could be an active member in healing local community and started making all types of mixtures from the plants in the area, the “Wooden Spoon Herbs” apothecary was born.


- Lauren, What is the driving force of “Wooden Spoon Herbs”?  
- I consider my plants as equals and I think that is where a lot of healing energy comes from. Plants can have strong and complex personalities just as we can. Wanting to share that complexity and beauty drives me to make my practice public. Another driving force of “Wooden Spoon Herbs” is to shatter the myth that doctors are superior creatures. Through education, nutrition, exercise, and herbs we can tackle some of the health concerns that plague us as modern human beings. Not all of them, but many.

- How many people work for the company?
I am the sole proprietor of my business, although many local farmers contribute with their beautifully grown plants and land. Also, my mother helps me out a lot because she is wonderful and gracious.

- Are all the herbs that you use grown by yourself?
- Although I have a small herb garden that I love and pamper, there isn’t room to grow all that I use. I use a blend of locally and regionally farm-grown herbs, foraged herbs and roots, and those cultivated in my gardens. I also try to be transparent and let people know which magical place their plant medicine is coming from.

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- Have you been interested in herbs, medicine and healthy lifestyle all your life? Where did you get all your knowledge about it?
- As a child, I felt a deep kinship with all sentient beings. I was obsessed with learning about animals and championing animal rights. I remember bringing home pots of flowers just to have something new to care for. I thought Jainism was really cool. My interest in herbs specifically began in my early 20’s while working at a health food store. I did all my research and learning through reading books and exploring nature and, of course, trial and error.

- Have you always been a naturalist and believe that it’s the best way of medicine?
- Raised in Tennessee and north Georgia, I have constantly been in awe of the vast greenery and its boundless energy. I would say that I have always been a naturalist. My curiosity with the natural world has always been, and will always be, a huge part of my life. A vegetarian since the age of 15, I have always been compelled to question the infrastructure of many systems, food and medicine being among them. I think the closer you can be to the spirit of the plant, or animal, or stone, the more beneficial it is.

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- What is eccentric about your products and what makes people want to buy your products and come back again?
- Hopefully effectiveness and quality. The flavors from freshly harvested and dried herbs can’t be matched, and there is something so special about the sense of place you can get from, say, a tea. I hope to engage people’s whimsy as well, and make them feel connected to another type of life form.

- What is the most popular product that most people buy from “Wooden Spoon Herbs”?
- Changing seasonally, the two most popular products thus far are my Elderberry-Sumac Syrup, made with foraged ingredients & local honey, and my “Farmstand Teas”, a collection of teas made exclusively with our local plant bounty.

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- Do you have plans to expand your apothecary in the future or even start doing something new?
- Right now I am working on many new products, opening my online shop, filling retail shelves, and selling at market. In the more immediate future, I’d like to teach more classes locally, and travel to gather plants and teach classes, or do a touring pop-up shop. I also plan to expand my garden and someday incorporate Ayurveda, or medicinally dyed clothing into my repertoire.

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