Lauren Haynes is a clinical herbalist, educator and writer living in the mountains of northwest Georgia. She’s a living fairy who founded Wooden Spoon Herbs in 2014 and it has been her vehicle for sharing herbalism with people all over the world. You will find her wildcrafted plant-based potions at cute novelty shops and lifestyle stores around the country. Lauren has emerged as the modern day medicine woman that you never knew you needed, but was there all along. Minding the plants, writing and harvesting herbs from her cabin in the woods. Wooden Spoon Herbs has grown tremendously over the past few years and we are thrilled to be releasing a capsule collection of potent herbal magic for folks along the reproductive continuum. We caught up with Lauren who shared more about her journey, what makes her hopeful and what’s next for Wooden Spoon Herbs.
Mama Glow: Tell us a little bit about your childhood. Were you always fascinated with medicinal plants and herbalism, even growing up?
Lauren Haynes: I wasn’t always aware of medicinal plants and herbalism, but I was always fascinated with nature, with plants and animals. I was, yeah, truly obsessed with plants and animals. I read almost exclusively animal rights magazines and kept clippings in a file folder. I couldn’t wait to grow up and be vegetarian and eat organic. A total nerd.
I had a pretty easy suburban childhood. We would drive to visit my aunt in the country about once a month, and that drive was just gorgeous – super lush and green. That drive really made a mark on me. I could see the appeal of living surrounded by woodlands and pasture.
MG: We are all obsessed with your medicinal creations. What inspired you to launch Wooden Spoon Herbs?
LH: Thank you! So many things inspired me to start Wooden Spoon Herbs, but mainly it was looking at the biodiversity of the southern Appalachian region and realizing that I had such a beautiful bounty to work with, versus ordering from a bulk supplier that sourced globally. I really wanted to create a new supply chain for my business, which I have.
I also think it was a really ripe time for my hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee, where I started my business. The slow food movement was really taking hold but nobody I knew was making herbal preparations yet, except for one friend who became my dearest friend. People were ready for it and totally responsive. That was inspiring and encouraging.
MG: You’ve created some interesting collaborations including with Local Rose. And you have a new Mama Glow collaboration coming, can you tell us a little bit about why you are so keen on working with women and how the formulas come to be?
LH: I started my work to build connection, between people and plants, yes, but also to build a web of like-minded people committed to healing themselves and the world. It’s been a true honor to work with women like Shiva and Latham, whose visions of the world are so gorgeous and radical. I’m honored to lend the skills I’ve honed to those collective visions.
I get testimonials on the Venus Potion, our collaboration with Shiva, weekly. I mean, big, big stuff is happening with that one. It’s opening up people’s lives. A woman wrote in and told me she’d had her first orgasm after years of not enjoying sex with her husband. Another woman wrote in and told me it helped her accept her body after a gender transition. I mean, this is real work that herbs can do. They are support systems.
With the Mama Glow collaborations, I’m largely carrying out Latham’s vision. She wanted a kit for pre- and post-natal times, plus a formula for caregivers since she does incredible trainings and is filling up this country with doulas. I’m really excited for our products. We’re launching a fertility elixir, a yoni steam, a postpartum nourishment tea, and the caregiver’s elixir. They’re all incredible. She knew what she wanted and had some ideas about herbal combinations so I coupled that with my intuitive blending and farm-direct sourcing to make some wonderful, potent products.
MG: What does your daily routine look like? When do you harvest herbs? Is there a ritual you practice when crafting your preparations?
LH: I’m pretty fluid with my routine, but generally my days are like this: wake up when the sun starts flooding through the windows, make some tea, answer my emails and then eat breakfast before I start my to-do list for the day, which is always different. Some days I’m answering interview questions, and some days I’m managing our production team, ordering, making phone calls, paying bills, picking up supplies. Some days I’m teaching or writing.
Right now we aren’t harvesting our herbs for the product lines, opting to partner with small medicinal herb farms instead, but I do still harvest herbs for my clients and friends, depending on what they need. It’s always a small harvest, just for that person, with lots of prayer and intention. The plants are always harvested knowing who they’re going to help.
Rituals for making our preparations are more so about the environment. Our studio is super cute, we listen to good music and always have good conversation flowing.
MG: What does your self-care routine encompass and what are your favorite potions for relaxation?
LH: I try to do all the self care! On a regular basis, it’s meditation, eating fresh produce, drinking tea, not overworking, making and sipping bone broth. My favorite self care, though less frequent, is going swimming or getting acupuncture. Herb-wise, my favorite plants for relaxation are oatstraw infusions, Anxiety Ally, chamomile and ginger. Strong ginger tea always calms my body down so well, especially since I hold so much stress in my muscles.
MG: What’s your support circle look like, who do you call on when you need a shoulder to lean on?
LH: I have a few wonderful friends who I can call on with anything (hi Stina and Ali!) and I see my family often, which is just a wonderful support system. My romantic partner is also incredibly supportive, and he holds me up on the daily. He really does a lot for me, and helps out so much with the business.
MG: What makes you hopeful?
LH: Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. Medicare for all. Gender neutral bathrooms. My niece. All the millions of people in the world fighting for what’s right.
MG: What’s next for you?
LH: So much! We are streamlining the Wooden Spoon Herbs product line, freshening up the design, and becoming GMP-compliant. We’re also expanding into digital education in 2020, which is something I’ve been working on for years. I’m going to be teaching more, traveling more and doing more one-on-one consultations (find out more on our website) as well. There’s so much on the horizon. I’m ready to shift my focus back to the community, now that the product line is self-sustainable. The vision is coming to fruition.
MG: Can you share 3 Glow Tips for Luminous Living (3 things that help you maintain optimal wellbeing and a life well lived)
LH: Keep to the basics: simple living, tons of water, fresh foods only.
Relish every moment: be here now, move slowly.
Make life sensual: wear breezy clothing, bask in the sun.
Learn more about Lauren by Following her on Instagram.
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