Author: Lauren Doolan

The best of Brazil

Today, I am leaving the vibrant country of Brazil. A place as warm as the people themselves. A s I wait at the airport I can’t help but reflect on the week that was, and want to share the experiences that it brought me. Here’s my best of Brazil. Monte Azul – A favela built with opportunity The experience that will stay with me forever is seeing power of community working together to build the São Paulo favela of Monte Azul. I’m not just talking about bricks and mortar… they did that too. But the more important thing that they have built is a community that wants to make sure that all its inhabitants can overcome the odds. I spent the day wandering where it all began with Hully, a volunteer now full-time employee of Monte Azul. She explained to me that a high proportion of the Monte Azul population was unemployed, so the community put them to use, to build natural birthing clinics, woodwork centers, medical centers, libraries, recycling plants, gardens and nature reserves, …

The ‘Care Crops’ of Chacara Garden

There’s ‘Cash Crops’ and then there is ‘Care Crops’. W hen you see Moacyr Copani, Gardener at Chacara Garden, Weleda Brazil tending his gardens of over 40 of medicinal plants it’s easy to spot the difference. This level of care doesn’t stem from greed… but something much deeper and personal than that. This garden is his life – from the very moment he was born, in the simple brick house on the property. Moacyr tends to the land with his brother Paulo with as much care as their father – the first gardener who planted these very gardens himself. Even though Moacyr Snr is now in this 80’s, the three men still harvest together, it’s tradition. How it all began. As you know, I love ‘meaningful coincidences’. This garden has another great story that will give you goose-bumps for sure. Weleda Brazil was founded in 1959 by Dr. Gudrun Burkard and her husband Pedro Schmidt. They moved to the now famous wine region on San Roque, São Paulo and laid down their roots with a …

The skin care nasties to avoid, especially for Mum’s-to-be

It’s perfectly natural to worry about what you’re putting into and onto your body when you’re pregnant, and even if you’re not. G ot a bun in the oven? Or even if you don’t, it’s highly likely your re-thinking all the things you’re putting into and on your body. I met a lot of new mothers today at Weleda Mother and Baby Care day and most said a very similar thing: ‘It became particularly important to avoid chemicals when I fell pregnant – it wasn’t just about me anymore.’ Amber Johnson I met with Brazilian Dermatologist Dr. Patricia Silveori, who specializes in natural dermatology. It was pretty daunting when I found out that 60% of what we use on our skin can enter our bloodstream, I hate to think how that statistic made to-be-mothers react. The potential for chemical nasties to be passed onto their unborn child I’m sure had sent many new mothers to the eco beauty counter to switch to a toxin-free skin care regime already. We all know that anybody can benefit …

Planted with care. Sourced with respect.

‘Lead plants’ are the heart of Weleda’s plant-rich skin care and natural medicines. Today I went to the Veraloe gardens in São Paulo Brazil, just one of Weleda’s local suppliers of the lead plant Bryophyllum. People call it ‘The Life Plant’ or ‘The Miracle leaf’ due to its wide range of medicinal uses and also the wonderous way it self-reproduces, even without soil. That’s miracle enough! Weleda aims to unlock the inner benefits of Bryophyllum, and each unique lead plant so it can work in harmony with our bodies and our own restorative abilities. It’s nature helping nature. This relationship between nature and people is the key to understanding the plant’s beauty, balance and restorative benefits. To make these products, Weleda sources top quality medicinal plants from all over the world. These precious raw ingredients or ‘lead plants’ come from the Weleda gardens, longstanding partner farms and certified wild collection. Sourcing ethically since 1921. Since the beginning Weleda has respected the environment and our natural resources. It’s not just a bandwagon they have jumped on …

Digital Detox in Patagonia

The healing power of disconnecting the phone and reconnecting with nature. You’re probably wondering why you haven’t heard from me in a while… No, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth, but pretty close too actually. After my week with the Weleda Argentina team, I took a week off from the Global Garden Journey to go on a journey of my own to Patagonia – one of the most Southern points of the world before Antarctica. Hiking the W-Trek in Torres Del Paine (Chile) and exploring El Chálten and El Calafate (Argentina) had been bucket list adventures for me and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit when I was so close. This part of the world is famous for its natural wonders – the highest mountains, widest rivers, gigantic glaciers and some of the flattest and wide meadow plains on earth. It’s a part of the world so naturally beautiful, it’s only fitting that nature taught me a thing or two on my travels. I learnt the power of disconnecting the …

Healing the BODY – MIND – SPIRIT

It’s no secret the human beings are unique and complicated creatures. Our life influences, our experiences, our personality and our upbringing are just some of the factors that make us all as individual as we are. And also impact on our health. I have been learning about Anthroposophic Medicine… tough word to say isn’t it! Luckily the philosophies behind it are a lot easier to grasp than the pronunciation. It’s a holistic way of looking at the health of human beings. Think of it more of as an extension to traditional medicine rather than an alternative to it. It doesn’t aim to replace conventional medicine but to take things a step further – to use the power of the body to heal itself. To heal an illness one must treat the body, mind and spirit not just the physical symptoms. This integrated way of looking at human health was founded by Austrian scientist and philosopher Rudolf Steiner (founder of Biodynamic Farming and Weleda) and developed with Dutch physician Ita Wegman. It takes on many of …

The beauty of nature – with cosmetologist Maria Ester

Eco-Luxe DIY facial tips. Weleda cosmetologist Maria Ester’s skin glows with health. From my first glance at this beautiful lady I knew what she knows was talking about. Whatever her skin was having, mine wanted it too. Maria shared Weleda’s vision of beauty with me. Weleda strives to create a world where the health and beauty of human beings is continually growing – through nurture and nature. Beauty to Weleda isn’t about winding back the clock, it’s about supporting the body and the skin through our life stages. You won’t see a magic wand of a Photoshop brush in their brochures telling you about a miracle remedy – it’s science and the power of lead medicinal plants in their products that supports our skin as we pass through various stages of life – preserving and supporting. Not hiding or erasing. I’m thirty-six years of age. I’m not scared of aging. But that being said, I do want to help nature keep my skin as vital as possible, for as long as possible. Maria and her …

The growing interest in ‘el natural’ lifestyle

Argentina has a history long associated with natural medicines. One that is only growing in popularity with so many Argentinian’s seeking out a more natural lifestyle. ‘People want to know where our raw materials come from.’ Stefan Niewind, Managing Director of Weleda Argentina. I went on a journey find out when the ingredients come from for you. To find this natural treasure trove I left the vibrant city of Buenos Aires 800 kilometres behind to visit Jorge Gusto – the manager of Weleda medicinal garden in the quiet mountains of Córdoba. ‘The soil in the Córdoba mountains is rich in quartz crystals which provide the plants with a lot of energy to grow.’ Jorge Gusto Jorge is the ‘green hands’ that tends the 3.5 hectares of land, 1280 meters above sea level. These gardens cultivate almost all of the plants Weleda needs for the manufacture of their anthroposophic pharmaceuticals and cosmetics in Buenos Aires. The gardens themselves are a picture of health. Bees are buzzing, the flowers are blooming, the birds are singing… ‘Here we …

New things. New Zealand.

This week I jumped over the side fence to hang out with the Weleda team in New Zealand. Whilst Aussies and Kiwi’s are neighbours, the Weleda experiences couldn’t have been more different. My week in Havelock North, Napier saw me getting my hands dirty in the Weleda biodynamic gardens. The same gardens where 80% of the active ingredients in their anthroposophical medicines are sourced. I also got hands-on in the lab seeing how the vitality of the garden produce gets potentized into tinctures then into the Weleda products themselves. Since I have started on the Global Garden journey my head hasn’t stopped spinning – so many exciting things are happening and I don’t want to miss a moment. After this week I’m feeling much more grounded, maybe having my hands in the soil has helped bring me back to earth. Here’s some of the ways I got my hands dirty The Global Garden sisterhood reunion has started. Simone Anderson, New Zealand’s inspirational finalist came to visit me in Hawke’s Bay. We had the honour of …

‘Horn Manure’ – Is it a load of bull?

Hear me out then feel 100% free to make up your own mind. Stuffing cow horns with manure and burying in a pit for 6 months may sound little woo-woo to some. But the rich compost that comes from it is the foundation for biodynamic farming. When did Biodynamic farming come about?  Steiner developed the Biodynamic farming principles in 1924 in response to farmers requests for his thinking about the declining quality of their produce and yield of crops. His biodynamic philosophy was his way of improving the stability and richness of the soil by enhancing its organic matter, by avoiding synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides – to give the produce back its vitality. Ok, we are all keeping up with that. Where we may lose a few people is that he also claimed that “cosmic vital forces” have a large impact on plants and animals. He recommended processes of using cow horns as vessels to vitalize the soil. The process goes a little like this. Cow horns are filled with manure (this is called …