Aniko Zala knows that when it comes to homemade soaps, lotions and oils, she’s not the only one in the market. That’s why her business, Wild Origins, hopes to bring a whole other facet of self-care to the table. With a background in education, Zala wants to empower people to take control of their health through a variety of herb-centric workshops.
It started about six months ago, when Tina De Broux, owner of Franklinton’s Under Aurora, a now-online only retail store, started stocking Zala’s merchandise and hosting some of her workshops. De Broux first found Zala through Instagram and reached out to start selling her herbal-infused skincare products alongside her own paraben-free and sulfate-free line.
From there Zala’s reach gravitated further offline and into local markets and stores, like the Short North’s Tigertree and STUMP Plants in Italian Village.
“It’s sort of like a two part business: the workshops where I get to teach about all the things I’m really passionate about, and then the products that I make where I just sort of focus in on body and spirit care,” Zala said.
She describes her workshops as interactive, total sensory experiences. In her classes, 10 to 15 pupils examine, smell and taste a range of herbs that can be found in their backyards and used for medicinal purposes.
In some workshops, Zala will bring with her about a dozen teas made from different herbs. Throughout the class, teas are tasted, and Zala describes where each herb is found and what it can be used to treat. For example, rosemary, a common culinary herb, is also a dilator that alleviates aches in the head and stomach.
“After my workshops, people say they feel really empowered, because they have information that they can use to support their own health,” Zala said. “And it’s a starting point for them. They are amped about doing more research and taking their health into their own hands, which feels so good.”
Zala speaks from experience. Years ago, she suffered from her own chronic stomach problems. To alleviate her symptoms, her doctor prescribed a peppermint tincture. It’s an anesthetic for the stomach lining, and it did relieve her pain. But as she studied herbalism under local Herbalist Dawn Combs, she realized she wasn’t dealing with the underlying cause. After doing some research, she learned that bitter herbs were missing from her diet. Since adding them in, both her symptoms and their cause have disappeared.
The workshops, which detail rituals to deal with aches and pains, stress and anxiety, go hand in hand with her beauty products. Used externally, Zala’s herbal infused oils, body creams and bath soaps allow her customers “to create time and space to take care of yourself in a day.”
At Zala’s next workshop, in partnership with Under Aurora and Sarah Harste Weavings, attendees will create their own personal tea blend, a custom aromatherapy rollerball blend, and a god’s eye ornament. The Holiday Social will be held December 7 at Dough Mama in Clintonville.
Zala also hopes to launch an online workshop series for people who either don’t live locally or who want to explore her topics deeper. She’s currently accepting feedback for the frequency and format of these online workshops and wants to launch them after the holidays.
For more information, visit www.mywildorigins.com.