I like to snoop around other people’s kitchens and bathrooms like most people do with bookshelves. (Ok, I like looking at bookshelves too!)
This happens especially when I travel. I’m always so curious to see what people use as a normal everyday food, remedy or beauty product, that hasn’t made it into mainstream use.
When I lived in Paris, I was surprised to have the pharmacist give me a tube of calendula (marigold) salve, instead of hydrocortisone. (Little discoveries like these in the French pharmacies set me on my path into herbal remedies!)
In Vietnam, I discovered a lime and honey cough syrup used for the entire family. In Moscow, I was so happy to see fresh herbal infusions widely available in cafes (even with listings of the medicinal properties!) And even here in the UK there are relatively common wild foods and remedies that I’d never heard of in the States (think: nettle soup and elderflower cordial.)
On my last visit to France, I found a lovely old book (from the early 1900s) filled with herbal remedies and recipes. I’ve spend a lot of time this summer scouring through my old books for inspiration, hoping to uncover a long-forgotten beauty treat or remedy that is easy + effective.
But I think I’m going about it the wrong way. You see – I think people still hold the key to uncovering these almost-forgotten remedies. The thing with herbal remedies and homemade beauty products is that if they don’t work, people quickly stop using them. If it’s a remedy that has endured for generations, there must be some truth to it (at least, I think it’s worth a closer look.) So although we’ve moved away from making our own products, there are still people who have this knowledge, and they’re still using it for themselves and their families.
I want to meet them.
My first port-of-call later this year is Thailand – and I’m on a search for traditional Thai beauty products and herbal remedies still being produced and used there. Do you know anyone? I’m especially interested in traditional beauty products, cultivation or wildcrafting of traditional herbs, herbal schools, safe + effective traditional home remedies etc. Please get in touch!
Do you know someone who continues to preserve and use a traditional beauty product or herbal remedy, that we could all learn to use at home? Leave a comment and let me know.
Don’t worry – I’ll share all of my discoveries here in the coming months!