Interview by Sima Morrison and Karli Quinn
You are an herbalist, psychic and acupuncturist who believes in nature-based beauty and created your company Floracopeia to embody this principle. How did you begin?
I have always felt a strong connection to the beauty and healing power of nature. Spending time outdoors and utilizing nature’s healing pharmacy has been a way of life for me since the very beginning. Whether it’s the beauty of a flower, fresh organic greens harvested from a local farm, or the way the natural elements are made into medicine, nature-based beauty is the ultimate nourishment for body and soul. For me, nature-based beauty is not only about creating good-looking skin from natural ingredients but rather a deeper beauty that comes out of a cultivated reverence for the natural world.
I got started in the field of natural medicine in my early twenties after my parents, who utilized natural remedies for common ailments, laid a strong foundation. Natural medicine embodies the principles of natural forces and elements, interconnectedness and interrelatedness to prevent and correct imbalances on multiple levels: body, mind and soul. Early in my career, I worked in an herbal apothecary as a grassroots herbalist, healer and natural product formulator and buyer. I sought medical training in New York City and Santa Monica as a holistic licensed clinician. I developed my clinical skills as an acupuncturist and herbalist by incorporating the principles of Chinese Medicine into my Western medical training with the goal of effectively helping others to cultivate advanced health and inner contentment.
For me, the most appealing aspect of holistic medicine is its acknowledgment and treatment of Spirit or ‘shen.’ Shen is a term from Traditional Chinese Medicine that encompasses our psychological health and spiritual well being. It is also the way consciousness infuses itself into matter. The study of consciousness and the spiritual side of healing and plant medicine have spoken to me the most, which is why flower essences are a favorite healing tool. A large part of my healing practice is working with Shen through acupuncture, energy medicine, psychic readings, and flower essences. Finally, I’ve come to understand that the best incarnation of natural medicine is when it supports nature while gleaning its healing gifts. Floracopeia is based on this supportive principle and was established to nourish a harmonious reciprocal flow that can exist between the greater natural world and us as individuals.
What were the initial goals and vision for Floracopeia?
The initial vision of Floracopeia remains the centerpiece of our work in the world. Floracopeia was established to provide the highest quality botanical treasures and health education, to support ecological agriculture, and to preserve ethnobotanical knowledge. We do this through our various eco-projects and by sourcing organic and sustainable botanicals that promote healing on individual, community and planetary level. We believe that botanical treasures like essential oils, flower essences, and organic skincare can have a significant positive influence on our mental, physical and spiritual health. Furthermore, these things affect the economic health of small communities throughout the world.
What’s one of your favorite blends?
For flower essences, I love the Renewal Blend. Flower essences stimulate a shift in consciousness to create a healthy empowered life. The floral essences in our Renewal Blend hold a vibrant energy of rebirth and optimism! It opens our awareness to roads previously unseen and helps us perceive life in a more expansive optimistic light— similar to the how the light returns each spring to transform the darkness and dormancy of winter. I also love the Immortelle Cleansing Dew. It is a facial oil filled with flower essences and essential oils to nourish inner and outer beauty. It really embodies the utterly divine and intoxicating aromatic biome of Corsica in the springtime.
Can you recommend natural ways to relieve allergies?
Yes! I’ve really dialed this in over the years! If it’s seasonal allergies it’s always helpful to clean up the diet and eliminate those problem foods. Identifying any potential food sensitivities or allergies is key to bringing down systemic inflammation and giving the poor hard working immune system a break! Some common food culprits: corn, soy, wheat, gluten, peanuts, other nuts such almonds (often irradiated too) and dairy.
I always make a big distinction between non-organic dairy from cow versus organic raw artisanal goat and sheep dairy. Raw artisanal goat products are a very high quality dairy that is often harmonious with most people and provides health-promoting probiotics and Vitamin D for bone integrity and hormonal vitality. Likewise, I find that it is non-mucus forming and is compatible even with those with dairy allergies (mild to moderate). In conjunction with cleaning up the diet, herbal medicine provides much needed relief for those suffering from seasonal allergies. Some key ingredients are quercetin, bromelian and vitamin C.
Source Naturals makes a great duo that is both convenient and effective. Take Aller-reponse alongside their Activated Quercetin and then pair that with Reishi Mushroom for supreme immune regulating effects. I tend to use Dragon Herb’s Duanwood Reishi but there are many great reishi products out there. One I like is Harmonic Arts Wild Reishi from gorgeous and prana-rich British Columbian rainforests (heart heart heart). Tulsi tea and ginger is a great addition to harmonize digestion and bring in an additional level of anti-inflammatory action and anti-microbial power. Eyebright tincture is great taken internally to target dry, scratchy, itchy or irritated eyes. I also like using our Rose Hydrosol as a gentle eyewash if the eyes have been exposed to blowing dust and pollen. Use an eye wash cup or use a clean dropper to drop a few drops in eye.
What’s a typical weekday look like for you? Take us through it!
Most of the year, I wake naturally with the sunrise. I love the peace of the morning coupled with vibrant energy of the nature awakening. Like most people, the first thing I care for is my teeth. I alternate between unflavored ozonated olive oil and a tooth powder for brushing alongside using a water pick utilizing a strong sea salt and baking soda solution (swear by this!). Next up is a quick skin care routine to wake up my face - I really aim to stimulate circulation through a quick massage and invigorating botanicals, such as the Immortelle Cleansing Dew I mentioned earlier. One natural skin care principle I teach on is how advanced stimulation and circulation is a key to youthful healthy skin. I can’t live without our facial toner—the Mist of Immortelle—it’s sunshine in a bottle. It’s neroli, golden helichrysum, frankincense and blue tansy aromatic gorgeousness and it immediately invigorates and refreshes my sleepy face. I then sit near my favorite year-round open window with an uber-strong green tea to breathe in beauty of the morning; ocean breezes, soft light, crashing waves, bird songs, and seal barks all effectively nourish my heart and mind.
My energy is high throughout the day but my mental energy is especially good in the morning so I find that it’s in the earlier part of the day that I can focus best and get my work completed. I spend most days juggling healing session, developing and teaching my online courses, and doing various Floracopeia related tasks. I close work down around 6pm to make a simple dinner, have a walk and a bath. Most nights I give myself an acupuncture treatment before retiring for bed.
Tell us about your favorite meal and please don’t spare any details! Are you picturing eating it alone or with a big group of loved ones?
My ideal meal would be to gather with loved ones (and maybe a few nice strangers too) in a small village in Corsica, say Pigna, overlooking the ocean. We’d be drinking a copious amount of wine and feasting on the wide array of artisanal meats, cheeses and organic produce—all infused with the aromatic herbs from the island. Live local music could play in the background while the village cats (hundreds of them!) meander around trying to charm snacks from the humans.
What are your top five favorite ingredients?
- Corsican immortelle
- Goat kola
What is your beauty ritual now and how does it compare to your routine before Floracopeia?
Truth be told, I didn’t have much of a skin care routine before Floracopeia! I really got my act together quick! I think because I’ve always had naturally good skin (great diet) and I was younger and felt like I didn’t need to put that much effort into it— haha! I moved from NYC to LA and starting spending a lot of time on my bicycle. I lived in Venice and rode everywhere. I tried to not use my car. After several years of being out in the elements all day every day—sun, beach, and wind. This, paired with a few life stressors while going to school, poor water, and a touch of hormonal imbalance, I started to really notice a decline in my skin’s appearance. It was hyper pigmented, a bit tougher and thickened in certain areas. You know, your classic sun damage presentation! Well, I was able to reverse all of that, and many years later I feel like my skin is pretty close to how it was when I was younger and before the damage.
Through this personal experience and through helping others with their skin I have really come to understand just how multifaceted and far-reaching botanicals can be for skin health and beauty. It was a natural realization to have since I clearly understood these same far-reaching benefits for whole body health. I started to see more and more how botanicals like rose and immortelle impacted skin health and then built a skin care video series for the general public as a way to educate others on the benefits of botanical skin care. I’m releasing an advanced inner and outer botanical beauty course this year stemming from my research and experience in working with the botanicals now for over twenty years.
You embody health and all things natural and so we are curious, what’s your splurge?
My true splurge would be to take an exotic trip to some amazing place to feast on fine tequila or wine, cacao, and fresh local cuisine while soaking up the culture and the surrounding natural world. I really want to swim with the whales, like as a lifestyle! But that’s pretty natural eh?
Do you have a favorite book?
Don’t make me pick!
I love and respect Paul Pitchford’s classic book, Healing with Whole Foods.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up and the last thing you do before bed?
I smile and give thanks for being alive on this gorgeous planet.