Naturopath Louise Garland On Living And Shopping Mindfully

by: Lucy Jones | 1 month ago | Features

Louise Garland photographed by Mark Barber (wearing the Mimi Holvast scrunchie pants!) 

When it comes to naturopathy, Louise Garland is, well, a natural. A healing balm that Garland made when she was still a naturopathy student was so popular with her friends that she decided to start bottling it. Now, she sells this "magic in a jar" through her brand Wild Love alongside a wide array of herbal skincare products and teas. Working with plants and herbs has given Garland an enormous amount of respect for the natural world, and all the herbs she uses in her products are grown responsibly. Garland is also mindful when it comes to food and fashion and buys organic produce and ethical clothing whenever she can. We caught up with the health whiz to talk about the importance of looking after our bodies and the planet.

Lucy Jones: Who are you and what do you ‘do’?
Louise Garland: I’m Lou, I’m a naturopath and medical herbalist living and working in Auckland, New Zealand. I am also the creator of Wild Love, a skincare and herbal tea brand.

How did you first get into naturopathy?
After working in fashion for many years I decided it was time for a big change. I wanted to study something completely different and decided it was going to be either naturopathy or viticulture. Biology won! Studying naturopathy led to the discovery of a passion I hadn’t quite realised I had.

How did your skincare and tea company Wild Love come about?
Wild Love started when I made a jar of Kawakawa healing balm for a medicine making class at Naturopathic College. I gave it to a friend who said it really helped her eczema and asked if I could make some more, so I did, and the word spread. To this day the balm continues to sell itself through a reputation it has gained for being no less than magic in a jar. Since then I have expanded Wild Love to include a baby balm and a range of herbal teas, using herbs that I want people to know about but that aren’t commonly seen in other herbal tea brands. 

What is the philosophy behind the company?
To encourage education about, and respect for, plants and herbal medicine. 

What’s an average work day like for you?
I work for a herbal medicine and nutritional supplement distribution company in a technical support role, advising and educating our customers who are mostly naturopaths, nutritionists and holistic doctors. Wild Love allows me to still work with the herbs on a more hands on level, which is a nice contrast to the hordes of research papers I read every day.

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Kawakawa the magic in our healing and baby balms

A post shared by WILD LOVE Skincare & Herb Teas (@wild_love__) on Dec 3, 2018 at 5:09pm PST

What is the biggest misconception about naturopathy that you’ve come across in your work?
That naturopathy is based only on anecdotal evidence. It’s frustrating when people say there’s no scientific evidence behind herbal, nutritional and lifestyle medicine. There are literally thousands of research papers, and more being published every day!

And what is the most important lesson that you’ve learnt working as a naturopath and herbalist? 
Your health is your responsibility, nobody else’s. In saying that however, those of us who are lucky enough to be able to make good health choices have the responsibility to help others who are not in the same privileged position.

Where would you suggest that a person who has never explored alternative medicine start? 
I encourage people to have an open mind, if they are not satisfied with the state of their health then they should seek the help of a good naturopath in their area. Word of mouth is usually the best way to find someone good so ask around your friends and family, or pop into your local health store and ask for a recommendation.  

I’ve found that naturopathy promotes a more holistic approach to health than conventional medicine. Is that something you’d agree with and why is this approach so important?
Yeah definitely. All of our body is connected, so it only makes sense that if some part of it is not functioning well other areas will be affected also. That’s why it’s important to treat the person as a whole. The basis of naturopathy is to treat the cause of a problem, rather than addressing the symptom itself; although we can do that also, while working on treating the cause. For example, a hormone imbalance may cause the symptom of acne so, instead of just dabbing some ointment on each pimple that pops up over and over, we treat the underlying hormone imbalance so that no more pimples arise. Makes sense, right?

After learning that plants and herbs have healing properties, do you feel a greater responsibility to care for the natural world? 
Definitely, however I was kind of on that path already. I studied Environmental Science when I first left school and what I learned from that has stuck with me. As herbal medicine gets more popular in the developed world there is a responsibility for people using the herbs to make sure they are from a sustainable source and have been grown responsibly. Some of our popular herbs are, or are becoming, endangered which is so sad. It’s great to see some of the reputable brands pulling those herbs out of their formulas to preserve the survival of the species, but there are always the greedy ones who only see dollars. People using herbal medicine need to educate themselves, so they can make informed choices. Through my balm I have learned more about Rongoa Maori (traditional Maori medicine) and I have the uttermost love for our native Kawakawa, and all our endemic plant species here in NZ, we have some powerful medicine. I’ve spent time in some very sacred areas of our bush and you can feel how much the plants have for us, we just need to hold on to the knowledge of the people who came before us and use it with the highest amount of respect.

Has your work affected the way you consume things like food and fashion?
It has, I suppose the biggest thing I think about is the environmental impact my actions have. When I have the opportunity to speak with people, I encourage them to look at the big picture. For example, people may think, ‘Oh I don’t need to eat organic, I think conventional foods are fine for me’. However, the bigger picture is that choosing to buy organic food has a much bigger impact than just how it effects the individual eating it. The chemicals used in conventional agriculture can have a devastating effect on the land, waterways and the people working that land. That’s what motivates me to buy organic when possible, more so than how I believe it is better for me as an individual.

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Beautiful NZ beeswax is used to solidify Kawakawa infused sweet almond oil to create our magical balm

A post shared by WILD LOVE Skincare & Herb Teas (@wild_love__) on Jan 9, 2019 at 1:09pm PST

How would you define ‘ethical fashion’?
I suppose to me it’s mindfulness. If people are taking the time to think about how their choices affect others and the planet, that’s a great start. When you think about the impact your actions have, then you begin to make better choices, you just have to, it’s hard to ignore something once you acknowledge it. So, I suppose for me, ethical fashion means to be mindful of your choices, whether you are producing the garments or purchasing them.

What would you like to see humans achieve in your lifetime?
So many things! Hmmm I guess right now I think if we could get rid of mindless consumerism that would be amazing to see.

What’s your life motto?
When you know better, do better! 

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