Houseguest: Lauren of Wooden Spoon Herbs

Everyone has an innate connection to plants of some form, but ‘plant people’ of all kinds come into their botanical curiosities by way of their own unique roadmap. We sat down with founder, educator, and herbalist of Wooden Spoon Herbs, Lauren Haynes, to hear about her relationship with plants and how it’s helped shape her growing business in herbalism. Wooden Spoon Herbs creates herbal blends for immunity, energy, mood, and more - they bring herbs from the earth, to the people, while providing education along the way.

As we love all things plants and education, we’ve begun a long-term partnership with Wooden Spoon Herbs to share our plant infused gifts with our communities - stay tuned for promotions and upcoming events with our friends at Wooden Spoon Herbs and head to their journal to read their interview with Tula House co-founders, Christan Summers and Ivan Martinez. 


As a self-described wild-foods-turned-herbalism-obsessed, I’d love to hear how your upbringing shaped this passion of yours. How were you introduced to the world of plants? 

I grew up in the lush foothills of the Appalachians in Chattanooga, Tennessee, so I was always surrounded by green plants. And I always adored plants and would get little marigolds at the hardware store as my "pets." But the world of medicinal plants was opened up to me through a time in my life where I was working at a health food store and also doing a lot of fermenting and wild food study. A lot of dots were connected then.


As your journey of studying herbalism has translated into running your own line, how has using medicinal plants helped you run a business?

Haha! Well, for starters, medicinal plants keeps me grounded and my body actually functioning. A nutrient dense diet keeps me feeling my best and my brain working at warp speed, which often feels necessary as a business owner. I love taking calming nervines like milky oats, American ginseng, and rose to stabilize my nervous system from the rollercoaster of biz life. And then consuming lots of matcha; I consider that medicinal too.


One of the enriching things about growing plants is the cycle of care involved. How does caring for your plants reflect on how you care for yourself?

Living alone, it's really a cycle of care. My plants give me something to care for beyond myself, they are my roommates and friends. I do all of the "should-do" self care things for myself, but the tenderness and love I feel for my plant babies is something I really note when I feel it, and try to extend to myself too. It helps me remember that we all need more than water, food and sunlight. We need TLC.


You have such an extensive relationship with plants of all kinds. Is there a correlation between your medicinal and ornamental plants? How does your relationship with a plant change once you begin to use and ingest them?

I went through a phase where I only wanted "medicinal" houseplants! That's quite a challenge... Most of them aren't evergreen. But I think my definition of "medicinal" shifts and changes. Does a plant need to be edible or ingestible to have a deeper relationship with? Absolutely not! Relationships come in all depths and varieties. I do love the deepening of relationship that comes from using a beloved plant medicinally (dandelion comes to mind), but I love so many ornamental house plants simply from being in daily communion with them.


What are your favorite plants to grow at home? What about them do you love the most?

I live in an apartment, so I like growing herbs and houseplants because they're easy in small spaces. My houseplant wizard friend recently moved and I inherited a bunch of sweet new babies! I love my pickle plant from Tula, I love aloes, I love euphorbias, I love jades. What I love the most is just what weird little creatures they are. Every time a new leaf grows I'm like, "What are you thinking little dude?"


Likewise, what are your favorite plants to use in herbalism? Why?

Even harder question! It really fluctuates. My all-time favorite plants are nutritive herbs, which just means herbs that are super nutrient-dense and nourishing -- nettle, oat straw, red raspberry leaf, red clover. Nutritives 4ever.


Is there an area of plant matter that you’re currently curious about and feel called to deep dive into?

Yeah! Seaweeds, polysaccharide-rich gut healing herbs, and I'm revisiting adaptogens and yin tonics. Studying a lot about the microbiomes of the body and the extracellular matrix.


What are your passions beyond plants? As they always find a way back, how does it intertwine with your love of plants?

Everything intertwines with my plant nerd-ism. Let's see, I love surrealist art films, cooking simple meals, walking a long way, taking in vistas, petting sweet animals, traveling to new places, my little nieces, roadside produce stands. Yanno, the usual.


Are there any plants catching your eye that have made it to your wishlist?

Of course! I'm really eyeing the Scindapsus pictus, the crested Myrtillocactus, and I'm obsessed with the Com Work planters. My Tula cart is always full. And I also finally learned the name of Monkey Tail Cactus! My ex partner had a 20+ year old one of those that was massive and I never knew what it was called. It was probably three feet tall and hung down from a huge planter. Stunning.


Anything else you’d like to share with our community at Tula?

Just how special Ivan, Christian and Tula are! It's so rare to have any information about plant care, much less in such a digestible and beautiful format. Thank you Tula!

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