edible wellness

Wild Origins Herbal Tea Blends

By Cheyenne Buckingham / Photography By Rachel Joy Barehl | December 01, 2016
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mixing herbal tea blend
Aniko Zala of Wild Origins mixing one of her signature herbal tea blends.

Picture the most eclectic, Pinterest-worthy room imaginable. Now throw in an accompaniment of the trumpet in soulful jazz, which can be heard playing softly in the background, complementing the earthy aroma of freshly brewed chamomile tea. This harmonious blend of sight, smell and sound conveys the peaceful atmosphere that Columbus-based apprenticing herbalist Aniko Zala has innately instilled in the comforts of her own home. Her style and spirit embody acquiring peace through natural healing, which she expresses in her own line of herbal remedies, including tinctures, body creams and teas, called, Wild Origins.

Her passion for teas began when she was just a child. She describes her mother as a prolific gardener, who managed an epic garden encompassing the outskirts of the house. This piqued Aniko’s interest for herbs from the get-go. She never thought of turning this habitual aspect of her childhood into a profession, however, until after she entered her early twenties, which is when she developed severe stomach problems that countless doctors could not diagnose. That is, until she met one who recommended a natural fix.

“Finally, I had a doctor that listened to me and suggested I try peppermint tincture. Peppermint is an anesthetic to the stomach lining, so it just stopped the pain I was having. It was so dramatic that I started studying other herbs I could use to help my digestion.”

It was this pivotal moment that catalyzed Aniko to begin research into what herbs would actually take away the root of the stomach problems, rather than just easing their symptoms. These findings led her to discovering ways to cope with other kinds of ailments, including intense stress, which she dealt with often as a middle school teacher.

“All of the products that I make are from (health) issues that I wanted to correct in myself or in friends and family.”

wild origins salves

It’s this personal touch that separates this newfound business from others of its kind. Since March, Aniko has been teaching workshops at local venues in Columbus like Under Aurora, Tigertree, Replenish spa and STUMP Plants where she gets to help people identify with what she calls their plant allies; i.e., the herbs that will help support their health. She teaches attendees how to construct their own tinctures and leads tastings of herbs and lectures about the health benefits that come from the herbal blends she assembles.

“I get to talk to people about stuff that makes them feel like they can be empowered with their own health.”

What’s even better is that she procures a large portion of her herbs locally from Old Slate Farm in Mount Vernon, Ohio. The partnership began after owner Katie Reed took one of Aniko’s classes. She asked her if she wanted to take a look at her flowers and herbs at the farm and Aniko was instantly hooked after the first visit. Aniko even sells some of the flower bouquets that Katie pieces together at her markets. More importantly, the two share a trading system that enables both of their new businesses to grow. What Aniko receives in calendula and chamomile, Katie gets back in several of Aniko’s products.

Overall, she’s very pleased with how her vision has evolved in such a short span of time.

“It’s growing more than I can hope. It’s been a really fun journey. I’m a maker, I’m a teacher and I’m also addicted to learning and I love nature and plants. It’s all of the aspects of my personality that I get to use with this.”

Read more about Aniko and her products at mywildorigins.com

Article from Edible Columbus at http://columbus.ediblefeast.com/drink/wild-origins-herbal-tea-blends
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