LINNÉ Botanicals Founder, Jenna Levine
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
Hi, I’m Jenna, the founder and formulator of LINNÉ Botanicals. I started making natural skincare products for my family when I was ten years old, and 25 years later, I’m still excited by the process. I love nothing more than working with plants, from root to flower, whether in the kitchen or in the lab. They are so wonderfully potent and healing. Working with them daily allows me to connect to the earth, even if I’m stuck at home working from my computer. Right now as I write this I’m sipping on The Qi Blue Lotus infusion. The gorgeous bloom and the chemical compounds are providing me with a sense of calm and ease.
Ten years old, wow! That's amazing. And so good to hear you love our Lotus tisane. I'm drinking our Chrysanthemum infusion as we speak! Speaking of flowers, where did your love of them come from and what drew you to flowers?
My mother was the first to introduce me to flowers. She always has fresh cut flowers in the house. She usually had sculptural species such as orchids and calla lilies, but my first strong memory of flowers is of the humble dandelion. I loved how fields of them signaled spring in Chicago. For my 5th birthday, all I wanted to do was pick dandelions with friends, so that’s what we did. I still think of that birthday every May 5th, or when I pass a full field of dandelions. Today you won’t find me as frequently picking their flowers, but I do regularly forage for their super nutritious greens.
That's a beautiful memory. What do flowers mean to you?
They are symbols of spring, fertility and fecundity. They are healing. Their morphology is proof that nature is the best designer!
How do they play a role in your life today?
Flowers fill our formulas. Geranium is one such example. Within our formulations we use a varietal known as Pelargonium graveolens, or “rose geranium”. As the name indicates it has a beautiful rose like smell, and thus has had great importance in the perfume industry where both flowers and leaves are distilled for its scent. Beyond pleasing aromatics, this varietal further provides a host of medicinal attributes. A modern analysis listed the presence of over 50 organic compounds in the essential oil of P. graveolens and these compounds are responsible for the plants ability to act as an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, astringent, vulnerary, cicatrisant, cytophylactic, detoxifier, and an overall tonic.
Additionally the aroma stimulates the brain’s adrenal cortex, which is responsible for balancing hormones in the body, thus allowing it to have a harmonizing effect on emotions, relieve stress and tension, reduce mood swings, and provide support to the female reproductive system. In addition to the above, Pelargonium possesses antispasmodic, anti-tumoral, and haemostatic qualities, all of which make it a powerful aid to the body’s nervous system and lymphatic/endocrine systems. With so much value we just had to include it in the formulation of SCRUB, REPAIR, BALANCE and SMOOTH.
I've always been an essential oil person, but I didn't know how complex botanicals were. It's nice to be educated a bit on the science behind them. How do you incorporate flowers into your daily ritual?
Every day I steep flowers in hot water, some of my favorites for this purpose include blue lotus, rose, chrysanthemum (from Qi) and hibiscus, chamomile, red clover (found in our skincare products). I also use LINNÉ at least twice a day.
Is there anything special you’re working on right now you’d like to share?
In celebration of our 4th anniversary and Earth Month we launching our long anticipated lip balm. It is incredibly nourishing to dry, chapped, cracked and sunburn lips. We have incorporated calendula and honeysuckle flowers into the formula along with organic, virgin cold-pressed seed oils and butters such as mango, cacao, pumpkin and black castor. We are also pleased to share that we’ll be contributing 20% of profits from sales of NOURISH lip balm to The Wilderness Society as part of our ongoing effort to promote environmental stewardship. We are also working to become carbon neutral and a B Corporation.
I'll be anticipating the drop! And that's amazing, we really need more companies focused on their impact like that. Do you have a favorite flower or floral scent that inspires your work?
One of my favorite floral scents is of fresh orange blossom flowers still on the tree. And I’m not alone, the essential oil, known in perfumery as neroli, is very popular. I love it for its scent but also for its many skin benefits. It moisturizes, promotes cellular regeneration and possesses antibacterial, antifungal, cicatrisant, and anti-inflammatory properties. These qualities allow it to stimulate the healing process of cuts, rashes, and other skin abrasions and result in a quicker recovery.
The bitter orange essential oil we use in REPAIR and BALANCE includes tender early season branches and leaves in addition to late season blossoms for added skin benefit and heightened aroma. “Petitgrain Sur Fleur” essential oil is high in linalyl acetate, a compound that is celebrated for its ability to reduce anxiety, calm the mind, and provide a stabilizing and balancing effect on the nervous system. The essential oil is also considered to be a useful digestive aid and to help normalize greasy hair or excessive perspiration. Pretty impressive for a plant producing sweet little flowers and small bitter fruits!
It is! Where do you find flowers inspiring you in the future of your career?
I cannot wait for the day when I have a LINNÉ garden full of all the plants we use in the line. This dream garden will also include culinary, medicinal and dye flowers as well :)
Finally, what’s a wellness tip you’d like to share with our community?
Staying put this past month has allowed me to better observe the daily shifts happening in nature. Whether you can walk in the woods or just peak out the window, I suggest taking a moment each day to observe the same tree, garden or flower pot. The activity is grounding, calming and mesmerizing. Magical things are happening all around us, it’s spring!
If you'd like to learn more about LINNÉ Botanicals or connect with Jenna, you can do so below:
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