In this week’s Featured! spotlight, we have the privilege of speaking with Dana Hale from Cabin Creek Apothecary. Dana hand makes all-natural, herbal, and aromatherapy-based health products – many of which cater to the unique needs of men! If you’ve been curious about the benefits of tonics, oils, and natural care, Dana is about to explain it all!
Welcome Dana! We love your work and your shop on Etsy… Tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Dana Hale, and I live in Appomattox,VA.It’s a very rural area where my family has lived for going on 5 generations, and our claim to fame is that this is where Lee and Grant signed the treaty that ended the Civil War. The shop name is simple. I live in a cabin on a creek, thus Cabin Creek Apothecary! It’s gorgeous, lush, and green, and we will never have access to high speed internet. Yeah, we are that far out!
Your home sounds beautiful – and it sounds like the perfect place to create the many natural products that you offer. Tell us about the work you do…
I turn plants into medicine. Not pharmaceutical medicine, but real, organic, medicine from the earth. My mission is to reconnect people with their past, when all medicine came from the resources around them, the soil, plants, and flowers. I’m not a doctor, or registered herbalist, but I have learned the use and nature of plants as medicine through personal experience with myself, my family, and my friends. I have carefully taken on personal, independent study under village herbalist Richo Chech using his printed material. I also highly value the work of Wise Woman Susun Weed. Both of these are self-taught herbalists, and I really respect that.
There’s something so powerful about wisdom that is handed down from teacher to student in a direct way. What got you interested in working with plant medicine and natural healing – and how did that lead to the advent of Cabin Creek Apothecary?
Since I was a teenager, I’ve loved nature. At 4H camp as a kid, I was the one hunting down sassafras roots, boiling them, and turning them into a pink tea for my friends. Fast forward several years (2004), and during my first pregnancy (a planned home birth), my midwife made good use of herbs to keep my body and baby healthy. I was sold, and from there started making herbal medicinals a steady part of my lifestyle. I would share my homemade goods with friends with rave reviews. Finally one day someone encouraged me to take it to a business level, and thus Cabin Creek Apothecary was born in 2010.
What’s the biggest benefit people get from supporting the work you do and supporting natural healing options as well?
It’s an amazing thing for someone to venture into the world of plant medicine and find that IT WORKS! I’m kind and loving with my clients, and I think they really can feel that as they work with me. I want people to have a positive experience, and I attempt to deliver just that. In my life I appreciate being handled tenderly, and so I in turn handle my clients with the same tenderness and care. Also, from inside to out, my items are all packaged as if I were sending a gift, so the recipient really feels they are getting something special and they are!
Why do you think it’s important for men to connect with natural healing and self care products?
Most modern men have different set of modalities than men even 50 years ago did. They work less in the dirt, and more behind a glaring computer screen. There is something therapeutic about reconnecting with nature, even if it’s been condensed into a bottle or jar. It’s good for the psyche to smell, taste, and feel nature again – it reconnects you to your biological past. It’s also nice to get a personal touch to your health care items, rather than picking up one of 20 identical boxes on a store shelf.
That makes perfect sense, and as supporters of small batch, artisan, and handmade self care and health care products – we definitely agree!
One of our favorite items in your shop is the Rugged man Essential Oil Set. How can men benefit from aromatherapy and using natural oils instead of chemical fragrances?
Again, we know that earth based compounds reconnect us to our biological past. Humans still depend on smell, such as pheromones for sexual attraction, for determining if food is good or should be tossed, and that the smell of smoke still signals us to danger – all organic, natural smells – not chemically replicated. We do our bodies and minds a favor by retraining them to respond to things that are not chemically altered, but are pure in nature and essence. We have a long and ancient connection to the earth, why not get it back? Plus, certain scents can set a mood or tone, and they make you smell good! It’s a win all around!
One of the top selling men’s products in the world is consistently cologne. Men love the process of scent and seem to take to it naturally, so it’s great that you’re offering a natural option! Cedarwood, patchouli, sandalwood, peppermint, and neroli are a great selection of ‘manly’ essential oils – and what many guys don’t know is that synthetic chemical versions of these oils often form the base notes and high notes of the world’s top colognes! When you go natural, you’ll get the real scent that cannot go unnoticed!
Tell us more about your Men’s Health Tisane – sexual health is a big issue for men, so how do these herbs help?
The ingredients included in this tisane/infusion (tea) were specifically added to focus on the issues men deal with. Small Flowered Willow Herb and He Shou Wu are geared toward prostate health, and a healthy prostate encourages a healthy genitourinary tract. Yerba Mate is added for energy support, as it contains about half the caffeine as coffee. Damiana is a known sexual enhancement herb. It slows the digestive tract and rushes blood to the genitals, lending its properties to better erections and more sensitivity. In other words, it may benefit the “sexually sluggish” man. Licorice is an adaptogen that makes these herbs work together in harmony. I guess you can say it’s good for getting back your “mojo”.
There are definitely lots of guys who will really appreciate having an all-natural option that gives them all of these great benefits in a gentle yet effective way. And who doesn’t want a little extra mojo?
We’re big supporters of skin care here at Handmade Men, and your Whipped Shea Face Food is the perfect skin nourishment that’s hassle free to use. What benefits can guys get from using this great moisturizer?
The simple benefits are clearer skin, less breakouts, less sensitivity during/after shaving, and smoother skin tone. Used before shaving, Face Food helps soften the hair for a closer, smoother, less irritating shave. Used after shaving (even instead of aftershave), it helps prevent breakouts and shave bumps, and keeps the skin soft and hydrated. My husband uses it every night, regardless of whether he’s shaved or not. Shea Butter also protects skin from sun damage, which is just an added benefit! It’s kind of an all-in-one moisturizing product for men and women.
Simple! We love products that can be used for many uses to keep hygiene time to a minimum and costs low.
Any parting words before our readers head over to your amazing Etsy shop to see all of the products you create?
In 1918, the Spanish Flu Pandemic swept across the entire world, killing more people in a single year than did the Bubonic Plague in 4. My great grandfather, Percy Golden Dalton, born in 1897, and only 21 years old during the pandemic, was a miracle worker during this time. A single man in Pittsylvania County,VA, he somehow managed to avoid infection, and instead, he spent the year tending to those in his community who were sick and dying, never getting sick himself. He wasn’t a doctor, more likely a farmer, and didn’t have access to drugs of the day. I imagine he used plants and roots to create medicines to comfort and heal. He inspires me. His love and dedication to the healing and care of the sick is a testament to me of goodness in people. I want to continue his legacy of healing. It’s in my blood. I feel it and love it.