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Natural Prevention

The organic personal care products of T’s Tonics

Teresa Schweitzer’s family is active and outdoorsy. “Our family loves to camp, hike, bike and climb,” she says. “However, with all our activities, it means we deal with lots of bumps, bruises, sunburns and bugs.” When Schweitzer’s three children were young, she tried to find first aid products on the market that were all-natural and not harmful. When she couldn’t, she took matters into her own hands and founded T’s Tonics, producing an all-natural, organic line of first aid products and teas based out of the family’s farm in Powell Butte.

“Everything I found on the market had chemicals that have been called to task for their health-compromising factors,” she recalls. “Toxic chemicals like parabens, oxybenzones and dioxybenzones in personal care products have been directly linked to hormone imbalances, allergies, neurological disorders, obesity, fatigue and cancer, to name a few.”

Schweitzer, a third generation herbalist, was well-positioned to find different herbs and plants that would sooth her family’s cuts, sunburns and bug bites. One of her first creations was Sun and Skin Soother, which uses vitamin E, myrrh and other ingredients to sooth skin after sun exposure. She made it for her family and often gave it as gifts. Her husband suggested she package and sell it, and a business was born.

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Next came Skeeter Beater, which Schweitzer says repels mosquitos, ticks, chiggers, no-see-ums and other flying bugs for up to two hours. The product contains lemongrass, eucalyptus, lemon and juniper. “It is all-organic goodness, and is even safe for babies.”

The skin, says Schweitzer, is the largest organ of the body, and quickly absorbs and carries directly into our bloodstream whatever is applied to it. Solvents and petroleum-based chemicals, researchers have found, have an even higher absorption rate on skin than other substances. These chemicals, Schweitzer explains, can accumulate in organs and tissue.

“With modern medicines and technologies we’ve gotten away from natural products that really have worked well for thousands of years,” explains Schweitzer, who incorporates hundreds of herbs and plants in her products, many of which she grows or collects herself. “I grow many of the herbs used in our essential oil tinctures and teas in my garden, plus we harvest some of the plants in the high mountain meadows of Oregon.” Wild-harvested herbs are much fresher and more potent than what can be shipped in, she says, and can also work on specific, local allergens. “We collect mullein, St. John’s wort, arnica, yarrow and juniper,” she says.

Demand for T’s Tonics has expanded over the years, including a contract with Whole Foods Market and, locally, Newport Market. At least half a dozen grocery chains would like T’s Tonics in their stores, too. But Schweitzer says her business has grown organically over the years, and she doesn’t want to sacrifice quality for quantity. So for now, she patiently tends to her garden and continues to experiment with different recipes for future products. What’s really important to her, she says, is “cultivating happiness the natural way.”

For more information see tstonics.com.

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