Lynn Kirkland, The Herb Farm
The Herb Farm located in Ashhurst, is one of New Zealand’s most-loved natural skincare brands. Lynn Kirkland started the business in 1993 with one goal in mind, to provide New Zealanders with wholesome, healing, and supportive products.
Find Lynn at The Herb Farm
86 Grove Road, Kelvin Grove, Ashhurst
Lynn Kirkland started The Herb Farm in 1993 with one goal in mind, to provide New Zealanders with wholesome, healing, and supportive products. Fast forward and the business has 25 staff members and offers visitors the chance to explore the farm itself, have a nutritious and delicious meal, try the product range and attend workshops and events in the seminar space. We visited this special destination and chatted with Lynn to learn more about the story behind The Herb Farm.
What led you to start The Herb Farm?
I started studying herbs and their healing properties after my son had had three lots of antibiotics in one winter. I asked the doctor what I could do to support his immune system and the doctor just shrugged his shoulders. From that moment, I felt that it was my job as a mother to find out.
How’d you do that?
I decided to do a herbal diploma through The Australasian College of Herbal Studies. There wasn’t a local option so I did it all via correspondence through Waikato. I had to make healing creams, teas and tinctures, and I gave them to family and friends who I thought would benefit from them. Everytime I did that, I created a case study. I’ve still got that correspondence and it’s fun to look back at it, but basically everything worked. 30 years later and I’m still doing this. I have actually just made a hemp root tincture to help one of the staff members dogs. I’m not a chemist but I do have my diploma, and herbs are something I’m passionate about and believe in. I just love the excitement of helping people (and their pets!).
What does the process of creating a new product look like?
I’m still the only one that formulates our products. It’s a two pronged approach. When I’m asked to make a new product for eczema, for example, I use the knowledge I’ve got from 30 years working with herbs, but I also do research on new ingredients, too. I use my intuition and instinct a good bit, so I’d say the approach is knowledge based but enhanced by intuition. Products I formulate don’t always work though we do extensive trials. You just want whatever you make to be effective but also feel nice.
Do you have a favourite product?
The overnight mask is fantastic. It was one of the easiest to formulate even though I thought it would be hard to make a cream that you could leave on your skin overnight without making a big mess of your pillow. In the morning your skin feels so soft and nourished.
You’ve also written a series of children's books about herbs, what was the motivation there?
It’s not that people don’t trust herbs nowadays, but many of us think we need a tablet from the health store to get their benefits - actually you can just go into the garden. If you know how to make teas, infusions and poultices, you go ‘wow this is amazing’. I have my own pet phrase for it, ‘botanical simplicity’. I truly believe we need hospitals and certain tests, but if you know some basic ways to use herbs, you can actually look after your family very easily. It’s very empowering, and this was my motivation with the children’s books, to help them become comfortable using herbs.