Go Ask Mom readers might recognize Judit Beres. She's the Cary-based founder of Neomega, a line of specialty cooking oils that I've written about before
Well, ever the entrepreneur, Beres, a mom of three, is back with a new business that's inspired by her own son - Herbal Healing
. Beres created the product after struggling to find a lotion that would help her son's eczema.
Beres' balms are featured in this year's Go Ask Mom Made By Mom Gift Guide. Here's a Q&A about her latest venture!
Go Ask Mom: This all began because of your son's allergies. How did Herbal Healing get its start?
Judit Beres: My son had environmental allergies and related eczema since the first year of his life. So, for the past nine years, spring time was a difficult time for us because his skin would erupt in these itchy bumps, and nothing would help the itching.
I am the founder of another company, Neomega
which makes infused avocado oils. Through this process of infusing avocado oils with culinary herbs, I learned how to work with whole herbs and infusing them into oil.
So, this past winter, when my son's skin started erupting again, I set out to make my own calendula salve. Once I got that process down, I contacted a herbalist to ask what other medicinal herbs could help his skin. I also used my own research background and added organic hemp oil and an Ayurvedic herb that is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
I wanted to create a formula that works holistically and helps the skin regenerate by adding ingredients that help all aspects of skin healing: vulnerary (healing agent), astringent, emollient, anti-inflammatory. This is how Mothers Healing Balm was born. I was super psyched to see it helped my son's skin: He had no eczema during allergy season for the first time in nine years.
GAM: Tell us about what it took to come up with the right mix of ingredients. How long did that process take?
JB: It took me about 5 to 6 months of trial, error and testing. It so happened that while I was working on this product, it was also the beginning of allergy season and my son's skin started breaking out. I was excited to see that the formula I developed was slowly helping my son's skin. I could see the inflammation and break out diminish and his skin heal gradually. By mid-April, when his skin was usually the worst, this time it was totally clear. I could not believe it!
Once I had a product ready, I gave samples out in my community in return for feedback. The feedback was very encouraging, people saying that the product helped with all sort of skin conditions: dry, itchy skin and wound healing.
GAM: What products do you offer and what are they designed for?
JB: I offer all-natural organic skin salves - Mother's Healing Balm and the same salve with added tea tree oil. Both products are meant to heal, nourish and protect skin naturally. Tea tree oil is a natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, so it is great to prevent infections. My kids swim in open waters a lot in the summer, so having a product that protects their skin was very important to me. That is why I added extra tea tree oil to the herbal salve. I hope to extend the line with an organic anti-bug balm next year. The mosquito bites and scratching them vigorously is still a problem left to be solved.
GAM: What do you enjoy about this work ?
JB: It is extremely rewarding. I had a personal experience with caring for someone with an itchy skin condition and know how it can affect our quality of life, especially when you cannot control or stop the itching. But I did not realize how prevalent and widespread the condition is in our community.
When I posted something in our neighborhood about the free samples, people flooded my door saying they are willing to try anything because nothing helps. It was extremely rewarding to hear that the salve helped several people. There was one mom in particular who said she has an adult son who has eczema on his hands and cannot find a job because he is so apprehensive on interviews and keeps hiding his hands.
I gave this mom a sample and followed up with her a couple months later. This is what she wrote to me: "Though he doesn't use it as recommend (twice a day), he uses it when he has flare ups and the balm does work! This winter, it will get bad and I know he will be using it a lot more!" Hearing these testimonials gives me goosebumps and makes me forget all the trial and error it took to get to this point.
GAM: How can people find you? (Online, in shops, at holiday markets, etc)
Her all-natural cooking oils, including a great gift pack for the foodies in your life, can be found on Neomega's website