Our Plants

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is a remarkable plant, with 75 potentially active ingredients, it is a powerhouse of healing used externally and internally to cool, calm and strengthen. When we lived in Cyprus, it grew all over the place and just as well because when caught out by the ferocity of the sun, just picking a leaf, slicing it open and scooping the gel inside straight onto the skin was incredibly cooling and soothing.

How Does it help my skin

It’s amazing that in one plant there are so many effective phytochemicals that work with the skin.

Mucopolysaccharides bind moisture making the skin plumper and better hydrated. Aloe also stimulates the fibroblast to produce collagen and elastin fibres that promote elasticity and firmness. It repairs the skin surface by smoothing the epidermal cells and amino acids soften the skin too. On virtually every level Aloe supports skin health and texture.

It is the most wonderful plant and definitely one to have growing in your house. For any kind of inflammation, simply cut a leaf and squeeze the gel straight onto the skin for immediate relief. It’s brilliant for sunburn especially.

What Products is Aloe Vera in?

We use Aloe vera in our Cleansing Mask for its anti-inflammatory, skin conditioning effects. As a Cleanser, massaging the mousse-like formula into the skin and leaving it on for a minute or two allows the mucopolysaccharides to encourage the skin to effectively hydrate, especially when followed by a skin drenching with the Isle Mist. It also gives time for the amino acids to get to work softening and smoothing the outer layer of the skin and enzymes such as bradykinase to reduce inflammation.

When used as a mask, all the benefits of Aloe vera are significantly enhanced, those extra minutes of contact on the skin encourage effective collagen and elastin synthesis for firmer, more elastic skin and capture the antioxidant qualities of the product to safeguard the skin from oxidative stress.

How do you grow Aloe vera

We grow Aloe in our greenhouse so that it has protection from the salty winds that blow straight off the sea. It is a plant that needs good drainage and little watering and it’s well suited to a sunny windowsill in the house. The ancient Egyptians called it the ‘plant of immortality’ we wouldn’t go quite that far but we do think it’s incredibly special. 



Apples come in all shapes, sizes and flavour profiles, from the intensely bitter and crunchy to the sweet and almost pulpy. They are a great addition to skincare having fruit rich in Vitamin C, which we extract by hydro-distillation using our copper Alembic Still. At the end of the distillation the fruit left in the retort of the Still is well extracted but we’ve found that if it’s added to vinegar, we can make a really good vinegar. I love it when we can use botanicals for more than one product.

How does it help my skin?

Apples are full of useful phytonutrients for the skin, the most important of which is vitamin C. It is a powerful antioxidant which means that it combats free radicals and helps to prevent cellular damage. This in turn keeps the skin in good health and condition. Vitamin C also encourages collagen production for firm, strong skin, and it really brightens and evens out skin tone by inhibiting the production of melanin which is responsible for hyperpigmentation.

Which products use it and why?

We distil apple as part of our Isle Mist, using a water only distillation means that we can effectively but gently extract the vitamin C which is water soluble. Our apples come from trees in the Hebrides giving them all the benefits of growing in an area where there is virtually no air pollution. Drenching the skin with the Isle Mist after cleansing offers wonderful hydration and a really good blast of vitamin C for bright, firm, even toned skin.

How do we grow our apples?

Apple trees are incredibly versatile and can be grown in the smallest space, even a balcony. It all depends on the rootstock and way that the tree is trained. For small spaces, there are dwarf rootstocks that will stay small and can be grown in a pot. Elstar is a good one to look for, it’s readily available and delicious. They can be allowed to grow into a small apple tree or, with a bit of effort they can be trained into a cordon or fan shape against a wall. In Harris we have fruit trees in our greenhouse which we are training as espaliers to make them manageable within a small space but still very productive.

For larger gardens where space is not an issue, there are some fantastic old varieties - we especially love a russet apple. Brogdales Nursery has 100 varieties to choose from.



Ashwagandha has a long history of medicinal use, a member of the Solanaceae family, hailing from India, south east Asia and the Near East, its use as an Ayurvedic herb is well documented as a Rasayana or tonic with a particular affinity for the nervous system. Its key action is to enhance resilience within the body to stress. It’s a plant that I’ve worked with over many years, gladly buying high quality roots from well respected suppliers to professional Herbalists. A few weeks ago, I returned to a plant nursery in Scotland which specialises in medicinal herbs and found that Duncan and his son Finlay were managing to grow Ashwagandha, so I bought 6 plants and a load of seeds so that we could grow our own, here in the Isle of Harris. So far it is happily growing in our greenhouse which is really thrilling

How does Ashagandha help me?

This is a powerful plant, containing Withanolides which contribute to its adaptogenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effectsWithanolides help the mind and body adapt to stress by increasing capacity and resilience during stressful periods and speeding up the recovery post stress. It really is a plant for our time.However it also supports the body in other ways strengthening muscle tone and boosting immunity. It is a brilliant immunomodulator regulating immunity, boosting it when needed and calming it when not. For men it is believed to help improve sperm count and libido and in women it is brilliant for long term hot flushes, and menstrual pain

Which products is Ashwaganda in?

We use Ashwagandha in Wild Eve, it is a key plant for us because it offers the stress busting, nervine support that we believe a good non-alcoholic, wellness drink needs. In promoting calm and actively supporting the mind and body’s response to stress plus its anti-inflammatory, immune supporting properties, it’s a really great ingredient

How do we grow Ashwagandha?

We’re growing it in our greenhouse, in pots. It doesn’t like acid soil, is relatively tender and is not tolerant of salt so 5 minutes on the croft would kill it. It is tolerant of cold so as long as it’s grown in temperatures above 5C it should be fine. We’ve gone for a decent peat free potting compost with a little added vermiculite to make it more free draining. We’ll keep you posted on its progress.

Blackcurrant Leaf

Blackcurrnat leaf

Blackcurrant is one of our favourite fruits, it has everything - a heady scent, a tasty berry and phenomenal therapeutics. For those of us raised on Ribena, blackcurrants were a sweet drink, but actually their berries have a wonderful sour note that really brings out the flavour. We grow them for their leaves which we use in several products that benefit from all that Vitamin C. This fortunately leaves the berries for us to make into crumble - a delicious treat.