Meet Peter and Sonia
My name is Sonia and I live with my husband Peter, two daughters and a menagerie of animals on a 2-acre property in Noordhoek, a rural suburb of Cape Town.
Peter has been a doctor for 35 years. He has a small practice in the nearby township of Masiphumelele. He has a particular interest in nutrition and dieting and has written a book on the subject. Although he is trained in western medicine, he has an open mind and a keen interest in alternative medicine. I have a BA degree in psychology and am currently studying clinical herbalism at the Homegrown Herbalist School of Botanical Medicine. What amazes me about this field is that there is always more to learn, more to understand, more to research and to discover.
Journey of heightening awareness
I have always been concerned about the side effects of pharmaceutical medications. I have noticed how people take one medication and then need to take another to counteract the side effects of the first one. I am not against pharmaceuticals, they do have their place, but so does alternative medicine.
All the chemicals in the products we use and the pesticides that are sprayed on our food are also of concern to me.
My journey into the natural world began after I lost my mother and my sister to cancer. Soon after that I was diagnosed with a basal cell carcinoma on the side of my face. This experience altered my awareness and I became curious about natural healing.
My research started and I spent countless hours studying how we can work with nature to heal the body. With all the knowledge I gained, I developed a deep and enthralling passion for plants and was blown away by their medicinal properties and astonishing healing powers. During my research I discovered how toxic and potentially carcinogenic some “trusted” commercial skincare and cosmetic products are. Research has shown that these nasty ingredients have been linked to cancer, hormonal disruptions, skin and eye irritations, dermatitis and general weakening of the immune system. Realising how important it is to look after our bodies, I started planting medicinal plants with specific properties and therapeutic benefits to create our products. Ingredients that we cannot grow in our garden are ethically sourced in South Africa.
I believe, the more we rely on medicinal plants and herbs for our everyday health, the better our health and this world would be. Taking care of our bodies naturally helps to avoid complications and illnesses that can occur later in life.
Creating a garden
With miniature horses, chickens, geese and a pig on the property, we have no shortage of organic fertiliser. We have three large compost heaps ranging from oldest to current.
To be outside in the garden, building the soil, planting and caring for the plants is one of the most therapeutic practises I have ever experienced. Gardening has taught me to observe, listen and enjoy a deeper connection with plants.
We now have a beautiful medicinal herb garden and a greenhouse filled with a variety of medicinal plants. We planted a variety of fruit trees and have a large vegetable garden.
We are passionate about organic growing and keeping our plants free from pesticides and harmful chemicals.
Peter is forever putting up fences to protect the plants from our miniature horses and he has taken the responsibility of putting up an extensive sprinkler system which drives the water from our borehole to all the plants. Although he has won the battle with the mini horses, he still has to learn how to outwit the moles. Fortunately we do have our resident mole snake called “Elizabeth” who takes care of the mole population. Peter has a keen interest in plants and often joins me on workshops to learn about pruning and organic gardening.
Creating Enchanted Garden products
Once the plants are ready, it is time to harvest. Once harvested, they are taken to the drying room where they will dry out on racks. In the drying room, we have a fan and a dehumidifier going continually. Once the plants have dried, I store them in glass bottles in a dark cool cupboard. When I need them, I grind the herb and infuse it for 6 weeks in an organic carrier oil. When it’s ready, I strain the oil and store it in amber bottles in the fridge. These are the oils I use when I formulate the Enchanted Garden products.
Considerable time and attention is invested in our hand-made products. All our products are made from natural ingredients, are non toxic and organic. They are created with honesty, love and passion. Each of our products are thoroughly tested on myself, family and willing friends before we market it.
Some of our medicinal plants are sent off to a laboratory in Pretoria for analysis. This is to establish the potency of the phytocannabinoids in the plant.