Iceland's powerful medicinal herbs
The Icelandic Sóley Organics skincare and home products are made from Icelandic plants and medicinal herbs. Founder, Sóley Elíasdóttir is the great-great-grandaughter of Þórunn Gísladóttir, a renowned herbalist.
"She was known as Grasa-Þórunn (herb-Þórunn)," explains Elíasdóttir in an interview with Morgunblaðið. "There are numerous stories about her wisdom. She was the first woman to wear trousers in Iceland and she also worked as a midwife. She saved many lives with her knowledge of plants."
Þórunn's son, Erlingur, also grew up knewing about medicinal plants. "He had twelve children and a few of them became ill with the Spanish plague in 1918 which killed hundreds of people in Reykjavik. He kept them all alive with his herbal knowledge."
Elíasdóttir herself has a hereditary love of herbs and plants. "I always wanted to know about the medicinal herbs, and stories about my great grandfather and great-great-grandmother. I wanted to know about herbalism, getting to know plants and to know how to use them. Iceland doesn't have a wide variety of plants but we do have a powerful variety of medicinal herbs."
She switched careers in 2007, from actress to enrepreneur when she decided to launch her Sóley Organics range of products. From a first product, a green cream she made at home in a saucepan, to thirty products today, the company has enjoyed much success.
"I think what makes us unique is that the products are Icelandic, natural, organic, ecologically sound and luxurious. I know the products work. They're good."
She adds that young people today are more aware of the importance of organic products, good health and the environment and that the products contain no preservatives and no PEG ( poly-ethylene glycol) substances.
Asked about what's coming up next for Sóley Organics, Elíasdóttir replies that she'd like to do a skincare range for men and that she has plans to export the products. "I've always had an international vision for the company."