About Iris Herbal

Cathy Hope

As a child I was entranced with flowers and had my own little flower garden in which I dug to my heart’s content. That sense of delight is still with me, and curiosity, which led me to study flower essences, herbology and finally aromatherapy. During a massage in 1981, I very clearly heard an inner voice tell me to make up massage oils with the addition of various essential oils to further enhance the therapeutic benefit of body work. Iris Herbal Products thus began, and I channeled my creative energy into making up combinations that were beneficial, aromatic, and had meaningfully descriptive names.

As the years went by I added salves, perfumes, whole plant synergies (an invention I made to “marry the flower water and the essential oil” that result from distillation), and Spirit Waters. With each book I read and course I took I further refined the recipes and the quality of the essential oils that I used.

At present I use more than 200 essential oils, which come from all over the world. Over 95% are ethically wild-crafted, certified organic, or ecologically ethical (non-certified organic). Many of the salves contain infused oils that I make using plant material that I (or friends) grow or gather. Where that is not feasible, I purchase organically grown herbs. No ingredient or product of Iris has ever been tested on animals.

My most frequently asked question is “do you grow all your own herbs?” Living in northern Taos County at an elevation of 7700 feet, where the USDA map says Zone 4, but where I’ve already experienced -38° F(!), it is impossible to grow all my own herbs. However, I am becoming quite adept at stretching the boundaries of what is possible, and having rather a lot of fun as I garden, experimenting with tunnels Hugelkultur, and a free-standing passive solar greenhouse.

I’ve been making and selling Iris Herbal .products since 1982. In 2018 I invited 2 assistants to help me. All the recipes are mine and everything is made individually or in small batches as needed, and only when we are in a good or calm mood. I’m continually trying to improve the products and the quality of their ingredients. When filling orders, all packaging materials and most of the boxes are recycled. Where possible, only amber glass is used because it is best for the product and easiest for you, the consumer, to recycle.

Iris celebrates almost 40 years of herbal adventures, beginning with its initial formation as an herbalists’ guild in Atlanta, GA.

Some of my favorite highlights:

  • Studying essential oils via a mail order course in 1984, back when most people hadn’t even heard of the term aromatherapy.. I studied a 3 inch thick notebook written by a European biochemist, and it changed how I understood chemistry, as well as gave me the confidence to create using both science and my sense of small.
  • Pouring all my old essential oils down the toilet when I first smelled the better quality oils coming into the states from Europe.
  • Discovering that growing techniques that worked great in Atlanta were utter failures here in Northern New Mexico as my healthy weeds and stunted veggies so eloquently proved.
  • Exploring diverse herbal medicinal systems and realizing that all cultures have important and unique herbal wisdom to share.
  • Watching 40mph golf ball size hail destroy my garden and vowing to build a greenhouse… and then designing and helping to build a passive solar greenhouse (that works!).
  • All the wonderful stories of customers and clients who have used Iris products over the years with enjoyment and success.
  • All the friendships I have developed with folks who have patronized and supported Iris. Thank you!

This Web-site fulfills a long-standing dream of mine: to make available a comprehensive line of herbal formulas that are of the highest quality and yet still affordable. I welcome feedback and answer email. Thank you for your support.

Blessed be,

Cathy Hope