Long before modern medicine became the mainstream cure for health problems, herbs were the primary compounds used widely throughout the world. In current times, the use of herbs is called “alternative” medicine even though herbs were the precursors to modern medications.
Dejana Nikolic, who moved to New Dundee 18 months ago from Kitchener with her husband and two daughters, is a forager of herbs that she uses for healing common ailments. Nikolic grew up in Croatia and immigrated to Canada in 1999 after the Yugoslavian civil war. She was exposed to the growing and processing of herbs for medical cures by her grandmother who grew a variety of herbs in her extensive garden. Nikolic is reminded of the aromas of her grandmother’s garden and fields when she works with her own plants.
Nikolic encountered health issues in her late teens that Western medicine could not cure. She delved into studying herbs for answers and this began her journey into using Mother Nature for medications. While pregnant with her first child, she searched for natural products; not finding what she was looking for, she learned how to formulate compounds herself. Nikolic is passionate about learning, foraging and creating various medicines with the ‘beautiful allies’ that grow around us. She says that herbs can teach us so much if we only stop for a moment and pay attention.
Her grandmother and wise elders from different cultures have influenced her passion with herbs. They have educated her about the different approaches and ways to work with herbs.
Since moving to New Dundee, Nikolic has increased the number of herbs that she grows. She has seen remarkable results with her herbal oils, healing salves, tinctures and teas. She is currently developing seven different healing teas that are chakra based that can cure various ailments. (Chakras are energy points in our body that correspond with major organs and nerve points in those areas; when a chakra is out of balance, one will begin to have difficulties and/or problems that affect those organs.)
Nikolic has been working on the concept, formula and packaging of her herbs for almost two years. In early 2021, she will launch her online wellness shop using the herbs from her garden.
Nikolic’s family and friends pushed her to sell her products. Recently, someone called her a curious innovator. This curiosity of nature has been passed on to her two young daughters, Lana and Dalia.
Nikolic said, “My daughters are my biggest cheerleaders; they are very engaged and always around me when I forage and create formulas. I have been homeschooling them and I incorporate nature studies when we do our walks and botanical learnings.”
Lana and Dalia gather peppermint [for indigestion], Plantago [for burns, rashes and insect bites] and violets [for coughs]. They will likely follow in their mother’s footsteps and become the next generation of Mother Nature’s healers.