Roots & Crowns: Words with Max Turk
Max Turk, the creator & herbalist of Portland-based Roots & Crowns, is one of the most radiant people we’ve ever had the opportunity to meet. She beams with such an energy that you can’t help but to be drawn to her. Max has a realness that seems to be more and more rare these days -a connection to herself & her feelings, to nature & human-nature, as well as the spiritual.
This pure energy and genuine intention is bottled into each one of Max’s creations. The “be-loved” biters, flavored with local honey, is a favorite of my boyfriend & myself. We already have a strong physical connection, but a few drops of these biters in our drinks (or more commonly straight into our mouths) definitely takes being loved to the next level. We wanted to learn more about Max’s inspirations for her line -check out the interview below for some awesome insights!
1. What inspired the name Roots & Crowns?
The name Roots & Crowns has many meanings to me, but the most basic meaning is that within the Chakra system, the 7 energy centers of the body go from the Root Chakra to the Crown Chakra, and since I learned about the Chakra system, I relate strongly to that modality for a platform/language of holistic health. The colors, the numbers, the physiological significance- all of it! I can speak about the chakras for days. Other meanings: I LOVE trees, and I always think of trees as majestic beings that have deep Roots and tall Crowns. Also, within sustainability, ecology, and spirituality, I keep going back to aspects of the Hebrew language and my Jewish roots, and my Hebrew name means Queen, so in the name Roots & Crowns I have a little homage to where I came from.
2. Who or what got you interested in herbalism?
I think I’ve always been interested in herbalism in a very primal way. When I was a kid I’d get in trouble for collecting flowers and ruining books by pressing the flowers into them. I remember being oddly obsessed with the Native plant doctor in Free Willy, and wanted to learn how to gather plants and mash them together to heal. But more recently, I think it came from a natural progression from my studies of holistic health, nutrition, and permaculture. To realize that we have a true wealth of medicine in our yards and forests gave me a feeling of hope and freedom. And as I learned, I realized it was part of my path to bring plant power back to the people.
3. Anything new & exciting happening in your world of medicine making?
Everything is exciting! I sigh from gratitude every time I walk into my apothecary and see the collection of herbs that I’ve grown. I get excited every time an order comes in, every time we’re asked to do events, and every time someone tells me they are inspired by my work. More specifically, I’m excited because it’s Spring and everything is in full bloom outside- so being able to wildcraft and forage is a great joy!
4. Tell us about living in Portland -how does the city & the landscape there inspire you?
The Pacific Northwest is an incredibly beautiful place. The landscape is almost mythical in how green and mossy the forests are- especially in the winter. And the amount of wild plants growing throughout the city of Portland itself, is inspiring. I can take a walk for just a few minutes and find many plants that I use in my medicine. It’s also wonderful to live so close to the Gorge, which is full of herbal plants that I get to forage for my work. I also am inspired by the cycle of the seasons here. Since the winter is so cold and rainy, when the first blossom emerges in the spring, it’s like a true rejuvenation. Getting to witness the scents, colors, and textures emerge and then depart is a magical way to live.
5. The Roots & Crowns Ranch looks amazing! How has creating & curating your space evolved your brand or inspired the Roots & Crowns line? (Also, can we come visit?!)
Roots & Crowns Ranch is an oasis! I feel fortunate to have been able to embark on the adventure of home ownership in such a growing city. I think having a home really deepens the sense of place, and the connection to the cycle of life through the plants & animals surrounding me. Everything in the ranch is connected to R&C- we have a bathroom full of tinctures + bitters, dried flowers hanging in our office, and plants stationed throughout. I used to dream of having a home of my own that resonated with my passions, and though it’s an ever evolving process, I can definitely sit and smile at how lovely our space is. And yes, please do visit!
6. What’s that herb tattooed on your arm? Does it have any special significance to you?
I have several herbs tattooed on my arm! I’m lucky that through living in Portland, my tattooist (and now dear friend) Alice Carrier was introduced to me. She is incredibly talented, and she tattooed my right arm with Western Red Cedar, Hawthorne, Juniper, & Rose. Part of my R&C line is amulet necklaces filled with herbs and words of intention written on birch bark. Those necklaces connect people to the more psycho-spiritual elements of plant medicine, so in as brief a way as possible- Western Red Cedar- for ancestral wisdom, security, abundance; Hawthorne- for the heart; Juniper- for clarity; Rose- connecting spirit with heart, high vibration, & magic.
7. We see you make some delicious cocktails with your biters -can you share a recipe with us?
Oh! I have so many favorites! I think for now I’ll share our recipe for a refreshing drink that we called the “Aries Blossom”
for fun: freeze purple violets in ice cubes to give the drink a dash of color!
8. Give us a beauty tip:
Forgo water based cleansers, and use serums to clean your face! Water dehydrates the skin, and though oil-based serums may seem counterintuitive- especially for more oily skin- it’s actually the best way to cleanse your face. I have an all-in-one Sea Buckthorn skin serum that I use to both clean and moisturize my face, and it is soooo good. I’d say that anyone who goes serum won’t go back!