Online Exclusives

A Return to Wellness...

By Tom Branna, Editorial Director | December 30, 2010

Drop by drop by drop.

For most consumers, essential oils are cloaked in mystery and shrouded by skepticism. Moreover, they are often relegated to the bottom shelf in mom-and-pop health food stores, where few mainstream consumers can find them, let alone use them properly.

Now, the founders of 21 Drops are determined to take the mystery out of essential oils and make them accessible to the mainstream. As one can surmise, the company offers 21 different essential oils that are available online and in select retailers. 21 Drops, Delray Beach, FL, is the brainchild of wife and husband team of Cary and Rick Caster and Amy Rosenthal. Rick’s background is in real estate and Amy is an online expert, but it is Cary Caster, and her expertise in essential oil, who is at the heart of the organization.

“We don’t promise to cure anything,” cautioned Cary Caster. “We’re just trying to help people blunt the brunt of the daily blows [of life].”

She learned about the power of plants as an undergraduate studying botany at the University of Florida in the 1980s. After a stint in grad school, Cary married Rick and started raising three children. It wasn’t until she met up with Geraldine Whidden, founder of Nature’s Symphony, that her passion for plants, and all the benefits that they possess, was reignited.
Over the years, Whidden has taught aromatherapy to more than 3000 students and Caster proved to be an eager student, learning how to distill the essential oils and how they work. She used that knowledge to alleviate her children’s cold and fever symptoms. But by 2000, Caster realized she needed more schooling on how essential oils affect the body, so she earned her massage license and when her husband was transferred to Europe, she studied aromatherapy in the United Kingdom—a country, she said, where the science is years ahead of the U.S. While in Europe, she studied with Gabriel Mojay an expert on oriental aromatherapy.

The 21 Drops collection includes 21 custom-blended solutions for maladies ranging from headaches and PMS to congestion and sleeplessness After returning from Europe, the Caster family looked into buying Whidden’s retail business, but ultimately decided the daily grind of running a shop would put too much stress on the family.

Finally in 2008, with the buzz surrounding aromatherapy growing in the U.S., Caster was convinced that Americans were ready to embrace essential oils. She decided to create a line of easy-to-use essential oils that could be correctly applied by mainstream consumers and, at the same time, would propel essential oils beyond health food stores and into more mainstream retailers.

“I kept the palette simple, yet they are profound and nurturing,” explained Caster.

The 21 Drops collection includes 21 custom-blended solutions for maladies ranging from headaches and PMS to congestion and sleeplessness. For example, the headache formulation is blended from rosewood wood oil, lavender flower oil and peppermint leaf oil to quiet, cool and relieve, according to the company.

PMS is blended from grapefruit rind oil, geranium leaf oil, jasmine flower oil and palmarosa grass oil to uplift, balance, soothe and reduce bloat.

Feeling down? Uplift is blended from rose flower oil, lavender flower oil, helichyrsum flower oil and German chamomile flower oil to help relieve depression, lift the spirit and offer emotional support. According to 21 Drops, the blend is about managing the blues and is highly effective when used over a sustained period to raise spirits, brighten outlooks and cheer moods, according to the company.

All the essential oil blends are formulated into a jojoba oil carrier that Caster explained is similar to sebum and is easily absorbed into the skin. Each formula is housed in a 7.5ml/0.25fl. oz. vial and retails for $28.

Although there many essential oils on the market, Caster insists that the 21 Drops line is different because the company insists on GC-MS testing to identify the materials it puts in its formulas.

“There is a fine group of artisan distillers who pride themselves on creating therapeutic grades of essential oils,” explained Caster. “Probably less than 1% of essential oil manufacturers offer GC-MS testing.”

The company is only a couple of months old, but as distribution and sales grow, 21 Drops is already working with a contract manufacturer to produce product. Caster will continue to mix the essential concentrate in Florida, but the jojoba oil will be shipped to Suite-K in South Brunswick, NJ to be compounded with the essential oils.

After years of learning and exploring about the power of plants on two continents, Caster insists her goal is simple—to help people feel better and be healthier.

“I want people to understand that plant-based solutions are better for them,” she added. “I want to empower people to take control of their health.”

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