Plant enthusiast teaches self-healing through botany in Tokyo

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A participant distills water containing wormwood collected from gardens of the Ikejiri Institute of Design complex in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo to extract its fragrance Oct. 2.

A therapeutic class centered on flora is becoming popular in Tokyo, where people rarely experience the blessings of nature.

Dubbed “botanical healing,” the class teaches how to make skin care lotion using plants grown in the facility’s complex that participants themselves pick.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Noriko Ishida gives a lecture to “botanical healing” class participants Oct. 2.

Norika Ishida, 56, started the class in October last year in the hope of “utilizing the healing power of the plants around us and passing on the wisdom of self-healing.”

The class is held five times a year, with various themes based on the season, in the Ikejiri Institute of Design complex, which used to be Ikejiri Junior High School, in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Participants add colored liquid to distilled water Oct. 2.

It begins with a tour of the facility’s gardens, where more than 100 kinds of plants, including seasonal herbs, grow.

Participants stroll through gardens, picking a basketful of plants while listening to Ishida’s explanations of the flora.

To make the skin care lotion, first, participants distill wormwood collected from the gardens to extract the fragrance. Then, they mix in orange, blue and some other colored liquids to create the desired hue. Finally, they add vegetable oil to complete the process.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Skin care lotion made by participants

“I could carefully reflect on myself and the vegetation during the class,” said Hitomi Iizuka, a 35-year-old farmer from Konosu, Saitama Prefecture. Iizuka added that through the lecture, she was able to connect the plants around her to her daily life, which also encouraged her to work harder at farming.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Ikejiri Institute of Design complex in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, on Oct. 2

“Being in contact with plants in our daily lives leads to good mental and physical health,” Ishida said, as she continues her quest to share the benefits of plants.