French aromatherapist creates Seychelles ‘Yi-King’ brand of essential oils using ancient Chinese methods
A new product that smells of Seychelles. Yi-king products made from seeds and spices of the Indian Ocean islands. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - After touring the world five years ago, with her husband and young daughter, French-born Coralie Greyson decided to settle in Seychelles.
With a background in aromatherapy and naturopathy, Greyson was impressed by the greenery of Indian Ocean archipelago of 115 islands and the different uses of plants and essential oils in the everyday lives of the Seychellois people.
“Seychelles' inhabitants are close to nature. There are a lot of people who continue to use plants for their healing properties. They love plants and they are really interested in them,” said Greyson in an interview with SNA.
Fascinated by what she had discovered, Greyson started off producing essential oils with the local plants such as cinnamon, citronnella, patchouli, eucalyptus staigeriana, and ‘gro bonm,’(plectrantus aromaticus).
|Using seeds from trees, Yi-king creator Coralie Greyson has come up with the perfect formula for wellness and healing products. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
Coralie found a spot in the mountain of Sans Soucis on the main populated island of Mahe, where she practices her aromatherapy and gives life to what had long been on her mind: wellness and healing products based on an aspect of Chinese medicine practised centuries ago, known as 'Yi-King'.
“Yi-King is all about traditions, transmission and the connection to our environment. It’s the culture of Chinese medicine,” said Greyson.
|Greyson shows off her distilery at Sans Soucis to SNA. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
“I make essential oils adapted to your personality. The base is always essential oil, but we also use water and other ingredients as well. We make our own virgin coconut oil, cold-pressed using fresh spring water. This traditionally-made coconut oil is another Seychelles' treasure that we are proud to promote.”
She creates oil blends on the basis of a person's date of birth and the way it relates to the eight master elements recognised by Chinese medicine; sky, wind, water, mountain, earth, thunder, fire and lake. Greyson says she also designs and creates essential oil blends that are aimed at rebalancing the hormonal personality.
|Bringing the smell of the Indian Ocean. Yi-king is now a brand that can be seen in a number of luxury hotels in Seychelles. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
“From the master element, we can deduce which organ is key in creating your hormonal balance.This particular organ is related to all your senses and feelings and your general well-being.”
Greyson adds that it all boils down to the dietary composition and lifestyle of someone. This is why she also gives recommendations in these areas, depending again on your master element, for optimal balance.
What started out as a small venture has now expanded to an ‘haut-de-gamme’ organic product range that is the trademark of several luxury hotels in Seychelles.
Going up a notch in cosmetic products
When she started her businesses, several new hotels were opening on several islands of the archipelago. Amongst them were two five star resorts, the Constance Ephelia Resort and the Four Season Resort, both located on Mahe.
“At first I started with organic products which the hotels themselves did not have. Biodegradable amenities also did not exist.This is especially important as most hotels are located close to the beach and these unique natural spots should not be harmed in any way,” said Greyson.
These hotels provided an ideal customer base for Greyson and her blossoming business.
|The products are also perfect souvenirs for visitors to the Seychelles. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
“They tell me what they need and I produce it for them. It is 'haute couture' cosmetics, sourcing local and natural ingredients. We're into made-to-measure sustainable luxury,” explains Coralie. "I also design 100% natural spa treatments, with a holistic approach true to the 'Yi-King spirit' and honouring Seychelles’ Mother Nature."
After five years of existence, the namesake company 'Yi-King' now boasts some of the largest collection of five star luxury hotels as its clients in Seychelles, each with their signature products.
Finding prospective clients online, Yi-King now has its own web-based shop.
In her workshop and showroom in Sans Soucis, Coralie not only produces all organic essential oils, face, hair and body cosmetics, candles and natural perfumes but she also receives guests for consultations.
|A massage using the herbs and spices of Seychelles. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
She says the cosmetics business is not without difficulties, as she runs out of places to find plants, but she has turned this into a business opportunity.
“At some point it became clear that we needed to engage in cultivating local plants. Herbal medicine is a natural resource on the islands, one of Seychelles' national treasures I believe, and somewhat economically under-valued,” says Greyson, highlighting a newly formed partnership with the Seychelles prison.
An unexpected group of helpers
With space, a nursery and personnel, Greyson says the Seychelles Prison was willing to start growing several plants that had interesting fragrances and medicinal properties. These include patchouli, eucalyptus staigeriana and 'gro bonm' (plectrantus aromaticus).
|The company has partnered with the Seychelles Prison in order to get more plants for their distillery. (Coralie Greyson, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
“The project aims at rehabilitating both local plants and prisoners.” says Greyson, adding that last month, the prisoners sold to Yi-King their first 20 kilograms of patchouli.
"Gardening encourages a caring attitude and personal responsibility. The men find a new sense of purpose, reconnect with their land and local plants are valued again."
Greyson says she hopes the project continues, adding that the practise of distilling oil obtained from plants is not as common in Seychelles as it used to be.
“For the moment we have a small distillery and showroom at our guest-house Copolia Lodge in Sans Soucis. In the future, we would like to have everything in one place, the plantations, the distillery, laboratory and showroom so that visitors can see how the products are made, coming from the garden and transformed into a remedy or beauty treatment. It would be a natural continuation for Yi-King: a place dedicated to well-being, connecting people with nature and enhancing Seychelles' local treasures.”
|French-born Coralie Greyson shows off her products to SNA. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|