Former toothpaste flavorist now creates herbal products in her basement


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NORTH BRUNSWICK – Walking into Jamie Saphow’s basement in her North Brunswick home, you first see the playroom her three children – with one on the way – enjoy playing in.

As you turn the corner, though, the sweet smell of basil wafts through the air.

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Visible on the counter is a series of measuring cups, mixing bowls, herbs and a scale.

This is where Saphow works her magic, creating recipes for Elemental Promise – lip balms, body butters, salves, soothing bath soaks and teas – all made from natural ingredients she sources herself.

“What can these herbs do for me? What can I put into a lip balm and keep lips soft? What can I put onto a face with acne that is not oleic acid from a factory? … It can be as local and as natural as possible and still work and be safe,” she said.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in biology from Rutgers University, Saphow worked for 13 years as a flavorist for Colgate, creating flavors of oral care products for the company’s European market. She said flavors are a mixture of natural and synthetic chemicals which she would taste for their flavor, stability and consistency.

“Europeans prefer more eucalyptus flavors and herbal flavors … and they hate wintergreen, it’s in their toilet bowl cleanser,” she said.

She enjoyed the creativity behind creating new products, but was more interested in science than the corporate environment.

About 18 months ago she began studying herbalism, taking courses online focused on the western sector.

“Why take medicine? Why can’t we figure it out from what we grow in the backyard?” she said.

She said her passion turned into a business because, “I feel consumers are so easily taken in by headlines or by Facebook stuff or by big companies. I wanted to have a place you could go and feel the information you’re getting is backed by science without being misled.”

Saphow did warn that claims of being “natural” are actually not FDA regulated, and could still have synthetic or “nature identical” ingredients. Therefore, she sources herbs such as calendula, oregano, basil and thyme from Mountain Rose Herbs. Her base is unrefined raw shea butter, cocoa butter or beeswax.

Her products are safe enough to use on her children, which she does. She said she does not sell any products formulated from herbs from her garden, due to identification testing regulations. But she does test products on her husband, who suffers from sleeplessness, depression and thyroid disorder, such as passion flower tincture, kava kava tea and oat tops.

The process could take a few months for a new product, or is much quicker for a new infusion.

“I feel like I’ve been tired for like 10 years and I really want not to be tired anymore. I feel like the secret is somewhere in there,” she said. “I like the idea of helping other people get there.”

For more information on Elemental Promise, visit

Contact Jennifer Amato at

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