The Inspiration For Our Natural Organic Skin Care Business

Pamella’s Note:
Karen’s Botanicals was founded by a real woman. An artist in both heart and practice, she is unbelievably talented in so many areas. I don’t think there is anything this gifted woman can not achieve. A sculpture artist, musician, and teacher, Karen, is a wonderful person who is both kind and generous. A professional artist, who has a keen curiosity for natural living and the usefulness of herbs. Each talent giving a measure for her vision of gentle skin care. Appealing to all five senses, beautiful form and exquisite quality, she created,Karen’s Botanicals Skin Care.

What follows is Karen’s remarkable story of how she ventured into the natural skin care business. I had read this account of Karen’s life before meeting her, but I was chilled, as she related the following meeting in person. She experienced serendipity, that rare, unexpected moment, which gives us a rush of life’s mystery and surprise. As I sat, listening to Karen, I suddenly realized her natural inclinations and gifts being all hers, they are also something extra and almost inexplicable.

Please read this amazing story of family reunions.

Karen’s Story:
While I thought my career as an herbalist began in childhood, in fact, started long before I was born.

As a girl growing up outside of Philadelphia, I concocted “huckleberry Finn water,” an infusion of tap water and wild-berry flavored life savers, and made “honeysuckle dew elixir” for my dolls. While living in Alaska in the ’80s, I infused the yellow buds of the cottonwood tree in olive oil to make the analgesic Balm of Gilead oil. As a gardener, backpacker and trained forager, I learned to find, grow, and use plants to make natural food, beauty, and health products. However, it was not until I traveled to a small village, in what is now the Eastern Slovak Republic, did I realize that my passion for botanicals was, “bred in the bone.”

In 1993, I went to the Slovak town of Stropkov. I was searching for the gravestones of my paternal great-grandparents. There was an old woman in the graveyard who seemed to understand what I was looking for and she excitedly rushed me out of the graveyard, and straight to a ceramics studio in the town. She did not return rather quickly producing a woman named Edita.

I was a potter myself, so I was suddenly very curious. And, after examining the papers I had brought, which were copies of my great-grandfather’s birth and baptismal certificates—Edita, the woman from the ceramics shop, peered closely at my face, wrapped her arms around me and cried, “you are my family!” With the help of Edita’s granddaughter Denisa, who spoke English, we figured out that Edita’s grandmother was the sister of my great-grandfather, Jan Palcso, who like many Slovak men in the mid-1800s had immigrated to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where I was born.

To find living family instead of gravestones alone was cause for celebration. But we were not simply related; we were living parallel lives. Edita’s daughter and I were and still are not only lifelong art teachers, but we make art that has remarkable similarities in style, subject matter and symbolism. Denisa and my father both worked in journalism early in their professional lives. Edita and I were working ceramists, and we both made botanical products from the fruits of our abundant gardens. An even more remarkable moment came during a visit in 2002 when I learned that Edita was descended from a long line of female herbalists. At the time, I was making herbal creams, lotions, and medicines as a serious hobby and thinking of trying it as a business. Learning about this part of the family history was the magic spark that inspired me to formally open Karen’s Botanicals

As far as we know, the herbal practice began with Zsuszanna Palcso, Edita’s great-grandmother, she made herbal medicines in the 1850s for which people traveled from far and wide. Zsusanna’s daughter Anna added a successful wound cream to the line, but it almost stopped there when Anna became involved in raising her children.

Edita remembers customers being upset to find that her mother, Anna, had forgotten the recipes. Karen’s Botanicals, was created in honor of Zsuszanna Palcso, as a way of continuing the family tradition of using ancestral herbs to create botanical products for beauty, pleasure, and health. I am inspired by the serendipity of our family connections, and by the passions that bind us together.

Today, We are very proud of the legacy and inspiration of Karen Palcho. She created something very special and we will dedicate ourselves to continue the same philosophy of health, safety, sustainability, and the development of natural skin care solutions. We sincerely hope that you will enjoy the plant based purity and beauty of Karen’s Botanicals products.

For more about us or to see our products visit our store site at


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