By Danielle Rose
Anshi means God’s gift in ancient Sanskrit. Janelle Noble Donovan, co-founder and CEO of ANSHI, was giving a gift to her daughter when she first started the company. What started as a few homeopathic remedies has now blossomed into a full line of non-allergenic transdermal healing medicine.
“We believe in the power of natural ingredients, and we know that they can gently and effectively speed up the time it takes for your skin to heal,” Janelle said.
Together with her good friend, Victoria, Janelle created ANSHI after spending many hours at the hospital, over a number of different occasions, with her young daughter, Regan. Her daughter’s needs while hospitalized varied. Sometimes she needed more fat and minerals, sometimes she needed to recover faster, and sometimes she just needed to feel better. There were times when Regan wasn’t even moving, and because of restrictions and limitations on what can be ingested while in the hospital, Janelle found that topical solutions were a successful way to help her daughter through these bouts of illness. These solutions were the gift that became the start of ANSHI.
“Our hyper-focus on topical and non-allergenic transdermal healing as the next wave of medicine is simply because you get the benefit of direct application and delivery into the bloodstream while reducing side effects,” the ANSHI website states.
Learning about non-allergenic transdermal healing
Janelle learned much about natural healing through research and education efforts. Much of it was trial and error. Many products didn’t work. Her kitchen became her lab where she would combine different ingredients and test them in different concentrations. Because her daughter was in and out of the ICU, she had the ability to track the effectiveness of the ingredient combinations through her monitors and overall progress. Janelle used this opportunity to document changes and truly determine which combinations worked best. Eventually, people began asking for samples for their own use, and they provided additional feedback.
“It empowered me early on to feel I could do my own thing [to help my daughter]. “I was doing more than just reading to her… I could actually help [her heal],” Janelle said.
The product began with a base rub of oil and himalayan sea salt (their Himalayan Sea Salt Rub is the base that is used for all of the others). The beauty of the products are in their simplicity. The base consists of a few simple ingredients, and each different product only adds one more beneficial ingredient: turmeric, aloe or peppermint. One of the benefits of simple ingredients is that they avoid potential allergens like gluten or soy.
“People want natural everything,” Janelle said. “We offer simplicity in the ingredients and in our skin care. I wanted an edited-down, simple ingredient list. We’re all trying to hear our guts and dealing with larger chronic conditions as a result of our environment,” she pointed out… and less ingredients mean less contributing to conditions that need healing.
Because they chose base ingredients that serve multiple purposes, they were also able to avoid adding extra ingredients to preserve the product.
“When you put your hand in an ANSHI product, nothing will grow in it, because all of the ingredients are antibacterial and antibacterial,” Janelle said. “The average natural product has 30+ ingredients. Most recalls are happening on products with carbs and sugar. ”
Ultimately, Janelle believes that the transdermal rubs had as much to do with her daughter’s recovery than anything else. They provided a way to supplement traditional medicine while she was in the hospital, and provided relief for concerns that cropped up once she was home. Having the power to help her daughter meant less visits to the ER every time she didn’t feel well.
“She’s sick now and it sucks, but she’s home cuddling rather than in the ICU,” Janelle said. “Natural medicine had as much to do with that as everything we did on the traditional front.”
Responsible personal care
ANSHI is more than just a natural remedy. It’s a one-stop-shop for many personal care needs. While interviewing Janelle, she was in South America on a retreat. Instead of carrying numerous bottles and toiletries, she brought only a jar of peppermint ANSHI. She used it in the shower a scrub, in the morning as a moisturizing face wash, to banish the stuffiness in her head and body from traveling, to ease headaches, as a moisturizer, a shave cream, and as a nail lotion. The turmeric rub can be used for massage and to ease pain and cramps, even to heal toenail fungus.
“There are fifty ways we can use our line. Every product that we don’t have to buy or ship to our doorstep, those are the biggest dangers to our environment. We are multipurpose and we replace single-use products you don’t have a need for.”
Education is a big part of this. ANSHI isn’t a traditional cosmetic or supplement where they target specific customers seeking specific uses. Instead, they’re seeking to educate and find customers that understand the importance of editing down the number of things we buy while getting the most bang for our buck, so to speak. The educational part goes two ways, since Janelle is constantly learning from her customers, too.
“We’re all figuring out how to use simple ingredients in new ways to support our lives,” she said. “The suggestions on our bottles are from our community. One of the [listed] suggestions… for cramps… was not mine.. Someone else came up with that. When I eventually needed it for that, it worked.”
As part of the impact they strive to make in the world, San Diego-based company, ANSHI, creates limited edition batches. For each limited edition, the team chooses a different cause to donate 50% of that product’s proceeds. Their Cleansing Charcoal batch raised thousands for COVID relief, and Soothing Lavender raised money for those living with Rett Syndrome in the U.S. in 2021.
ANSHI rubs are luxuriously soft, whipped, and airy, but they’re not a lotion. It’s highly concentrated and that makes it a powerful healing option. Janelle learned this through her daughter, as she needed to get high concentrations of medicine into her body, and the only way she could do that while she was in the hospital was topically.
“Western medicine was great and saved her life, but the damage it caused afterward was something I had to fix on my own.”
One on one with customers
“The beauty of non-allergenic transdermal healing and topical treatment is this. At a market, you can give someone a spoon with the product and put it on and see if it helps them, and that’s how 90% of our customers buy the product. It gives you a connection to the person. And they come back and say it works.”
For example, turmeric as a natural remedy offers relief for pain, an area of personal health where traditional solutions either don’t address the underlying cause, or create interactions and side effects. The same is true for many skin irritations and swelling.
“As a brand, we do fulfill our promise that everyone from an aging adult to a baby can use ANSHI, and on all parts of your body: from your feet to your face. That’s truly versatile and truly versatile.”