Cary Caster sits at her desk inside what was once a Chevrolet showroom off Federal Highway in Delray Beach. Her office walls are covered with an intricate orange design that mixes with other bright colors in the room from hanging artwork to the tiny glass vials sitting in front of her. Aromas of citrus and lavender flow through the room, and books on plants and natural oils, such as The Green Pharmacy from James Duke, are lined up along her bookshelves.
Caster is the woman behind the blends found at 21 Drops, which has become a mecca for aromatherapy and an apothecary for natural healing. With a background in horticulture, ethnobotany and massage therapy, and after earning a certification as an aromatherapist from the Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Aromatherapy in the United Kingdom, and an advanced clinical certification from Essential Oil Resource Consultants in France, Caster became fascinated with the wondrous ways essential oils can heal.
While she recently opened her first retail spot in Delray Beach, she created her line six years ago and has used essential oils for more than 30 years. Today, more than 400 locations, including Anthropology, The Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons spa properties, carry her collection of essential oils, natural bug spray, body scrubs and more.
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Out of the 250,000 plants in the world, Caster says only about 100 to 150 actually create essential oils. The plants are broken down and plant material is ruptured, allowing specialized cells to create oils. Then, the oil is taken through sophisticated testing to measure out the active components naturally occurring in that liquid.
“The science of aromatherapy is understanding what those active components do to our body,” Caster says. “Just like we know how we drink caffeine because it stimulates us, you can inhale rosemary because it’s stimulating and awakening.”
Caster receives imported oils from places like South Africa, Morocco and Madagascar. She then spends time in-office melting down the oils and ingredients to create small-batch items available only at the Delray location.
“What makes us unique as a company overall with the oils is that the oils are sent out to third-party testing facilities to make sure those reports meet standards, that nothing has been adulterated,” Caster says.
There is a synergistic blending that takes place before Caster is able to package up the oils and sell them to the next person for natural healing.
Browse the numbers
Caster created a brand that addresses 21 ailments in people’s lives. Find an essential oil appropriate for you such as No. 9 “Focus,” which is made with peppermint, rosemary and frankincense, and helps clear the mind from distraction; No. 17 “Digest,” which settles and alleviates the stomach and is packed with cardamom, ginger, German chamomile and sweet orange; and No. 18 “Sleep,” which creates tranquility to relax the mind and body in preparation for a good night’s rest with a powerful mix of ylang-ylang, vetiver, sandalwood and palmarosa.
21 Drops; 290 SE Sixth Ave., Ste. 4, Delray Beach; 877.673.7677; 21drops.com