CBD Rich Chapstick, Ned Co-Founder Adriaan Zimmerman's Tribute to Mummu
The Inspiration behind Our Cardamom hemp infused lip balm
This is the last picture I ever took with my grandmother, or Mummu, as Finnish kids call their grandmothers.
It was taken in 2007 at her apartment in Lohja, Finland. I was 24 and had recently graduated on from puka shell necklaces and popped collars and was trying my best to navigate early adulthood. It was a time in my life where my ‘priorities’ had shifted and I all but severed my ties to my childhood; to the little boy who ran around naked on my grandparents’ farm; to the kid who eagerly awaited exploring the Birch forests and scattered lakes around the Finnish countryside; and the grandson who couldn’t wait to hug his mummu at the beginning of each summer. Of course, my summers in Finland also meant gorging on all the amazing food she would stack in front of me - most notably her pulla, a warm and doughy Finnish sweet bread baked with cardamom and topped with sugar crystals.
Pulla photos courtesy of My Dear Kitchen in Helsinki
A few years after that last photo was taken with Mummu, she passed away quietly at the age of 95. I missed her funeral no thanks to the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano erupting in Iceland, which sent massive plumes of ash into the sky and grounded all trans-Atlantic flights for a number of weeks. Mourning her silently at home in NYC in the days following, I found myself in tears more than a few times. I realized that by disconnecting from my childhood in the years prior, I had also lost my intimate connection to Mummu, which could never be regained. I had been selfish and I would have to live with that.
I wanted to learn more about her, which was made easier by the fact she had become a published author at the ripe age of 92. She published a collection of her memoirs titled A Woman at the Front. It started from when she entered the front lines of the Winter War in 1938 where she served as a war nurse, where she described her experiences throughout the war up to when she was wrongfully imprisoned in a military camp in 1943 after being accused of stealing tobacco proceeds. She finished her chronicles covering the end of the war when as she was finally vindicated and married a soldier (who I’d later call grandpa or Vaari in Finnish) in a small church in Juuka, Finland. In reading her book and pouring through photos of her at my parents' house, I gained a level of love and respect for Mummu, well beyond the love I had already known.
These days, Mummu comes to me intermittently. Sometimes it’s when I visit Finland, other times it’s simply in passing. But most often, she comes to me through my senses; particularly through smells and tastes, drawing me back to her nurturing and loving presence. Cardamom, which was the preeminent ingredient in her pulla, is one of those triggers. It transports me straight back to the table at her summer cottage, sitting excitedly as she pulled her signature sweet bread out of the oven. It brings me back to those first bites each summer after a year away from her culinary delights, sinking my teeth into the warm bread and letting the sweet essences awaken my palate as she smiled at my contentment.
Beyond simply being delicious, cardamom is a beautiful ancient spice originating in Southern India with a number of amazing qualities. It’s said that Vikings encountered cardamom over a thousand years ago in Constantinople and introduced it into the Nordics, where it has remained a popular spice ever since. It’s purifying, freshening, and uplifting and when pressed into an essential oil, carries a list of tremendous health benefits to accompany it’s inviting fragrance.
To simply name a few…
- Cardamom has been shown to prevent microbial infections.
- Cardamom disinfects the oral cavity and can be used as a natural breath freshener.
- Cardamom has a warming effect and can relieve symptoms of the common cold.
- Cardamom has been shown to reduce muscular and respiratory spasms.
- Cardamom boosts metabolism and enhances mood.
Of course, I learned all of these facts later. To me, cardamom still represents Mummu. It represents her warmth, her embrace, and the soft richness of her pulla. It represents the twilight skies at her cottage where the Nordic summers provided nearly 24 hours of sunlight. And it represents me, as a kid, as happy as can be with boundless nature all around me.
In bringing you, our Ned family, our Cardamom Hemp Infused Lip Balm, we’re not only sharing with you the natural healing powers of hemp and cardamom, but we’re sharing with you a part of my story, which is a part of Ned’s story. As much as it is a product we’re tremendously proud of, it’s a tribute to a magnificent woman I’m proud to have been able to call Mummu.