Cosmetic products from Lazarat medicinal plants, no more cannabis

Cosmetic products from Lazarat medicinal plants, no more cannabis
 Fabiola Meçi presenting one of her medicines made from the medicinal plants of the Lazarat, source:VOA
 Several hundred young people have emigrated from Lazarat, a well-known village in Albania known for marijuana cultivation a few years ago. However, Fabiola Meçi, a business graduate with expertise in cosmetics, has chosen to stay and work with aromatic and medicinal plants.

For nearly five years, Fabiola has been producing simple cosmetic products that are gaining popularity both within and outside the country.

Lazarat, once notorious for massive marijuana cultivation, is now one of the areas most affected by emigration in Gjirokastër.

Hundreds of young people have left the country, primarily for England and the United States, while residents are facing significant economic challenges.

However, Fabiola Meçi, a business graduate with specialization in cosmetics, has found a way to remain in her village.

Fabiola has been producing various cosmetic products for nearly five years, utilizing the natural resources of Lazarat and the family's opportunities, including a small livestock farm and a beekeeping park.

"The flora of my village, Lazarat, is very rich. There are many plants that can provide solutions for cosmetic products. I can mention many plants such as chamomile, rosemary, mountain tea, oregano, which I also use in my cosmetic products."

Fabiola mentions some of the products she produces, starting with facial soaps, various creams with plant-based foundations used for skin treatment or hydration, botanical hair oils, and healing balms.

"One of the products is a hair oil blend, which contains 12 types of herbs, easily found in the Sopot Mountains. It has been on the market for five years and is known for stimulating the growth of new hair, preventing hair thinning, and reducing hair oil production, among other benefits.

Another product is propolis ointment, which is prepared primarily using propolis from our beekeeping park and is used for eczema, and nail fungus, while the facial soaps are based on goat's milk and have the scent and color of rosemary.

There are also various types of creams used for skin treatment or hydration."

Fabiola showcases her products in some pharmacies in Tirana and also sells them online, but meanwhile, emigrants who leave the country also buy her products in quantity.

Fabiola aims to grow in the market, and her products are expanding as well, as Lazarat's wealth of medicinal plants is vast and helps her achieve this goal.

"Goals never end, of course, but I want to grow in the market, and my products are effective to gain people's trust. Soon, I plan to open a store with my brand in Gjirokastër, which is a tourist city."

Fabiola says she has always wanted to do something, not only for herself but also for the reputation of her village.

"When I finished my studies, I had the greatest desire to return to Lazarat to do something for my homeland, both as an individual living in the village and working but also with a small business for the benefit of Lazarat's image."

The European Union recently supported the establishment of a center for the collection and processing of medicinal plants in Lazarat, aiming to assist residents engaged in their gathering in nature.

Flamur Golemi, the mayor of Gjirokastër, encouraged the establishment of the center not only for the residents of this village but also for the wider area involved in collecting medicinal plants.

"This will be another point in our entire itinerary of diversifying our tourist offerings for all those tourists who come to Gjirokastër and do not just want to see the city's monuments and museum treasures but also the natural and ethnocultural values of Lazarat and beyond."

Local authorities aim to turn this point in Lazarat into a tourist itinerary to showcase the area's values and natural riches, especially aromatic and medicinal plants.
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