Neroli {Citrus aurantium}

Neroli essential oil is obtained from the flowers of the Seville orange trees. This essential is obtained by water distilling the orange blossoms since they are very fragile and, hence, cannot undergo the steam distillation process. The aroma of neroli essential oil has a lot of resemblance to bergamot. Neroli essential oil possesses an invigorating and typical, zesty fragrance with a sweet and flowery tinge. The flowers are usually collected manually during the period between late April and early May. Going by history, the late 17th century Duchess of Bracciano and Princess of Nerola in Italy, Anne Marie Orsini was the first to introduce the quintessence of the bitter orange tree as a fragrance to perfume her gloves and her bath. It is believed that ever since the term neroli was used to denote this essence.

It may be mentioned that the neroli essential oil is considered to be among the most valuable and pricey natural oils available in the market. While this natural oil is obtained from the aromatic white flowers of the Seville orange trees, it is one of the most expensive natural oils since several tons of flowers of this species is required to obtain just one pound of the essential oil. This essential oil possesses numerous aromatic properties and, in aromatherapy, it is used to treat as well as prevent several medical conditions. While neroli essential oil has a relaxing and soothing impact on the nervous system, its use also facilitates alleviating conditions, such as depression and fretfulness that are associated with mental stress or tension.

Neroli essential oil is rejuvenating in every sense and, hence, it is a beneficial element in several skin care products, particularly those that are meant for treating dry skin and associated problems, such as acne, dermatitis and inflamed skin conditions. In addition, neroli essential oil is also a wonderful remedy for mature skin (skin of the elderly people), stretch marks and scars. It is known to tone up the complexion of the skin as well as soften wrinkles. Neroli essential oil also has industrial use and is often used in the manufacture of colognes, perfumes, and toilet waters. Like in the instance of most other essential oils, using a little amount of neroli essential oil will sustain for a prolonged period. This natural oil obtained from the blossoms of the bitter orange tree is not only versatile in use and utility but also blends easily with almost all other essential oils.

As aforementioned, neroli essential oil is obtained from the flowers of the bitter orange tree and is considered to be very pricey natural oil. The blossoms of the bitter orange tree are petite, whitish and highly scented. It also needs to be mentioned again that neroli essential oil is not obtained by steam distillation, but by a method is known as solvent distillation using water. This is primarily owing to the fact that the blossoms of the bitter orange trees are very fragile and cannot endure steam distillation.

The essential oil extracted from the blossoms of the bitter orange trees possesses several therapeutic properties and, hence, is used to treat a number of conditions or physical and mental disorders. This natural oil possesses sedative as well as stimulant properties that are beneficial for the nervous system. It can be used to treat most of the problems related to stress and tension having an emotional origin. In addition, neroli essential oil is widely used to treat conditions, such as heart palpitations, diminish nervous anxiety and cure insomnia or sleeplessness. Deep inhaling of the aroma of neroli essential oil as well as massaging a few drops of this natural oil blended with jojoba oil on the solar plexus helps to soothe and comfort the body and the mind. The same effect is experienced when one uses this as a natural perfume or diffuses the oil in little quantities. In fact, in aromatherapy, neroli essential oil is believed to be among the most vital aromatics while treating depression and nervousness caused by tension and anxiety.

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Neroli essential oil is also considered to be one of the most beneficial oil for women, especially for the skin care of elderly women. For treating mature skin, this natural oil needs to be blended with rose Otto and clary sage oils for utmost benefits. The oil’s relaxing characteristics are passed on to the cells, which are rejuvenated. In addition, use of neroli essential oil is also useful for people having sensitive skin. Most importantly, the essential oil extracted from the blossoms of the bitter orange trees has been proved to be beneficial for the female reproductive system, especially in providing relief from menstrual cramps. When using this oil for this particular therapeutic purpose, add neroli essential oil to your bath or bring down its concentration to around 10 percent by adding it to apricot kernel oil and massage the blended oil on the abdomen. This will help to provide relief from menstrual cramps immediately.

The essential oil obtained from the flowers of the bitter orange trees possesses anti-parasitic, anti-bacterial and anti-spasmodic properties. These properties of this natural oil help it to treat intestinal problems. In order to cure intestinal disorder with neroli essential oil drop a few drops of the oil in your bath or dilute it and massage the oil on the abdomen. In addition, massaging diluted neroli essential oil on the abdomen is very useful in treating stomach problems caused by stress and mental tension.

Neroli essential oil has varied use in aromatherapy. It has been reported that the fragrance of this essential oil is effective in successfully treating conditions, such as shock and nervous depression. Use of this natural oil also helps in relaxing the body and the mind and alleviates certain conditions that may appear to be critical. Neroli essential oil is known to provide relief from several hopeless situations related to mental disorders. In aromatherapy, the essential oil extracted from the blossoms of the bitter orange trees may be used in burners and diffusers to increase the atmosphere in a room. Its use in this manner helps to bring in an air of peace and comfort.

As has been discussed earlier, neroli essential oil possesses several therapeutic properties and is, therefore, used to treat different conditions. Below is a brief account of the condition-specific utilities or benefits of this natural oil that may benefit you. Just go through the list and you may find it suitable for treating some medical condition you might be enduring.

  • In case you are suffering from depression and nothing seems to be working to alleviate this pathetic condition, it is advisable that you try using neroli essential oil. Used in aromatherapy, this essential oil not only helps to cure depression but also results in a happy feeling and uplifts your mood. This attribute of neroli essential oil makes its use widespread in aromatherapy.
  • In the instance of getting a wound or a cut and the physician not being readily available for administering an anti-tetanus injection, you may apply neroli essential oil, of course in a diluted condition, on your wounds or cut. The antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties of neroli essential oil will help to shield your wounds from becoming infected and tetanus. It has been proved that the oil obtained by solvent distillation of the blooms of the bitter orange trees is effective in healing as well as protecting wounds from getting infectious. Once you have applied this oil to your wound or cut, you can afford to visit your doctor at your leisure.
  • Owing to its anti-bacterial properties, neroli essential oil is very effective in eliminating bacteria – it is also known to be bactericidal. Bacteria are responsible for certain ailments and conditions, such as typhoid, cholera, food poisoning and some specific skin disorder and using this essential oil helps to cure all such diseases and conditions.
  • Another important characteristic of neroli essential oil is that during cold climates, its usage helps to keep one warm and does not allow him/ her to catch a cold or suffer from a cough. It facilitates the body to fight against these conditions caused by infections. In addition, the oil also possesses some expectorant properties that help in checking production of excessive mucus by the body and ensures that you breathe freely and have a sound sleep even during the winter months.
  • Neroli essential oil possesses the characteristics to heal wounds by forming scars on them (cicatrizant property). It has been established that this particular feature of neroli essential oil works much more effectively compared to any other anti-mark lotion or cream. In effect, neroli essential oil forms an important ingredient of several herbal anti-mark lotions or creams. Using neroli essential oil or lotions and creams containing this oil facilitates in erasing spots, blemishes and after-marks caused by boils, acne, chickenpox and other similar conditions.
  • Use of neroli essential oil encourages the growth of new cells as well as helps to maintain the health of the existing cells in the body. In other words, using this oil on a regular basis helps one to grow bigger, more powerful and healthier.
  • The antiseptic property of neroli essential oil not only helps to disinfect the body but also makes the surroundings germ free. When taken internally, the essential oil obtained from the blossoms of the bitter orange tree helps to heal various types of contagions – including those of the kidneys, colon, prostate and the urinary tracts. In addition, this oil is also effective in curing skin infections and also protects the body from all new contagions.
  • The aroma of neroli oil helps to shoo away all types of foul body odour. While you may choose to use this oil as a body perfume, it can also be used as room fresheners or vaporizers to clean the atmosphere of all foul odours. Doing this not only helps to make the room scented, but also sterilizes the place.
  • The anti-spasmodic property of neroli essential oil is effective in treating spasms and providing relief from coughs, cramps and aches due to spasms. It also helps to cure spasmodic cholera and relax the muscles alleviating pain.
  • At the same time, neroli essential oil obtained from the bitter orange trees is also stomach and beneficial for all types of stomach disorders. Use of neroli essential oil encourages digestion as well as enhances appetite.
  • Neroli essential oil also possesses sedative properties which help it to alleviate mental disorders, such as distress, nervous anxiety, depression and anger. Using this natural oil on a regular basis helps to relax the body as well as the mind.
  • Many herbalists often recommend neroli essential oil treat colitis (inflammation of the colon), neuralgia (acute spasmodic pain caused by damage to or failure of a nerve), fat cracks and diarrhea. Moreover, use of neroli essential oil also helps in losing unwanted weight.
  • As mentioned earlier, neroli essential oil is highly beneficial for the skin. Topical application of this natural oil on the surface of the skin makes the skin smooth, protects it from all types of infections and helps to make it appear fresh and healthy adding glamour. Use of neroli essential oil facilitates in sustaining the appropriate amount of moisture in the skin and also balances the oils present in the skin.
  • The essential oil extracted from the blossoms of the bitter orange trees is responsible for maintaining the overall health of an individual. Its use ensures that the correct rate of metabolism and proper blood circulation are maintained by the body. In addition, neroli essential oil also helps to strengthen the immune system helping us to fight against various ailments.

General Properties

  • antispasmodic
  • antitoxic
  • aphrodisiac
  • sedative
  • slightly hypnotic
  • tranquilizing
  • uplifting

Blends Well With

Blends well with any essential oil but especially with citrus oils such as lemon and sweet orange

  • chamomile
  • clary sage
  • frankincense
  • geranium
  • patchouli
  • rose
  • sandalwood
  • ylang-ylang

General uses

  • aging skin
  • anorexia
  • anxiety
  • broken capillaries
  • bulimia
  • childbirth
  • colitis
  • depression
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • fear
  • flatulence
  • frigidity
  • grief
  • high blood pressure
  • hysteria and panic
  • impotence
  • indigestion
  • insomnia
  • nervous dyspepsia
  • nervous tension
  • over-sensitivity
  • palpitations
  • rejuvenation
  • shock

Precaution

Neroli essential oil obtained from the aromatic flowers of the Seville orange or the bitter orange trees should never be used by patients undergoing chemotherapy for treating any type of cancer.

Good Night Beauty Regime

A good night’s sleep is an essential part of your beauty regimen and does more for your good looks than the best balm or treatment. While you sleep, blood continuously replenishes your skin, giving it a rosy glow. A well-rested complexion is also less prone to breakouts. Of course, night time is also the right time to treat your body to some extra conditioning and moisture.
Here are a few recipes to try that you can use right before you get in bed.
Night Time Lotion
This rich lotion is packed with oils and vitamins. Massage it into your body and face before going to bed at night and you’ll wake up with soft, smooth skin that looks and feels amazing. Make sure to remove any jewelry and wash your skin before applying it.
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup distilled water
1 tablespoon vitamin E oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 teaspoon wheat germ oil
1 tablespoon grated beeswax
In a glass container, dissolve baking soda in the water and set aside.
In a small saucepan or microwave-safe dish, mix the oils and wax together and heat gently {use the stove-top or microwave} until wax is melted. Heat the soda-water mixture but do not boil and then pour it into a blender. Blend on slow speed, slowly adding the oil-wax mixture in a steady stream. Mix well and transfer to a heat-resistant container. Allow the mixture to cool. {The lotion will thicken as it cools.} Yield: 6 ounces
Lullaby Massage Oil
With lavender and chamomile in the mix, this massage oil is the perfect cure for a bad case of insomnia. The almond oil conditions skin.
1 tablespoon dried chamomile flowers
1/2 cup sweet almond oil
5 drops essential oil of Lavender
Place chamomile flowers in a small saucepan and pour the almond oil over them. Gently warm the oil for a few minutes, but do not boil. Allow the oil to cool; then strain out the flowers. Add the lavender essential oil and pour into a clean bottle.
To use: Slowly massage a small amount onto dry skin or tired muscles. Yield: 4 ounces
Relaxing Lavender Bath
This is the perfect herbal bath to ease your mind and body after a full day. Along with lavender, it contains oatmeal and baking soda to soothe dry, sensitive skin. Substitute dried chamomile for the lavender in this recipe if you prefer.
1 cup dried lavender flowers
2 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup baking soda
In a blender or food processor combine all ingredients and process until you have a smooth, fine powder. 
To use: Pour 1/2 cup into your bath as you fill the tub. Yield: 28 ounces
Eye Rest Pillows
These pretty silk pillows are simple to make and offer an effective way to ease eye strain and relax at the end of the day. You can find flax seeds at most grocery and natural food stores. If you can’t find silk fabric, try using old scarves.
2 rectangle pieces of silky material, 5″ x 9″
1 cup flaxseeds
1 tablespoon dried lavender
Stitch the material together to form a small sack, and fill it with flax seeds and lavender. Stitch the remaining end closed.
To use: Lie down with the pillow over your eyes. To calm inflamed skin, cool the pillow by placing it in the refrigerator.
Evening Nail Oil
Massage this rich combination of natural oils onto your nails before going to bed to strengthen and condition them. Do this regularly and you’ll see improvements in a few short weeks even with dry, cracked nails. Find liquid lecithin at your local natural food store.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons liquid lecithin
1/4 teaspoon vitamin E oil
Combine all ingredients and mix well.
 To use: Dab a small amount on your fingers and rub thoroughly into your nails. Yield: 1/2 ounce
Tips for a Good Night’s Rest
 
* Stick to a sleep schedule to keep your biological clock in sync.
* Avoid late dinners.
* Exercise at least four times a week, but avoid workouts close to bedtime.
* Use your bedroom only for sleep, not for surfing the web or work.
* Practice a sleep ritual like a warm bath, reading, or listening to music before going to bed.

Enchanting Tea – For Body and Soul

Wake Up Skin and Hair with Refreshing Tea.

 

 
The tea plant {Camellia sinensis} has been used for more than 4,000 years to treat the body, mind, and spirit. According to legend, the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung was boiling water when a windstorm blew leaves from a nearby shrub into his pot. The aroma so captivated him, he decided to taste the mixture, possibly the first cup of tea brewed.
Tea has been valued by societies throughout history, around the world. In colonial America, tea became so synonymous with quality of life that colonists used it to make political statements, such as the Boston Tea Party in 1773.
Although “tea” technically refers to the tea shrub, C. Sinensis, today the term also is used to describe a variety of aromatic plants brewed into health tonics and refreshing drinks.
Because tea is a powerful antioxidant, it also has become a key ingredient in the natural skin- and hair-care products. Japanese research has shown tea to be effective against free radicals, which cause our bodies to age. Tea also offers beauty benefits: You can use it to cleanse skin, soothe sunburn, highlight hair, relax muscles and calm puffy eyes. Here are some of my favorite ways to apply tea’s rejuvenating powers to skin and hair.
 
 

Green Tea Soother

 
Makes 4 ounces
Green tea will tighten pores, calm sensitive skin and provide anti-aging benefits when used regularly. This recipe is ideal for soothing troubled or sunburned skin.
 
1/2 cup distilled water
2 teaspoons green tea leaves
 
1. Bring water to a boil.
2. Place tea leaves in a clean glass or ceramic bowl.
3. Pour boiling water over leaves and steep for 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Strain tea leaves and allows for cooling. Apply with a clean cotton ball. Do not rinse off.
 

English Tea Astringent

 
Makes 4 ounces
In England, tea is much more than just a popular beverage; it is part of the culture and has become an important part of the beauty scene.
Try this mild astringent toner to keep your complexion clean, smooth and glowing.
 
1/4 cup boiling water
2 tea bags of your choice {green, orange pekoe, Earl Grey and jasmine are nice}
1/4 cup witch hazel extract
 
1. Pour boiling water over tea bags. Steep at least 1 hour to make a strong infusion.
2. Combine cooled tea with witch hazel. Stir mixture well; pour into a clean bottle. Apply to skin with a cotton ball or pad.
 

Herbal Tub Tea

 
Makes 2-4 ounces; enough for one bath.
Nothing could be easier than creating a bath from your favorite herbal tea blend. Simply fill a large tea ball or muslin bag with a few chosen herbs, hang it under your bath spout and lie back! This Herbal Tub Tea also makes a great gift; just fill a china cup with a muslin bag of tea herbs tied with a gorgeous bow.
 
Large tea ball, muslin sack or square of cheesecloth
1/4 cup dried herbs or 1/2 cup fresh herbs
Suggested Blends:
Stimulating-rosemary, lavender, mint
Relaxing-chamomile, elder flower, angelica
Refreshing-basil, lemon balm, mint
Invigorating-raspberry leaves, bay leaves, mugwort
Cleansing-sage, thyme, lemon verbena
 
1. Fill the container with desired herbs; use either a blend of your choice or individual herbs.
2. Hang tea-filled container under the spout as you run your bath, letting the water flow through it. Gently squeeze tea bag or allow tea ball to float in the water as you bathe.
 

Mint Tea Scalp Toner

 
Makes 8 ounces
Use this stimulating toner after shampooing to help keep your scalp healthy and clean. Or, fill a small spray bottle with this toner and spritz it onto your hair for a refreshing, pick-me-up anytime throughout the day.
 
1/4 cup mint tea OR 3 to 4 tea bags
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup witch hazel
 
1. Steep tea in boiling water 5 to 10 minutes, or until tea is strong.
2. Cool completely. Strain out all leaves or remove bags. Stir in witch hazel.
3. To use, massage a small amount into your scalp after shampooing to increase circulation and stimulate your scalp.
 

German Chamomile Tea Soother

 
Makes 8 ounces
Chamomile has many healing properties, including anti-inflammatory and disinfectant abilities. Use this recipe to soothe chapped or sunburned skin.
 
2 tablespoons dried chamomile flowers OR 2 chamomile tea bags
1 cup boiling water
 
1. Steep tea in boiling water until cool. Strain out all solids and pour into a clean container.
2. To use, apply to skin with a clean cotton pad, or spray on skin.
 

Highlighting Herbal Hair Rinses

 
Makes 16 ounces; enough for one to two treatments.
 
You can use herbal “teas” to make natural hair rinses for adding color highlights to hair. These rinses work gradually; the longer you use them, the more dramatic the results. After shampooing, try one of the following herbal rinses: 1} chamomile to lighten fair hair; 2} sage to darken hair, or 3} hibiscus to add red highlights.
 
2 tablespoons dried herbs OR 1/4 cup fresh herbs
2 cups boiling water
 
1. Steep herbs in boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes. Start with the shorter steeping time. You can lengthen the steeping time of future treatments if you decide you want more color.
2. Strain. Allow liquid to cool before use.
 

Sweet Feet

 
Makes 80 ounces; enough for a one-foot bath.
 
To keep your feet smelling their best, try a foot soak in natural tea. Soaking your feet in black tea will help reduce foot odor because tea is naturally astringent. It also can help reduce perspiration. The tannic acid in the tea changes the skin’s pH level, making it unfriendly to odor-causing bacteria.
 
2 black tea bags
2 cups boiling water
2 quarts cool water
 
1. Make a very strong tea by steeping tea bags in boiling water for at least 15 minutes.
2. Fill a large bowl or plastic pan with cool water; stir in tea solution.
3. Soak feet for 20 to 30 minutes. Repeat treatment daily for about a week; you should notice a decrease in foot odor.
 
 

 Beauty in the Bag

 
Tea bags are ideal for making scented baths, toners, sprays, and oils, as you do not have to strain out any leaves. A wide variety of blends, from traditional English teas to exotic herbal teas, are packaged and sold in bags. You also can purchase small kits to make your own tea bags for garden herbs.
 
 

 Terrific Tea Tips

 
Try these six easy ways to look and feel your best with tea:
 
 
1. Reduce under-eye puffiness by placing two cool tea bags over each eye; relax for 10 to 15 minutes.
 
 
2. Soothe an insect bite or cut by placing a green tea bag over the affected area. The tea will reduce itching and swelling.
 
 
3. For a bad sunburn, try a tea bath. Hang four or five oolong, jasmine or green tea bags under your bath spout as you fill your tub. Soak in the fragrant, warm water.
 
 
4. If you use henna to color your hair, use tea instead of water when mixing your paste for a richer color. Try black or Ceylon tea if you are a brunette, use chamomile if you are blonde.
 
 
5. Use herbal tea blends as simple skin fresheners and toners. Make a strong infusion and pour into a clean spray bottle. Mint tea has an uplifting fragrance.
 
 
 
 
6. A great way to relax or practice simple meditation is with a cup of tea. Start your day with a cup, or take a tea break to refocus during hectic times.

What You Will Need To Make The Recipes In Entangled Botanicals by Ashley November…

The equipment you’ll need for making the preparations {recipes} is most likely in your kitchen already. Wash all utensils, surfaces, containers, and your hands thoroughly before preparing these recipes.
Pots and Pans: Make sure you have good quality cookware, including small and large saucepans. Uncoated stainless steel is best; do not use aluminium pans because they’ll react with the active components, resulting in discolored or off-tasting products.
A double boiler is useful for melting wax and warming ingredients without the risk of overheating or scorching. Some people like slow cookers for melting and warming, as well as for making infused herbal oils. The gentle, steady warmth of the slow cooker {set at 100 degrees F or low} increases the concentration of the final oil.
Weights and Measures: Measuring cups that are made of good quality heat-resistant glass like Pyrex are excellent because the glass does not interact with the herbs {oils}. Glassware also allows you to gauge your progress by observing the color and texture of your liquid. You can judge the strength of a decoction, for instance, by how dark and rich its color is. Some ingredients, such as beeswax, are typically measured and sold by the pound and ounce, so a small kitchen scale is also handy.
Food Processor, Blender, or Grinder: Food processors can be useful for shredding fresh roots, seeds, and leafy materials. Use them to chop herbs coarsely before you place them in the blender or grinder for finer grinding.
Any good blender will do the job, but if you have one with a high-speed motor, like a Vitamix, you’ll be able to do a lot more with less time and energy. The Vitamix brand has a reverse function, which helps untangle herb roots and stems from the blade, and it breaks down the plant material more thoroughly than other models. Consider purchasing a blender with a large blender jar. A 1-gallon capacity Waring blender is a good choice; it’s consistently tough and efficient.
A small seed or coffee grinder is handy for grinding small quantities of dry seeds, root slices, and leaves. A good one, such as a Moulinex, often yields a finer particle size than a blender will. {Note: If you regularly need to shred whole burdock roots, dislodge seeds from really large flower-heads, or work with fibrous garden stalks, consider investing in a small garden compost shredder.}
Containers and Labels: For extracting herbs {removing and concentrating the active ingredient} and storing herbal preparations, you can purchase decorative jars or save and reuse glass jars from the grocery store; just be sure used jars are sterilized and have tight-fitting, rust-free lids. Canning jars are perfect: I use the quart or half-gallon sizes for tincturing and for storing teas and dried herbs. For creams and salves, look for smaller, short, wide-mouth containers and tins.
To bottle liquid tinctures for individual use, you’ll want to purchase amber Boston rounds – those small, brown glass jars with droppers that are commonly used to package commercial herbal liquids. They come in 1- to 8-ounce sizes.
It’s important to label all of your containers with the ingredients and the date. For finished preparations, be sure to include instructions for using the final product and any warnings that apply; put that right on the label.
Food Dehydrator: A food dehydrator is a great investment. It will dry flowers, leaves, root slices, and other herb parts quickly while preserving their valuable components and colors. Many come with nylon fruit leather tray inserts, which you’ll find useful when making dried teas. If you can, buy a dehydrator with an adjustable fan speed and temperature controls.
Electric Juicer: Although a juicer is not essential for the extraction process, it increases the types of herbal preparations you can make. Juicers remove the juice from fresh herbs, which can then be used fresh or dried. You may also want to consider a hand-operated herb press, which helps squeeze out the liquid when you are making tinctures and infused oils.
Infusers and Strainers: For infusing {steeping} and straining herbs, you can simply place herbs in a tea mug, pour hot water over the herbs, and strain out the herbs after they’ve steeped. There are also many types of infusers and strainers, such as tea balls {mesh or metal balls that hold herbs} with handles or links that hook over the side of the mug, metal tea “spoons,” bamboo tea basket strainers, muslin or mesh bags that you fill with herbs and cinch shut, and cloth bags with round rims and handles that fit on top of a mug. You can also use the same French press that many people use to brew coffee; it consists of a glass cup held by a frame with a handle and a plunger. All of these strainers make it easy to compost your herbs after you’ve made your tea infusion.

Skin-Care Solutions: Herbal Beauty Aids Feature An Anti-Aging Bonus


As we age, free radicals and inflammation can contribute to the loss of youthful tone in the face and skin. The good news is that many herbs contain antioxidants and other beneficial compounds that help combat these aging factors.
Women have been using herbal treatments to achieve silky skin since the time of Queen Nefertiti in ancient Egypt. Today’s modern herbal skin-care products offer a variety of applications, from basic cleansing and maintenance to enhancing natural beauty by targeting specific problems. Some herbs contain protective chemicals, like tannins, that can reverse the harsh effects of sunlight, pollution, and stress, while others have moisturizing qualities.
The skin-protecting herbs include basil, ginkgo, green and black tea, rosemary, milk thistle, nettle, patchouli, and sage. Skin soothing anti-inflammatory herbs include calendula, witch hazel, and rose, while herbs for dry or mature skin include fennel, jasmine, licorice, and rose. For oily skin, try rosemary, sage, thyme, yarrow, and lavender.

Customize Your Skin Care

While there are plenty of herbal skin-care choices in health food stores, why not try creating your own? Once you have mastered a few basic recipes, you can customize your own lotions by substituting other herbs based on their scents or beneficial qualities.

Homemade Herbal Lotions and Scrubs

These easy-to-follow recipes from herbalist Diana Jones are intended to produce multiple jars – perfect for giving to friends and family.

Patchouli Aphrodisiac Cream

This healing face and body cream offer the sensual essence of patchouli flowers and essential oil.
Yields eight 1/2-ounce jars
Ingredients

Directions
Place fresh or dried patchouli flowers in an air-tight jar, add grape-seed oil, seal, and let stand for at least two weeks. Strain oil into a 2-cup glass measuring cup, and place in a small saucepan of water making sure the water will not slosh into the cup. On low heat, add hemp seed oil, beeswax, and honey. Let beeswax melt slowly while mixing occasionally with a chopstick. Pour mixture into 1/2-ounce jars. Add five drops of patchouli essential oil to each jar before mixture hardens. Seal jars, and let sit for 24 hours.

Lavender-Rose Salt Scrub

Perfect for exfoliating and softening the arms and legs, especially during the drying, cold-weather months.
Yields four 4-ounce jars
Ingredients

  • 1 cup Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 cup cheltic sea salt
  • 1/2 cup organic grape-seed oil
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut oil
  • 10 sprigs freshly dried lavender
  • 5 dried roses
  • 9 teaspoons organic raw honey
  • 10 drops organic water-distilled lavender essential oil

Directions
Mix salt in a large bowl. Crush lavender into a powder with a mortar and pestle. Using a fine strainer, add the lavender to the salt, and then add oils. The mixture should be moist, not oily. Add honey, and mix well with a wooden spoon. Scoop mixture into 4-ounce jars. Add ten drops lavender essential oil to the top; do not mix. Place rose petals and a lavender flower on top, seal jars, and let sit for 24 hours.

Honeybee Body Butter

Use on both face and body as a moisturizer and anti-inflammatory agent.
Yields eight 1-ounce jars.
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fresh or dried St. John’s wort flowers
  • 1 cup organic sunflower oil
  • 1/2 cup dried nettle leaf and flower
  • 5 teaspoons organic raw honey
  • 1/2 cup beeswax
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 10 drops camphor essential oil
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil

Directions
Place St. John’s wort flowers in a lidded jar. Pour in sunflower oil, and seal the jar. Store for six-weeks or until the oil turns red. Strain into a 4-cup glass measuring cup. Powder the nettle with a mortar and pestle, and add to oil using a strainer. Submerge measuring cup in a saucepan of water that is well below the edge of the cup. Simmer slowly, making sure not to boil, and then add beeswax, coconut oil, and honey. Let the beeswax melt slowly – approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Mix with a chopstick, then pour into 1-ounce jars. Add the camphor and peppermint essential oils to each jar before mixture hardens. Seal jar, and let sit for 24 hours.

How To Apply A Face Mask, Recipes to Get You Started & A Little Bit About Wrinkles!

Woman have used face masks for centuries to clean and tone the skin and give it a glowing vitality. Face masks give their best results if used regularly once a week is not often.
 
1. To make the process easier, sit or stand in front of a mirror. Cover your shoulders with a clean towel and have a damp washrag or hand towel ready for wiping up any drips.
 
2. Apply the mask with a clean cotton ball or with your fingers. The mask should cover your face from the hairline to the chin, missing only the area around the eyes.
 
3. Leave the mask on for 15 minutes the first few times you use it. Later, if your skin is not irritated and you like the mask’s effects, you can slowly increase the time to 30 minutes. To best enjoy the facial mask, lie down, shut your eyes, and relax while the mask is working.
 
4. When the time is up, remove the mask with your fingers over a basin. If the mask has dried, splash warm water on your face and try again to remove the mask with your fingers. Then use a wet washcloth to remove the last residue of the mask. Finally, splash your face with cool water, pat the skin dry, and apply a toner.
 
Facial Cleansing Mask.
This simple recipe is aimed at deep cleansing and is especially suited for young faces and the treatment of oily skin.
 
1 packet dry yeast
3 drops lemon juice
2 teaspoons water
 
1. In a small bowl, mix the yeast, lemon juice, and water vigorously until thick paste forms. If necessary, add more water to achieve the correct consistency for applying to the face.
 
2. Pat the mixture on the face, avoiding the eyes. Allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water. Pat skin dry.
 
Honey Mask.
The ingredients in this mask would make up a solid breakfast, but they’re nourishing for your skin too!
 
1/2 cup hot water
10 tablespoons quick oats
1/2 apple, cored but with the peel on
2 heaping tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
1 egg white
 
1. Clean your face thoroughly with any natural cleanser. In a small bowl, stir the oats into the hot water until you have a smooth mixture. Let stand for about 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens to a paste.
 
2. Put the apple, yogurt, and egg white in a blender or food processor and pulse for 45 seconds just to mix. Now add oatmeal mixture and pulse for 20 seconds more.
 
3. Apply this mask evenly to the face, avoiding the eyes, and let sit for 15 minutes or until skin feels tight. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and pat skin dry.
 
Yogurt and Oatmeal Deep-Cleansing Mask.
 
Imagine!
You can mix up this deep-cleansing face mask for less than a spa treatment.
Your face and pocketbook will thank you.
 
1 tablespoon finely ground oatmeal
1 tablespoon yogurt {any kind}
1/2 teaspoon honey
 
1. Before starting, clean your face thoroughly with any natural cleanser so that you can immediately apply the deep-cleansing facial mixture when it has been stirred together.
 
2. In a clean bowl, combine the yogurt and oatmeal and mix to a spreadable consistency. In a small glass bowl sitting in a larger bowl of hot water, warm the honey and pour it into the yogurt and oatmeal mixture. Using a spoon, blend the ingredients thoroughly.
 
3. Immediately apply the mask to your face, avoiding the eyes, and let it stay on for 10 to 15 minutes. Wash it off with warm water. Pat skin dry and apply a toner and moisturizer to your face.
 
Green Clay Purifying Face Mask.
Green clay also known as bentonite is the most commonly used clay in face masks. It can absorb large quantities of water. In this mask, it is used to draw out excess sebum and dirt from deep down, making the mask suited to oily complexions. Green clay powder can be purchased online or in health food stores.
Palmarosa is an essential oil available at health food or “new age” shops.
 
1 teaspoon apricot kernel oil
2 drops Palmarosa
1 tablespoon green clay
Warm water
 
1. Clean your face thoroughly using any natural cleanser. In a small dish, mix the apricot oil and the palmarosa together. Put the green clay in a small bowl and stir in the apricot oil mixture. Add just enough warm water to make a spreadable paste. With your fingers, work the mixture thoroughly to incorporate all the ingredients.
 
2. Apply the mask immediately, avoiding the eyes. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. As the moisture evaporates, you will feel the mask tighten.
 
3. Rinse the mask off with warm water, pat skin dry, and follow with an application of toner and then of moisturizer.
 
One-Minute Substitute: Instant Grape Cleanser for Your Face.
 
Here’s a sweet way to clean and refresh your skin.
Split 3 or 4 large green or red grapes, remove any seeds and rub the fleshy interior on your face and neck. The grapes condition your skin and reduce dryness, restoring suppleness. Rinse with cool water and gently pat skin dry.
 

Wrinkles!

A woman has never heard anyone stating that men appear to be prudent as well as eminent when they have wrinkles while women having wrinkles seem to look old. While the baby boomers of the day draw close to middle age, sales of cosmetics are rocketing. The most widespread outlook toward aging in present times is, ‘age elegantly by combating it in each stage of the way’. In fact, you will find that most of the bathroom cabinets are packed with jars, chemical peels, elixirs, and potions that intend to hoodwink Mother Nature. However, it is fateful that wrinkles triumph every time when one tries to conceal them.
It is unfortunate that in spite of our passion and endeavors to wipe out wrinkles, they are a normal feature of the aging process. They occur owing to the slow but steady erosion of the most external skin layer known as epidermis that is made up of lifeless tissue. This part of our skin is replaced by new dead tissue that originates at the base of the lining. In fact, wrinkles form an everlasting aspect of aging skin, as they come from the dermis that lies deeper compared to the epidermis.
The cells in the dermis region of the skin start dying and also shrink in individuals who are over 25 years of age. As a result of this, the suppleness, as well as pliability of the skin, also begins to decline. Any kind of shriveling of the skin tissue in the dermis region results in wrinkles on the outer layer of the skin (epidermis). In addition, as people age, their dermis turns out to be more inflexible. The stretching of the dermis is directly related to developing wrinkles – any increase in the expansion of the dermis results in the development of more wrinkles on the epidermis. And, since our face and the facial muscles are very active, usually there is a significant development of wrinkles in these areas of the body.
In opposition to the well-accepted conviction, dry skin or dehydration is not responsible for developing wrinkles. However, pulling a face (frowning) and narrowing your eyes (squinting) too often do result in the development of wrinkles, as these acts stretch the dermis all the time. In addition, scrubbing your skin using any caustic or harsh substance, a deficient intake of vitamins as well as minerals, smoking, consuming alcoholic beverages, damage caused to the skin due to radiation from exposing oneself to too much sunlight, and even sleeping on your stomach or any side contributes to the development of wrinkles.
Using specific herbal products and dietary supplements may be helpful in preventing the development of new wrinkles. For instance, it has been found that taking a diet that is rich in saturated fat content may make your skin dry. Hence, you should ensure that you take a diet that has low-fat content, but includes lots of fiber. In addition, you should preferably use monounsaturated oils and polyunsaturated oils. Also, ensure that your diet includes essential fatty acids in the way of omega 3 oils. Some of the healthy oils that you may use to avoid wrinkles include corn, sunflower, safflower, olive, sesame, flaxseed, pumpkin seed, canola, hazelnut, and almond.
Moreover, you should also keep away from shortening animal fats, coconut oil and hydrogenated oil. On the contrary, you should take a diet that incorporates plenty of raw vegetable and fruits; whole grains; lean meats, dairy products having low fat; and also drink lots of clean water.
Some of the other essential nutrients that you need to prevent new wrinkles from developing are discussed in brief below.
Vitamin A plus beta-carotene: You should take antioxidants that have the aptitude to diminish the damage to cells. Having an extremely dry skin may possibly be a sign of the fact that you are suffering from a deficiency of vitamin A. Therefore, in a number of instances using cod liver oil that has extremely high vitamin A content on the dehydrated skin areas may provide additional relief compared to the lotions sold commercially. Also, consume lots of sweet potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes, as they provide vitamin A. You may also use dietary supplements in measures that will not cause any harm to your body. Most importantly, consuming lots of carrots, green leafy vegetable, and fresh fruits may help in encouraging as well as sustaining a hale and hearty skin.
B complex vitamins are vital for your skin’s health. It may be noted that formation of cracks as well as a line in the region of the lips may possibly be an indication of the fact that you are suffering from a deficiency of B vitamins. Food products like eggs, chicken as well as whole wheat contain B vitamins and may help in encouraging the health of your skin and make it appear more youthful.
Vitamin C is useful for repairing the connective tissues, which are made up of the skin’s dermis layer.
Vitamin E aids in lessening scratches and blemishes, while helping in repairing the skin. In addition, vitamin E is also effective in alleviating dehydrated as well as rough skin.
Unlike many other types of vitamins, you may directly apply vitamin E to your skin. Most of the vitamin E preparations available commercially do not contain this vitamin inadequate strength and, hence, they do not offer excellent results. Hence, it is advisable that you break open a vitamin E capsule or, alternatively, directly apply wheat germ oil.
In addition to these vitamins, you may also apply honey facials as they aid in making the skin softer as well as more elastic. Apply soft, raw honey on your face and allow it to remain for about 15 minutes. Subsequently, wash your face with cold water using a washcloth.
Filter one pint of tea prepared from dehydrated peppermint leaf and add it to one pint of apple cider vinegar. This blend is an excellent facial rinse and is especially recommended for people having dehydrated skin. You may also use watered down myrrh extract, which is believed to be an excellent herbal skin conditioner.
Aloe vera facilitates the healing of damaged skin cells and may be used in the form of a lotion or gel.
Several generations of native Indian Americans have used jojoba oil as a skin conditioner as well as to enhance the quality of their skin. The structure of jojoba oil is akin to the natural sebum present in our skin.
Though the name suggests some kind of earth, Redmond clay is basically a conventional herbal therapy used to tone up the skin.
Comfrey, marshmallow, and Irish moss are herbs that possess the ability to make the skin relax or soothe it. These herbs are known to possess emollient properties and have the aptitude to help in lubricating the dehydrated skin. They may be used in various forms, including wet compresses, rinses after preparing a tea from them, or utilized in a gadget called facial mist machine.
Herbs like witch hazel, lady’s mantle, and marigold are regarded to be natural astringent agents that have the ability to tone as well as invigorate the skin. These herbs may be used to prepare a tea, which is used as a rinse, or also sprayed on the face using a good mist atomizer. In addition, herbs like yarrow, violet, elderflower and chamomile work as excellent cleansers. On the other hand, thyme and lavender possess antiseptic properties and possess the aptitude to refresh the skin.
It is advisable that you may also use herbal ointments and creams enclosing comfrey, marigold, olive oil, peppermint oil and marshmallow, as they are effective in repairing damaged skin.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is effective in diminishing the wrinkles from appearing and also put off development of new wrinkles. In order to achieve this, it is advisable that you use face oil that helps to nourish the skin. Prepare this face oil by adding one drop of rose essential oil plus two drops of helichrysum or immortelle essential oil (commonly called ever last) to approximately 30 grams of the essential oil of rosehip seed. Store this blend in an opaque glass bottle and spread on this mixture to your face each morning, soon after cleansing. This mixture of essential oils has a wonderful aroma and also helps to sustain the moistness of the skin.

In Addition

Besides using commercial cosmetic products, herbal remedies, supplements and aromatherapy, you may do a few more things to prevent the development of wrinkles. Be careful to keep away from exposing yourself to the sun for too long or during the mid-day. In fact, when the new or young skin cells are exposed to sunlight for a prolonged period, they have the same appearance as those of the old skin that has developed wrinkles naturally. You should know that exposing yourself to the sun in an unprotected manner can definitely result in premature aging. The sunlight during midday causes maximum damage to the skin. Therefore, it is advisable that you should take care not to expose yourself to the sun between 10.00 am and 3.00 pm.
Even if it is essential for you to go outdoors during the day, you should use potent sunscreens having an elevated SPF (sun protection factor). You need to apply these sunscreens no less than 30 minutes prior to going out in the sun and you should apply them once more after having a swim. In addition, surfaces that are extremely reflective, for instance, water, concrete, and sand, may result in significant damage by the sun as these surfaces exaggerate the effect of sunlight on the cells of the skin. In addition, tanning booths may also cause as much damage to the skin as sunlight during midday.
In addition, you will benefit by using a good quality moisturizer every day. Although using a moisturizer will not help to stop the formation of wrinkles, it can definitely enhance the skin texture considerably and make it look softer and gleaming. You may also whip the egg white as fine as that of meringue and apply it to your face. Allow it to stay for about 20 minutes and then wash your face. This technique will aid in tightening your skin for the short term – usually, the effect of this endures for just a couple of hours. It is advisable that you use soaps and cleansers that are mild and those that will not dehydrate or remove the oils that aid in maintaining the suppleness of the skin as well as nourishing it. You may use soaps like Neutrogena, which are sufficiently mild and never disturb the skin’s normal balance.
At the same time, you need to practice sleeping on your back, because when you sleep on your stomach or any side, it may result in the development of unusual wrinkles on your face. Similarly, if you squeeze up the pillow and cuddle up your face in it, it is likely that this will crumble the facial tissues and develop unwanted lines.
If you sincerely wish to avoid the formation of wrinkles it is essential that you quit a few bad habits – drinking and smoking tobacco.
It has been noted that people who smoke generally have noticeably more wrinkles compared to those who don’t. In addition, people smoking tobacco also age more prematurely and faster. In effect, smoking reduces the supply of oxygen to the body and this may result in poor blood circulation to the face causing further damage to the epidermis. Moreover, when one is actually smoking, his/ her face contracts in a number of ways and this may also add to the development of wrinkles and creases.
People who want to avoid wrinkles should know that consumption of alcoholic beverages may result in the swelling of the face that causes the skin to expand and, in this way, creates wrinkles. In addition, alcohol may also deprive one’s body of the essential nourishment that encourage the robust functioning of the skin’s cells.
You also need to wear sunglasses and hats in order to put off frowning, straining your eyes and also damage due to the sun’s rays.
In case you are living in a dry climate, you need to use a humidifier in your residence. Although the moisture from the humidifier will not help to stop or treat wrinkles, it may definitely diminish their appearance or other people noticing them.
Ensure that you use facial massages that augment blood circulation and also enhance stimulation. In addition, you should work to maintain the best possible weight. When you have excessive weight or become obese, you may have wrinkles and floppy skin after losing those extra pounds.
Regular exercise helps to improve blood circulation to the cells of the skin and also results in the general improvement of oxygenation. It has been found that the skin of people who undertake regular work-outs, in general, has an enhanced suppleness and density. In addition, regular exercise adds a healthy radiance to the skin.
In addition, it is recommended that you do mudra and shoulder stand practices in yoga to avoid as well as control the formation of wrinkles.
Practice various relaxation methods to deal with stress. When people are under pressure, they usually frown too much and this results in the development of ugly creases and lines on their face. There is no doubt that people would any day have a preference to laugh lines than unsightly furrows and ridges on their face.
Although the wrinkle creams are usually very expensive, often they do not prove to be worth the claims made by some. Therefore, prior to spending a fortune, it is advisable that you do some homework to evaluate the constituents as well as the proportions of chemical substances present in some wrinkle cream/ ointment brands. A lot of times, the price of a wrinkle cream is based on its brand name instead of its contents.

Other Beneficial Herbs to Consider

  • Amla
  • Acerola
  • Andiroba
  • Avocado
  • Chaga Mushroom
  • Cleavers
  • Evening Primrose
  • Frankincense
  • Maqui
  • Tamanu Nut Oil

Chocolate: 7 Do It Yourself Treatment’s To Make You Say, “Mmm.”

Here’s some news: Chocolate is good for your skin!
Many of us grew up with the concept that chocolate causes blemishes.
Instead, scientists have discovered that chocolate can contain more antioxidants per cup than red wine or green tea. In fact, certain compounds in chocolate even help smooth the skin and decrease its sensitivity to the sun.
Chocolate is good for your skin because of its high content of cocoa butter, which is a natural skin softener and conditioner. It is also an antioxidant, which means it prevents free radical damage to your skin and protects its natural elasticity. To receive the full benefit, choose commercial products or recipes with chocolate, cocoa and cocoa butter as the main ingredients. Also, dark chocolate seems to be much more effective than milk chocolate or white chocolate {which many argue is not really chocolate}. Chocolate is considered dark if it contains at least 35 percent cocoa.
In skin care, chocolate, cocoa and cocoa butter are all excellent moisturizers. Chocolate also contains caffeine which can stimulate your circulation and give your skin a healthy glow when used in a massage cream or body scrub. The scent of chocolate releases serotonin, the same hormone that we experience when falling in love and for many people promotes happy feelings and reduces stress. So next time you have a craving for something sweet enjoys a bit of chocolate with the bonus of better skin and a better mood.
Here are some cocoa-based recipes to create at home.
 
 
Mocha Facial Mask
Makes 4 ounces, enough for 1 application.
Facial masks are a great way to deep cleanse your skin so that it will work more efficiently. Plus, clean skin holds more moisture and looks brighter. The milk and espresso contain natural food acids that help rid your skin of surface debris and dead skin cells while the chocolate or cocoa powder helps condition and soothe your complexion. Use weekly to wake up a dull complexion!
 
4 tablespoons finely ground espresso or coffee
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
8 tablespoons whole milk
 
1. Mix together all ingredients until you have a smooth paste.
 
2. Spread over a clean face and neck, avoiding the eye and mouth area.
 
3. Let sit for 15 minutes and rinse well with warm water.
 
Chocolate Walnut Body Polish
Makes 8 ounces.
Exfoliate weekly with a body scrub for healthy, glowing skin. This rich recipe, full of natural nut oils, will gently scrub and soften the skin all over your body. Ina pretty jar with a big bow, it also makes a wonderful gift. You can find walnut oil at the grocery store in the cooking oil section. You also might want to experiment with other natural nut oils, such as almond and macadamia.
 
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup walnut oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
 
1. Stir together all ingredients until well mixed.
 
2. Standing in the shower or tub, massage into damp skin, rinse well and pat dry.
 
 
Chocolate Lip Balm
Makes 1/2 ounce.
Protect your lips this winter with a rich chocolate and cocoa butter lip balm. Cocoa butter, a key ingredient in chocolate, is a creamy, fatty wax that is obtained from the seeds of the cocoa plant. You can find 100 percent cocoa butter at the drugstore it’s sold in sticks or small jars.
 
1 1/2 teaspoons grated cocoa butter
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon grated dark or milk chocolate
1-2 drops essential oil {optional, see note}
 
1. Combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl or double boiler on the stove top and gently melt until you have a smooth liquid.
 
2. Pour into a small jar or lip balm tube and allow to cool completely.
 
Note:
Try adding pure orange, mint or lavender essential oils for unique gourmet lip balms.
 
Hot Cocoa Bath
Makes 16 ounces, enough for 1 bath.
Milk baths are classic beauty basics. They are effective because the lactic acid in milk helps soften and soothe the skin. Chocolate milk is equally effective; combined with the power of honey, this yummy bath will refresh your skin. Be extra decadent and sip a cup of cocoa while bathing. It is especially relaxing in the evening before going to bed.
 
2 cups chocolate milk
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons mild liquid soap
 
1. Stir together all ingredients.
 
2. Pour under the running water as you fill your tub.
 
3. Bathe and relax for 15 to 20 minutes.
 
Cocoa Butter Cuticle Cream
Makes 1 ounce.
Cocoa butter is a popular ingredient in creams and lotions because of its smooth texture, chocolaty fragrance, and rich emollient properties. Many women use pure cocoa butter to rid their skin of stretch marks and scars. Combined with coconut oil, it is perfect for conditioning your cuticles. Massaging this cream into your cuticles daily will help boost circulation and promote healthy nail growth.
 
1 teaspoon cocoa butter grated
2 tablespoons coconut oil
 
1. Gently heat cocoa butter and coconut oil in a small pot until melted.
 
2. Stir well and pour into a clean dish or container. Allow cooling completely.
 
3. Massage a small amount into your cuticles.
 
 
 
Chocolate From The Ground Up
 
Chocolate is made from the seeds of the cacao tree. This tree is native to Central America and Mexico and dates back to 1100 B.C. The Mesoamerican people used the seeds to make beverages. The seeds are dried, cleaned and roasted to produce cacao nibs, which are ground and processed into two different substances: cocoa and cocoa butter. Chocolate as we know it combines these two components, along with other ingredients such as sugar, milk, and sometimes herbs and spices.
 
Cocoa Mint Foot Scrub
Makes 6 ounces.
Invigorate your feet at the end of a tough day with this rich and minty scrub. The raw sugar scrub will smooth and cleanse while the cocoa butter makes your feet super soft. Peppermint oil is a well-known energizer. Use this scrub anytime your feet and spirits need a lift.
 
2 tablespoons coca butter, grated
2 tablespoons almond oil
1/2 cup raw sugar
4-5 drops peppermint essential oil
 
1. Gently heat cocoa butter and almond oil until cocoa butter melts; stir well.
 
2. Add sugar and peppermint oil and mix.
 
3. Massage into clean feet and rinse with warm water. If your feet are extremely dry, massage in a bit more cocoa butter and cover your feet with clean cotton socks for 15 to 20 minutes.
 
Chocolate Massage Butter
Makes 4 ounces.
This rich moisturizer is great for extra-dry skin or classic rough skin spots, such as feet, knees, and elbows. Also, this recipe can be used as the ultimate massage balm. Warm up a small amount between your palms and treat a loved one to a decadent and relaxing massage for chocolate lovers.
 
1/4 cup grated cocoa butter
1 tablespoon grated dark chocolate
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated beeswax
 
1. Place all ingredients in a microwave-safe container or on the stovetop in a double boiler. Melt gently, stirring often.
 
2. Pour the hot liquid into a clean container. For small individual bars, pour into an ice cube tray and let cool completely.
 
3. Massage into clean skin.

Recipes To Get You Started – Wax On!

We’ve measured the recipes below {also see “Save Your Skin Salve”} by volume, so they don’t necessarily conform to the same rules you would use if measuring by weight. They do, however, yield small batches, allowing you to see what works best for you. You have your choice of which plant wax to use as your base.
 

Basic Lip Balm

 
This balm does contain cocoa butter, which adds character, but you can make a bare-bones version without it by substituting some more olive or almond oil instead if you prefer to start simply.
 
2 tablespoons olive or almond oil
1 tablespoon cocoa butter {or 1 additional tablespoon oil}
1 tablespoon candelilla wax; or 1 tablespoon carnauba wax; or 1 teaspoon rice wax and 2 teaspoons sweet almond wax
 
Heat the ingredients in a slow cooker until the wax melts. Pour up at once into sterilized containers. Let cool, cap, and label.
 

Wanna Dance? Foot Balm

 
Taking time to pamper the feet – yours or someone else’s – can offer smooth rewards. This treatment also works well on rough elbows or dry, flaky skin on arms, hands, and knees. The balm keeps well. Use it along with the scrub {see below}.
 
1 tablespoon apricot kernel or sweet almond oil
1 tablespoon shea butter
1 tablespoon grated apricot kernel wax or sweet apricot wax
2 tablespoons rose water or distilled water
15 drops lavender essential oil
2 drops peppermint essential oil
 
Melt oil, shea butter, and wax in a slow cooker. When the wax is melted, remove from heat and stir in the rose water or distilled water thoroughly. Add the essential oils and stir. Pour into sterilized container{s} and seal.
 
 

Raspberry Silk Toes Scrub

 
Use this balm after showers to keep skin smooth. It’s also great as a body scrub for hands, elbows, arms, knees, and legs. Once you’ve rinsed the scrub away and patted your feet dry, apply the Wanna Dance? Foot Balm above.
 
12 raspberries {fresh or frozen}
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin {or mild liquid hand soap}
1/2 teaspoon jojoba wax pearls {medium}
 
Put the raspberries and oil in the blender and puree. Pour into a bowl, stir in glycerin or liquid soap and the jojoba wax pearls. Refrigerate up to 24 hours. To Use: Smooth the scrub onto feet and work in from toes to heels, massaging gently. Rinse completely.
 
 

Save Your Skin Salve.

This all-purpose recipe allows you to substitute your herbs of choice.
The combination here, which includes comfrey, calendula, and chamomile, soothes scratches and scrapes, stings and bites, bumps and bruises, or aches and pains.
 
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons dried chopped comfrey root
2 tablespoons dried calendula flowers
2 tablespoons chamomile
1 tablespoon hemp oil {optional}
1 tablespoon cocoa butter
3 tablespoons grated sweet almond wax or apricot kernel wax {or 4 tablespoons for a stiffer salve}
 
Place olive oil and comfrey root in a slow cooker on high for an hour with the lid off. Make certain the oil completely covers the comfrey. Add calendula and chamomile. Cook for another hour uncovered on high heat. Check periodically to ensure that the oil covers all of the herbs and doesn’t boil at least no more than just around the edges. Turn off heat, let cool slightly, and strain the oil, discarding herbs.
Measure 1/3 cup of the infused oil. {If you don’t have enough, add a bit of olive oil} and place it in the slow cooker with the hemp oil, wax, and cocoa butter. Heat until the wax melts {about 20 minutes}, stirring thoroughly. Pour into jar{s}, seal, and date.
 
* One last note about this salve:
We cooked some up to check the recipe for this article and set it on the kitchen counter to cool. When I returned to see if it had set, I had to step over our dog. I can personally attest that this salve is remarkably soothing on knees that have been bruised and scraped on hardwood floors!

Wax On!

Want to make your own cosmetics and skin care products?
Look at the diverse range of plant waxes that Mother Nature has to offer.
People have been using wax for centuries. Ointments and inks contain wax, and without it, your favorite chewing gum wouldn’t have the right bounce. Its elastic character, along with its ability to disappear when heated and add body to other ingredients, offers a wide range of applications. Traditionally, beeswax has been the hands-down favorite in handcrafted products. But wax comes from other sources, too; animal, mineral, and vegetable. Early American colonists, for instance, looked to bayberries to produce wax. The fruit yielded a scented wax, and candles made from it offered a much better fragrance than the standard tallow dip most settlers could afford.
These days, waxes derived from plant sources such as candelilla, carnauba, rice bran, sweet almond, and apricot kernel are hitting the sales list of suppliers who offer the raw materials for making soaps and boutique cosmetics. Why use these rather than beeswax, the historical standard for salves, creams, ointments, and balms? One reason might be an anticipated shortage at your local apiary thanks to Colony Collapse Disorder {CCD}. This strange phenomenon has adult honeybees deserting the hive, leaving behind the queen, the larvae, and sometimes a full hive of honey. Because scientists haven’t isolated the cause, there’s no cure yet. {Of course, a shortage of beeswax is probably the least of our problems with CCD, considering that bees pollinate about 80 percent of our food crops.}
Yet another reason to opt for a vegetable-based wax: It’s vegan. Many people are moving toward vegan formulas. Our vegan substitute for beeswax comes from the flaky wax residue on the stems of candelilla plants, which grow in dry regions of the Southwest. Second in popularity is carnauba wax, which you might recognize as a key ingredient in the kind of polish that’s used by folks who refer to their cars as “Baby.” This wax is taken from the fronds of a wax-producing palm that grows in northeastern Brazil {Copernicia cenfera}. Like candelilla wax, it’s widely used in the cosmetic industry.
Of course, the final and perhaps most compelling reason to use plant wax: It allows you to incorporate yet another plant into your favorite herb-based beauty formulas.
The Word On Wax
Candelilla and carnauba waxes are both harder than beeswax and have a higher melting point. Beeswax melts at about 144 degrees, whereas candelilla requires about 165 degrees. Carnauba, often cited as the hardest of the natural waxes, doesn’t turn to liquid until it reaches over 172 degrees. For this reason, they’re not quite as easy to work with. Beeswax is forgiving when it comes to applying and reapplying heat. Candelilla and carnauba are more brittle and temperamental. You end up using five to 15 percent more wax.
This might be a good place to point out that formulations are done by weight as is common with recipes at many large-scale commercial ventures. Those of us who make smaller batches, however, frequently measure by volume because we’re more likely to grab a set of measuring spoons on a scale. Measuring by volume is less reliable because wax comes in various shapes and forms, from finely ground powder and chunky little flakes to blocks you might need to attack with a cheese grater. So keep in mind that your experience may vary if you’re measuring by volume.
Then there’s rice bran wax, derived from rice bran oil. It’s hard too in comparing it to candelilla and carnauba, but it definitely has a lower melting point. It differs in character from the other two plant waxes, a difference you can tell by examining the flake closely. If you pick up the others, they will just snap and break whereas the rice bran bends and breaks gently.
You’ll find all three of these waxes in lip balms. Candelilla and carnauba wax, like beeswax, have scents that are noticeable when pouring up a mixture, yet almost completely disappear when the mixture cools. At that point, candelilla and carnauba wax leave less of a signature than beeswax does. Rice bran wax seems to have no scent at all. These fairly stiff plant waxes work best in salves and balms. As a thickener or emulsifier for creams and lotions, though, their performance can disappoint. Instead of producing a smoothly blended product, they tend to crystallize. The result looks a bit like milk poured over sawdust.
If you want a plant-based alternative for creams, lotions, and salves, you’ll want softer waxes that do a better job of emulsifying. Look to sweet almond and apricot kernel wax. Both have a melting point similar to beeswax but feel softer to the touch. They also boast light, appealing fragrances.
You’ll also find a number of plant waxes used in cosmetics that enhance the product’s recipe, but don’t serve as a base. One of these is jojoba wax. Extracted from the jojoba nut that grows in Texas, Arizona, Mexico, and southern California, this viscous oil is chemically a wax, but manifests as a liquid at room temperature. As a result, it looks like oil, is used in recipes like oil, and is generally sold as “jojoba oil.” Formulators love it because it blends beautifully, closely resembles the natural sebum of human skin, and never goes rancid.
Don’t confuse it with jojoba wax beads, which come from the same plant, but are altogether different. These beads don’t work like other plant waxes. They’re perfectly round, and there used for exfoliating, making them better for scrubs. Also called jojoba pearls, these perfect spheres don’t break down, offering gentler exfoliation than ingredients like walnut shells and apricot kernel powder, which contain edges that can scratch the skin.
Working With Wax
If you’re just starting to use plant waxes, here are a few tips:

  • Start with small batches to minimize loss.
  • Have extra wax on hand. If substituting candelilla or carnauba wax in a recipe that calls for beeswax, add 5-10 percent more plant-based wax {by weight} in your first experiment.
  • Use gentle heat. Don’t try to use the microwave. A slow cooker used with caution works well, as does low to medium-low heat on the stove-top.
  • For the stiffer waxes, pour up the mixture into your containers {thick glass- or metal-based containers work best} immediately. Once it melts, there’s no reason to keep it sitting there. Pour it fast, and it will cool more quickly, which helps eliminate consistency issues.
  • When working with carnauba and candelilla, you may have difficulty with plant butter. Shea, cocoa, and kokum butter can all crystallize and spoil a recipe batch. {If this happens, it’s hard to tell whether the butter of the wax has crystallized.}
  • Check how well the final product holds up in your pocket. We call it the “pocket test” around here. When we formulate, we do all the real-life things that will happen to a product. While the car dashboard isn’t a practical test because temperatures are excessive, our starting formula for a lip balm is always hard enough to withstand being in someone’s pocket no matter what the temperature outside.

Bath Teas..

A good warm bath at the end of a busy day – at any time, in fact – can melt away stress, treat skin irritations and muscle aches, and relieve symptoms of colds and flu. Enhance warm water’s natural relaxing qualities with a strong herbal tea poured directly into the bath. Some of the medicinal constituents will be absorbed effortlessly through your skin, and others, such as volatile oils, will rise from the surface of the water with the steam and be absorbed through the mucous membranes of your respiratory tract. Keep in mind that bath teas are not formulated for internal consumption, so do not use them as beverage teas. Carefully label these teas for bathing use only, and store them near the bathroom.
Try these delightful bath tea recipes. Each one makes enough tea for a single bath and can be added either with the herbs still in the tea water or strained out.

Bedtime Bath Tea.

This bath tea’s wonderful fragrance relaxes your spirit, and its healing substances soften your skin. It’s a perfect tea for helping to calm children in the evening before bed.

  • 1 heaping cup fresh or 1/2 cup dried chamomile flower
  • 1 heaping cup fresh or 1/2 cup dried lemon balm herb
  • 2/3 heaping cup fresh or 1/3 cup dried lavender flower
  • 10 cups purified water
  • Several drops essential oil such as lavender or orange {optional}

Place the chamomile, lemon balm, and lavender in a saucepan. Add the water and stir to thoroughly combine, cover, and gently simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it steep for 20 minutes. If desired, strain and compost the herbs or feel free to include them in your bath for extra healing benefits. Add the optional essential oil and stir well. Add the tea to a warm bath and enjoy.

Healthy Skin Bath Tea.

These herbs are especially soothing during gardening season, when mosquito bites, scratches and scrapes, and a little sunburn are likely.

  • 1/2 heaping cup fresh or 1/4 cup dried calendula flower
  • 1/2 heaping cup fresh or 1/4 cup dried plantain leaf
  • 1/2 heaping fresh or 1/4 cup dried Gotu kola herb
  • 1/2 heaping cup fresh or 1/4 cup dried lavender flower
  • 1/2 heaping cup fresh or 1/4 cup dried echinacea leaf
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh or dried ginger root
  • 10 cups purified water

Place the calendula, plantain, Gotu kola, lavender, echinacea, and ginger in a saucepan. Add the water, stir to thoroughly combine, cover, and gently simmer for 30 minutes. If desired, strain and compost the herbs. Add the tea to a warm bath and enjoy.

Herbal Bath Bags

Lavender has a relaxing effect on the peripheral nervous system and has long been used to treat headaches originating from nervous tension. Not surprisingly with these medicinal properties combined with its sweet clean smell, lavender has long been a constituent of bath bags. These are made from squares of muslin or voile. A cupful of the mixture is placed in the center of the square, the sides drawn up and tied into a bag with appropriate colored ribbon.
 
Lavender Mist Bath Bags
 
1/2 cup dried sweet cicely
1/2 cup dried sweet woodruff
1 tablespoon dried valerian roots
1/4 cup dried lavender leaves
1/2 cup dried lavender flowers
1/4 cup dried angelica leaves
1 1/2 cup medium ground oatmeal
1/2 cup almond meal
20 drops oil of lavender
 
Divide the mixture into 3 equal portions and tie into bags as previously described.
Soak the bag thoroughly in hot water at the bottom of the bath before topping up with cool water.
Squeeze the bag repeatedly until no more milkiness emerges. The water will now be silky soft and fragrant.
Use the bag as a final gentle skin scrub. The bag is reusable once provided it is used the next day.
 
Aromatic Bath
 
This recipe is adapted from the Toilet of Flora published in the seventeenth century.
Combine half a cup of each of the following dried herbs: lavender, sweet marjoram, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, wormwood, peppermint, pennyroyal, lemon balm.
Add the mixture to two litres of water in an enamelled pan, boil for ten minutes, then allow to cool.
Strain through a double layer of cloth and add half a bottle of brandy.
Bottle. Add a little to the bathtub when bathing.
 
The Beauty Bath
 
Ninon de Lenclos was a celebrated and exceedingly beautiful French courtesan of the seventeenth century.
She died at the age of 85 {rare indeed at that time} and reputedly retained her smooth youthful skin and curves until the end. She attributed this to her special daily herbal bath.
Here is her secret recipe.
1 handful crushed comfrey root
1 handful dried lavender flowers
1 handful dried mint leaves
1 handful dried rosemary leaves
1 handful dried Centifolia rose petals {recommended by famous French herbalist Maurice Messague for its anti-wrinkle properties}
 
Mix together, tie in a muslin bag and place in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over the herbs and leave to steep for 20 minutes. Pour the resulting infusion into a warm bath, squeezing the bag hard to extract all the active principles.
 
An Eighteenth Century Sweet Bath
 
This bath is refreshing, antiseptic and deodorising.
 
1 cup dried rose petals
1 cup dried orange flowers
1 cup dried Jasminum officinalis flowers
1 cup dried bay leaves
1 cup dried mint leaves
1 cup pennyroyal leaves
1 cup dried citrus peel {yellow part only}
6 drops essential oil of lavender
6 drops essential oil of musk
6 drops essential oil rose geranium
 
Mix well and store in a glass jar.
To use, tie 2-3 cups of the mixture in a muslin square, place in a bowl and pour boiling water over the herbs.
Allow to infuse for twenty minutes, remove the herbs squeezing the muslin bag firmly to extract all the herb extract, and add this concentrated infusion to a warm bath.
 
The Ultimate Tranquility Bath
 
Save this bath until evening.
You will find yourself unwinding wonderfully with this fragrant bath.
 
1 cup dried lavender flowers
1 cup dried linden flowers
1 cup dried chamomile flowers
1 cup dried valerian root chips
1 cup dried sweet marjoram
1/2 cup dried angelica leaves
1/2 cup dried lemon verbena leaves
 
Mix well together and use in the same way as the previous recipe.