Market Report August 2018 {Essential Oils, Carrier Oils, Raw Materials}

The following report contains updates on the current trends in production and availability of the most in-demand Essential Oils, Carrier Oils, and Raw Materials sourced from around the globe.

patchouli (1)

Patchouli Oil

In Indonesia, the Patchouli supply has decreased, and the next yield is expected to be lower. It is currently an ideal time to make an investment in Patchouli stocks. Big buyers have recently entered the market and a large number of processors are purchasing new plant material at the newer price points. Given the current prices in the Indonesian market, the production of Patchouli in India is not likely to be reestablished; despite some cultivation in limited areas, most Patchouli is being used for the propagation of plants rather than for the production of oil. Despite the availability of organic production, albeit a limited one, Indian Patchouli Oil differs from the Indonesian oil; hence, natural product formulators looking to replace the Indonesian oil with the Indian oil may find that the latter does not match their preference.

frankincense-oil-relieves-congestion-hs-fb

Frankincense Oil

In India, the Frankincense gum harvest season came to a close as the Monsoon season began at the end of June. Because gum collection takes place in several regions, the crop yield varies and is dependent on numerous growth conditions; however, the average yield for Frankincense Essential Oil ranges between 4 and 9%. The anti-inflammatory properties of Frankincense derivatives have increased the value and popularity of their use in medicinal applications in the pharmaceutical industry. Frankincense prices remain high with a nominal competition. With increasing demand for this oil, the prices are also expected to keep gradually increasing. Frankincense supply remains stable and some large quantities may still be obtainable.

lavandula-angustifolia-mill

Lavender Oil (Bulgaria)

In Bulgaria, Lavender is harvested in the month of July. This year’s exceptionally low yield caused by excessive rains has resulted in an acute shortage of material available for distillation. Given this shortage, it is predicted that the demand will not be met. Current market prices in Bulgaria are 50% higher than last year.

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Tea Tree Oil

In Australia, Tea Tree leaves are harvested between May and November. This year’s steady rainfall has placed constraints on and has affected production to the point where there is no carryover stock. This current state of affairs is not expected to improve any time soon, thus oil prices are predicted to increase. The production season recommenced in June and has been expected to continue to August 2018.

In China, Tea Tree leaves are harvested between May and August. In August, the crop season also commences and carries on until October. Last year’s production was negatively impacted by continuous rains in the main areas of production, namely the regions of Guangdong, Guangxi, and Fujian. There is a tight market and, in the near future, the prices are estimated to continue increasing.

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Basil Oil (India)

In India, Basil is harvested between the months of November and February. At present, it is challenging to obtain the Basil plant material.

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Rosemary Oil (Spain)

In Spain, Rosemary is harvested between February and June. Oil samples that are currently available in the market are derived from wild harvesting, and the distillation of the first batches of oil is set to proceed. Despite the low availability of Rosemary, the market is calm at present, but the updates from local farmers are optimistic.

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Cinnamon Leaf Oil

In Sri Lanka, Cinnamon is harvested between the months of May and November. Due to a major drought in the growing region, the collection has decreased and the oil supply is low. A new crop was expected to have become available in larger quantities between July and August, an ideal time to meet the year’s requirements. The prices for Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil are unstable; however, this is partly because of the depreciation of the Sri Lankan rupee.

Highland Beauty

Part of the United Kingdom, Scotland covers the northern third of the Island of Great Britain, and while it shares a border with England to the south, it’s otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, and the Irish Sea on the southwest coast. In addition to the mainland, the country comprises more than 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides. Its romantic, craggy coastal cliffs, its moors, and its fields provide a landscape of rugged, enduring beauty. And its seaside habitats provide us with key ingredients to boost our own beauty, no matter where we live.

Scottish herbal gardens

In a country with such an astounding landscape, the Scottish take advantage of nature, putting these native plants and herbs to good use. Strolling along you will see small gardens and containers full of flowers, herbs, and vegetables. {Walking is a popular pastime in Scotland. The “right to roam” is something the Scottish people embrace, and you are allowed to trek, hike, and walk all over the country, so long as you are respectful to both private and public lands.} The countryside is also a source of important species, and plants that some may think of as weeds or as insignificant, such as rosehips and nettles, are actually quite useful when made into a healthy morning tea or in treating tough skin issues like eczema. The sea, of course, offers a variety of beauty ingredients – sea kelp and ocean salt, in particular, which soothe the body and boost circulation.

Here are a few recipes for you to create at home in the celebration of this small country.

Scottish Sea Kelp Bath

The sea has been used for centuries as a source of fresh ingredients and a place for purification and relaxation. Today, baths containing sea salt and mineral- and vitamin-rich sea kelp are popular spa treatments, but you can easily draw yourself one at home. It can help your body detox and it relaxes your muscles. Look for kelp in powdered form at most natural food stores {it may be brown, green, or red}. If you are lucky enough to live by the ocean, you can use fresh seaweed and kelp; just make sure you take it from a secluded spot away from swimmers and rinse it thoroughly with fresh water before adding it to your bath.

  • 1/2 cup Epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup sea salt
  • 1/4 cup powdered sea kelp {1 cup freshly picked sea kelp}

Mix together all ingredients and stir well. If using fresh kelp, store in the refrigerator or freezer until bath time. To use: Pour the mixture and/or your fresh pieces of kelp {you will feel like a mermaid!} into a warm tub under running water and soak for 20 minutes. Make sure you follow up with a rich body lotion or natural oil, as this bath can be drying to your skin. Yield: 10 ounces.

Nettles Body Lotion

Stinging nettles grow along Scottish country roads and backyards and are often thought of as a pesky weed with a nasty bite. But herb-lovers know the wealth of nutrients nettles provides, and this plant is often a key ingredient in many herbal teas and body-care products. Dried or processed nettle is safe to use on your skin and hair and provides anti-inflammatory properties. This simple body lotion works great for extremely dry skin by reducing irritation. You can find nettle tea at most natural food shops and online. {If you have nettles nearby, be sure to wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and thick gloves when harvesting.}

  • 1/8 tsp borax powder or baking soda
  • 1/2 cup strong nettle tea {2 tsp dried nettle leaves to 1/2-cup boiling water}
  • 1/4 cup light oil such as almond, light sesame, or sunflower}
  • 1 Tbls grated beeswax

Mix together the borax and nettle tea and stir well. Heat until mixture is just boiling and very hot. In a separate container mix, the oil and beeswax and heat until the wax just begins to melt. Remove from heat and stir until wax is melted completely. In a clean blender or by hand in a large bowl with a whisk, combine the two mixtures, adding the nettle tea to the oil mixture in a slow, steady stream until you have a creamy emulsion. Let this mixture cool completely. Pour the lotion into a clean container. To use: Massage into your skin as you would any rich lotion. Yield: 6 ounces.

Stinging Nettle

If you do happen to brush up against a stinging nettle plant, here are some simple ways to take the “sting” out of your encounter. First, do not touch or scratch the affected area; this only spreads the irritants {much like poison oak or ivy}. Next, wash your skin with soap and water and pat dry. Use a bit of masking tape or cooled wax to remove some of the nettle hairs and fibers from your skin by pressing gently. Finally, apply some aloe vera gel, which will soothe the sting. Soaking and cooking in water or drying the herb removes its sting. Gather fresh nettles with care, making sure to wear gloves. Place them in a paper bag or let them hang upside down to dry.

Sea Kelp and Yogurt Facial Mask

Many of the nutrients in seaweed and kelp are fat soluble, becoming available when introduced to natural oils and fats. Fresh yogurt makes an excellent base for a nourishing and cleansing facial mask because it contains fat, as well as natural acids that help rid your skin of surface impurities and cleans out pores.

  • 1/4 cup yogurt {you may want to try yogurt made from sheep’s milk}
  • 1 Tbls sea kelp powder
  • 1 tsp aloe vera gel
  • 1/2 tsp vitamin E oil

Mix together all ingredients until smooth and creamy. To use: Spread the mixture on your face and neck and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse off with cool water and pat your skin dry. Follow with a light natural oil or more aloe vera gel. Yield: 2 ounces.

rosehips

Wild Rosehip Facial Mask

Usually harvested in the fall, rosehips are small, orange-red fruits about the size of a cherry found just below the rose flower. Many natural food stores sell powdered rosehips. Extremely rich in vitamin C, which boosts collagen production, these beach beauties help revive the skin.

  • 1 Tbls dried rosehips, crushed
  • 1 Tbls water or rosewater
  • 1 tsp raw honey

Mix crushed rosehips and water and stir well until you have a smooth paste. Add the honey. Spoon into a clean container. To use: Spread the mixture on your face and neck and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse off with cool water and pat your skin dry. Yield: 1 ounce.

Oatmeal Body Cleanser

No Scottish breakfast would be complete without a serving of whole oats. This healthy grain contains saponins that remove dirt from pores, and it also helps to moisturize. It’s especially helpful for relieving redness and irritations. All skin types can use oats, including those with sensitive skin. Make sure to use whole grain oats, which provide the most minerals and vitamins to benefit your skin.

  • 1 cup whole oats
  • 1/2 cup whole milk or almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbls raw honey

In a food processor or blender combine all ingredients and blend on high until you have a smooth, creamy mixture or lotion. Pour into a clean container with a tightly fitting lid and store in the refrigerator. To use: Massage into damp skin to clean your face and body. {Use it as you would any liquid cleanser or body wash.} Yield: 8 ounces.

Soothing Scottish Oatmeal Bath

Another oatmeal recipe, this one includes baking soda and sea salt for extra cleansing and detox power. Choose a variety of your favorite herbs, such as dried nettle, chamomile, lavender, or mint. Try this bath if you have a bad sunburn or insect bites.

  • 1 cup of dried herbs or a combination of herbs
  • 2 cups whole oats
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until you have a fine powder that resembles whole grain flour. Pour into a clean, dry jar with a tightly fitting lid. To use: Pour 1/2 cup into your bath as you fill the tub. Or place the mixture inside a muslin tea bag or cotton cloth if you’re concerned about bits of herbs in your tub. Simply hang or float the bath bag in your tub as you fill it. Yield: 28 ounces.

Mary, Queen of Scots, Bath

Imprisoned by her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, and eventually executed for treason, Mary, Queen of Scots, led a unique life. One of the things she was known for during her rule of Scotland was her love of baths filled with sweet white wine. In fact, it took 346 bottles of wine to fill her tub. According to the BBC, Mary believed this soak helped her complexion, and it may have provided some pain relief. Wine or vinegar in the bath does restore a natural, healthy acid to your skin. However, unlike Mary, you will only need half a bottle for your own bath.

  • 2 cups sweet white wine

Pour the wine directly into your bath as you fill the tub and stir well. To use: Soak for 20 minutes; afterward, use a rich body lotion or natural oil to lock in absorbed moisture. Yield: 16 ounces.

Luffa Love!

They may look exotic, but these all-natural scrubbing sponges are easy to grow in your backyard, making a great addition to your garden bed – and your beauty routine.

While they may look like sea sponges, most luffa {or loofah} “sponges” that you see on store shelves come not from the sea but from a plant. These scrubbers help exfoliate dead cells and surface impurities for healthy, glowing skin. The bonus; you don’t have to go to a store to buy one. Growing luffa is actually quite simple and fun.

Planting Your Luffa

Luffa {Luffa aegyptiaca}, known also as sponge gourd, Egyptian cucumber, hechima {in Japanese}, Chinese okra, and Vietnamese luffa, belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family of plants, which includes gourds, squashes, pumpkins, cucumbers, and melons. It’s most closely related to cucumbers in appearance and growth.

Luffa is the perfect addition to your garden space. Besides offering a range of household uses, they are edible and compostable and pollinators love their bright-yellow flowers. They are also easy to grow if you give them plenty of sunshine, water, and a place to climb.

You can find seeds at most garden shops and online. Local growers or neighbors will often gladly sell or even give seeds, as each gourd produces 100-200 seeds, depending on size. These large, black seeds are easy to handle, but they have a hard, outer shell so you will need to soak your seeds for 12 hours before planting. Some people also clip a tiny portion off the rounded end to help the seeds soak up more water and germinate faster.

Start your seeds inside before planting. It takes almost 90 days to produce a full-grown sponge, and may not have a long enough outdoor growing season. {North Carolina and Florida produce the most luffa in the United States. If you are lucky to live in either of these states, visit a local luffa farm or grower.} Once the danger of frost has passed and seedlings have sent out their first true leaves, you can transplant them.

If you are sowing outdoors, plant seeds 1-inch deep either directly in the ground or in a container with good drainage and rich, organic soil. Make sure you find a spot with full sun, and provide a trellis or sturdy fence nearby, as luffas love to climb. Water deeply every seven days to encourage strong roots, and fertilize with a finished compost when you see the first flowers form. After pollination, it’s the female flowers which produce the fruit. Luffas can cross-pollinate with other luffa varieties, but not with other gourds, so you can safely plant them next to other Cucurbitaceae species.

Luffa requires a lot of the same care as cucumbers to remain healthy and happy. Train the vines by gently placing tendrils where you would like them to climb. Luffa pods won’t grow unless the flowers pollinate {a good reason to keep bee-friendly companion plants nearby}. According to Luffa.info, you can also promote pollination by using a paper-based cotton swab to remove pollen from the male flowers {clustered, with thin stems} to the female blooms {solitary, with large stems}.

Harvesting Your Plants

For most regions, fall is the time to harvest. If you plan on eating them, pick your luffas when they reach about six inches long. Prepare the green pods as you would summer squash or zucchini; simply peel the skin, chop up the fruit, and add it to recipes. {Save the green peels, as they make wonderful cleansing facial and body scrubs that can be used in place of soap. They are also compostable.

If you want to make sponges, then leave the pods on the vine until they turn yellow/brown. Pick them from the vine and let them dry for about one to two weeks; then cut off the ends of your gourd and shake out the black seeds to save for next year or for sharing. Soak the gourd in fresh water and gently peel off the outer skin. The inner, fibrous skeleton is what you will use as your sponge.

luffa sponges

Caring for Your Luffa

The number one rule of luffa care is to keep it dry. Luffas can harbor bacteria so it is important to sanitize and care for your luffa properly. Rinse your luffa after each use and let it air dry completely. Always store your luffa in a dry spot, and not inside your shower, where it can’t dry completely between uses. Some people attach a piece of cord or rope to their luffas and hang them to dry.

Once a week, rinse your luffa and clean it by either boiling it in a pot of water on the stovetop, placing it in the top rack of your dishwasher or throwing it in the washing machine with a load of towels. Air dry your luffa thoroughly and it should last several months to a year. When it’s time to toss your sponge {it will look a lot darker and start to smell sour}, compost it or place it in the bottom of your flowerpots to help them retain moisture.

How Best to Use a Luffa

Luffa helps exfoliate and cleanse the surface of your skin by removing dead skin cells and other surface impurities. They also provide a gentle massage that boosts circulation and general well-being.

  1. Wet your luffa in the shower or bath with warm water. {The texture of the luffa may seem rough at first, but once you add hot water, it becomes much softer and easier to use on your skin.} The more you wet it and the longer it soaks in water, the softer it will become. Keep this in mind if you plan on using your luffa on classic rough skin spots, such as your feet or elbows, and would prefer a rougher texture.
  2. Apply your favorite cleanser or soap to your luffa. While not necessary, some people enjoy using their luffa with a body wash. You only need a little bit of body wash, and the luffa works double-duty cleansing and exfoliating. Just avoid sensitive skin areas on your body, and never use a luffa on your face.
  3. Starting at your shoulders, massage your body with the luffa in circular motions. Work your way down to your feet focusing on rough skin or areas with dry skin, such as the back of your arms or legs. A circular motion will help remove dead skin cells and is easier on your skin than an up-and-down scrubbing motion.
  4. Rinse your body with warm water, followed by a cool water rinse {as cool as you can stand}.
  5. Repeat weekly or bi-weekly depending on your skin type.

Luffa Beauty Recipes

Here are some recipes for using and enjoying your luffa plants. A homegrown luffa makes a wonderful present, and the addition of all-natural bath products makes the gift package complete.

Luffa Vine Water Toner

Luffa vine water is a traditional Japanese lotion made from soaking a freshly cut piece of hechima vine in some sake or shochu {an alcoholic beverage distilled from rice, barley, and sweet potatoes}. Use it as a toner after washing your face to protect and moisturize your skin.

  • 1 piece of freshly cut luffa vine {about 12-18 inches in length}
  • 1/2 cup sake or shochu
  • 1/2 cup water

In a clean glass jar or bowl, place the freshly cut luffa vine and sake. Let sit overnight {which will allow the water from the vine to fully infuse the alcohol}. Strain the liquid and then add water. To use: Apply to your skin after cleansing as a toner. Yield: 8 ounces.

Green Luffa Skin Cleanser

Much like cucumber peels, the green outer skin of the luffa plant is naturally astringent, making it a great ingredient for cleansing and freshening your skin. This simple recipe cleans well enough to replace your soap, and all skin types will enjoy it. Because it contains fresh foods, store it in the refrigerator between uses.

  • 1 cup green luffa peels
  • 1 Tbls aloe vera gel
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1-2 Tbls water

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until you have a smooth, green mixture. Pour into a clean container with a tightly fitting lid. To use: Massage into damp skin and rinse well with warm water. Yield: 8 ounces.

Soothing Luffa Sugar Scrub

Keeping skin clean not only prevents breakouts, it helps the skin absorb more moisture, so once a week, use a good, all-over skin scrub to remove dead cells, allowing the fresh skin underneath to hydrate. Sugar works well because it’s less dehydrating than salt and it suits all skin types. For extra cleansing power, you can grate dried luffa gourds with a cheese grater and add it to skin-scrub recipes, as I did in this recipe. Grating the dried luffa makes it gentle and less abrasive.

  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond oil
  • 1/2 tsp vitamin E oil
  • 2 Tbls grated dried luffa

Mix together all ingredients and pour into a clean container. To use: Stand in the shower or tub and massage a tablespoon or two of the scrub all over your body to gently exfoliate and moisturize your skin. Rinse well afterward. If you feel you need more moisture, follow up with more almond oil or your favorite body lotion. Yield: 8 ounces.

Luffa Soap Bars

Use this gentle scrubbing bar to remove dirt after a day spent gardening. You can also use these bars to cleanse your whole body, but be careful around sensitive areas. {Do not use this soap to wash your face, as it’s too harsh.} The natural luffa sponge helps exfoliate dead skin cells and surface impurities, leaving your skin clean, soft, and smooth. I use a serrated bread knife to slice the dried luffa gourd. You can use a variety of kitchen items as soap molds, including muffin tins, plastic dishes, mini loaf pans, and clean food containers.

  • 2 bars of pure, natural soap {such as castile or coconut oil}, chopped
  • 2 Tbls vegetable glycerin
  • 1 Tbls water
  • 4 slices dried luffa sponge, 1/2-inch thick

Place the luffa slices on an oiled cookie sheet or inside a lightly greased soap mold {mineral oil will work for this}. In a double boiler, gently heat the soap, glycerin, and water until you have a thick mixture and all the soap is melted. Spoon the melted soap inside your luffa slices and allow it to harden. Trim your soap with a sharp knife. To use: Apply to your skin as you would a luffa sponge or any scrubbing bar of soap. Avoid broken skin or rashy areas. Yield: 8 ounces, 3 to 4 bars of soap.

Favorite Herbs Luffa Soap

Combine shredded luffa with other dried herbs, such as lavender, chamomile, mint, or rosemary, to create a soap that exfoliates and smells great! Really, any scented herb you enjoy will work. Do not use fresh herbs in this recipe, as the moisture in the herbs can cause bacteria to grow.

  • 1 bar {1/2 cup} glycerin soap
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 Tbls dried herbs such as lavender, chamomile, or rosemary {or a combination}
  • 1 Tbls grated luffa

Place the luffa and herbs inside a soap mold. In a double boiler, gently heat the soap, glycerin, and water until you have a thick mixture and all the soap has melted. Spoon the melted soap inside your molds and allow it to harden. Trim your soaps with a sharp knife. To use: Apply to the skin as you would any scrubbing bar of soap. Avoid broken skin or sensitive areas. If needed, follow with moisturizer. Yield: 8 ounces, 3 to 4 bars of soap.

Luffa’s Other Uses

Luffa sponges offer a range of uses beyond your beauty regime, and they have been used and cultivated since ancient times. The Egyptians grew these gourds for food and also used the fibrous “skeleton” to make shoes and sandals. Prior to World War ll, luffas were also used on ships as filters and as insulation material. You can still find luffa sandals for sale in some countries today.

  • Arts: As a natural material, dried luffa makes an interesting “stamp” for creating designs on paper and fabric when dipped in paint. It also adds a natural texture to paint surfaces, such as walls and ceilings. Children can also have fun decorating luffa sponges with a variety of natural items, creating soft sculptures and dolls.
  • Kitchen: Use a luffa to scrub stubborn grease or leftover food on pots and pans. They stay dryer than a regular sponge {microwave your wet luffa for two minutes to kill germs}. To keep a bar of hand soap dry, place a slice of luffa underneath it.
  • Bath: Cut your luffa lengthwise, remove the inner core, and flatten the outer skeleton to create a material that you can use as a washcloth, to wear as spa slides {those sandals you put on after a pedicure}, or even as a natural maxi pad. Of course, a luffa works great to scrub soap scum buildup in the shower.

Scrambled Eggs and Luffa

Not just for beauty, luffa also tastes great. Young luffa gourds or “Chinese okra” {Luffa acutangula} make a tasty addition to stir-fry recipes. You can find them in some Asian markets, and they provide the body with manganese, potassium, vitamin A, and dietary fiber. Slice them on the diagonal in small, 1-inch pieces.

  • 1 Tbls vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 cups luffa gourd, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and stir until light brown and aromatic. Add luffa and stir until softened, about 1-2 minutes. Add eggs and cook until set. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with rice or steamed vegetables. Yield: 16 ounces, 2 servings.

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What About Sea Sponges?

Considered one of the oldest organisms on Earth, sea sponges – porous, bottom-dwelling sea creatures – grow like plants, but are actually classified as animals. Unlike other animals, however, they do not have circulatory, digestive, or central nervous systems. They belong to the Porifera phylum, referring to their porous features. The sponges filter the water that flows through these pores, gathering nutrients and releasing waste.

You can find sustainably grown sea sponges online and in stores. Softer than luffa sponges, sea sponges serve as environmentally friendly alternatives to the plastic poufs sold in the body wash aisle, since they are biodegradable and regrow after harvesting.

Look for ones that haven’t been bleached or treated with other chemicals. As with luffa plants, sea sponges offer a range of uses, from exfoliating skin to washing dishes to enhancing arts and crafts. And with a variety of species {5,000, in fact} to choose from, you can find the right sea sponge to suit your needs.

Natural Beauty With Fall Nuts

Autumn is a season of transition and harvest, during which we cut back the garden, dry and preserve our herbs, and enjoy fresh apples, grains, and a wealth of healthy and delicious nuts.

When we think of fall nuts we often think of them defined in the culinary sense: large, oil-rich kernels found in hard shells. Botanically speaking, many nuts, including hazelnuts, chestnuts, and acorns are actually fruits composed of a hard shell with an edible seed inside. This tasty seed is packed with unsaturated fatty acids, protein, fiber, and a good dose of omega-3’s.

While they’re certainly tasty, common fall nuts like Brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews, and pecans are perfect for natural beauty because they contain so much protein, as well as vitamins, minerals, and natural oils. Finely ground, they make an effective ingredient in skin scrubs, and they help cleanse the skin without drying it out or damaging the surface. You can also make them into rich milk and butters with very little processing.

Nut oils offer a broad range of beauty recipes, and pure almond and walnut oils make wonderful skin and hair conditioners. {Of course, eating them also promotes beauty from the inside out, because they boost collagen production in our skin.} The bonus: you can find them easily at most grocery or natural food stores. Here are some easy natural beauty recipes for you to try at home. Enjoy!

Hazelnut Cleansing Scrub

Quite a few hazelnut species exist, including one native to the Pacific Northwest and Oregon. These nuts, or filberts as they are sometimes called, grow in abundance and are harvested in the month of October. Offering a sweet, mild flavor, hazelnuts are rich in natural oils that keep skin soft and radiant. They have a long shelf life and can stay fresh up to a year if kept in a sealed bag at room temperature or even longer if stored in the freezer.

1 Tbls hazelnuts, finely ground

1 Tbls walnut or almond oil

1 Tsp honey

Mix all the ingredients together.

To Use: Gently massage into your face and neck, then rinse with warm water and pat your skin dry.

Yield: 2 ounces

Almond Facial Scrub

In this cleansing scrub, almonds gently remove dead skin cells from the face to soothe the complexion. Make sure you grind the nuts into a very fine powder, as large pieces can damage delicate skin {you can do this in a food processor or coffee grinder}. You can also purchase ground almond meal at most grocery or natural food stores

1 Tbls almonds, finely ground, or

1 Tbls almond meal

1 Tbls almond oil

1 Tsp maple syrup or honey

Mix together all ingredients. Store in a clean container.

To Use: Gently massage into the face and neck. Rinse well with warm water and pat skin dry.

Yield: 2 ounces

Walnut Oil Cream

Europeans have cultivated walnut trees since the time of ancient Rome for both culinary and cosmetic use. The oil extracted from the walnut contains essential fatty acids important for maintaining beautiful skin and hair.

2 Tbls grated beeswax

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup walnut oil

2 Tbls rose water

In a heat-resistant container, mix together the beeswax and oils. Heat gently in the microwave or a water bath until the wax and coconut oil is melted. Stir in the rose water and pour into a clean container. You may have to stir once or twice to keep the oil and water blended as the mixture cools into a thick cream.

To Use: Massage this rich cream into dry hands, or add a tablespoon mixed with vitamin E oil for a remarkable eye cream to dab on at bedtime.

Yield: 4 ounces

Nuts & Natural Beauty

Here are a few simple ways to use nuts and nut products in your skincare regime:

Oils: Add walnut and almond oils to baths or creams for extra moisture and softness. If you have thick or damaged hair, these oils work great as natural, leave-on conditioners {apply lightly}.

Ground Nuts: Cleanse and exfoliate your body with finely ground nuts, which remove dead skin while also cleaning pores and moisturizing.

Nut Milk: These are classic skin cleansers that you can use in place of soap. Find them in stores or make your own. Add milk to the bath or use as a base for facial masks and skin scrubs.

Nut Butters: If you grind fresh nuts with a bit of oil you will produce an edible nut butter that’s high in protein and natural fats, For cosmetic use, try nut butters as a conditioning hair pack or skin treatment for dry skin and rough skin spots.

Almond Milk Bath

Honey, a natural humectant, locks in moisture in your skin, while almond milk provides rich, natural fats and oils that soften and treat dry or sensitive skin. For a scented bath, use a combination of your favorite essential oils. Scent combinations to try include: sweet orange and lemongrass; peppermint, tea tree, and rosemary; and lavender and rose.

1 cup almond milk

2 Tbls pure honey

4-5 drops essential oils

Mix together all ingredients.

To Use: Pour into a warm bath as you fill the tub. Soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Pat your skin dry and follow with a rich cream or natural oil.

Yield: 8 ounces

Lavender Almond Milk Facial

We all know lavender for its ability to soothe and relax a stressed mind and spirit. It also has antibacterial properties that, when combined with almond milk and yogurt, help deep clean your skin to remove surface impurities and dead skin cells. This is a good facial mask for all skin types, especially sensitive or mature skin {use it weekly}.

1 Tbls Greek yogurt or sour cream

1 Tbls almond milk

1 Tsp dried lavender

1 drop essential oil of lavender {optional}

Mix together all ingredients.

To Use: Spread on face and neck and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with warm water and follow with a cool-water rinse. Pat your skin dry and use your favorite moisturizer or skin cream.

Yield: 1 ounce

almond milk

Make Your Own Almond Milk

Store-bought almond milk can be expensive; this simple process offers an easy way to make it at home. Just follow these steps.

  1. Place 1 cup of raw almonds in a bowl and cover with water. Let sit 12 hours to overnight, and then strain.

  2. Place the soaked nuts in a blender with 3 cups of water, a pinch of salt, and 1 tablespoon of honey or agave if you like a sweeter flavored milk. {You can omit the sweetener if you’re using the milk for cosmetic use}.

  3. Process the mixture on high. You should have a white creamy milk. Strain your milk through a piece of cheesecloth and discard the solids. Pour your milk into a clean container and enjoy.

Raw Sugar Walnut Lip Scrub

When it comes to exfoliating, we often neglect our lips. But we want to keep them clean and clear of dead skin, so we look and feel fresh. A gentle scrub with oil-rich walnuts will do the trick!

1 Tsp finely ground walnuts

1 Tsp honey

2 Tsp brown sugar

Mix together all ingredients until you have a smooth paste.

To Use: Gently massage a small amount of the scrub into your lips using your fingertips. Rinse well with warm water, then follow up with a rich lip balm or natural oil.

Yield: Just over a half-ounce

Oregano Essential Oil: For Colds and Respiratory System

Organic Oregano Essential Oil is derived from the Origanum Compactum plant, a species native to Morocco where it is more commonly known as Zaatar – a valued domestic plant with a strong, spicy, tangy aroma and a multiplicity of therapeutic benefits. There are approximately 3 to 4 dozen species of the perennial Oregano herb, which is also sometimes referred to as Wild Marjoram due to its relation to the herb Marjoram. The name Oregano, however, is derived from the Greek term origanon, which means “acrid herb.” When the word is further dissected, the etymology given is that the word compounds the Ancient Greek terms “oros” meaning “mountain” and “ganos” meaning “joy.” When combined, they mean “mountain brightness” or “joy of the mountains.”

Both the herb and the essential oil of Oregano have been used since Ancient times for medicinal purposes. Greek physicians including Hippocrates and Maimonides prescribed it for its antiseptic, disinfecting, and immune-boosting properties as well as for the general health benefits it promoted. Due to its antibacterial properties, it was used to not only preserve food but also to treat wounds and skin infections. Its curative benefits were recommended for digestive issues, headaches, insect bites, and for the relief of common colds. For its cathartic effects, it was also used as a laxative.

The Greek myth surrounding Oregano tells the story of the goddess Aphrodite creating Oregano to be a symbol of happiness meant to make mankind’s life happier. Accordingly, ancient Greek bridal couples had crowns of Oregano placed on their heads due to the belief that it worked as a powerful deterrent to evil spirits. The herb was also placed on the tombs of departed loved ones for the belief that it brought them peace.

When the Romans conquered Greece, they enjoyed the flavor of Oregano and began spreading its cultivation throughout Europe and North Africa, in which regions the herb was used as a flavoring for meats, fish, and even wine. Its use continued into the Middle Ages, at which time it was one of the few food flavorings available. Its medicinal application also continued and people would chew the leaves with the hope of relieving indigestion, toothaches, and inflammation, and to suppress coughs. Eventually, Oregano also landed in China at this time, most likely through the Spice Route that extended from the Middle East. Chinese doctors, too, began prescribing the herb for the relief of itchy skin, jaundice, fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. In England, Oregano began to be used as an additive to tobacco snuff and as a perfume in sachets.

Oregano Essential Oil is best known today for its ability to treat fungal infections, such as those of the feet and nails, and for its ability to prevent cold symptoms from worsening. With dilution, this oil can be used topically in cosmetic applications or it can be used in aromatherapy.

BENEFITS OF OREGANO OIL

Oregano Essential Oil’s chemical composition consists of the following constituents: Carvacrol, Thymol, p-Cymene, and γ-Terpinene.

Carvacrol and Thymol are responsible for the essential oil’s powerful antifungal and antibacterial activity. They inhibit harmful bacteria that can potentially cause illness and infection. The oil can be an anti-inflammatory painkiller, a cough treatment, a remedy for nail fungus, and it can also soothe psoriasis.

Used in cosmetics, Oregano Oil is known to have antioxidant activity that fights the look of aging, which results in skin that looks clear and smooth. As such, it can treat acne and brighten the complexion. Applied in massage, Oregano Essential Oil’s anti-inflammatory activity can soothe redness, irritation, bites, and discomforts associated with arthritis and injury.

When used in aromatherapy, Oregano Essential Oil can boost the immune system and improve the efficiency of the respiratory tract by loosening up and eliminating a buildup of mucus and phlegm. It can also soothe throat irritation to suppress coughing fits. The calming and relaxing effects of this sedative oil make it an effective sleep aid when diffused in the bedroom.

    • COSMETIC: anti-viral, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, disinfectant, anti-bacterial, anti-aging, stimulant, emmenagogue.
    • ODOROUS: expectorant, sedative, stimulant, anti-tussive
  • MEDICINAL: anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, anti-tussive, expectorant, stimulant.

CULTIVATING AND HARVESTING QUALITY OREGANO OIL

Oregano is a perennial herb, though, in some colder climates where it often does not survive the winter, it grows as an annual plant. Though it adjusts well in various environments and soil types ranging from sandy or loamy soils to clay, it prefers well-drained soil that is fairly dry or moist and thrives in a warm, dry climate with full sun, as it will not grow in shade. It also flourishes in a pH range that is between mildly acidic and strongly alkaline. It can be found growing in the grasses of plains and low mountain areas, bushes, forests, and even in chalky, gravelly soils.

At the end of the Oregano growing season, there is a much higher concentration of volatile compounds and thus a higher oil yield; however, the chemical composition and aroma of the essential oil can be impacted by the plant’s environmental factors. They include the plant’s vegetative period and nutrition, geography, climate, temperature, humidity, soil type, day length, altitude, amount of available water, and season.

When the fresh botanical material is collected for the process of extraction, it undergoes warm-air convection drying. This alters the herb’s quantity, weight, and volatile compounds. Long drying times using high heat have a greater negative effect on oil quality.

HOW IS OREGANO OIL EXTRACTED?

Oregano Essential Oil is steam distilled from the leaves of the Oregano herb, which are covered with glandular trichomes that cover the aerial parts of the plant. Trichomes are the plant’s defense mechanism and, as well as the possibility of being glandular, they can also be hair-like. Trichomes that are glandular contain the volatile essential oils and may also release an adhesive substance that captures insects. They may also contain toxic constituents that are shed when the gland is ruptured.

Approximately 200 lbs. of Oregano herb are required to produce 2 lbs. of the essential oil. The oil is a thin, dark liquid with a powerful aroma that can be described as spicy and similar to that of Camphor.

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USES OF OREGANO OIL

The uses of Oregano Essential Oil are abundant, ranging from medicinal and odorous to cosmetic. Its many forms include massage oils or gels, sanitizing gels or sprays, skin creams, soaps, and shampoos.

Used in aromatherapy, Oregano Oil’s fragrance is inhaled and scent receptors in the brain’s emotional powerhouse process the smell as calming, allowing the brain and body to relax. Similarly, a few drops smoothed onto a pillow may promote the faster onset of sleep. Diffusing Oregano Oil can reduce symptoms of cold and cough when inhaled deeply due to its expectorant properties. Individuals suffering from nasal congestion due to a cough and cold may find that mucus buildup is loosening and is dispelled much easier when blowing the nose. Flu and general sickness symptoms may diminish when Oregano Oil is inhaled. For women suffering from irregular menstrual cycles, the emmenagogue properties of Oregano Oil can help balance moods, as it is believed to also balance hormonal shifts. By placing a couple of drops in a steaming bowl of hot water and leaning over it for a few minutes to inhale the aromatic vapors with a towel draped over the head and the bowl, Oregano Oil can be used to clear up a sinus infection. Alternatively, 1-2 drops of Oregano Essential Oil can be added to a clean, dry handkerchief and the aroma can be inhaled.

Used topically, Oregano Oil can improve skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne, eczema, and fungal infections, as it eliminates yeast, bacteria, and fungi. Its anti-inflammatory properties can neutralize the pain, itchiness, and general discomforts of insect stings and bites. Muscle aches, joint pains, and rashes may be relieved by diluting Oregano Oil with a carrier oil such as Jojoba, Sweet Almond, or Grapeseed to make a massage oil that can be used on the lower back or on the stomach to promote digestion. Use on the broken skin should be avoided, as the oil may cause irritation.

Oregano Oil diluted with any other hair oil of personal preference can be gently rubbed into the scalp. Diluting Oregano Essential Oil with a carrier oil such as Coconut Oil makes a moisturizing leave-in conditioner that can be used on the scalp after washing and conditioning the hair. Blending Oregano Essential Oil with shampoo can also work effectively to remove dandruff.

For a natural yet powerful antiseptic home cleaning agent, Oregano Oil can be blended with Lemon Essential Oil and shaken inside a spray bottle before being put to use as a surface cleaner. When sprayed along the wall bases and inside dark corners of a home, it can effectively keep away ants and cockroaches. By mixing the oil with water and spraying it in humid areas around the home, such as the shower, it can prevent fungus and mold from developing.

A GUIDE TO OREGANO OIL VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

 

OREGANO VARIETY & BOTANICAL NAME COUNTRY OF ORIGIN BENEFITS OF OIL
Oregano Organic Essential Oil

Origanum Compactum

Found in:

  • Morocco
Believed to:

  • soothe stress and improve moods
  • boost immunity
  • relieve irritating skin conditions
  • clear the respiratory tract
Oregano Essential Oil (Conventional)

NDA Name: Origanum (Origanum Vulgare) Essential Oil

Origanum vulgare

Found in:

  • Spain
Believed to:

  • treat wounds and skin infections
  • soothe insect bites
  • relieve common colds
  • brighten the complexion

 


 

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR OREGANO OIL

Oregano Essential Oil is for external use only. It should only be used in dilution, as it may cause skin irritation when applied directly. It should never be used around the eyes, inner nose, or any sensitive areas of skin. A skin test is recommended prior to use. This can be done by diluting the essential oil in a carrier oil and applying a small amount to a small area of skin that is not sensitive.

As is the case with all essential oils, it is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using Oregano Essential Oil for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant women are strongly advised against using Oregano Essential Oil, due to its emmenagogue properties, which may induce menstruation that can be hazardous for the fetus. Pregnant and nursing women, who insist on using it are advised to first seek the medical guidance of a physician. Its use should be avoided by those with high blood pressure, heart conditions, cancer, liver damage, epilepsy, and any other medical concern. The oil should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children.

*Those who have allergies to Basil, Lavender, Marjoram, Mint, and Sage could potentially have allergic reactions to Oregano as well.

IN ESSENCE…

    • The name Oregano is derived from the Ancient Greek terms “oros” and “ganos.” Together, they mean “joy of the mountains.”

 

Both the herb and the essential oil of Oregano have been used for medicinal purposes since the time of Greek physicians Hippocrates and Maimonides, who prescribed it to their patients for their respiratory and digestive ailments.

    • Carvacrol and Thymol are the two key chemical constituents that are responsible for the essential oil’s reputation as being a powerful antifungal and antibacterial oil.
    • Oregano Essential Oil’s chemical composition consists of constituents that also exhibit antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and anesthetic behavior – to name a few of its numerous beneficial health properties.
  • Diluted Oregano Oil relieves a cough and cold symptoms when inhaled, disinfects surfaces when used as an antiseptic cleaning agent, and soothes topical discomforts such as inflammation and itchiness when used in cosmetics like moisturizers and shampoos.

ALL ABOUT OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT

Derived from the leaves of the Olea europaea botanical, better known as the Olive tree, Olive Leaf Botanical Extract has a long history as a vital and potent ancient Mediterranean preparation with healthful qualities that support, protect, and enhance immunity. As conveyed by Greek mythology, the Olive tree was believed to be the goddess Athena’s gift to humanity. It was reputed to have enthralled Zeus, who was delighted by its nourishing, remedial, and wound-healing properties as well as its effectiveness as a source of fuel for lamps; hence, the Olive tree came to be the revered symbol of the city of Athens. Accordingly, anyone found to be connected to the destruction of these trees would potentially become subject to execution or banishment from the city.

For thousands of years since the time of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, Olive leaves and their extracts have been used extensively in Mediterranean folk medicine as a panacea for the treatment of numerous health conditions. Compresses and infusions enriched with Olive leaves were used to address pain, infections, fevers, high blood sugar levels, and even anxiety. In the 1800s, various parts of the Olive tree began to be used, albeit largely in liquid form, for medicinal applications, such as for the treatment of infections associated with malaria. In the 1900s, the leaves were found to contain an active and unique compound called Oleuropein, which was then isolated from the leaves by scientists, who discovered that it had antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This unique constituent was also discovered to prevent the growth of parasites, fungi, and harmful bacteria and to have the ability to stimulate circulation, lower blood pressure, boost immunity, enhance cognitive function, and regulate blood pressure as well as cholesterol levels. Later, it was learned that Oleuropein also contained Elenolic Acid, which was revealed to contribute an antibacterial property. All of these qualities make Olive leaves beneficial for medicinal applications. In 1995, Olive Leaf Extract began to be used clinically to treat and examine some individuals receiving medical care.

Today, some Olive leaf extracts continue to be taken as a safe natural dietary supplement to enhance immunity by addressing harmful bacteria and infections associated with colds, the flu, HIV/AIDS, meningitis, shingles, hepatitis B, and herpes, to name a few viruses. It is also used to ease symptoms of chronic fatigue, fever, hay fever, dengue, constipation, diarrhea, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, malaria, pneumonia, gonorrhea, and tuberculosis. They are reputed to be beneficial for soothing infections of the gums, ears, and urinary tract as well as infections that result from surgeries. They are often used to ease hypertension, to support and improve the health and function of the digestive system, to work as an antiseptic remedy for faster wound healing, to protect against nerve damage, and to benefit those who have suffered from strokes.

OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT BENEFITS

Used cosmetically on the skin, Olive Leaf Botanical Extract can protect against the harsh effects of the weather, the elements, and environmental stressors and pollutants. It can slow the appearance of the signs of aging, nourish and purify, calm irritation, repair damage, and eliminate harmful bacteria from developing infections, making it beneficial for soothing conditions such as dermatitis. It is known to reduce redness, to hydrate, to stimulate the growth of new skin, and to enhance circulation. In turn, the complexion appears to be detoxified, healthy, and rejuvenated.

Whether it is applied to the hair or the skin/scalp, it is reputed to protect against the damaging effects of overexposure to UV radiation by slowing the production of melanin and by preventing skin tissue from breaking down.

Used medicinally, Olive Leaf Botanical Extract is reputed to have antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial properties, which hinder further development of viruses that are known to be responsible for causing the flu, common colds, and infections of the respiratory tract. It is believed to be beneficial for those suffering from arthritis, as it helps to reduce swelling and has a positive impact on bone health, thus it is valuable for soothing symptoms of rickets, rheumatic pain, stomach and intestinal pain, sciatica, and burns. Olive Leaf Extract is believed to improve circulation, address intestinal spasms, enhance cognitive function to prevent cognitive decline, and to promote heart health by helping to regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Applied to wounds and rashes, Olive Leaf Extract is believed to facilitate their healing while strengthening the afflicted areas of skin. With detoxifying properties, Olive Leaf Extract is believed to function as a natural diuretic and laxative. The anti-hypertensive properties of Olive Leaf Extract benefit those who suffer from hypertension, as it helps to reduce blood pressure and thus reduces the risk of heart-related conditions and discomforts. It is also believed to have aphrodisiac effects.

Olive Leaf Botanical Extract is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:

  • COSMETIC: Anti-inflammatory, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Astringent, Photo-Protective
  • MEDICINAL: Anti-inflammatory, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Antiseptic, Antiviral, Astringent, Cardiotonic, Hypoglycemic, Hypolipidemic, Hypotensive, Immuno-Stimulant, Immune-Boosting, Inflamomodulatory, Lipotropic, Vasodilator, Photo-Protective

OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT USES

Used in cosmetic or topical applications, Olive Leaf Extract cleanses the pores, absorbs excess oil, and facilitates the clearing up of acne breakouts by helping to dry them out and by eliminating acne-causing bacteria. In doing so, it also prevents future acne breakouts. For a facial cleanser soap bar that also helps repair skin damage, prevents the appearance of wrinkles and discoloration, and soothes other skin discomforts, begin by cutting 680 g (24 oz.) of White Melt and Pour Base and melting it in a heat-safe container in 20-30 second bursts of heat. Once the soap base has melted, stir in 2 tsp. Olive Leaf Botanical Extract. Next, whisk in 4 tsp. Multani Mitti (Fullers Earth) Clay until all the large chunks have been broken up. Next, stir in 60 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil and 40 drops Rosemary Essential Oil until they are thoroughly combined. When the soap base mixture reaches a temperature between 49-52 ᵒC (120-125 ᵒF), pour the blend into 6-bar half-cylinder silicone molds or into molds of personal preference. To eliminate any air bubbles, spray the tops of the filled molds with Isopropyl Alcohol. After the soap bars have been allowed to dry and harden, they can be used on the face like a regular face wash. Simply work a soap bar into a lather and gently massage the lather into the skin to promote clearer skin and to soothe uncomfortable symptoms of acne. This soap bar may also be used on the body.

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Used in hair, Olive Leaf Extract is believed to discourage hair loss and to promote hair growth. For a natural hair care product that can enhance the health of the scalp, simply add a small amount of Olive Leaf Extract to a regular shampoo or conditioner, cap and shake the bottle well, then apply the blend to the hair and scalp as usual. The addition of Olive Leaf Extract is reputed to repair damaged hair, promote luster, preserve hair color, condition, cleanse, strengthen, and smooth the strands, and thereby enhance the growth of healthier hair.

To create a shampoo blend from scratch, begin by combining the following ingredients in a clean, empty shampoo bottle or a foaming soap dispenser: ¼ cup of distilled water, ¼ cup Liquid Castile Soap, ¼ cup Coconut Milk, and ½ tsp. Olive Leaf Extract. 20 drops of any essential oil may also be added. Suggested oils include Lavender, Orange, Peppermint, and Rosemary. Next, cap the bottle and shake it well to thoroughly combine all the ingredients. This natural shampoo blend can be stored in the shower and used for up to 1 month. Shake the bottle well before each use and aim to apply only as much as 1 tsp. to the hair and scalp.

Used in medicinal applications, Olive Leaf Extract is known to eliminate harmful bacteria and fungi. To make an anti-fungal foot bath, begin by diluting 3-5 Tsp. Olive Leaf Botanical Extract in a foot tub filled with 4-8 L (1-2 gallons) of warm water. Simply soak the feet in this solution for 15-30 minutes to protect the feet from fungal infections.

A GUIDE TO OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT & ITS BENEFITS

OLIVE LEAF BOTANICAL EXTRACT

Botanical Name: Olea europaea

Country of Origin: China

Believed to:

  • Have been used for thousands of years by Egyptian and Mediterranean cultures for a wide variety of health problems
  • Contain nearly 100 phytochemicals and essential nutrients, which are known to assist in soothing dry and stressed skin when added to skin care preparations
  • Be best known for its antioxidant properties
  • Be ideal for use in formulations for personal care products, soaps, creams, lotions, facial products and tinctures
  • Be best used in a ratio of 2.5 g per 100 ml of liquid, when formulating tinctures

OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT SIDE EFFECTS

Olive Leaf Botanical Extract is for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this product for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Olive Leaf Botanical Extract without the medical advice of a physician, as it may have an effect on certain hormone secretions and it is unclear whether these effects are transferable to babies at these stages of development. This product should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Those with the following health conditions are recommended to be advised by a physician: cancer, skin disorders, bleeding disorders, hormone-related ailments, and conditions of the heart, liver, or kidney. Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, or atherosclerosis are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use. Those with allergies to plants of the Oleaceae family as well as those who are taking medication for diabetes or for blood pressure should avoid using Olive Leaf Extract.

Prior to using Olive Leaf Botanical Extract, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting 1 Tsp. Olive Leaf Botanical Extract in 1 tsp. distilled water and applying a dime-size amount of this blend to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Olive Leaf Extract must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Olive Leaf Botanical Extract include fatigue, dizziness, headaches, migraine, sadness, coughing, asthma, rhinitis, nausea, vomiting, flu-like symptoms, swelling in the mouth/throat, pharyngeal edema, abdominal pain, joint aches, diarrhea, hives, rashes, severe itching, hypoglycemia, erythema multiforme, and vulvovaginal candidiasis.

Those seeking medical care to manage moods, behaviors, or disorders should treat this product as a complementary remedy rather than a replacement for any medicinal treatments or prescriptions. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.

IN ESSENCE…

    • Olive Leaf Botanical Extract is derived from the leaves of the Olea europaea botanical, better known as the Olive tree.
    • Applied to the skin, Olive Leaf Botanical Extract can protect against the harsh effects of the weather, the elements, and environmental stressors and pollutants. It slows the appearance of the signs of aging, nourishes and purifies the skin, calms irritation, repairs damage, reduces redness, hydrates, stimulates the growth of new cells, and enhances circulation.
    • Applied to the hair, Olive Leaf Botanical Extract contributes moisture and shine while working to smooth out the strands. It is reputed to address alopecia and to protect against the damaging effects of overexposure to UV radiation.
    • Used medicinally, Olive Leaf Botanical Extract is reputed to help reduce swelling and to soothe symptoms of rickets, rheumatic pain, stomach and intestinal pain, sciatica, and burns. It is believed to improve circulation, addresses intestinal spasms, enhances cognitive function, and promote heart health.
  • Applied to wounds and rashes, Olive Leaf Extract is believed to facilitate their healing while strengthening the afflicted areas of skin. It functions as a natural diuretic and laxative, benefits those who suffer from hypertension, and is believed to have aphrodisiac effects.

Nature’s Most Precious Gift: Beeswax

Beeswax is a natural substance generated and secreted by honey bees that use it to develop their honeycombs. Beeswax is comprised largely of fatty acids, hydrocarbons, and esters. The wax is hard and breakable when cold but soft and pliable when heated or exposed to human body temperature. Because Beeswax does not spoil, become rancid, or otherwise expire, it can continue to be reheated and reused.

Like the varying colors of honey, the color of the wax depends on the age of the bees, the flowers from which they gather the nectar, the region of flower growth, and the purity of the honey. Beeswax ranges in color from almost white to black, although it is typically a shade along the yellow spectrum, appearing to be bright yellow, butterscotch yellow, or light amber. These colors are due to the pollen, resin, and gum content in the originating honey. These elements are also responsible for contributing to the agreeable scent of both the honey and the wax.

While Beeswax is commonly known for its light-bearing ability and for this being a source of heat, historically, it has also been valuable for its versatile applications, which include culinary uses, such as food flavoring and food storage. For example, it continues to be used to coat or glaze cheeses in order to create an air-tight seal to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Used on some types of fruits, Beeswax prevents the loss of water while protecting them from gathering dust and from being scratched, bruised, or bitten by insects.

2000 years ago, in China, the significance and potency of Beeswax were discovered and chronicled in one of the country’s most eminent medical books, known as The Shennong Book of Herbs. The record highlighted the positive effects that Beeswax was reputed to have on the circulatory system, energy levels, and wound healing. It was also reported to have an anti-aging effect on the appearance of the complexion.

There are 3 main types of Beeswax: Yellow, White, and AbsoluteYellow Beeswax is the natural, unrefined, and raw wax derived directly from the honeycomb. White Beeswax is the result of Yellow Beeswax undergoing a filtering/purifying/bleaching process. This is the type that is used in cosmetic formulations, food preparation, and pharmaceutical products, such as ointments, soft-gel capsules, and in the coating for medicinal tablets. Beeswax Absolute is the result of treating Yellow Beeswax with Alcohol.

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BEESWAX BENEFITS

Used in aromatherapy, the smokeless and lengthy burn time of Beeswax makes it a valuable ingredient in aromatherapy candles. Beeswax candles are also reputed to exude the aroma of honey – which can range from sweet, fresh, or floral to warm, robust, savory, or spicy – and they are also reputed to help facilitate the elimination of airborne pollutants, such as bacteria, dust, allergens, and odors. When pure and natural essential oils essential oils are added during the production phase of natural homemade candles, the resultant products are known to have enhanced fragrances. Furthermore, they are believed to promote overall physical and mental well-being by invigorating the body with increased energy, reducing stress, strengthening focus, helping decrease physical pain, and regulating blood pressure.

Used cosmetically, such as in lip products, moisturizers, and eye makeup, Beeswax hydrates, conditions, soothes and calms the skin. Without clogging the pores and preventing the skin from being able to breathe, Beeswax creates a hydrating, long-lasting protective barrier to protect it against environmental pollutants as well as the harsh effects of the elements. Its exfoliating and reparative properties combined with its vitamin content helps promote the skin’s regeneration and rejuvenation by helping diminish the appearance of the signs of aging, including spots, wrinkles, and skin damage. Used in natural product formulations, Beeswax offers its scent, which may be characterized as mild, warm, sensual, floral, woody, rich, “oriental,” or a combination of these descriptions, depending on the preferred Beeswax. Refreshing, restorative, and gentle enough for use on even the most sensitive skin, Beeswax is known to soothe itchiness and irritation, to nourish, and to soften dry, cracked, broken areas, making it ideal for use in lip balms. Used in hair, Beeswax contributes shine that promotes the hair’s luster, making it valuable for use in hair products that promote the look of sleekness, such as pomades.

Its regenerative quality and anti-inflammatory property work in conjunction to help decrease the irritation, redness, and inflammation characteristic of acne, while its antiseptic effect further facilitates the healing process. Beeswax has a similar effect on skin afflicted with eczema and psoriasis, soothing the itchiness and working to prevent further irritation or infection. By promoting the growth of newer skin and by contributing softness, Beeswax leaves the complexion looking renewed. When applied to stretch marks, whether they are caused by a fluctuation in weight or by pregnancy, Beeswax is known to help diminish the appearance of these often-unwanted marks, when used in combination with carrier oils and butters.

Used medicinally, Beeswax makes an ideal ingredient in salves meant for treating scrapes, minor cuts, minor wounds, and burns, among other abrasions. Its anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects help to prevent harmful bacteria from entering the body through the chapped and broken skin, which is especially common in dry climates and which makes it valuable for use during the drier times of the year. By providing the skin with a layer of protection against external irritants, including harsh and extreme weather conditions that can cause roughness and dryness, Beeswax moisturizes the skin to restore its natural radiance and smoothness. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Beeswax also benefit those who suffer from topical allergies or other discomforts, such as eczema and rosacea.

Beeswax is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to exhibit:

  • COSMETIC: Hydrating, Softening, Smoothing, Non-Comedogenic, Protective, Smoothing, Regenerative, Strengthening, Conditioning, Soothing, Collagen-Enhancing.
  • MEDICINAL: Anti-Allergenic, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Viral, Protective, Regenerative, Strengthening.

BEESWAX USES

Used in aromatherapy applications, Beeswax candles exhibit air-purifying properties. Unlike paraffin candles, they help decrease the number of airborne contaminants, such as bacteria, pet dander, and dust. To make a natural aromatherapy Beeswax candle that scents the air with its warm fragrance, cleanses indoor environments, and promotes easier breathing, begin by pouring .45 kg (1 lb.) Pure Filtered Beeswax into an empty coffee can or a metal jug that can be designated for working with wax, which can be difficult to remove from tools. Next, create a double boiler by placing the chosen vessel into a pot filled with water. The water level should not be so high that it spills into the jug. Next, bring the water to a gentle boil, allowing it to simmer as the Beeswax melts inside the jug. In the meantime, cut a 60-ply Cotton Braid Wick #4 into 3 or 4 pieces that are each 15 cm (6 inches) in length. When the Beeswax has melted entirely, remove the jug from the heat and, with a stick or a spoon, gently stir in ½ cup Coconut Carrier Oil until it is thoroughly combined with the wax. Pour 1 cm (0.5 inch/1 ml) of this wax and oil blend into 3 240 ml (8 oz.) lidded mason jars, then place the jug back into the hot water to ensure that the wax remains liquid. Place one wick in the center of the small amount of wax inside each jar and hold the wick there for 5-10 minutes to prevent it from moving while the wax hardens around it. To keep the wick vertical and to prevent it from curling, wrap it around a stick until the wick is pulled tight and upright, then place the stick across the top of the jar. When the small amount of wax has dried inside each jar, pour the remainder of the wax from the jug into each jar, leaving at least 3 cm (1 inch) of space between the surface of the wax and the openings of the jars. Leave the jars open and set them aside to allow them to cool overnight. Once the wax has completely dried and hardened, the wicks can each be trimmed ½ an inch. When using the candles, it is recommended that they remain lit for a minimum of 2.5 hours until their surfaces have melted entirely. If the flames flicker or begin to smoke, simply put them out, trim the wicks slightly, then light them again. Trimming the wicks too short will result in small flames that will cause the candles to “tunnel,” however, even tunneled candles can be melted again to create new candles once their wicks have been removed.

Used in skincare, Beeswax hydrates, soothes, repairs, and fortifies the skin. For a Beeswax-enriched lotion bar, begin by combining the following ingredients in a 950 ml (35 oz.) glass mason jar: 1 cup Beeswax, 1 cup Coconut Carrier Oil, and 1 cup body butter of personal preference (e.g. Cocoa Butter, Mango Butter, Shea Butter, or a combination of butters). Next, place the jar in a small saucepan filled with 1 inch of water, then place the saucepan on the stove and bring the water to a boil. Constantly stir the contents of the jar with a stick until all the ingredients have melted. Once the mixture has turned into a smooth blend, remove the double boiler from the heat. As it cools, gently but thoroughly stir in any essential oils of personal preference and 1 tsp. Vitamin E Liquid. Pour the blend into soap molds and allow them to harden before taking them out. Depending on the size of the mold, this recipe may yield approximately 12 lotion bars.

To make a moisturizing and smoothing lip balm that relieves dryness, roughness, and cracking, begin by combining 2 Tbsp. Beeswax pastilles, 2 Tbsp. Shea Butter, and 2 Tbsp. Coconut Carrier Oil in a glass bowl or jar to create a double boiler inside a pot. Stir all the ingredients together constantly until they have melted. Once the mixture achieves a smooth and even blend, remove the double boiler from the heat, keeping the bowl or jar submerged in the hot water to maintain its fluidity. As the blend begins to cool, stir in a maximum of 30 drops Peppermint Essential Oil or any other essential oil of personal preference. Next, with the help of a medicine dropper, fill each lip balm tube with the blend. This step must be done quickly to prevent the mixture from hardening before the transfer takes place. Set the uncapped, filled tubes aside and allow them to cool and harden completely before capping them.

To make a natural, Beeswax-infused deodorant bar with a probiotic effect, first combine the following ingredients in a glass jar: ½ cup + 1 tsp. Beeswax, ½ cup Coconut Carrier Oil, and ½ cup of a body butter of personal preference (e.g. Cocoa, Shea, Mango, or a combination of all three). Place the jar in a pot filled with 1 inch of water to create a double boiler. On the stove, bring the pot of water to a boil until the jar ingredients are thoroughly melted. Once they form a smooth and even blend, remove the pot from the heat. To the jar blend, add 1 Tsp. Vitamin E Liquid, 3 Tbsp. Baking Soda, ½ cup Organic Arrowroot Powder, 2-3 probiotics capsules that do not require refrigeration, and 20 drops of an essential oil of personal preference. Suggested oils include Frankincense, Lavender, or a citrus oil. Gently stir all the ingredients together until they have been thoroughly combined. Next, pour the liquid blend into a mold of personal choice. If the chosen mold is a stick deodorant container, the mixture must be allowed to harden for 15-20 minutes before being poured into the tube. When the mixture has cooled to a consistency resembling that of peanut butter, use a spoon to scoop it and fill the tube, pressing it down to ensure it is firmly packed. Set the filled tube aside and allow it to cool and harden completely before using it or capping it.

Used in hair products, Beeswax locks in moisture smooth down fly-aways, promotes easier styling, and encourages the growth of new hair. Without leaving a greasy residue, it maintains a firm hold on hairstyles but is easy to wash out. To make a conditioning, softening, shine-enhancing pomade, begin by melting 2 Tbsp. Beeswax pastilles in a double boiler. Once they have liquefied, stir in 3 Tbsp. Coconut Carrier Oil until thoroughly incorporated into the wax. Remove the double boiler from the heat, then add in 2 tsp. Bentonite Clay and 10 drops Sandalwood Essential Oil, stirring the mixture continuously to facilitate its cooling. Next, transfer the blend into a container of personal preference. Suggested containers include small glass mason jars.

For a calming, clarifying, and balancing bedtime salve that is reputed to encourage the onset of quality sleep, begin by thoroughly combining the following oils in a small jar or bowl: 80 drops each of Ginger Essential Oil, Peppermint Essential Oil, Lemon Essential Oil, and Grapefruit Essential Oil and 40 drops Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil. This essential oil blend will be incorporated into the salve, which can be made by first combining 4 Tbsp. Beeswax pastilles, 1 cup Organic Virgin Coconut Carrier Oil, and 1 cup Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a double boiler. Stir this mixture regularly until all the ingredients have thoroughly melted. In the 10-15 minutes that it takes for the wax mixture to melt, collect 4 separate 30 ml (4 oz.) mason jars and pour 90 drops of the aforementioned essential oil blend into each jar. Once the wax mixture has achieved a smooth and even consistency, pour it into each of the jars and allow it to cool. Once the mixture has set inside each jar, cap the jars. To use this salve at bedtime, massage a small amount into the bottoms of both feet before going to sleep. To prevent the salve from getting on bedding, cover the feet with socks. This salve has an approximate shelf life of 8 months and is believed to provide a warming sensation, promote relaxation and easier breathing, reduce feelings of stress, regulate blood pressure, and balance the hormones.

Used in medicinal applications, Beeswax not only facilitates healing but it also prevents bacterial infections from developing on the skin while also promoting the skin’s regeneration and thereby helping to diminish the appearance of scarring from abrasions. For a simple yet versatile salve that is known to soothe irritation while eliminating bacteria, begin by combining 4 Tbsp. Beeswax pastilles, 1 cup Organic Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Coconut Carrier Oil, and 1 cup Grapeseed Carrier Oil in a double boiler, stirring the mixture regularly as it melts. While waiting for the mixture to melt entirely, fill 5 mason jars with a customized essential oil blend of personal preference, depending on the desired outcome. Some blend recipes are offered below. Next, fill the jars with the oil and wax mixture, leaving an inch of space between the top of the salve and the rims of the jars, then allow the salve to cool. Once it has hardened, tightly cap the jars.

For an allergy-relief blend with anti-histamine effects, combine Lavender, Lemon, and Peppermint essential oils for a total of 30 drops. This combination is believed to soothe topical allergies characterized by itching and to soften the skin while eliminating bacteria.

For a pain-relieving blend, combine 30 drops Birch Essential Oil, 10 drops Frankincense Essential Oil, and 10 drops White Fir Essential Oil. This combination is believed to reduce inflammation and pain.

For a blend that is reputed to rejuvenate the complexion, combine 12 drops each of Cypress, Frankincense, and Lavender essential oils. This combination is believed to exhibit regenerative and restorative qualities, thus promoting a more youthful appearance.

For a vapor rub blend that is known to help reduce a cough and cold symptoms, begin by combining and melting 2 level Tbsp. of Beeswax pastilles and ½ cup Almond Carrier Oil in a double boiler. Once the mixture has completely melted together, stir in 20 drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil, 20 drops Peppermint Essential Oil, 10 drops Rosemary Essential Oil, and 10 drops Clove Essential Oil. Once all the ingredients have been thoroughly incorporated, pour the blend into any lidded container, tin, or jar. To use this vapor rub, simply scoop a small amount with the fingertips and massage it into the chest or the soles of the feet to decrease congestion and coughing.

A GUIDE TO BEESWAX VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

BEESWAX BEADS (WHITE) COSMETIC GRADE REFINED

INCI: Beeswax

Country of Origin: China

Believed to:

  • Have been melted then filtered through active carbon to remove its scent and color, which may vary from white to off-white
  • Have been shaped into small pellets for easy use
  • Be 100% natural and refined through physical processes without the use of chemicals
  • Be ideal for use in formulations where a cream base or end product is fragrance-free and white in color, but to which color and fragrance can later be added
  • Be suitable for use in lotions, creams, balms, body butter, and soaps
  • Provide body and stiffness to formulations and to assist as an incomplete emulsifier or thickener
  • Burn cleaner and longer than petroleum-based waxes, when used in candle-making
  • Believed to be the preferred type of wax for aromatherapy-grade candles, due to its slower rate of burning
  • Have a melting point between 62° and 67° C (143° to 152° F); thus, overheating this wax will impact its scent and color

 

BEESWAX BEADS (YELLOW) COSMETIC GRADE REFINED

INCI: Beeswax

Country of Origin: China

Believed to:

  • Retain its natural fragrance
  • Burn cleaner and longer than petroleum-based waxes
  • Be ideal for use in lip balms and candle-making
  • Have a slow and smoke-free burn
  • Be made from 100% pure refined Beeswax
  • Have its fragrance negatively impacted by overheating

 

BEESWAX BLOCK (WHITE) COSMETIC GRADE REFINED

INCI: Beeswax

Country of Origin: China

Believed to:

  • Burn longer and cleaner (no drip) than ordinary paraffin candles
  • Have a smokeless flame
  • Have a higher melting point than other waxes, thus its flame gives off more light and heat
  • Be pure, 100% natural, and refined through physical processes without the use of any chemicals
  • Be melted and filtered through active carbon to remove its scent and color, which may vary from white to off-white
  • Come in convenient blocks of 1 kg (2.2 lbs.) each
  • Be ideal for use in the manufacturing of many products such as lotions, creams, balms, body butters, and soaps
  • Provide body and stiffness to formulations while functioning as a thickener
  • Have a melting point between 62° and 67° C (143° to 152° F); thus, overheating this wax will impact its scent and color

 

BEESWAX BLOCK (YELLOW) COSMETIC GRADE REFINED

INCI: Beeswax

Country of Origin: China

Believed to:

  • Have a natural but mild scent that makes it a good substitute for those with Fragrance Sensitivity and that allows for the addition of essential oils for fragrance
  • Burn longer and cleaner than ordinary wax candles
  • Have the highest melting point of any known wax
  • Have a smokeless flame that gives off more light and heat than other waxes without dripping
  • Come in blocks of 1 kg (2.2 lbs) each
  • Be Golden-Yellow in color
  • Be ideal for use in the manufacturing of many natural products including candles, soaps, natural wood polishes, and pastes, and sealing wax
  • Be negatively impacted by overheating

 

BEESWAX PREMIUM CANADIAN ORGANIC

INCI: Beeswax

Country of Origin: Canada

Believed to:

  • Be completely natural and to come in large blocks of different sizes
  • Be 100% pure
  • Retain its sweet, natural fragrance
  • Range in color from Yellow to Golden-Yellow
  • Be processed under Organic conditions that meet the USDA Standards
  • Produce a fragrant candle that burns longer and cleaner than ordinary wax candles
  • Have the highest melting point of any known wax
  • Have a slow, smokeless flame that gives off more light and heat than other waxes without dripping
  • Be primarily used to manufacture Aromatherapy and natural Beeswax candles
  • Act as a humectant, emollient, and emulsifying agent in formulations for lotions, creams, balms and body butters
  • Be negatively impacted by overheating
  • Be the ideal wax for those requiring unprocessed premium Beeswax

 

BEESWAX PREMIUM CANADIAN UNREFINED

INCI: Beeswax

Country of Origin: Canada

Believed to:

  • Produce a fragrant candle that burns longer and cleaner than ordinary wax candles
  • Have the highest melting point of any known wax
  • Have a slow, smokeless flame that gives off more light and heat than other waxes and without dripping
  • Be 100% pure
  • Be processed using technology that meets pharmacopeia standards for use in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries
  • Retain its sweet, natural fragrance
  • Range in color from Yellow to Golden-Yellow
  • Be ideal for use in the manufacturing of products such as cosmetics, candles, and soaps
  • Be negatively impacted by overheating

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR BEESWAX

Beeswax is for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this product for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Beeswax without the medical advice of a physician, as it is unclear whether any potential negative effects are transferable to babies at these stages of development. This product should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Prior to using Beeswax, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by applying a dime-size amount of melted Beeswax to a small area of skin that is not sensitive and leaving it on the area for 15-20 minutes. Beeswax must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Beeswax include sensitization, redness, pain, itchiness, burning, contact dermatitis, shortness of breath, swelling/crusting/rash around the mouth/lips/tongue, rash, tiny bumps, and difficulty swallowing or speaking. Those with hay fever, rhinitis, and allergies to pollen, propolis, or honey should avoid the use of Beeswax.

Those seeking medical care to manage moods, behaviors, or disorders should treat this product as a complementary remedy rather than a replacement for any medicinal treatments or prescriptions. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.

IN ESSENCE…

    • Beeswax is a natural substance generated and secreted by honey bees. It is hard and breakable when cold but soft and pliable when heated.
    • Just like honey, Beeswax varies in color, depending on various factors related to the bees themselves as well as the flowers from which the honey is derived.
    • There are 3 main types of Beeswax: Yellow, White, and Absolute. They vary in their processing methods, benefits, and uses.
    • Used in aromatherapy, Beeswax is known for its long, slow, clean, smoke-less burn. It not only exudes the aroma of honey but it also produces comparatively brighter flames, facilitates the elimination of airborne pollutants, and promotes the overall health of body and mind.
    • Used cosmetically, Beeswax hydrates, conditions, soothes and calms the skin. It exfoliates, repairs damage, promotes the skin’s regeneration, diminishes the appearance of the signs of aging, soothes itchiness and irritation, and creates a hydrating, long-lasting protective barrier against environmental pollutants. Used in hair, Beeswax nourishes, conditions, and softens the strands while and promoting the hair’s luster.
  • Used medicinally, Beeswax helps soothe and facilitate the healing of abrasions. It prevents harmful bacteria from entering the body through the chapped and broken skin and it provides the skin with a layer of protection against external irritants. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties benefit those who suffer from topical allergies or skin ailments, such as eczema and rosacea.

Activated Charcoal: 15 Benefits & Uses for Health and Wellness

Activated charcoal is a hot topic in health and wellness these days, gaining recognition as a powerhouse agent for detoxification with a wide range of potential uses. We see activated charcoal in everything from facial masks and teeth whiteners to digestive remedies and even an exotic new food trend that uses its charcoal hue for an element of surprise (think jet-black ice cream).

Activated charcoal benefits are no secret. A staple in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, activated charcoal remains to this day a common emergency room antidote for cases of toxicity and poisoning in developed nations around the world. As for activated charcoal uses in daily life, this natural healing product is extremely versatile and generally considered safe. Yet activated charcoal should be handled with care (scroll down for an overview of activated charcoal side effects).

What Is Activated Charcoal?

Activated charcoal is a byproduct of burning coconut shells, bamboo, olive pits, wood, or various other substances. For your natural medicine cabinet, we recommend purchasing activated charcoal that is organic and made from coconut shells.

Processed at very high temperatures, this unique charcoal is “activated” in a way that changes its structure to increase the surface area and make it more porous. It is the porousness of activated charcoal that makes it effective at attaching to (“adsorbing”) toxins and flushing them out of the body. This is the principle behind activated charcoal detox.

Unlike the charcoal briquettes you use to light your barbecue, activated charcoal is free of toxins and carcinogens and is generally safe to consume and apply topically. Never substitute regular charcoal for the activated charcoal used for health and wellness!

What Are the Benefits of Activated Charcoal?

With its purifying qualities, activated charcoal offers potential benefits including detoxification, alleviating gas and bloating digestive health, lowering cholesterol, reducing the effects of radiation, and anti-aging.

Detoxification

The most scientifically proven of all of the activated charcoal’s benefits, detoxification happens naturally with this powerful agent. Because activated charcoal’s porous surface has a negative electrical charge, it attracts positively charged molecules such as toxins and gases for safe removal from the GI tract. In hospital emergency rooms throughout the developed world, a high single-use dosage of activated charcoal is the most frequently used method of gastrointestinal decontamination after certain kinds of poisoning, toxic exposure and drug overdose.

Activated charcoal is considered to be effective for acute poisoning from a wide variety of drugs and poisons including acetaminophen, aspirin and tricyclic antidepressants. However, it is not useful for poisoning from lithium, iron, cyanide, potassium, and ethanol.

While some use activated charcoal as a hangover cure, there is currently no evidence to support this. More than one study has shown that activated charcoal is not effective at absorbing alcohol.

Alleviating Gas and Bloating

Activated charcoal’s ability to reduce gas and bloating in the digestive system is scientifically proven. A double-blind clinical trial found reduced gas and bloating in subjects that used activated charcoal compared to the placebo group. And in 2011, the European Food Safety Authority presented its scientific opinion in favor of using activated charcoal to reduce excess gas in the digestive system.

Digestive Health

When used for digestive cleansing, activated charcoal can promote overall digestive health. Considered a natural gut cleanser, activated charcoal can help lighten the body’s toxic load — potentially reducing allergic reactions and oxidative damage, as well as strengthening immune System.

Lowering Cholesterol

Some researchers have found that activated charcoal can help people lower their cholesterol. Just as it does with toxins, activated charcoal can attach to (adsorb) and flush out cholesterol in the intestine, preventing its absorption in the bloodstream. In a controlled study of people with high cholesterol, activated charcoal was effective at lowering total and LDL cholesterol levels.

Reducing the Effects of Radiation

Piggybacking on its powers of detoxification, activated charcoal can also reduce the effects of radiation. Through the process of adsorption, activated charcoal attaches to radionuclides in the same way that it attaches to other toxins.

Anti-Aging

Through its ability to rid the body of toxins, activated charcoal has the potential to be a natural approach to healthy aging. With a reduced toxic load, the body experiences less of the oxidative damage that drives the aging process. In the same way, it may help to prevent cellular damage to our natural detox organs (the kidneys and liver) and also support adrenal gland health.

Activated Charcoal Uses

Activated charcoal use runs the gamut from gut-cleansing detox to purifying facials, teeth whitening, bug-bite care and more. Keep activated charcoal on hand for natural healing remedies like these.

Digestive Cleansing

The digestive tract is where a myriad of toxins can enter our bodies, from pesticides and heavy metals in food, to chemicals in water and exposure to mold. When you eliminate toxins with a digestive cleanse, you can feel lighter, stronger, and more energetic. While there are many different kinds of digestive cleanses, a simple approach is to eat whole, organic foods and avoid sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.

Activated charcoal can supercharge your cleanse by assisting with the removal of toxins through the process of adsorption — that is, the toxins attach to the activated charcoal like metal to a magnet, and then pass safely out of the body with a bowel movement.

Recipe: To add activated charcoal to your cleanse, take 10 grams (either as a powder added to water or in pill form) 90 minutes before each meal for two days. Be sure to drink plenty of water to avoid constipation.

First Aid for Poisons or Toxins

An antidote to certain types of poisoning or exposure to toxic substances, drugs, or household chemicals, activated charcoal is handy to keep in your first aid kit or medicine cabinet. It is essential, however, to first contact 911 or a poison control center immediately. Depending on the type of poison, they may instruct you to administer activated charcoal at home before going to an emergency room.

Note: Having activated charcoal in your first-aid kit or medicine cabinet can help jump-start the recovery process but should never replace a healthcare professional.

Facial Mask

In the same way that activated charcoal draws toxins out of the digestive system, when applied topically, it can draw oils, dirt, bacteria and other impurities from the pores, leaving skin clean, clear and less prone to breakouts.

Recipe: Mix a teaspoon of activated charcoal powder with a tablespoon of honey to make a paste. Apply to face and neck with a cosmetic brush. Keep on for 5 to 10 minutes, then wash off with your favorite natural cleanser.

Note that activated-charcoal powder is very messy when spilled! Avoid using it over hard-to-clean areas such as tile grout.

Acne Spot Treatment

Mixed with a bit of aloe vera gel, activated charcoal makes an effective acne spot treatment.

Recipe: Break open one capsule of activated charcoal in a small bowl. Using a cotton swab, mix with a half-teaspoon of aloe vera gel to create a thick paste. Apply paste to acne. Let dry about 30 minutes. Wash off with warm water.

Teeth Whitening

It may seem counterintuitive to turn your teeth black in order to whiten them (don’t worry — the black washes off!), but many people have success using activated charcoal as a natural teeth whitener. Because activated charcoal is abrasive to the teeth, dab it on gently rather than using a toothbrush.

Recipe: In a small bowl, break open two capsules of activated charcoal. Using a cotton swab, mix in just enough water to make a thick paste (less than 1 teaspoon). Dab paste onto teeth, let sit three minutes and rinse.

Flatulence Relief

Activated charcoal’s ability to alleviate gas and bloating is clinically proven. If certain foods trigger gas, activated charcoal is one way to keep flatulence at bay.

Tip: Take 1 gram of activated charcoal at least 30 minutes before you eat and 1 gram an hour after you eat.

Bug Bites

Activated charcoal can be a great remedy for mosquito bites and bee stings, as it can alleviate the itching and discomfort that they cause.

Recipe: In a small bowl, break open one capsule of activated charcoal. Using a cotton swab, mix with a ½ tablespoon of coconut oil and apply to the bug bite or bee sting.

Water Filtration

Just as it can remove impurities from the body, activated charcoal can also remove contaminants from water. Activated charcoal is a key component in many commercially available water filtration systems, and works in a similar way to the carbon filtration in the popular Brita water pitchers.

Activated charcoal in water filters may be effective at removing pesticides, solvents, and other chemicals. However, it is less effective at removing fluoride, viruses, bacteria, and hard-water minerals.

Air Purification

In the same spirit, activated carbon is also effective as a filter for air purification. Much like baking soda, commercially available charcoal bags can be placed in the refrigerator, car, pet areas, gym bags, and other places to freshen the air, neutralize odors, and combat mold.

Activated Charcoal Forms

Activated charcoal is available in pills, tablets, capsules, and loose powder for multipurpose use. In all forms, activated charcoal is odorless and neutral-tasting.

Pills & Tablets

Activated charcoal to reduce gas and bloating is often taken in pill or tablet form. Generally, two pills or tablets are recommended to be taken at least 30 minutes before eating gas-producing foods, and one hour after.

Capsules

Purchasing activated charcoal in capsule form is a handy way to use small amounts for recipes. Simply break open a capsule into a small bowl to release the powder, and mix it with water, coconut oil or another ingredient to make a paste for DIY healing.

Powder

A jar of fine, jet-black activated charcoal powder is handy for a variety of uses. In cases of poisoning or the ingestion of toxins, the activated charcoal powder is mixed with a liquid and given as a drink (or, in emergency rooms, administered through a tube from the mouth to the stomach).

For more common household use, the activated charcoal powder can be used in small amounts for teeth whitening and other remedies.

Are There Side Effects to Using Activated Charcoal?

It is important to remember that activated charcoal not only adsorbs to toxins and unwanted chemicals in the body but it can get rid of good things, too, such as nutrients from food, supplements, and prescription medicines, making them less effective.

It is best to take activated charcoal on an empty stomach between meals so that it does not affect the absorption of nutrients. Activated charcoal should be taken 90 minutes to two hours prior to supplements and prescription medications.

Keep in mind that activated charcoal can make your stool turn black, but this is a temporary and harmless side effect. In addition, be sure to drink plenty of water to prevent constipation when taking activated charcoal.

Activated charcoal is generally considered safe for use during pregnancy. At least one study supports its use for cholestasis, which is a condition marked by the reduction or stoppage of bile flow, during pregnancy. Some pregnant women use it to alleviate symptoms of nausea and vomiting (morning sickness) as well as diarrhea, though its effectiveness in such cases is not well documented. In some people, activated charcoal can cause side effects of vomiting and diarrhea — the very symptoms it may be used to relieve.

Tea Tree Oil: Benefits, Uses

From antiseptic mouthwash to natural deodorant, tea tree oil is an essential oil with a multitude of uses and benefits. It tends to be pale yellow or colorless, with an aroma that is similar to eucalyptus or camphor and boasts antibacterial, antiprotozoal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. Here’s a deep-dive into all that it can do.

What Is Tea Tree Oil?

Tea tree oil is distilled from the leaves of an evergreen shrub called Melaleuca alternifolia. The plant is native to Australia and used by Aboriginal people for cleaning wounds and other skin problems.

Benefits of Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has a 100-year history as a natural remedy. The Bundjalung Aboriginal people would crush the leaves to create a paste to apply to the skin. They also made tea from the leaves to soothe a sore throat.

Amazing Antibacterial Properties

The antibacterial properties of tea tree oil have been studied since the 1940s. Bacteria, including Streptococcus pyogenes (strep) and Escherichia coli (e. Coli), have been tested in the lab to see how they react to the oil. Researchers found that the oil may target the cell membranes of bacteria and destroy them.

Tea tree oil might have a helpful role against antibiotic resistance. Bacteria are becoming more resistant to antibiotics, so finding alternative solutions is crucial. In several experiments, bacteria didn’t show resistance to tea tree oil.

Healing Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Tea tree oil contains the compound terpinene-4-ol, which is associated with anti-inflammatory benefits. One experiment found that terpinene-4-ol could reduce inflammation caused by mites that attack the skin and eyes. This compound was able to suppress the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are signaling molecules that promote inflammation in the body.

Surprising Antifungal Properties

Another benefit of this essential oil is its antifungal property. It may be helpful in getting rid of fungi such as mold, ringworm, or nail fungus. Researchers have focused on tea tree oil’s ability to fight the overgrowth of Candida, a type of yeast. It appears to attack the cell membranes of yeast by damaging them and making them nonfunctional. Again, the active component in tea tree oil, terpinene-4-ol, plays a role in destroying fungi. It’s not the only compound involved, however, as 1,8-cineole also helps break down the cell membranes.

Unique Antiprotozoal Properties

Protozoa are single-celled organisms such as amoeba. They are parasitic and can cause infections in people. For example, the protozoan Plasmodium falciparum causes malaria and kills 660,000 people every year. In several studies, tea tree oil has shown that it can kill protozoa. This antiprotozoal activity is linked to terpinene-4-ol.

Useful Antiviral Properties

Researchers have discovered antiviral properties in tea tree oil. One study, at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, focused on the herpes simplex virus, which can cause cold sores, and showed that tea tree oil reduced the total viral load from infection. Another study at the University of Catania in Italy looked at the ability of tea tree oil to stop the influenza virus from replicating. Once again, it appears that the compounds terpinene-4-ol and 1,8-cineole are crucial in these activities.

The Top 5 Tea Tree Oil Uses

For more than a century, people have used this oil for different ailments, ranging from eczema to athlete’s foot. Although researchers are still trying to catch up by investigating the full range of tea tree oil uses, the following benefits have been measured.

1. Improving Your Hair

Some of the most popular tea tree oil uses involve the hair. For instance, one study from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Australia found that a 5 percent tea tree oil shampoo resulted in a 41 percent improvement in dandruff. Not only does the essential oil reduce dandruff, but it may also help suffocate head lice. The shampoo also decreased greasiness and itchiness.

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, some people find relief from scalp psoriasis by using tea tree oil shampoo.

You can purchase tea tree oil shampoo or make your own. One of the easiest methods is to add the essential oil to your existing shampoo.

Ingredients

  • Your favorite shampoo
  • Tea tree essential oil

Directions

  1. Add two drops of tea tree essential oil per one ounce of your shampoo.
  2. Make sure the lid is secure on the shampoo bottle.
  3. Shake vigorously.
  4. Use the shampoo as you normally would.
  5. Rinse your hair with water.

Keep in mind that tea tree essential oil is highly concentrated and should never be used directly on the scalp. Always dilute it by mixing it with shampoo or a carrier oil such as olive oil.

2. Encouraging a Clear Complexion

Tea tree oil is present in many skin care products, such as face washes. A study from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital that compared 5 percent tea tree oil gel to 5 percent benzoyl peroxide lotion found that both products improved acne. Although tea tree oil had a slower onset, it also had fewer side effects. In another study, researchers compared 5 percent tea tree oil gel to placebo and saw a significant improvement in acne among those who used the gel.

Since we encourage using skin-care products free of harsh chemicals, here is an easy recipe to make your own:

Ingredients

  • Raw honey
  • Tea tree essential oil

Directions

  1. Add two drops of tea tree essential oil to one tablespoon of honey.
  2. Mix the ingredients to create a paste.
  3. Apply to your face. Make sure you avoid your eyes and mouth.
  4. Leave it on for 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Wash your face with water.

Try to find raw, organic and natural honey without added chemicals that can irritate the skin. You can also add a small amount of baking soda, such as half a teaspoon, to the paste for an additional antibacterial boost to fight blemishes.

3. Soothing Eczema

Many of the common tea tree oil uses focus on helping skin conditions, including eczema. When researchers at the Skåne University Hospital in Sweden compared tea tree oil to other topical products used to treat skin problems, they found that it was effective. The soothing actions of terpinene-4-ol in this essential oil can also help reduce the irritation caused by eczema.

Skin ointments, creams, and gels that contain tea tree oil are available for purchase, but you can also create your own.

Ingredients

  • Carrier oil such as olive, coconut, jojoba or other oil
  • Tea tree essential oil

Directions

  1. Since you can’t apply undiluted tea tree essential oil directly to the skin, you need to mix it with a carrier oil. Suitable options include olive, coconut, jojoba or another oil.
  2. Add one drop of tea tree essential oil for every 12 drops of carrier oil. Mix them.
  3. Apply to the skin, avoiding the eyes and mouth.

4. Getting Rid of Bad Breath

One tea tree oil benefit is its ability to eliminate bad breath or halitosis. Usually, bad breath is caused by bacteria so the antibacterial properties of this essential oil can help get rid of it. When researchers in India compared different essential oils and looked at tea tree oil uses, they discovered that using it resulted in a significant reduction of oral bacteria.

It’s important to remember that you don’t want to swallow any tea tree oil. It’s not safe to ingest because it can cause serious problems such as confusion and the loss of muscle coordination.

You can find toothpaste and mouthwash that include tea tree oil as an ingredient. You can also add it to your regular toothpaste or mouthwash.

Ingredients

  • Your favorite fluoride-free toothpaste or mouthwash
  • Tea tree essential oil

Directions

  1. Add one drop of tea tree oil to the toothpaste on your toothbrush.
  2. Add two drops of tea tree essential oil to one cup of mouthwash.
  3. Use the products as you normally would.
  4. Rinse your mouth with water.

5. Fighting Athlete’s Foot

Researchers at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital looked at 104 patients and found that a cream that contained 10 percent tea tree oil was just as effective as 1 percent tolnaftate for reducing the symptoms of athlete’s foot. Another study at the same hospital showed that patients who used a 25 percent or 50 percent tea tree oil solution had an improvement in their athlete’s foot symptoms.

Although there are over-the-counter creams and ointments for fungal infections, it’s easy to make your own natural formula.

Ingredients

  • Carrier oil such as olive, coconut, jojoba or other oil
  • Tea tree essential oil

Directions

  1. Don’t apply undiluted tea tree essential oil directly to the skin, mix it with a carrier oil like olive, coconut, or jojoba oil.
  2. Add one drop of tea tree essential oil for every 12 drops of carrier oil. Mix them.
  3. Add one drop of oil of oregano and mix.
  4. Apply to the skin.
  5. Wash your hands thoroughly, avoid touching your eyes or mouth.

How to Apply Tea Tree Oil

You must use a diluted form of tea tree oil, never apply undiluted oil directly to the skin in its concentrated form. It’s best to dilute it with a suitable carrier such as jojoba or coconut oil. You can do this by adding one drop of tea tree oil to 12 drops of carrier oil.

Dermatologists recommend that people with sensitive skin use this product with caution. In some cases, it can make skin irritation worse. Apply it to a small patch of skin first to check for any reactions.

Today, widespread knowledge of tea tree oil benefits means it’s available in many products. You can find it in shampoos, conditioners, lotions, creams, gels, bath oils, and ointments. The essential oil version, however, is the most versatile since you can dilute it and add it to many products.

Are There Side Effects to Using Tea Tree Oil?

In general, most tea tree oil uses are considered safe and don’t have serious side effects. Rarely, people develop an allergic reaction, skin rash, or irritation after using it. If you notice any problems, discontinue use immediately and consult your healthcare practitioner.

There are many practical uses for tea tree oil and it’s far from the only essential oil with a lot to offer. Consider learning more about other essential oils and how they can benefit you and your life.

TOP, MID, AND BOTTOM NOTES

Essential oils can be used to soothe, calm, inspire, energize and delight. They can be used in a variety of ways, including gently heating oils in water to release the fragrance, incorporating the oils into skin care products like soap, lotion, and massage oil and making aromatherapy candles with essential oils. Did you know that you can also add essential oils to foods as flavorings? Our food grade essential oils are safe to use to flavor your own tea blends, baked goods and to flavor whipped cream.

eoils

TOP NOTES

Top notes are the lightest and most fleeting part of a perfume, providing the initial fragrance impression. Their initial appearance lasts but a few minutes, and then they blend with the middle notes when that phase of the perfume begins.

Clary Sage: Lends a sweet, herbal undertone to citrus, floral and woodsy blends.

Eucalyptus: Camphoraceous, herbal, invigorating. Steam distilled.

Grapefruit: Fruity, cheering, smells like grapefruit peels. Cold pressed.

Lemon: Fruity, uplifting, smells like lemon peels. Cold pressed.

Lemon Eucalyptus: Citrusy, crisp, invigorating. Steam distilled.

Organic Orange: Fruity, uplifting, smells like orange peels. Cold pressed.

Sweet Orange:  Fruity, uplifting, smells like orange peels. Cold pressed.

Peppermint: Cool, fresh, vitalizing. Steam distilled.

Tea Tree: Herbal, crisp, cleansing, purifying. Steam distilled.

MIDDLE NOTES

Middle notes define the character of the perfume, help classify its fragrance family and can modify its base notes to develop on the skin. They can last for hours, harmonizing with the supporting base notes.

Lavender: Herbal, flowery, soothing. Middle to top note. Steam distilled.

Lemongrass: Lemony, herbal, cleansing. Top to middle note. Steam distilled.

Rosemary: Herbal, crisp, clarifying. Steam distilled.

BASE NOTES

Base notes carry the top and middle notes, giving a perfume its depth. Base notes are often referred to as fixatives because they prolong the evaporation rate, also called dry down, and the life of a fragrance on the skin.

Patchouli: Musky, warm, soothing. Steam distilled.

Safety: Always dilute essential oils before use. Certain essential oils should not be used by persons with certain medical conditions, or by pregnant women. If you are pregnant or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using essential oils. Call for information regarding country of origin.