ESSENTIAL OILS & THEIR BENEFITS

CATEGORIES OF ESSENTIAL OILS & THEIR BENEFITS

Whether they’re being used to unwind for improved sleep quality, to uplift the mood, or to create the precise ambiance, Essential Oil aromas have the potential to enhance the mind, body, and atmosphere. While it can be confusing to make a selection when faced with the vast number of Essential Oil options due to their limitless benefits, it can be easier to make a choice by narrowing down the options based on the characteristics of their “aroma families.” Each Essential Oil aroma family exhibits a primary aromatic trait by which it is easily recognized (citrusy, floral, minty, etc.) and a corresponding effect (calming, grounding, cooling, energizing, clarifying, etc), which can help to readily identify the ideal application for it.

This article mainly highlights the core aroma families, as families also have offshoots or sub-groupings in which several categories of Essential Oils overlap. One example is the “Balsamic” aroma family. Essential Oils in this group can be described as having soft, sweet, warm, earthy aromas with spicy and floral undertones. They are reminiscent of resins and exude the scent of the forest and especially of Balsam trees. Inhaling the scent of balsamic essential oils can produce a peaceful, soothing, and grounding effect. Another example of a complex aroma family is “Coniferous” oils, which exude a woody and earthy pine scent, as they are generally distilled from cone-bearing trees. Their scents are characterized as sharp, biting, camphoraceous, and energizing, reminiscent of fresh outdoor air. Based on these descriptions, Essential Oils in these sub-groupings can fall into several of the eight main aroma families. The sub-group of “lemony” oils, too, can encompass not only oils with “Lemon” in their names – Lemongrass, Lemon Balm, Lemon Eucalyptus – but also oils like Ginger, Citronella, and Palmarosa.

An oil’s aroma can also change from one batch to another, often for reasons based in nature, such as the source botanical’s growing conditions. Thus, due to the complexity and subjectivity of scent profiles, this article focuses on the commonly-accepted and widely-recognized classes of aromas or “aroma families.”

3 ESSENTIAL OIL AROMA NOTES

Aroma families can also be distinguished by their primary “notes.” An Essential Oil’s aroma “note” is the feature that distinguishes how long its scent will last. Notes are categorized as Top, Middle, or Base notes. Some oils can have multiple notes, which can give them a deep, full-bodied, and seemingly luxurious quality; however, oils are largely characterized by a sole defining note that overrides the others.

The reason that an oil blend changes over time, sometimes even over a short period of time, such as from the morning to the afternoon, is because the Essential Oils that it comprises each have varying degrees of volatility, meaning they all have diverse rates of evaporation, and it is the evaporation of each oil in its own time that causes a fluctuation in the strength of the scent…

In an Essential Oil blend, the oils with the smallest molecules – the essential oils that are the most volatile – are the first to evaporate. These are the Top notes. They are the first scent to be detected and the first to dissipate.

The oils with the largest and thus the heaviest molecules are the slowest or last to evaporate, thus they impart the longer-lasting scents. These are Base notes.

Other Essential Oils – the majority – reveal their scents gradually and help to integrate the Top and Base notes for a harmonious fragrance, which is what makes them Middle notes.

The following chart may help to further illustrate:

NOTES & CHARACTERISTICS NDA OILS IN THIS CATEGORY
Top

This is the initial perceptible scent in an aroma blend and is usually the one fragrance that stands out to give the scent its distinctive essence. Despite the powerful and intense quality that makes it the first detected smell, it is also the first to quickly fade.

  • Bright
  • Refreshing
  • Cheery
  • Clarifying
  • Inspiring and heartening
  • Energizing
Bay

Cardamom

Citrus oils

Cypress

Eucalyptus

Hyssop

Mint oils

Petitgrain

Pine

Ravensara

Rosemary

Sage

Tagetes

Vanilla Oleoresin (10 Fold)

Yarrow

Middle
(aka “Body,” “Heart,” or “Bouquet”)
These notes become noticeable just as Top notes fade. Smooth and soft, Middle notes unify the Top and Base notes, helping to reduce the intensity of any disagreeable or piercing scents and to promote a roundedness to aromas, making them softer. These notes are generally more enduring than Top notes, lasting up to an hour after the blend has been applied.

  • Balancing
  • Warming
  • Grounding
Black Pepper

Cajeput
Cedarwood

Chamomile

Cinnamon

Clove Bud

Geranium

Ho Wood

Jasmine

Juniper Berry

Marjoram

Myrtle

Myrrh

Niaouli

Nutmeg

Palmarosa

Rose Absolute

Base 
(aka “Fixative”)

 

Not to be mistaken for a Base Oil, which is meant to dilute an Essential Oil, a Base note emerges after the Heart note and is the longest-lasting scent in a blend. Base notes often have strong, provocative aromas with earthy nuances and ascend gradually, remaining for a longer time than the other notes, all the while helping to reduce the rate of the other oils’ evaporation and subsequently enabling the fragrance of the blend to persist.

 

  • Calming
  • Emotionally grounding and soothing
  • Relaxing
  • Lend a richer aroma to blends
Copaiba Balsam

Frankincense

Patchouli (Light & Organic)

Sandalwood

Spikenard

Valerian

Vetiver


 

8 ESSENTIAL OIL AROMA FAMILIES

The chart below depicts the most popular groupings of Essential Oils; however, keep in mind that many oils have more than one prevailing aroma and note.

AROMA FAMILY ESSENTIAL OILS NOTE REPUTED BENEFITS
CITRUS

These light oils often have fruity scents that are characteristic of the rinds from which they are extracted. They can be described as tangy or tart, fresh, clean, vibrant, invigorating, exciting, energizing, and uplifting.

Lemon

Orange

Grapefruit Bergamot

Lime

Tangerine

Citronella

Lemongrass

Mandarin

Litsea Cubeba

Tagetes

Most often top notes
  • Energizing
  • Uplifting
  • Emotionally balancing to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety
  • Deodorizing
  • Cleansing; popular addition to antibacterial oil blends
  • Refreshing
  • Stimulating for mental and spiritual vigor
FLORAL

These scents are often reminiscent of the flowers from which they are extracted and can be described as being feminine, powdery, subtle, modest, romantic, and even poetic. They are often sweet-smelling and create a feeling of cheerfulness. Floral scents are considered to be classic and timeless.

Chamomile

Geranium

Jasmine

Lavender

Neroli

Rose

Rosewood

Ylang-Ylang

Petitgrain

Most often middle notes
  • Comforting
  • Promotes rest
  • Sometimes sleep-inducing
  • Mood balancing
HERBACEOUS

Essential Oils that have herbaceous scents can be further described as smelling green or grassy. These Essential Oils often have mild floral yet invigorating spring-like scents that are associated with lush, wet foliage. They are reminiscent of the aroma of fresh leaves, moss, mown grass, herbs, and trees.

Chamomile

Angelica Root

Clary Sage

Eucalyptus Radiata

Fennel

Hyssop

Marjoram

Melissa

Rosemary

Thyme

Oregano

Bay Laurel

Catnip

Sage Dalmatian

Parsley

Tea Tree

Yarrow

Most often middle notes
  • Calming
  • Promotes positivity
  • Encouraging
  • Emotionally balancing
  • Grounding
CAMPHORACEOUS

These Essential Oils have strong scents and are known to be beneficial for clearing the respiratory system due to their clarifying, penetrating, energizing, purifying, and almost medicinal aromas.

Camphor

Cajeput

Eucalyptus

Pennyroyal

Laurel Leaf

Lavandin

Most often middle notes
  • Stimulating
  • Refreshing
  • Focus-enhancing
MINTY

Essential Oils with a minty scent are strong-scented and are distinctly known for their bracing, fresh fragrances. They are reputed to be clearing and cooling when used in aromatherapy and topical applications.

Spearmint

Wintergreen

Peppermint

Can be top, middle, or base Notes
  • Motivating
  • Cooling
  • Invigorating
  • Mentally clarifying
SPICY

These Essential Oils have exotic, warm, intense aromas that are often reminiscent of baking and other warm memories. With strong scents, they are commonly used to stimulate energy and focus.

Aniseed

Basil

Black Pepper

Cardamom

Cinnamon

Coriander

Cumin

Ginger

Nutmeg

Allspice

Cassia

Clove Bud

Middle or base notes
  • Bracing
  • Rousing
  • Crisp and penetrating
  • Lively
RESINOUS/MUSKY

These Essential Oils exude deep, rich scents that are smoky, woody, earthy, sweet, leather-like, and warm. Their mellow, alluring, and long-lasting fragrances lend a reassuring quality that makes them ideal for use in spiritual practices.

Benzoin

Elemi

Frankincense

Myrrh

Peru Balsam

Middle or base notes
  • Grounding
  • Promotes relaxation and sense of inner calm
  • Emotionally balancing
  • Uplifting
  • Known to be commonly used for intimacy enhancement
  • Tend to be associated with a casual feeling
WOODY/EARTHY

These Essential Oils have deep, warm, lingering scents.

Often described as smelling “brown,” these oils are reminiscent of the scents of a forest floor or damp soil. Their fragrances are soft, masculine, musky, and sensual. Their alluring, seductive, and hypnotic qualities create an atmosphere of mystery.

Cypress

Juniper Berry

Pine

Sandalwood

Fir

Cedarwood

(Atlas & Virginian)

Palo Santo

Rosewood

Patchouli

Vetiver

Valerian

Carrot Seed

Most often middle or base notes
  • Grounding
  • Uplifting
  • Emotionally balancing
  • Promote feelings of comfort, security, and well-being
  • Often considered to be aphrodisiacs

 

WHICH ESSENTIAL OILS SMELL GOOD TOGETHER?

Any Essential Oils can smell good together depending on the individual’s preferences! While oils in the same aroma family largely combine well, this is not a rule for how all blends should be made. The simplest way to select oils for a blend is to consider the individual oils that are preferred, the person it is for, the purpose, the method of application, and the ideal outcome. Generally, the best results are often from combinations of oils that have all 3 notes, which create balanced and harmonious aromas.

AROMA FAMILY BLENDS WELL WITH…

CITRUS

Most other aroma families

Floral

Minty

Spicy

Woody

FLORAL

Citrus

Spicy

Woody

HERBACEOUS

Minty

Woody

CAMPHORACEOUS

Citrus

Spicy

Woody/Earthy

Herbaceous

MINTY

Citrus

Woody

Herbaceous

Earthy

SPICY

Floral

Woody

Citrus

RESINOUS/MUSKY

Citrus

Floral

WOODY

Floral

Herbaceous

Minty

Spicy

Citrus

EARTHY

Woody

Minty


 

HOW TO MAKE A BALANCED ESSENTIAL OIL BLEND

The easiest way to create a well-rounded oil blend is to narrow down a list of preferred Essential Oils to a maximum of 5 Essential Oils:

  • 2 Top note oils
  • 2 Middle note oils
  • 1 Base note oil

When it comes to creating Essential Oil blends, there are no strict guidelines for oils that should or should not be combined, but the following standard can act as a guiding principle to help encourage a congruous blend, especially for a beginning strategy:

 

For 1 drop of a Base note,

add 2 drops of Middle note(s)

and

3 drops of Top note(s)

 

Alternatively, and more simply, combine each Essential Oil 1 drop at a time until the blend emits the preferred scent. When formulating new blends, the least wasteful approach to mixing is to limit the total amount of all combined Essential Oils to a minimum of 5 drops and a maximum of 25 drops. Begin by blending the Base and Middle notes. When the ideal scent is achieved with this mixture, add in the Top note. Continue to add 1 drop at a time of each type of oil until either the maximum number of drops is reached or until the ideal blend is attained.

To keep track of the oils and their amounts, it is helpful to make notes with each addition. Before using the final blend, it is recommended that they are allowed to sit or “rest” for 24 hours in order for the scent to develop, as it can potentially change within this time. Before creating or using any blends, ensure that all safety protocols are followed. When applying the blend topically, dilute first with a Carrier Oil.

Essential Oils are for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using these oils for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Essential Oils without the medical advice of a physician, as they may have effects on certain hormone secretions and it is unclear whether these effects are transferable to babies at these stages of development. These oils 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 especially recommended to be advised by a physician: cancer, heart-related ailments, skin disorders or allergies, hormone-related ailments, or epilepsy. 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.

Prior to using any Essential Oil, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting 1 drop of the Essential Oil in 4 drops of a Carrier Oil and applying a dime-size amount of this blend to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Essential Oils must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Essential Oils include redness, rash, hives, burning, bleeding disorders, decreased speed of healing, low blood pressure, dizziness, headache, nausea, diarrhea, convulsions, and rapid heartbeat. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the products 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.

INVIGORATE, STRENGTHEN & BALANCE: POWDER FRUIT EXTRACTS

HISTORY OF POWDER FRUIT EXTRACTS

Throughout history and since ancient times, extracts from botanicals and fruits have been popular ingredients in natural cosmetics used by various cultures. Extracts, which take several forms including absolutes, tinctures, and powders, can be made by using water or ethanol to “extract” a part of raw material, but Powder Fruit Extracts are obtained from fruit juices and purees using modern spray drying technology. This method ensures a high-quality product with uniform consistency and improved storage stability. The most common extracts are derived from aromatic flowers, herbs, fruits, nuts, and spices, such as Rose, Vanilla, Peppermint, Spearmint, Orange, Lemon, Almond, Pistachio, Cinnamon, and Ginger.

Although fruit extracts may not necessarily retain the aromas of their originating fruits or exude any obvious scent at all, they are known to retain all of the fruits’ nutrients and healthful qualities; thus, when added to natural, water-based cosmetic formulations, they still contribute nourishing benefits even if they do not add any natural fragrance. Due to the concentrated nature of extracts, they need only be added to formulas in small amounts, as their potency yields considerable results.

BENEFITS OF POWDER FRUIT EXTRACTS

Rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, natural sugars, proteins, polyphenols, carotenoids, and various other natural elements and compounds that are beneficial to general health, Powder Fruit Extracts are known to promote the skin’s renewal for a rejuvenated complexion. They are reputed to have exfoliating properties, which not only remove dead, dull, and flaky skin cells but that also promote the growth of newer and healthier skin, resulting in skin that looks and feels smoother, firmer, softer, brighter, and more evenly-toned. Their emollience helps to hydrate and alleviate the discomforts of dry skin while protecting it against the harsh effects of UV radiation.

Powder Fruit Extracts can support the growth, strength, health, and function of collagen, thereby enhancing elasticity and helping to reduce the appearance of the signs of aging, such as wrinkles, age spots, and other blemishes. The anti-inflammatory quality of many powder fruit extracts helps to reduce the appearance of redness and irritation. They gently moisturize, soothe the symptoms of skin ailments, such as eczema and psoriasis, balance the skin tone to even out suntans, hyperpigmentation, and other types of discoloration, including dark under-eye circles. They regulate oil production, remove blackheads, cleanse and clarify, and help prevent acne breakouts. They are reputed to soften even dehydrated areas of skin that are parched to the point of cracking or peeling and when used on the nails, they are believed to simultaneously strengthen and soften.

Used in hair, Powder Fruit Extracts are known to cleanse, condition, nourish, fortify, soften, contribute shine, prevent dandruff, and stimulate circulation to encourage healthy new growth. They are reputed to prevent hair loss, oiliness, dryness, dullness, and the buildup of dirt. As a result, fruit extract-enriched haircare products are known to leave hair looking thicker, voluminous, and more lustrous.

Used medicinally, Powder Fruit Extracts are commonly used to enhance immunity, facilitate wound healing, support digestive function and the body’s detoxification, soothe and prevent inflammation, address conditions such as ringworm, promote the renewal and strengthening of muscle tissue, reduce menstrual discomforts, support healthy weight loss, decrease stress and tension, and regulate blood pressure.

PowderFruitExtract_Caption_image (1)

Fruit extracts with astringent, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties are reputed to help facilitate the healing of open wounds by promoting their contraction, purifying the affected area of skin, and preventing harmful bacteria and environmental pollutants from entering the body through the abrasion.

Powder Fruit Extracts are reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights their many benefits and the kinds of activity they are believed to show:

  • COSMETIC: Astringent, Anti-bacterial, Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Balancing, Brightening, Collagen-Enhancing, Cleansing, Clarifying, Conditioning, Exfoliating, Firming, Hydrating, Rejuvenating, Reparative, Soothing, Strengthening, Smoothing, Softening, Stimulating
  • MEDICINAL: Astringent, Anti-bacterial, Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Balancing, Reparative, Soothing, Strengthening, Stimulating, Wound-Healing

USES OF POWDER FRUIT EXTRACTS

When incorporating powdered fruit extracts into natural product formulations, it is recommended that the amount of extract not exceed 0.5% of the total product. If they are being used to make tinctures, the amount of fruit extract should not exceed 5%.

For a facial toner that helps support the skin’s suppleness and natural radiance, combine the following ingredients in a 100 ml spray bottle: 100 ml (3.50 oz.) Floral Water, 2 drops Essential Oil, 2 drops Solubilizer (Polysorbate 20) Raw Material, and ¼ tsp. Powder Fruit Extract. Cap the bottle and shake it well before spritzing the resultant spray lightly onto the face and allowing it to air dry.

For a face mask that has protective qualities and is known to hydrate the skin while repairing damage caused by environmental stressors, such as the elements, begin by thoroughly combining the following ingredients in a bowl: 1 ½ tsp. Green French Clay, 1 tsp. Powder Fruit Extract, ½ tsp. Kaolin Facial Scrub Superfine, 1 ½ Tbsp. Aloe Vera Gel Juice, and 1 Tbsp. Floral Water of personal preference. To use this mask, simply spread a thin layer over the face with the fingers and allow the mask to dry for no longer than 20 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. This mask is known to soothe irritation and redness and to energize tired skin.

To make a strengthening, conditioning, and reparative shampoo that is reputed to help balance oil production while soothing itchiness and irritation, combine the following ingredients in a 100 ml (3.50 oz.) shampoo dispenser bottle: 100 ml Shampoo Base, 0.1 g Powder Fruit Extract, and 2 ml (0.06 oz.) essential oil of personal preference. Cap the bottle, shake it well to thoroughly combine all the ingredients, then apply it to the scalp and hair as usual in the shower. This natural shampoo blend is known to address dandruff, strengthen dull and brittle strands, and hydrate frizz for smoother and softer curls.

To create a bath bomb, begin by combining the following ingredients in a large bowl: 2 cups Baking Soda, 1 cup Citric Acid, and 1 Tbsp. Buttermilk Powder. Thoroughly mix all the powders together until any clumps have returned to their loose powder forms. In a separate bowl, dilute 12 drops of essential oil of personal preference in 1 Tbsp. of any carrier oil. Next, pour this mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix everything together thoroughly. The addition of oils will likely lead to the formation of clumps in the powder mixture, and these clumps should be gently broken to ensure even distribution of the oil blend. Stir in ¼ tsp. Powder Fruit Extract, then spray the entire mixture with Witch Hazel or any other Floral Water, quickly mixing it into the powder with each spritz to prevent the mixture from fizzing. Spray only enough to allow the powder to hold its shape, at which point it can be transferred and packed lightly into a mold of personal preference. Once the mixture takes the shape of the mold, remove the compacted shapes and allow them to dry for 12-24 hours in an area with low humidity. To use these bath bombs, simply drop one into a bathtub filled with enough warm water for an adult-sized bath. Enter the tub once the entire bomb has dissolved. These bath bombs should be used within the month. Some suggestions for fruit powder and essential oil combinations include Mango Fruit Powder with Orange Essential Oil, Pineapple Fruit Powder with Lavender Essential Oil, and Strawberry Fruit Powder with Lime Essential Oil.

A GUIDE TO POWDER FRUIT EXTRACTS & THEIR BENEFITS

PAPAYA POWDER FRUIT EXTRACT

Botanical Name: Carica papaya

Country of Origin: India

Believed to:

  • Be a free-flowing powder that ranges in color from cream to a pale yellowish-orange
  • Be excellent for balancing the oiliness of the skin and for exfoliating dry areas
  • Promote the appearance of a rejuvenated complexion, when used in skincare products
  • Contain Vitamin A, which helps to reveal the next layer of the skin to promote the complexion’s natural radiance
  • Contain Vitamin C, an antioxidant with smoothing and softening qualities

 

BANANA POWDER FRUIT EXTRACT

Botanical Name: Musa spp.

Country of Origin: India

Believed to:

  • Be a fine powder of a pale, creamy shade of yellow
  • Exude the aroma of pureed bananas
  • Be rich in Potassium and Vitamin A
  • Be ideal for use on dry or sensitive skin, such as in the form of a dry facial mask or scrub

 

MANGO POWDER FRUIT EXTRACT

Botanical Name: Mangifera indica

Country of Origin: India

Believed to:

  • Be made from spray-dried mangoes and to have the scent of dehydrated mangoes
  • Be a fine, creamy-yellow powder
  • Be high in Vitamin A, C, beta-Carotene, Potassium, Iron, Phosphorus, and Calcium
  • Prevent the appearance of fine lines, the drying and deterioration of the skin, and to maintain elasticity
  • Be ideal for adding to recipes for soaps, dry products, facial masks, and body wraps
  • Be refreshing and gentle enough for use on any skin type, especially dry or sensitive skin

 

STRAWBERRY POWDER FRUIT EXTRACT

Botanical Name: Fragaria spp.

Country of Origin: India

Believed to:

  • Be a fine powder that ranges in color from reddish-pink to purple
  • Have the scent of fresh strawberries
  • Be rich in Polyphenols, Potassium, Iron, Phosphorus, Calcium and Vitamins A and C
  • Provide protection for the skin and to have soothing properties
  • Make a wonderful toner that helps to reduce the appearance of enlarged pores
  • Suit any skin type and to be ideal for adding to formulations for facial masks, body wraps, and scrubs

 

PINEAPPLE POWDER FRUIT EXTRACT

Botanical Name: Ananas comosus

Country of Origin: India

Believed to:

  • Be a free-flowing powder that ranges in color from bright yellow to yellow
  • Contain the fruit enzyme Bromelain, which is known to reduce inflammation
  • Be an effective exfoliant that sloughs off dead cells on the surface of the skin
  • Exhibit astringent properties, making it ideal for use in facial toners

 

GUAVA FRUIT EXTRACT

Botanical Name: Psidium guajava

Country of Origin: India

Believed to:

  • Be a fine powder that is pale yellow in appearance
  • Be revered for both its vitamin content and its ability to slow the signs of aging
  • Help prevent the deterioration of the skin
  • Be ideal for addition to hair care products due to its natural fiber content

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR POWDER FRUIT EXTRACTS

Powder Fruit Extracts are for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using these products for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Powder Fruit Extracts without the medical advice of a physician, as they may have an effect on certain hormone secretions and it is unclear whether these effects are transferable to babies at these stages of development. These products 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.

Prior to using Powder Fruit Extracts, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting 1 tsp. of the preferred Powder Fruit 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. Due to their water-solubility, Powder Fruit Extracts will not dissolve in oil.

Powder Fruit Extracts must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Powder Fruit Extracts include skin irritation or discoloration, rash, hives, swelling or tenderness on the mouth, lips, or cheeks, headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, nerve damage, fever, chills, nasal congestion, wheezing, breathing difficulties, chest pain, throat irritation, increased thirst, nausea, heightened or lowered blood sugar levels, bloody nose, irregular heartbeat, vomiting, gas, indigestion, cramping, constipation, diarrhea, excess menstrual flow, and frequent urination.

HOW TO USE FRUIT EXTRACTS
*The suggested usage rate is 0.1- 0.5% by weight of the product.
HOW TO INCORPORATE EXTRACTS IN FORMULATIONS
*Most extracts should be added to the cool-down phase of the formulation.
• For shampoos, creams, and other thick products: Mix 5-10 ml of hot water (45˚C – 50˚C;
the temperature of the cool-down phase) into the powdered extract until it dissolves.
Combine this mixture thoroughly into the product.
• For mists, toners, and other products that are almost entirely water: There is no need to
dissolve the extract before adding it to the product.

MAKE A TINCTURE USING FRUIT EXTRACTS
Extract Ratio Amount needed for 100 ml
Tincture (Alcohol/Water/Glycerine)
Apple Powder 12:1 1.6 g
Banana Powder 7:1 2.85 g
Guava Powder 8:1 2.5 g
Lime Powder 9:1 2.22 g
Mango Powder 7:1 2.85 g
Orange Powder 9:1 2.22 g
Papaya Powder 10:1 2 g
Pineapple Powder 6:1 3.33 g
Strawberry Powder 10:1 2 g
Watermelon Powder 14:1 1.42 g
Fruit extracts are most easily added to formulations by first dissolving the extract in a
a suitable solvent such as alcohol (vodka or another grain alcohol with less scent), water,
glycerin or mixture of solvent (water: alcohol or water: glycerin) and adding this tincture
to your product. Not all extracts are completely soluble, so you may see some residue
after it has been blended and if necessary, this can be removed using a filter. The
MSDS information will indicate if an extract is only partially soluble.
Unlike herbal plant tinctures, there is no need to let the tincture sit and leech out the
constituents of the plant material. This has already been done during the extraction
process and the aim is to simply liquefy the powder so that it can evenly blend into your
product. So once the fruit extract moistened with the solvent, it can be used right away.
Normally, a 100 ml tincture should be equivalent to 20 g of the raw plant. For example,
Apple powder has an extract ratio of 12:1 meaning 12 Kg of Apple extract is used to
produce 1 Kg of extract. Since you want the 100 mL tincture to contain 20 g of the raw
fruit, you should add 1.6 g (refer to the table above) of extract to 100 ml of suitable
solvent.
Remember that with the tincture, once they are moistened, they must be used right away unless a proper preservative is used.

IN ESSENCE…

    • Powder Fruit Extracts are obtained from fruit juices and purees using modern spray drying technology.
    • Powder Fruit Extracts are known to retain all of the originating fruits’ nutrients and healthful qualities.
    • Adding Powder Fruit Extracts to natural products enhances their viscosity, texture, and nutrient content.
    • Used on the skin, Powder Fruit Extracts are known to promote the growth of newer and healthier cells, hydrate and alleviate the discomforts of dryness, protect against the harsh effects of UV radiation, enhance elasticity, reduce the appearance of redness, irritation, hyperpigmentation, and the signs of aging. They balance the skin tone, regulate oil production, cleanse, clarify, and help prevent acne breakouts.
    • Used in hair, Powder Fruit Extracts are known to cleanse, condition, nourish, contribute shine and softness, fortify, soothe, prevent dandruff, and stimulate circulation. They are reputed to prevent hair loss, oiliness, dryness, dullness, as well as the buildup of dirt, resulting in strands that look thicker, voluminous, and more lustrous.
  • Used medicinally, Powder Fruit Extracts are believed to enhance immunity, facilitate wound healing, support digestive function and the body’s detoxification, soothe and prevent inflammation, promote the strengthening of muscle tissue, reduce menstrual discomforts, support healthy weight loss, decrease tension, and regulate blood pressure.

Wildcrafted Beauty

Explore the natural world and search for the perfect ingredients for your DIY all-natural personal care products.

Harvesting and wildcrafting plants was a necessity for our ancestors who depended on plants for everything from homesteading to medicine to personal hygiene. Today, purchasing products made with natural, plant-based ingredients is a lifestyle choice – one many person have chosen in an effort to move away from using questionable chemicals on their skin and hair. But while we may look for words like “natural” and “organic” or even “clean” on the label, there’s only one way to truly know what’s in your body care items – make them yourself. Beauty products containing wild and foraged ingredients have become more popular than ever, as more people want to use safer ingredients. These homemade items also offer an opportunity to connect with nature and enjoy the satisfaction of creating something from plants. Here are some recipes to get you started.

Wildcrafting Basics

Foraging or hunting for wild plants is fun, but it’s important to know what you’re doing. If wildcrafting is a new activity for you or you intend on exploring an unfamiliar area, make sure you study {and bring along} a local plant guide, and/or take a class or guided herb walk. A good rule to follow when it comes to using wild plants: if it’s all right to eat, it’s usually safe to use on your skin and hair.

Botany & Wildcrafting Course by Herbal Academy

As with any new ingredient, do a patch test inside your arm or behind your leg before spreading something on your face and body. Many local natural food stores may have some samples of wild plants you can try ahead of time.

Finally, harvest responsibly. Never take endangered or at-risk species or forage in protected conservation areas. Don’t pull from one area, potentially decimating a stand of plants – spread out your harvest and don’t take too much. For these recipes, you will need only a small amount of wild ingredients. Finally, make sure you bring the proper tools to avoid damaging the plant.

Nettle Hair Rinse

Nettles like to grow in moist areas, so you will find them along streams or in the cool part of the forest. These plants grow several feet high and, as many of us know, have hair-like bristles on their leaves that cause a stinging sensation when touched. The young shoots and leaves are edible and lend themselves to various body care items, including hair rinse. Nettles stimulate hair follicles on the scalp, yielding healthier hair. The apple cider vinegar in this recipe also treats the skin on your scalp, keeping it clean and healthy and helping to balance its pH.

1 cup fresh nettle leaves or 1/2 cup dried nettle leaves

2 cups boiling water

2 Tbls apple cider vinegar

Place the nettle leaves {use gloves if you’re handling fresh leaves} in a ceramic or glass bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let the mixture steep until cool, then strain. Stir in the apple cider vinegar and pour into a clean container. To use: As a final rinse after shampooing, pour some of the rinse onto your head and massage into your scalp. Rinse with cool water. Yield: 16 ounces.

Juniper Berry Foot Soak

Many species of juniper produce edible berries, but the fruit of common juniper {Juniperus communis} is what most people prefer. There is some controversy over the safety of consuming the berries – eating large amounts over an extended period of time may cause illness – but applied topically, they’re safe and natural antiseptic, making them well-suited for a cleansing and refreshing soak. Fall offers the best time to collect fresh berries, and you can dry them for year-round use.

1/4 cup fresh juniper berries, slightly crushed

1/4 cup Epsom salt

2 Tbls baking soda

Fill a large tub or basin with warm water. Add the juniper berries, Epsom salts, and baking soda and stir well until the salts and soda have dissolved. Soak your feet in the fragrant water for 15-20 minutes. After your footbath, massage your feet with some natural oils or a rich cream. Yield: 4 ounces, enough for one footbath.

Wild Berry Facial Mask

Wild berries such as blackberry, elderberry, and mulberries all contain antioxidants and vitamins A and C, which help cleanse and nourish the skin. Used as a facial mask, berries soothe the complexion and also help rid it of surface impurities and dead skin cells. This not only leaves you with glowing skin but also helps your skin function more efficiently and absorb more moisture. When harvesting, make sure to gather only edible berries – if you can eat them, you can apply them topically – that are free from pesticides and herbicides.

1/2 cup fresh berries, slightly mashed

1 Tbls almond flour or white clay powder

In a small bowl stir together the berries and flour or clay until you have a smooth, creamy mixture. You may need to add a bit more flour or clay depending on how juicy your berries are. Store in the refrigerator until ready to apply. To Use: Spread the mask mixture on clean skin, avoiding the eye and mouth area making sure to cover your neck {a part of the body often overlooked}. Let the mixture sit for 15-20 minutes, then rinse off with warm water and pat skin dry. Store any leftover mask in the refrigerator, where it should last a week or two. Yield: 4 ounces.

Blackberry Leaf Hair Rinse

From July through August, the peak season for this favored fruit, blackberries pop up along country roads and in the woods, lending themselves to jams, pies, and other confections. The plant also provides some key beauty-boosting ingredients. Wild blackberry and raspberry leaves are naturally cleansing, serving as an excellent final rinse for your hair and scalp. Naturally acidic, they restore hair’s natural acid level, which is often stripped away by alkaline shampoos. To add a bit of color to your product, toss a few fresh berries in this recipe. If you don’t have access to fresh leaves, find them at natural food stores or look for herbal teas made with the leaves.

1 cup fresh blackberry leaves, washed and chopped, or 1/2 cup dried leaves

2 cups boiling water

Place the leaves in a ceramic or glass bowl. Pour the boiling water over and allow the mixture to sit for 15 minutes. Strain and pour into a clean bottle. To use: After shampooing, pour through your hair as a final rinse. Dry and style your hair as usual. Save any leftover rinse in the refrigerator; it should stay fresh for a few weeks. Yield: 16 ounces.

Enroll in the Botanical Skin Care Course with the Herbal Academy

Wild Violets Cold Cream

Violets grow wild in shady areas and are a very “friendly” plant, meaning that they love to spread out and take over a patch of ground. They’re also useful in teas and add a lovely pink shade to vinegars. Some people like to candy them for cake decorations. For cosmetic use, they have a gentle, soothing, and mildly astringent effect great for facial steams, as a mouthwash, or in perfumes. In this cleansing cream, wild violets provide a delicate fragrance that soothes all skin types.

1 Tbls coconut oil

1/4 cup sweet almond oil

1/4 distilled water or pure water

2-3 tsp fresh violet flower heads

Mix together the oils in a heat-resistant container. Heat until the oils begin to melt, remove from heat, and stir until melted and well mixed. In a separate bowl, mix together the violets and water. Heat this solution until just boiling. Pour the heated oil mixture into a blender and turn the blender on low. Slowly add the hot violet infusion and continue to blend. You will have a pale-colored cream. Let the cream cool completely, then pour into a clean container. To use: Massage into your skin and rinse well with warm water. Yield: 4 ounces.

Horsetail Nail Strengthener

We can trace Equisetum arvense all the way back to prehistoric times when it grew and flourished some 200 million years ago as dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Some people consider horsetail a pesky weed since it grows profusely and is difficult to remove once established. It’s found along roadsides and in the woods. The hollow stems absorb important minerals such as iron, magnesium, and potassium from the soil, and they boast a high silica content, which can help treat brittle nails. Use this strengthening nail soak daily.

1 tsp fresh horsetail stems, chopped

1/2 cup boiling water

1 tsp pure honey

Place the horsetail stems in a glass or ceramic dish. Pour the boiling water over them and let sit for 30 minutes. Strain off the stems and discard. Add the honey and stir well. Let the solution sit for a few days, then pour into a clean bottle with a tightly fitting lid. To use: Brush the solution over your nails using a clean cotton swab or small brush and let dry. Do this every day for 10-14 days and you should see an improvement in the condition of your nails. You can also soak your nails in this solution when giving yourself a manicure. Yield: 4 ounces.

Dandelion Age Spot Oil

It seems as if dandelions may finally be getting the respect they deserve, as many homeowners have started letting these sunny plants pop up in the yard. Edible from flower to root, these “weeds” serve as useful food for pollinators in the wild. When harvesting, make sure you pick wild dandelions from an area that has not been sprayed with harmful chemicals. {Oftentimes, road crews spray for weeds, so you’ll have better luck in a known yard or out in the woods.} The name dandelion comes from the French dent de lion, “lion’s tooth,” because of the plant’s deeply jagged leaves. For beauty purposes, the yellow flower heads make a wonderful bath and hair rinse. In this recipe, the leaves help naturally fade away stubborn freckles and brown age spots. {Since this is an all-natural treatment, it will take several applications before you see results.}

1/4 cup fresh dandelion leaves, chopped, or 2 Tbls dried leaves

2 Tbls castor oil

2 Tbls sunflower oil

Make sure the dandelion leaves are clean and dry; pat with a clean towel to remove excess moisture. Place the leaves and oils in a heat-resistant container and gently warm. Do not boil. Let the mixture sit for at least three hours. Strain out all the leaves and pour into a clean bottle with a tightly fitting lid. {Those little roller bottles work well.} To use: Rub a small amount of the oil into your skin daily. It may take several weeks, but you will soon see your freckles and age spots begin to fade. Yield: 2 ounces.
Organic Cotton Robes

Floral Botanical Wrap

You don’t need to go to a spa to enjoy a full body wrap. For this treatment, you just need to dry brush or scrub your body, moisturize it thoroughly with natural oil, and then wrap up in herb-soaked towels to tone and hydrate the skin. You can manage on your own, but enlisting a partner can make the wrap much tighter. Depending on where you end up lying down, you may want to use an old sheet or something water resistant like a shower curtain.

Relax outdoors if it’s a nice day and you have some privacy. For the wildflowers in this recipe, choose your favorite edible ones such as elderflower, violet, dandelion, wild rose, milkweed flowers, bee balm, pineapple weed, mint, or lemon balm.

2 cups fresh wild flowers

1/4 cup dried fennel seeds

Place all the fresh herbs and flowers inside a large ceramic bowl or bucket. Fill this container with very hot tap water and let steep for 5 minutes. Then soak your sheet or cotton towels in this solution. As they soak, prepare your body by gently dry brushing your skin, then massaging in your favorite natural oil {almond, avocado, coconut}. Wring out the hot, wet sheet or towels and wrap snugly around your body. Lie down and cover yourself with a dry towel or blanket. Lie quietly for no more than 10 minutes. When time’s up, slowly unwrap. You should feel refreshed! Massage more natural oil into your skin if you wish. Yield: one full body wrap.

pineapple weed

 

Pineapple Weed Bath

Often overlooked, Matricaria discoidea is a common weed that grows in a variety of climates. When crushed, the small yellow flowers emit a fresh, pineapple aroma, making it a perfect ingredient in tea and flavored syrups. Of course, it’s also enjoyable in the bath as an energizing soak.

1 cup Epsom salts

1/2 cup pink Himalayan salt or sea salt

2 Tbls baking soda

2 Tbls pineapple weed flowers, slightly crushed

Fill a large muslin tea bag or a small piece of fabric with herbs and tie up. To use: Toss the fabric bag into your bath as you fill the tub and allow the salts to dissolve and the pineapple weed to perfume your bath. Soak for 20 minutes; you can use the cloth bag as a washcloth. Yield: 12 ounces.

shop nine 728x90

Your Skin-Care Routine

When it comes to skincare, it’s not about using the best and most expensive brand. It’s about the ingredients and what they do to the skin. By following a good skin-care routine, you can really change the surface of the skin. It does take time for certain ingredients to work in the skin, but with enough patience and dedication, you have the ability to repair and improve your skin. If you have no skin concerns, for now, you can start a preventive skin-care routine that will make sure your skin stays looking good for longer. Because the reality is that our skin does age, just like our body. It takes 10+ years for sun damage effects to show up on the surface of our skin—brown spots, fine lines, wrinkles, and broken veins. Check what is already in your cabinet and see which things you need to add to your routine. Start making more time for your skin today!

Cleanser: To cleanse the skin and pores, lift off dirt & makeup, and prepare skin for further product absorption. Gel cleansers are best for normal/oily skin types; milk cleansers for normal/dry skin types. Oil-based cleansers can be used for all skin types, especially when used as the first cleanse in the evening, removing makeup, and prepping the skin for a second cleanse.

Toner: To make sure all remains of cleanser are off the skin and brings the skin back to a natural pH level.

Serum: The most penetrating product due to molecule size, serums are usually where you will find active ingredients such as vitamin A and C, peptides, hyaluronic acid, AHA, and BHA. Choose a serum with ingredients that are best for your skin type.

Eye Care: The eye area is the most delicate part of the skin and needs to be treated with care. Apply a pea-size amount of eye cream or eye gel around the eye bone with ring finger.

Moisturizer/SPF: If your moisturizer doesn’t contain SPF, make sure you use one on top of it or apply makeup containing sun protection. SPF blocks the UV radiation from the sun, which is present all year long.

Night Moisturizer: Specific night moisturizers contain more active ingredients than day creams. As your skin is sleeping, it is regenerating so what you apply before bed does count.

Exfoliator: Once or twice a week its important to slough away dead skin cells that have built up on the surface of the skin. By removing these dead skin cells, the skin becomes brighter and smoother.

Face Masks: Once or twice a week, apply a mask. There are clay masks for oily/acne-prone skins, and cream or gel masks for drier/aging skins. They really plump and refine the skin, leaving the skin glowing. For best skin results do an exfoliation before applying a face mask, and leave the mask on for as long as possible or sleep with it on overnight.

lavender spa products

Herbal Skin Care Recipes for Your Face

Try herbal skin care recipes such as Lemon Lip Balm and Rose Petal Facial Toner to freshen your skin and make your face glow.
Your skin says a lot about you. Treat yourself well and your skin should reflect your spirit’s rosy health—but a little herbal skin care never hurts.

Skin and Body Care

We know that what’s on the inside is what counts, but beauty on the outside is also important. It’s what signals that we are fulfilled, joyful, and happy with life. Glowing skin is not the result of cosmetics (though the toners and moisturizers in this chapter can help rejuvenate tired skin), but it is the culmination of a life well lived, a spirit well fed.

As the skin is our largest organ (and an organ of elimination, at that), it needs constant care and nurturing for its continued health. Your skin says a lot about you (as does the health of your hair): Is it tired, dry, and papery?

Greasy, sallow, and pitted? These conditions indicate an imbalance in your body that can be addressed by any of the remedies outlined in the previous chapters. These conditions (and usually the imbalances that cause them) are reversible and can always be resolved using natural methods that heighten your energy and nourish your life.

The skin, hair, and body treatments that follow can be enjoyed by most teens, men, and women. Let the making of these remedies be fun activities that you do frequently, as these products tend to have short shelf lives. Use them often and enjoy your radiant (and healthy) skin and hair.

Facial Care

Herbs and flower preparations have been used for centuries for both men’s and women’s facial care. Since Maria Prophetissa discovered distillation techniques and created what we call the “bain-marie,” chemists and boutiques have sold flower waters and essential oils for beauty applications.

These lovely waters were favorites with ladies throughout the Middle Ages and have never lost their popularity.

With facial care, we generally consider two applications: drying (toning) and moisturizing. Determine your skin type and use whichever remedy will achieve the effect you need. Scent them as desired (lavender is a traditional and lovely facial scent), and enjoy.

Lavender Facial Wash

Yields approximately 1 cup

This is a simple-to-make facial astringent that soothes, tightens, and tones the skin. Follow it with Red Clover Whipped Lotion (the recipe follows) for a rich moisturizer.

1/2 cup fresh lavender flowers
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup distilled witch hazel
1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin
2 to 3 drops lavender essential oil

Combine the dry ingredients and the witch hazel in a 1-pint glass jar; steep overnight or up to two weeks. Strain and reserve the liquid; add the glycerin and essential oil. Using a cotton ball, dab the facial wash over your face using upward motions. (After straining the liquid out, try gently scrubbing your face with the flowers and oats instead of throwing them out; they will remove dirt and grime from the crevasses of your skin and exfoliate. Follow with the facial wash. Delightful!)

Red Clover Whipped Lotion

Yields 2 to 3 cups

Make a tiny batch of this lotion at a time, perhaps for special occasions when you want your face to glow. It’s extremely rich and, depending on how much water you add, can be dense or light as a cloud.

1 cup fresh red clover blossoms
1 cup of cocoa butter
1 to 2 cups distilled water or rose water
1 to 2 teaspoons jojoba or sweet almond oil (optional)

Place the herbs and cocoa butter in a bowl. Without heating, use a spoon to mix the blossoms into the cocoa butter. Cover and store in a dark cabinet or pantry. Steep for two weeks.

In the top of a double boiler, gently heat the cocoa butter just until you can strain out the blossoms. Discard them and pour the melted cocoa butter into a deep soup pot (this is to reduce splattering). Using a wire whisk or an electric hand mixer, slowly add the distilled water by the tablespoonful, whisking constantly, until you have the desired consistency. Add the oil if desired, and whisk together. Scrape the lotion into a small container. This lotion lasts several weeks when refrigerated.

Rose Petal Facial Toner

Yields 2 cups

This is a simple and delightful astringent for the face.

1 cup packed fresh rose petals
1 cup distilled witch hazel
1 cup distilled water
Rose water or vegetable glycerin (optional)

Combine all the ingredients in a 1-pint glass jar. Steep overnight or up to two weeks. Strain and reserve the liquid. If desired, dilute it with additional distilled water or rose water, or whisk in a few drops of vegetable glycerin. Apply this toner with a cotton ball, using upward strokes.

Dandelion–Elder Flower Blemish Lightener

Yields 2 cups

Adapted from old wives’ recipes, this classic blemish lightener uses buttermilk. Many old recipes call for tansy flowers, but I find elderflower to be just as lovely.

1 cup fresh elderflowers
1 cup fresh dandelion flowers
2 cups fresh buttermilk

Combine all the ingredients in a glass jar. Steep overnight in the refrigerator (refrigeration is important!). Strain and reserve the liquid. Using a cotton ball, apply the lotion to your face in upward movements. Once your face is covered, lie down and rest for 10 minutes. Rinse with cool water.

Store this lotion in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Lemon Lip Balm

Yields 1 cup

Lemon is a luscious, summery fragrance, and many of our beloved herbs offer that scent: lemon balm, lemon verbena, lemongrass, and wood sorrel (Oxalis) leaves and seedpods. Pick your favorites to infuse in the oil for this lip balm.

1 cup fresh lemon balm (or herb of your choice), chopped
1 cup vegetable oil (such as canola)
1/4 cup beeswax
2 to 5 drops lemon essential oil or high-quality culinary lemon extract

Follow the instructions in chapter 4: Medicine-Making Methods for making an herbal salve. Once the wax has melted, pour the mixture into small lip balm tubes or into 1/4-ounce tins. Because these small containers absorb heat easily, do not keep them in pants pockets or in a hot car.

 

 

Healing with Frankincense Essential Oil

Make the most of brain-health-boosting and cell-building frankincense essential oil.

If I was stranded on a deserted island and could choose only one essential oil to have with me, I would select frankincense, an oil that is both versatile and potent. Perhaps that’s why it has been in use for thousands of years and considered a precious gift according to Christian beliefs — the perfect present from three wise men.

Healing with Frankincense Essential Oil

While frankincense can be used for a host of health concerns, here are a few of its many amazing healing properties:

Skin, Nail and Scalp Antimicrobial: An exciting study in the journal Letters in Applied Microbiology found that not only was frankincense effective against several organisms linked to skin, nail and scalp infections, it also helped break down the biofilms that often underlie these difficult problems. Biofilms are thin, potentially health-damaging layers of microorganisms that secrete substances to help ensure their survival in or on the body. The presence of biofilms is usually a factor in infections that are difficult to eradicate. Earlier research in the same journal also found frankincense helpful against Candida Albicans and Staphylococcus aureus biofilms. Frankincense essential oil is one that may be safe to apply directly to skin, nail and scalp infections; however, some experts recommend never using essential oils undiluted. If you want to try it, use caution and test the oil on a sensitive patch of skin, then wait 48 hours. Otherwise, use the oil diluted in a carrier oil — three to four drops of essential oil in a teaspoon of carrier oil.

Multipurpose Antibacterial: Frankincense is effective against many other types of bacteria, in addition to those of the skin, nail, and scalp. In one study, researchers found that the essential oil showed significant antibacterial action against the three types of bacteria tested, which included E. coliBacillus subtilis, and S. aureus. These antibiotic-resistant bacteria are linked with food poisoning and other serious health-damaging infections. In addition to directly killing the bacteria, the oil prevented the bacteria from proliferating. The oil also demonstrated antioxidant capabilities, which means it can destroy harmful free radicals linked to cellular and tissue damage.

Oral Health: Because of its antibacterial and antimicrobial qualities, frankincense is a good supporter of oral health. To use it, look for a toothpaste that incorporates frankincense, or make a homemade mouthwash using high-quality essential oil.

Anti-Pain Power: Researchers set out to determine the validity of frankincense as a traditional remedy for arthritis, muscle and stomach pain. They validated its natural analgesic effects and effectiveness, and for these types of pain frankincense may be applied directly to affected areas (use caution, or dilute in a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil for sensitive skin). Some health experts recommend using internally, but always consult a medical professional before doing so.

Mood Booster: In a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, a natural compound in frankincense was found to have antidepressant qualities. The compound, known as incensole acetate (IA), can regulate hormones secreted by the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands. The hypothalamus and pituitary glands are located in the brain and are involved in mood regulation, while the adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys and help address stress in the body. The researchers concluded that IA has potential as a novel treatment for depression.

Wrinkle Reducer: Numerous small-scale studies found that daily use of frankincense essential oil diluted in a carrier oil such as coconut or sunflower reduced the appearance of wrinkles and sun damage. It may also be useful to reduce stretch marks and eczema.

Using Frankincense Essential Oil

There are many frankincense essential oil products on the market, but they’re not all of equal quality. When choosing an essential oil, look for one that has been reviewed by independent third-party laboratory testing.

High-quality frankincense essential oil is one oil I sometimes recommend be used neat (undiluted); however, some experts recommend always diluting essential oils. As previously mentioned, always conduct a 48-hour skin test of frankincense essential oil diluted in the carrier oil of your choice prior to more extensive use. If you have sensitive skin, dilute three to five drops of frankincense essential oil in one teaspoon of carrier oil such as sweet almond or fractionated coconut oil (a liquid version of coconut oil).

To benefit from its ability to disinfect and freshen the air, diffuse five drops of frankincense in an essential oil diffuser (preferably not an oil burner, as heating the oil can destroy its therapeutic properties). Diffuse for up to an hour.

Frankincense is classified as a base note, meaning that when added to essential oil blends it tends to last longer than many other oils. Usually, base notes should comprise between 5 and 20 percent of a blend. Frankincense adds a rich, warm, incense-like quality to essential oil blends.

 

antiwrinkle-cream jpg

Frankincense Antiwrinkle Cream

Skin-soothing and moisturizing, this fresh face cream helps reduce the appearance of blemishes and wrinkles.
Because this luxurious cream does not contain preservatives, use it within a month or store it in the fridge for up to three months.

This luxurious moisturizer helps soothe skin, reduce blemishes and minimize the appearance of wrinkles. Unlike most of the anti-aging creams on the market, this one does not contain petrochemical-based products or chemical preservatives, making it a real treat for your skin. Keep in mind that because it is free of preservatives, it doesn’t last as long as chemical-laced commercial products, so you’ll want to use it within a month or keep it for up to three months in the refrigerator. You may want to use an old blender for this recipe, as the beeswax can leave a film that is difficult to completely remove.

• 3/4 cup sweet almond, apricot kernel or fractionated coconut oil
• 2 tablespoons shaved beeswax
• 30 drops frankincense essential oil
• 1 cup of filtered water

1. In a small saucepan over low heat, stir almond, apricot or coconut oil and beeswax together just until beeswax dissolves. Do not allow the oil to become hot. Immediately remove the saucepan from heat and add frankincense essential oil.

2. Pour water into blender, cover and begin blending it on high speed. With blender running, slowly pour the beeswax-oil mixture through hole in blender lid. The mixture will begin to thicken after about three-quarters of the beeswax has been incorporated.

3. Once all the beeswax has been blended, immediately pour cream into a 16-ounce glass jar or two 8-ounce glass jars. Use a spatula to remove any remaining cream from the blender. Makes about 1- 3/4 cups.

USING SODIUM HYALURONATE (HYALURONIC ACID) IN HAIRCARE and SKINCARE

IS SODIUM HYALURONATE GOOD FOR HAIR?

Yes! Hair follicles are embedded in the scalp’s deeper layer of skin known as the dermal layer. The tissue in the dermal layer comprises a moisturizing, gelatinous substance that is partly made up of Hyaluronic Acid – a naturally-occurring polysaccharide that works to support the body’s water retention and collagen production to help maintain skin elasticity. Sodium Hyaluronate, an all-natural and water-soluble form of Hyaluronic Acid, works in a similar way, offering enhanced skin penetration. Because the fats and proteins in the skin and the hair share a significant likeness, the same skincare that is applied to the face can also be applied to the scalp, as the scalp is, in effect, a protraction of the face.

Sodium Hyaluronate is a natural white powder that can be added to various hair product formulations in order to invigorate and rejuvenate dehydrated, damaged and brittle hair. It can be found in various molecular sizes and weights, each demonstrating a different benefit to the scalp. The smaller the molecule size the more readily it is able to penetrate the scalp to replenish its moisture barrier while reducing its moisture evaporation and promoting a firmer, plumper appearance for the hair. The low molecular weight of Sodium Hyaluronate is achieved through the bio-fermentation of non-GMO plant resources, making it all-natural.

WHAT IS SODIUM HYALURONATE USED FOR?

The scalp’s Hyaluronic Acid content works to maintain the scalp’s moisture in order to prevent dryness that leads to premature hair loss; however, eventually, the aging body generates a significantly lesser amount – approximately only half of the required amount – of Hyaluronic Acid, and this decline in the body’s natural production leads to a decline in the quantity and quality of hair. When the water content in the structure of the hair begins to dry out because of harsh environmental conditions, dietary issues, or hair treatments, the strands lose their luxuriant luster and volume. This is where Hyaluronic Acid – and by extension Sodium Hyaluronate – comes into play, working to replenish the hair’s moisture balance and to defend it against additional stressors.

It is said that Sodium Hyaluronate functions like fertilizer on the scalp, stimulating the growth and thickness of new hair and thus encouraging the look of increased hair volume. By adding Sodium Hyaluronate to natural hair product formulations, we can integrate the body’s natural nourishing elements to boost scalp health and hair growth and to naturally enhance the appearance and texture of the strands. This improvement helps to keep the hair shaft moist, supporting the look of lush hair that is easier to comb or brush, which in turn decreases hair breakage. Sodium Hyaluronate also helps to support and strengthen weaker strands, to promote body, resilience, and softness, to exfoliate a dry scalp to remove loose dandruff flakes and to exhibit reparative as well as protective effects thereafter.

HOW IS SODIUM HYALURONATE USED?

To apply Sodium Hyaluronate to the hair it must first be made into a serum that can then be incorporated into a shampoo base, a conditioner base, and leave-in hair products. To make a simple Sodium Hyaluronate serum, add 2.5 g Sodium Hyaluronate Raw Material to 60 ml water and 1.25 g Glycerine. Blend the mixture with a stick blender until it reaches a gel-like consistency. The approximate shelf life of this serum is 2 weeks. For longer shelf life, a preservative should be added. Sodium Hyaluronate is gentle enough for regular use.

SODIUM HYALURONATE SIDE EFFECTS

Sodium Hyaluronate is for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this product for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women, as well as those with sensitive skin, are especially advised not to use Sodium Hyaluronate without the medical advice of a physician. This product should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Prior to using Sodium Hyaluronate, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by dissolving 0.5 tsp of Sodium Hyaluronate in 15 ml of water and applying a dime-size amount of this blend to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Sodium Hyaluronate Raw Material must never be used near the inner nose and ears or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. 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.

155m-sodiumhyaluronate_desktop

 

USING SODIUM HYALURONATE (HYALURONIC ACID) IN SKIN CARE

IS SODIUM HYALURONATE THE SAME THING AS HYALURONIC ACID?

Hyaluronic Acid is a polysaccharide that occurs naturally in the human body and works to support the body’s collagen production and to help maintain elasticity. This natural molecule is specifically found in the hair, eyes, nerves, and in the lubricating liquid substance between the joints and tissues. In the skin, Hyaluronic Acid works to occupy the areas between collagen and elastin and to renew and enhance the skin’s natural suppleness for a healthy appearance and texture. Young skin also abounds in Hyaluronic Acid; however, these amounts show an inverse relationship with increasing age, and the result is skin that appears older.

Sodium Hyaluronate, an all-natural water-soluble form of Hyaluronic Acid, works in a similar way, offering better skin penetration and stability. The added gain when using Sodium Hyaluronate is that it penetrates the skin more easily than Hyaluronic Acid. This does not imply that one is better than the other, rather it indicates that cosmetic products containing both ingredients deliver even more profound benefits to the skin. The appeal of Hyaluronic Acid – and by extension Sodium Hyaluronate – is increased by the fact that it is naturally occurring in the human body, as this suggests that the product will not be toxic or harmful to the skin.

WHAT DOES SODIUM HYALURONATE DO FOR THE SKIN?

While high molecular weight Hyaluronic Acid hydrates only the top layer of skin, this low molecular weight and water-soluble form hydrates even the deeper layers of skin, helping to plump out the look of fine lines for a smoother appearance. Cosmetics enriched with Sodium Hyaluronate help to effectively restore the skin’s moisture with natural hydration, promoting a more youthful complexion. Its water-holding ability – specifically its natural capacity for holding water that is 1000 times its weight – makes it an exceptional hydrating agent and thus a popular ingredient in the cosmetic industry; this constituent is widely used in rejuvenating skincare products intended to address the appearance of wrinkles and can be found in face washes, eye creams, moisturizers, and skin repair creams.


 

WHAT IS SODIUM HYALURONATE USED FOR?

When added to cosmetic formulations, Sodium Hyaluronate helps to increase the final product’s stability and to reduce the probability of oxidization. Cleansers and moisturizers that are enriched with this hydrating agent will not leave the skin with an oily residue. When applied to the skin, Sodium Hyaluronate is reputed to…

    • Easily and deeply penetrate the skin to help it retain moisture for increased firmness and suppleness, resulting in a revitalized appearance
    • Remove loose flakes from dry skin
    • Relieve itching due to dehydrated and irritated skin
    • Smoothe the appearance of wrinkles and generally improve the texture of the skin
    • Enhance the absorption and benefits of other nourishing ingredients in a formulation
    • Be gentle enough for use on most skin types, including acne-prone types
    • Replace the skin’s natural Hyaluronic Acid content, which diminishes with age, exposure to UV radiation, and various other environmental factors that lead to gradual moisture loss
  • Promote the look of replenished facial volume by causing the skin to appear swollen/plumper, which helps reduce the look of fine lines

 


 

HOW IS SODIUM HYALURONATE USED?

To use Sodium Hyaluronate in skincare, simply add it to the suggested phases of formulations for the following products:

PRODUCT TYPE SUGGESTED PHASE
Face Wash Due to its inclination to form clumps when introduced to water, SH can first be blended with Glycerine before being added to water. This will prevent clumping and encourage a smooth blend.

Alternatively, it can simply be added directly to water, covered, and given time to hydrate, after which it can be mixed well.

When making larger volumes, SH can be added to water and blended in with a stick (immersion) blender until its consistency thickens.

Face Cream cool down phase (below 40 °C)
Eye Cream cool down phase (below 40 °C)
Lotion cool down phase (below 40 °C)
Skin Repair Cream cool down phase (below 40 °C)
Body Butter cool down phase (below 40 °C)

 

SODIUM HYALURONATE SIDE EFFECTS

Sodium Hyaluronate is for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this product for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women, as well as those with sensitive skin, are especially advised not to use Sodium Hyaluronate without the medical advice of a physician. This product should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Prior to using Sodium Hyaluronate, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by dissolving 0.5 tsp of Sodium Hyaluronate in 15 ml of water and applying a dime-size amount of this blend to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Sodium Hyaluronate Raw Material must never be used near the inner nose and ears or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. 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.

Old-Time Herbal Beauty Tips

Before the big cosmetics companies took over, women often invented their own beauty aids. Here are a few of the herbal beauty tips my grandmother left behind.

Some old fashioned herbal beauty tips are extremely simple. For example, to bleach, your skin rub cucumber slices on your face.

For centuries, herbs were the main source of beauty aids, then along came the big cosmetic companies and the world was swamped with (sometimes dangerous) chemicals. Lately, however—as we rediscover organic recipes—herbs, fruits, and vegetables have found their way back onto milady’s makeup table.

As a matter of fact, I recently read a magazine article in which a duchess and a princess (folks who can certainly afford “the best”) recommended the use of exotic plants for beauty care. About that same time—as I searched through some old family hideaways for my grandmother’s salve recipe—I came upon a list of herbal beauty tips that Grandma had once written out for her daughter (my aunt).

There wasn’t that much difference between royalty’s road to loveliness and Grandma’s either, except the old girl didn’t buy most of her materials—she grew ’em!

Here’s the advice that my grandmother wrote down for her daughter those many years ago:

IN THE MORNING: Mix a handful of oatmeal with enough spring water to make a paste, and put this mixture on your face and neck. When it dries, rinse the paste off with whey, then with water, and dry your skin with a soft rag.

AT NIGHT: Rub a mixture of honey and glycerin onto your face, then after awhile wipe it off gently with a soft cloth.

ONCE A WEEK: Add a teaspoon of honey to one mashed apple, mix them together, and put this “cream” on your face and neck. Leave it in place for half an hour, and then rinse with whey or cold milk. (Make sure your husband will be gone awhile before you start this treatment!)

TO SMOOTH WRINKLES: Apply barley water and a few drops of balm of Gilead to your wrinkles every day.

TO BLEACH YOUR SKIN: Rub cucumber slices on your face.

FOR SOFT HANDS: Shake a half cup of glycerin, a half cup of rose water, and a quarter cup of witch hazel in a jar. Apply this to your hands after they’ve been in the water.

TO HEAL CHAPPED HANDS: Rub them with damp table salt.

FOR BRIGHT HAIR: Add vinegar to the rinse water after washing your hair, or make a rinse of mullein, nettle, sage, or burdock tea.

TO DARKEN GRAY HAIR: Boil an ounce of chamomile or sage in a quart of water for 20 minutes. Rinse your hair with this brew, and use a hairbrush dipped in strong chamomile or sage tea.

TO PREVENT DANDRUFF: Rub a tea made from the leaves and bark of willow into your scalp. Rinse the area with marshmallow tea.

FOR A RELAXING BATH: Hang a bag of dried comfrey or rosemary In the bath water.

FOR PERFUME: Fill a jar with pressed rose petals (or any sweet-scented flowers), add as much glycerin as the container will hold, and cover It tightly. After three weeks, you can pour the perfume off into a bottle.

TO MAKE A SACHET: Combine one ounce each of powdered cloves, caraway seed, nutmeg, mace, and cinnamon with six ounces of powdered orrisroot. Put the mixture in fancy bags and place them in closets and dresser drawers.

Now, some of the ingredients that Granny mentioned may not be familiar to you. Take “balm of Gilead,” for example. That’s just plain ol’ balsam. And “marshmallow tea” sounds like a sticky mess, but Grandma wasn’t talking about the soft, white candy. She was referring to the root of the marshmallow plant. “Orrisroot,” another name that may be puzzling to modern folk, Is the dried, powdered root of various European Iris plants.

Grandma foraged or grew most of her ingredients, but you can often find them in health food stores, supermarkets, and pharmacies, or even still growin’ wild along the roadside.

Naturally (no pun intended), I started to use some of these old-time recipes and found that comfrey does make a nice skin softener, while oatmeal leaves the skin silky and is especially good on oily teenage complexions.

However, a word of caution: Anyone can be allergic to almost anything, so check out any unfamiliar substance before you rub it all over yourself. To do this, just place a small amount on the tender skin of your inner arm and cover the area with an adhesive bandage. Then wait 24 hours and have a look. If the patch shows any reaction, such as redness or obvious irritation, that ingredient just isn’t for you.

My grandmother often said she didn’t feel a bit older at 80 than she did at 16, and she didn’t look her age either. Did this wonderful woman’s organic beauty rituals account for her natural glow and glamour? Well, let us just say that—after a few weeks of using some of Grandma’s “secrets”—I’ve begun to believe that they did!

bars of soap

Recipes to Make Your Own Soap, Lotion and More

You can easily make safe, effective toiletries — including lotion and deodorant — at home, using simple, healthy ingredients.

$50 off the Botanical Skin Care Course for a limited time!

If you’ve ever read the labels on health and hygiene products, you know it can be a challenge to find a product that doesn’t contain long lists of ingredients you can’t even pronounce, let alone know what they are or what they’re for. Plus, there are the occasional headlines that yet another standard ingredient in the products we use every day turns out to be counter to the very health and cleanliness the product is supposed to promote. Sometimes the easiest way to ensure that you’re using the best, healthiest products — from soap to toothpaste — is to simply make your own. You can easily make safe, effective toiletries — including lotion and deodorant — at home, using simple, healthy ingredients.

Try your hand at one or all of these basic recipes and rest assured that your body is getting the best care you can give it. You should be able to find the basic ingredients listed below at your local pharmacy or health food store.

Shea Butter Soap

2 cups glycerin soap base, melted in a double boiler
2 tbsp shea butter, melted separately
Several drops of your favorite essential oil (optional)

Mix well, pour into molds (you can use regular food storage containers), and cool.


Whitening Sage Tooth Powder

Mix together 1 tsp each of baking soda, table salt, and dried sage.

Scoop onto a dampened toothbrush and brush as usual.


Body Butter

1/4 cup grated cocoa butter
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp avocado oil
1 tbsp grated beeswax

Combine all the ingredients in an ovenproof glass container. Place the container with the mixture in a pan with a 1- to a 2-inch water bath. Melt the oils and wax gently.

Pour the melted mixture into a clean jar and allow to cool. Stir the cooled mixture.

Spread the butter on your body and massage into the skin. Yields 4 oz.


Basic Deodorant Powder Formula

1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup cornstarch
Antibacterial essential oils such as cinnamon, rose, birch or lavender, as preferred

Place the baking soda and cornstarch in a glass jar. Add the essential oils; stir and cover. Dampen a powder puff, cotton ball or sea sponge and dab into the mixture (or sprinkle the mixture on the sponge); pat underarms. Makes 1 cup.

herbal infusions

 

Discover over 200 herbal recipes in the Botanical Skin Care Course

Herb Infused Waters for Summer Hydration

Hydration is key when summer hits, and while I love ice water, sometimes a hint of flavor can make the water feel a bit more special. Plus, herb-infused water is an easy upgrade when entertaining, your guests will be impressed!

You can use any combo of herbs, fruits, and edible flowers that you like, here are some of my favorite combos:

1. Lemon Balm and Mint: lemon balm has a sweet lemony flavor that adds brightness while mint will add that refreshing cooling effect. Lemon balm is known to relieve digestive problems, anxiety, lower blood pressure, aid in concentration and is antiviral (1). Mint is known to also relieve digestive bloat, upset stomach, and vomiting (1). A lemon balm and mint water infusion would be great on a hot day when you might need a mood lift or feel extra stressed.

2. Watermelon and Basil: cubed watermelon adds a touch of sweetness while basil pairs well with summer fruit. Basil improves circulation and soothes headaches while being antimicrobial (1). The contrast of pink plus green makes a great spring and summer refresher. Watermelon can also be substituted with strawberries for a fun twist.

3.Mint and Cucumber: cucumber water is a classic ‘spa water’. Add sliced cucumbers to impart a touch of flavor and add mint, which can relieve upset stomach and cools you down at the same time.

4. Chamomile: alone, chamomile has a sweet apple flavor, pair it with lavender, lemon balm or stevia leaves for a sweeter twist on herb water. Chamomile is known to promote relaxation and relieve stress, ease stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea (1) and is also loved by children. The cute white flowers will give this infusion a feminine look, great for a girls day or night.

5. Strawberry and thyme: strawberries add vitamins, sweetness and a pale pink hue. Thyme adds a distinct herbal flavor and brings benefits such as soothing sore throats, stimulating the immune system and can help fight urinary infections (1). Together they make a tasty pairing fit for any summer entertaining, or as a treat after an afternoon working in the garden.

Water infused with herbs is a healthy, sugar-free alternative for any time of the year, but especially refreshing during the warm months. When infusing waters, roughly chop, tear or bruise the herbs to release their oils and scent. In a pitcher or large mason jar, infuse water and herbs for a least 2-4 hours before serving for the best flavor. Throw in a few edible flowers such as calendula, pansies, borage, rose petals or chamomile for an extra layer of color and interest. There is no wrong or right combination when it comes to infusing water with herbs- use the flavors you like and use the herbs you have on hand!